IT Employment

Poll: What was your #1 career challenge in 2010?

TechRepublic contributor Justin James describes some of the struggles he's faced on the work front this year. Share your toughest career challenges of 2010.

This is a guest post by Justin James, the host of TechRepublic's Programming and Development blog.

This year, it was nice that I had stable, steady employment despite the overall poor economy. Looking around at the local job market, it was good to see the jobs return in earnest.

On the work front, though, it has been pretty tough. I have found myself thrown head first into a number of projects using completely unfamiliar technologies because I took over the maintenance and development from external consultants. I know other developers who have been struggling to keep pace with the rapid changes in the landscape, particularly around mobile development and .NET 4.

J.Ja

About

Mary Weilage is a Senior Editor for CBS Interactive. She has worked for TechRepublic since 1999.

36 comments
lucien.fuertes
lucien.fuertes

Process improvement and streamlining was my # challenge this year

lucien.fuertes
lucien.fuertes

Process improvement and streamlining was my # 1 challenge this year

reisen55
reisen55

The sales process in this economy for a truly independent consultant, not backed by franchise operations such as CMIT, Computer Troubleshooters or FastTeks, is very hard indeed.

jd
jd

I retired (at age 50) from running a help desk at Shell Oil. We moved to the Ozarks, and since then I got involved in helping out with the kids playing computer games at our church. This has been a learning experience, almost a new set of skills compared to answering questions from workers. Now, instead of "Can you change my network password?" or "My network printer is printing garbage.", it is more like "Which keys do I use to move in Call of Duty 5" or "Which video card works best with this game?." Transition from help desk to game desk = maximum learning curve.

omlac23
omlac23

doing nothing. am working for a company that doesnt need the latest IT technology, with a boss who doesnt want to hear new improvements on the system, and migrating the system from an old language to the new ones. so frustrating, i dont know how i have survived this long. coming from a mobile development environment, which is always changing, i find this a total bore, expect when i get paid.

wright-robert
wright-robert

My job is boring, even when I get paid! We have point of sale workstations that are 15 years old and management has no interest in replacing them. I have been patching them together with used parts for 4 years because I can no longer get new parts for them!!

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

and concession sales are significantly affected. If you don't have a history of your requests on paper, you'll be the scapegoat. And even if you do, somebody is likely to tell you "You should have sold it better."

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Under the wide and starry sky... No tombstone; ashes in the wind.

www.indigotea.com
www.indigotea.com

Re-inventing my career as a full-time independent consultant. Technology is the easy part; learning how to leverage social media for marketing, figuring out how to price my services competitively and still make a decent living, and balancing the workload. Those were my biggest career challenges in 2010. The good news is that 2011 promises to be an outstanding year because of everything I learned in 2010!

Ed.Pilling
Ed.Pilling

Lets see I busted my hump and passed the certified auditors exam and was endorsed. I also have 11 years of computer security experience. I am getting between 1 to 5 interviews a week and NOTHING. I have just landed a gig doing 3rd level tech support for a bank. Well if they don?t find something in my background. Oh great, I have designed quarter million dollar firewalls that protected billions in assets and the best I can do now is helping people figure out why they can?t log in. The more I read about the french revolution the more I see it has something in common with where we are going.

Stalemate
Stalemate

Finally taking the decision to leave a "safe" position where I felt unappreciated and underpaid to apply for another one where all I had to go on was the perspective of a former colleague working there. It paid off. =)

rtillotson
rtillotson

Even in tight economic times, I believe most job changes work out for the better in the long run. I've "been there, done that" several times in the past 15 years. Each one was a learning experience that halped me qualify for my next move. If you start to feel "safe," it could be "too good to be true." Always try to follow your instincts and passion.

Juanita Marquez
Juanita Marquez

Agreed that "no job is safe" - I work as a contractor and see companies at every stage of growth, most either in their death throes or building from the ashes. Even in good times, people will leave jobs after 2-3 years in order to get raises they feel they deserve...and I'm starting to think that may be the only way to do it nowadays. The upside is, I get to avoid getting pigeonholed into a few pockets of usefulness for years at a time - with each new company comes a new set of software and skills. It definitely makes life interesting.

Justin James
Justin James

Nearly every "safe" job turned out to be nearly as risky as the "risky" jobs. I've worked for giant F500's with huge profit margins, thinking they were "safe"... then I learned how they got those huge profit margins, by cutting the workforce to the bone. I've been in companies that were growing like crazy, with huge revenues, but they didn't put anything away for a rainy day and did big time cuts as soon as things got tough. I've come to believe that once you get going and survive the first year or two, working for yourself is about as safe as it gets, at least you'll know when the "company" is in trouble instead of arriving at your desk and wondering why your password doesn't work... J.Ja

valencp
valencp

Providing IT, telecom, and network support to my branch offices continues to be the biggest challenge for me and my organization. It's nearly impossible to provide excellent service and meet SLA's with a virtual IT team.

aledon
aledon

Doing the job of 3 staff who quit during the year and no replacements anytime in the near future.

wright-robert
wright-robert

I feel your pain. My hourly staff was cut 2 years ago so now I am the only IT support for my location!! If I need time off I have to ask someone from another location to fill in for me. All other departments have assistants and a staff that can fill in for them. Depressing!

beechC23
beechC23

Honestly, my no. 1 challenge was having 5 bosses in 1 year. First one left due to illness. Second one quit. Third one quit. Fourth one was fired. Fifth one just started. I'm thinking I'd be better off if I worked for myself and had 5 clients instead.

nrobin
nrobin

Staying employed and doing something challenging and something that fits my background and skills.

george.vink
george.vink

In my country (Africa) the main challenge is to keep sane as a white male in affirmative action - learning to accept mediocre standards, lack of skills and experience from supervisors appointed because of race, while you stay where you are with double the work load.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

over here the criteria are whether you are related to the MD, how much arse you can kiss, blame you can divert off on to someone else. In fact you have a better statistical chnace of getting someone decent in by choosing them by the colour of their skin, than the nimbleness of their tongue...

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Trying to get myself into a position to be challenged has been the challenge. That's been more about selling and finding opportunities to management, than how do I do this? One of the problems of having been doing this techie stuff for so long, is I get employed to do what I've already done.

wright-robert
wright-robert

Tony I totally agree with you! I am an IT Site Manager for a major corporation that manages hospitality services in stadiums and arenas. While I am grateful to have a full time job I get frustrated because I am not learning anything new and I am not really being challenged. I maintain all of the point of sale computers as well as the back of the house desktops and laptops but corporate IT manages the switches, routers and most of the servers. I have expressed my interest in taking on more responsibility but they adhere to corporate policy. I can't even log into the switches. I spent a lot of money to get a Bachelor's degree in IT but my diploma is just gathering dust. I feel like I am wasting away doing minor repairs and maintenance. I could give more detail but I think you get the picture. Really FRUSTRATED!

jedler
jedler

My biggest challenge was a screwed up backup a week ago. A weeks work of 6 developers was lost and it was my fault. You just don?t need this a week before christmas :-(. Regards, Jens

elangomatt
elangomatt

It turns out this career challenge is going into next year really, but I had to decide whether or not I want to try getting a promotion that would give me a very different role/job. At least it doesn't involve moving to a different company.

xangpow
xangpow

In the course I'm taking I was introduced to something called CCNA, a Cisco product as we where told in class. They gave us a 900 page book and said we will be covering the whole book in 2 weeks. and we did. and my head blew up more than once. I came out of that class knowing I would like to know more about this CCNA and Cisco, but man it can be complicated at time. Our teacher told us once we have been working with it for about a year it wont be complicated anymore. So anyone want to hire me so I can get a better grasp on this? lol

jeremial-21966916363912016372987921703527
jeremial-21966916363912016372987921703527

One thing that helped me a couple years back when I got my CCNA (though I hated it at the time), the instructor made us write all the most common commands for the IOS by hand. We spent almost an entire day in class (12 hours as I recall), coming up with different commands and then writing them out longhand on paper. I remember cursing the instructor in several languages. But, when it came to the test and the questions about commands, I breezed right through.

Gadz00ks
Gadz00ks

My biggest challenge of 2010 was deciding to quit my job as an IT Supervisor of six years to complete my degree in information technology. My position was being eliminated anyway thanks to virtualized desktops and centralized support of our server and telco equipment. I bit the bullet and resigned. Found a position with more hands on technology, less demanding, and works around my school..go figure. It's working out better than I planned

valencp
valencp

I was awarded CCNA certification a year ago and chose the two test approach. This approch allowed me to study the first half of the book and take a test which awards the CCENT certification. You then have the option of studying the second half of the book and taking the second test to get your CCNA certification. This was a good approach because I didnt feel overwhelmed. A little more costly but well worth it. The dissappointing part is I am not a network engineer, so I don't work with Cisco equipment in my daily job and therefore, I have probably forgot some things over time by not applying what I originally learned. The good news is I have a crystal clear understanding on how networks work and can communicate with network engineers in my organization. Lastly, its not too shabby to have on your resume.

rbx21544
rbx21544

A good tool to have installed is GN3/Dynamips. Whenever you feel a need to refresh your networking knowledge, fire it up, build a topology, and start configuring your routers. The wireshark capture feature is pretty awesome if you are in the mood to get some deep protocol analysis done.

Justin James
Justin James

I studied for a CCNA a while back. I left the job a bit before I was supposed to take the test. What I liked about it, was that it taught you just about everything you need to know at a TCP/IP level about running a network. I knew the first half of the test pretty well (the TCP/IP part) and I knew a lot of the second half (implementing things on Cisco equipment) a bit already from my job at the time, but what I learned studying for that test has been invaluable for me over the course of my career. J.Ja

xangpow
xangpow

Yeah from what I did in class, when I got things to work, I was like "YES!!" then something else wont then im like "oh man, now whats wrong?" but it does seem like something I wouldnt mind continuing. :)

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