IT Employment

The IT talent crunch and why it's the CIO's fault

In order to survive the IT talent crunch, CIOs need to stop looking for people with particular certifications or technical talents. They need to look instead for technical people who are willing to learn.

Like a migratory bird that returns to its seasonal nesting grounds on a recurring basis, talk of a talent crunch in the IT industry is once again on the lips of CIOs and industry pundits. Technology titans point at the educational system and lament the lack of new math and engineering students, and fund programs to try and swell their ranks while expressing disgust at the current dearth of "talent." Rather than blaming poor school funding or singling out students of particular nations as particularly talented in particular disciplines, the CIOs voicing these concerns need to first examine their own hiring practices.

Remember 2000?

Less than a decade ago, IT was in a hiring frenzy. If you could spell HTML or TCP/IP you were virtually guaranteed a handsome salary and all the associated delights of the heady dot-com days. The IT HR process became mired in an alphabet soup of "certification surfing." If you had the right acronym or other chit on your resume, you were "in," despite your personality quirks, inability to communicate with other human beings, or eccentric behaviors. Hiring managers, of course, loved this process, since human resource decisions could be relegated to mining resume databases and a couple of phone calls rather than the tedium of interviews and due diligence.

As the dot-com bubble burst, the ensuing belt tightening left many IT staffers jobless. Young people that had been singing the praises of the IT industry were now its biggest detractors. From bitter laments to friends and family, to humorous websites mocking fast hiring and equally rapid "right-sizings," IT ended up with a lasting black eye. Peers of this generation and the universities that educated them are not quick to forget this span of a few years, where graduates were promised (and given) the world then cast aside with platitudes about unforeseen economic conditions and the wonders of outsourcing to placate them. While these companies did what they had to do, the certification and technology-focused career paradigm they fostered has left a lingering bad taste in the mouths of many who might have chosen an IT career.

With these memories still fresh in the minds of much of the workforce, the IT industry is largely back up to its old tricks, admonishing graduates to pursue the latest technologies and allowing HR to mine candidate databases for buzzwords as if the post-dot-com massacre never happened. CIOs have largely underestimated the savvy of new entrants to the workforce, and promises of a glorious career, if only you learn the tech du jour ring hollow. So what's a talent-starved CIO to do?

End Certification surfing

While it's arguably very hard work, it's time to return to good old fashioned due diligence in the hiring process. While HR may tell you the best way to find five new developers is to check their certifications, a superior candidate is someone with a willingness to learn, an ability to communicate, and some technical savvy, most likely in that order. The large consulting firms have done a good job of this, hiring everyone from CS grads to history majors, based not on their coursework or technical experience, but on their ability to solve problems and learn rapidly.

The pace of technological change is likely to increase rather than decrease, and quickly hiring people with the tech du jour on their resume and firing them tomorrow when that technology is passé is more costly and time consuming than hiring someone with a willingness to learn. I'll take someone from the most esoteric non-technical field that can quickly learn and articulate problems for my organization over the most sterling technical certifications any day.

To maintain this learning ability, challenge your staff to acquire and employ new skills, both technical and non-technical. Seek input from your people and push them to interact with colleagues outside IT as peers, rather than a soldier blindly following orders. Perhaps most important, develop a culture that rewards excellence. Spend time evaluating your people and providing feedback and letting them know where they stand. High performers will not hang around if you tell everyone they are all equal and all doing "fine."

Offering opportunity and focusing on an ability to learn is hard work, but presents an IT career as a place where high performers can grow and excel, rather than empty promises of greatness that are erased during the next swath of layoffs. This process is going to take far more time, effort and money than certification surfing, but will serve to repair IT's damaged reputation, and more importantly deliver an amazingly capable staff that will be excelling while your competitors continue to hire and fire based on the latest buzzwords.

Patrick Gray is the founder and president of Prevoyance Group, and author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology. Prevoyance Group provides strategic IT consulting services to Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. Patrick can be reached at patrick.gray@prevoyancegroup.com.

About

Patrick Gray works for a global Fortune 500 consulting and IT services company and is the author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology as well as the companion e-book The Breakthrough CIO's Companion. He has spent ...

86 comments
simon.g
simon.g

Before the dotcom crash I used to think that IT was a good career, but not anymore. My recommendation for young people with science and maths skills would be to go into one of the standard engineering disciplines (mechanical, electrical, etc) as the growth in those areas will keep going for years to come.

jkameleon
jkameleon

Reisen55: > So I have a horrible RACIST attitude against BAD QUALITY WORK in general and really bad attitude towards AMERICAN MANAGEMENT in particular. Oh, my! You had obviously never came across any non-American manager yet, had you? :)) You should definitely change your attitude toward bad quality work. It's unprofessional. Quality is only one of basic project parameters. The other two are deadlines and functionality. Which one has priority depends on project. Profit from work, good or bad, local or outsourced, is not yours, unless you owe the business, which you usually don't. Work related issues are therefore not your business, and not your problem. So- cool it. > Indian workers are, by the way, being exploited horribly because their cost of living is way below the USA standard, their salaries are cheaper and so they are doing (are you ready?) .... slave labor. Yeap. This makes no sense. Lower cost of living in India means that they can afford the same living standard with less money. They exploited just like everyone else, no more, and no less. DaemonSlayer: > To outsource is to cut off our noses in spite of our faces in order to line our pockets now, at the cost of future profits. You're probably right, but that probably won't prevent IT from going the way of 18th & 19th century British textile industry, the high tech of the day. I wander... Did British industrial and university pundits of that time also grumbled about the lack of textile technology students, while the industry was moving to the cheaper parts of the Empire?

reisen55
reisen55

CIO's today look at American IT talent (and it is a shrinking pool indeed) in the insane belief that the same talent exists in outsourcing. That American professionals can get certifications only to be terminated through no means or fault of their own making just because management believes (falsely) that the same QUALITY job can be done in India for 1/4 salary with no health care benefits is madness. Why bother? You're only going to be fired one day for no reason. Lynn Blodgett of ACS has said so almost verbatum. The economies cannot be overlooked or ignored. American IT talent is like the Buffalo. Going, going and, like the DoDo Bird, soon gone.

tech
tech

I think it should be noted that it is a BAD CIO's fault simply due to the fact that a LOT of CIO's don't know their cat 5's from Cat 6's. And that's putting it MILDLY! So, how can one interview a potential candidate when they themselves know so little about their own layout. I've been a CIO for the past couple of years and believe me, I'm STILL learning. What qualifies me as a CIO? My many years of experiences with all aspects of the field I'm in. And believe me, there are things out there that even a person in my position can't keep up with. BUT, when you hire someone one you should know enough to see what they add to the team and are capable of learning in the process. Just this year, I've had to hire someone and got really lucky to have the person I did. But, it wasn't easy. I went through a couple of setbacks in the process and it taught me what I wasn't going to look for anymore in a potential hire. The person I hired has some certs. But, more importantly, he brings the knowledge of working in what I call "combat situations" where you not only have to assess and evaluate the problems that come up, but do a 'field' solution until such time as the client is ready to either rebuild their network or do some serious upgrades that will last them awhile. Within in a month he proved to me that, not only had I hired the right person, but, I better pay him more so I can keep him interested in sticking around. Luckily I live in Hawaii! That's incentive enough! :)

tabascocity
tabascocity

Having entered I.T. at just the right time (i.e. before MS had a network OS) this article rings especially true. At that time, the only related certification I knew of was by Novell and that was the CNA. Novell was apparently putting together another cert called CNE. Then, everyone else decided they wanted a piece of the pie. Microsoft made everyone an ???Engineer???. What a farce that was -especially to someone, like myself, who worked in support of engineering professions many do not even know exist. (Think oil exploration.) It was at that point that the idea of computer certifications became repugnant to me to the extreme. The notion that certs prove skills is false and the whole trend is not justified. It serves only to increase costs to employers and takes dollars from the I.T. worker. The trend has spilled over into other career fields as well to include tourism /guiding. The cert paradigm needs to die. Experience ought to be valued. I wouldn't wish to be too hard on the CIOs though. They simply got caught up in the craze along with everyone else.

bernalillo
bernalillo

Patrick this is back to the future stuff. The 90's corporate inclination to favor new graduates also created the IT certification surfing syndrome. As new college grad managers became experienced IT managers the skill sets to identify successful characterists was learned. How are schools supposed to have students learn technologies that haven't come into being yet? Learning how to learn is probably the hardest yet most natural gift of those who can survive rapidly changing careers.

dschrock
dschrock

I agree. I have recently been going through a career change of sorts from Finance to IT. I have 10+ years of experience in the business world, but can't seem to get in the door when it comes to IT. I'm not in it for the money, but want the challenge and the new learning opportunities that come with it. Unfortunately, most companies don't have the desire/resources to train someone that doesn't have specific IT qualifications/certifications. You would think that real world business experience would be worth something as technology becomes more focused on meeting business needs, but I haven't seen it yet.

freemarkets
freemarkets

This article is partly on base but misses the mark. It is true that requiring engineering or programming degrees has turned away a lot of good technical folks, including me early on. But to minimize technical knowledge will get you a lot of pretenders. Many of the people I work with are not qualified for their jobs. A few do the hard lifting for the many. Verifying credentials is also a problem. I know of instances where a person was hired to work with a specific tool, such as Informatica, but on day 1 didn't know how to open it from Start->Programs. It took 6 weeks to fire her. I have both experience and certifications and I can tell you that they compliment each other. In the database world, I would much rather have a certified person (verified) than a history major who claims to be eager to learn (assuming both have no experience). My first thought for the history major would be, "If he or she is eager to learn, then why haven't they done it? Trial database software if free and certifications are cheap. Part-time volunteer positions are all over. What if this person doesn't even have the aptitude?" People are lazy these days. Who wants to study to learn a technology when they can fast talk someone into a job? If anything (at least on the database side), there should be a bigger push for certs and part-time volunteer experience. Everyone wants to take the easy route.

alohabear
alohabear

100% correct! Need clear parameters from management as to skills needed. Guessing what IT management wants has accelerated the skills shortage. Not to mention vendors 'dumming-down' their class offerings and charging too much.

DaemonSlayer
DaemonSlayer

Interesting Article, and comments too. As new grads surface, they have to deal with the "specialized" requirements (which should be more on the "plus/bonus" list AND the requirement of x years experience. Catch-22 for them. (I've found myself in that category). Some of these technologies that some places require "2 years experience" for have barely been around that long. Certs and degrees are good, testing is good, BUT... to measure a job canadate on certs, degrees, and experience alone, while may follow the CYA principle can lead to passing up on the best thing that company could have ever had. It's hard to find hiring managers and HR that will give someone a chance without getting hung up on the combo of certs, degrees, and experience. These things have their place, but there are too many that don't want to invest, but want the quick-fix ready to go without doing more than just "here's yor cubicle, there's the break room and restroom, the printer, and your co-workers. Now be productive before noon." (I know, worst case scenario, but the feeling does exist) I live in a more industrialized region and IT jobs are hard to come by. Tech jobs are scarce, and the industrial jobs are declining (Whirlpool recently moved most of it's production from here to mexico).

Westcoast1965
Westcoast1965

Until IT continues to be 'faddish' in the way it operates.. people will always be chasing the next big thing. It moves to fast. We may need to program software to constantly acquire and utilize new paradigms because there's no way people can keep up. I'm serious.

ITIL Citizen
ITIL Citizen

I totally agree with the author's view. Personally I am going through a reorg in IT and I'm witnessing many people getting let go and denied the opportunity to learn and grow. This is really depressing. I think this is one of the toughest battles the HR Departments & the IT industry has yet to face. One of the biggest obstacles is the many players in the IT CERT Game which provide both certifications (many based on crash courses) and commercial hardware and software which the enterprise is dependant upon to run their business processes. The players are either directly or indirectly involved. I for one am rethinking my decision to play this game. It is a constant struggle trying to get the latest cert/acronynm/letters associated with your name. And I don't think many IT Managers have the skills to be able to truly evaluate an individual for what their capabilities are. Manager's must learn to push back on to the child like attitude of the business. IT must be treated more like a partner first before they can manage their own internal resources.

dean.owen
dean.owen

Due diligence and lots of interaction with a candidate at the front end can save a manager a lot of grief later on. Growing talent from within works. Hire the people with open minds and a willingness to learn and grow yields great leaders - if you have the patience. I've done it and was greatly rewarded. These people aren't everywhere and you need to really work at it. Some organizations or managers don't have the time. Too bad.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

As someone who is employed but is testing the market, this article really resonated with me. IT recruiting in many organizations is left up to the HR department--who know nothing about IT--and they end up scouring resumes manually or electronically for the latest buzzwords and technology. IT isn't as standardized as non-IT people may think. Each organization or company uses technology in different ways, uses proprietary technology, old technology, or bleeding-edge technology. Yet CIO's or HR are expecting to find an individual that is at least a 75% match for their technology needs along with at least two years experience and certifications to boot. It's rediculous. This is why candidates are forced to fudge their resumes a little or add a keywords section at the bottom to get it through the filter. But we shouldn't have to do this. IT people like myself are passionate about technology and are willing to learn. In fact, that's one of the reasons why we got into IT--because we like to learn new things. What frustrates me to no end are job listings that expect you to be certified in everything and lists a litany of specialized technology tools that you have to have at least 2 years experience working with as if all IT people are expected to know this stuff. The best job descriptions are more general. Of course it lists specific technologies like Windows, Unix or Linux, but they don't list every piece of technology that the company uses as if you should know these. The best job descriptions state job objectives that state that you have to be willing to learn the technologies that the company implements. Why can't all CIOs and HR departments follow the same template. IT folks are bright and can be molded into what your company needs. Pick candidates who have a solid educational background, soft skills and a willingness to learn. I can tell you stories of the nightmare interviews I've been on, but I'll save that for another day. When it comes to IT hiring, few companies have a clue.

C in CT
C in CT

Why do IT managers look for certificates? Simple. They use degrees/certificates as a crutch because have no idea how to evalutate interviewees, or their existing staff. Certificates is an painless, easy way of saying - "they must know what they're doing". Unfortunately, over emphasis / reliance on degrees and certificates translates to inexperienced, unknowledgeable, and unqualified management (maybe they got their job because of a degree/certificate?). As with previous posts, I have and will always choose someone with that inner drive over anyone loaded with degrees and/or certificates. I can train anyone to do anything, but can't train people to be enthusiastic about what they are doing.

oschmid14
oschmid14

I could not agree more. Having been on both sides of the table (hiring and trying to get hired) I know the difficulties of getting hired w/o certification, even if you have the knowledge. It has been my experience that people that have knowledge (usually the more seasoned and experienced ones) are more valuable to an organization than certification or degree "junkies". Somebody with the knowledge but w/o certification had to learn it the hard way, had to find resources and methodology that was particular to his task on hand. Where by people with certification very often know what the book says or what set standard class room scenarios taught them. These people usually do not have the flexibility to react to the same/similar issue with slight alterations in the same way as somebody with experience. It does not mean I am against certification but I recommend to give everybody the same chance. Sometimes the circumstances had just not been right for a person to get certified in a certain area or field, due to financial, personal or even professional constraints. Ask for certification in a job offer, but do not make it a "drop-dead" criteria. If you find somebody who has the experience and the certification good for you, but also if you find somebody good with experience and no certification, think about training this person. This person will most likely be a loyal employee for the future. Especially if you continue to support him/her in his future education requirements. Remember it is also an investment into your organization. Don't ask for a free ride on some other organizations or even worse the employees investment. This were my two and a half cents to this issue. I could go on and on ... so if you want to discuss this matter further I happily will discuss this issue with anybody who wants to. Oliver Schmid 21st Century Business Management & IT Consulting

reisen55
reisen55

Clarification: the word "racist" was not intended against any ethnic group of people, and did not belong in that sentence. One of my best managers at Aon Group was Shaminder Singh. Definately a non-American manager and one of the BEST I ever had (the other was an American who is now a certified BCP/DR planner). And Mr. Singh detested with true horror what outsourcing did to his department and the quality of work. I remain in touch with him to this day. And I have returned to Aon from time to time to perform work for key executive officers there (who pay very well) because the outsource work is soooo bad. Our department had a third American manager who was a total chowderhead too. I am biased in favor of Quality work Meeting Deadlines Functional Results A few outsource projects do indeed turn out successful. But my experience is that most are pure hell and achieve the precise opposite of what management, in the blind pursuit of cheap, intended in the first place. I own my business, and achieve excellent results for my clients. I am also work in associative work with a few other firms on other projects as well. I learn from my mistakes and communicate with my client's staff. I also listen these people. Many people in our field think only in terms of machines and not people. Do not make blanket assumptions on the backgrounds of people who post here.

jkameleon
jkameleon

> CIO's today look at American IT talent (and it is a shrinking pool indeed) in the insane belief that the same talent exists in outsourcing. It does exist. Not just the same, but usually better. Tech professionals in developing countries can see a future in their profession, they can make a career in it. Consequently, they are far more devoted to their work, they do far better job than professionals from developed countries, whose career prospects are questionable at best. I dare to say, that American professionals became victims of their own racism. It looks like they consider non-American professionals somehow less competent. They couldn't be more wrong. People, who live in the other parts of the planet are at least as smart, despite of the fact, that they look different, speak weird languages, or even wear funny hats.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Indian firms are catching on and charging more, requiring health care (wasn't India thinking about passing a law requiring employers to provide health insurance and medical leave?). Hell, even India is outsourcing to other countries because the labor is cheaper outside of India. What really baffles me is this: A) Companies won't pay for talent (unless you are a "rain maker" in sales) B) Companies complain about the lack of talent (when HR drops all resumes that don't contain the proper key words or CIOs looking for VERY specific talent that doesn't exist outside of the vendor) C) CFOs complain that the "bottom line" is being impacted by hiring talent. Uh, won't PAYING talent bring in more "bottom line" dollars? D) H1Bs are good things! However, they are so abused right now, it's just pitiful. Those that need H1Bs aren't getting them and those that are in the system are getting more and more and more H1Bs. So the smaller companies that can't afford the local talent, don't get the H1Bs, but the bigger companies that CAN afford local talent, are taking the cheap route and screwing the smaller fish.

DaemonSlayer
DaemonSlayer

The more Companies outsource due to "shrinking labor pools" for cheaper employees elsewhere, the more people are discouraged in joining the IT workforce in the states... and of course, the more that happens, the more companies can justify their outsourcing, and even more get discouraged... Vicious circle. Only one that wins is corporate with Wal-Mart mentalities (Walmart wants ALL suppliers practically making in China so they can get a "Better Price" in the name of better profits for all, Dont believe me, find the original owners of Etch-a-sketch). [edited for grammar]

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Some one who can keep / get things going without causing too much further damage is very valuable in real time situations. Getting a decent solution is something you pick up, if you have the bottle to make a decision. It's not the sort of situation where you can afford to set up a committee to spread the responsibility... Hawaii, now that would be nice, as long as I don't have to wear one of those shirts... :p

pgray
pgray

Thanks for the kind words. I think you *can* interview for an ability to learn. The big consulting companies seem to do this with a fair degree of success and without any certification surfing. The cert surfing phenomenon has soured many of the top schools and their students on the IT industry, which really is a shame and the source of all the complaining of a "talent shortage." I think the lack of supply is due to students not seeing IT as a challenging career with lots of growth opportunities, rather than some failing on the part of universities or new entrants to the industry.

pgray
pgray

Thanks for the kind words. I think you *can* interview for an ability to learn. The big consulting companies seem to do this with a fair degree of success and without any certification surfing. The cert surfing phenomenon has soured many of the top schools and their students on the IT industry, which really is a shame and the source of all the complaining of a "talent shortage." I think the lack of supply is due to students not seeing IT as a challenging career with lots of growth opportunities, rather than some failing on the part of universities or new entrants to the industry.

pgray
pgray

Thanks for the kind words. I think you *can* interview for an ability to learn. The big consulting companies seem to do this with a fair degree of success and without any certification surfing. The cert surfing phenomenon has soured many of the top schools and their students on the IT industry, which really is a shame and the source of all the complaining of a "talent shortage." I think the lack of supply is due to students not seeing IT as a challenging career with lots of growth opportunities, rather than some failing on the part of universities or new entrants to the industry.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Your business experience / domain knowledge will be very valuable to some. A firm that does financial software could find a place for you in software support, QA or business analysis. If you want to go hardware, I'm afraid it's going to be seen irrelevant.

DaemonSlayer
DaemonSlayer

It's a cash-cow industry out there for those So-Called schools that will give you certs and diplomas for a fee without doing anything but sending them a check... Shoot ITT-Tech and deVry are better than those places (and they're not accredited)!!!! If I give enough money to one of those places I could get certified that I am a Network Administrator, even though my real, and accredited IT degree, and PC Service Tech certificate (same university) didnt focus enough on the Networking side to qualify me for that, (I focused on programming). I know Im not suited for a NetAdmin position, so I personally don't shoot for it... but these jokers buying the degrees and certs without the work and learning, make it almost impossible for someone who has some knowlege, and is willing to learn more, to even get to first base. DEMAND More certs???? are you serious??? While certs are good, the system is getting flooded with fakes buying unearned certs!!!!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

The way they are doing it at the moment the History maajor with six years experience gets binned. The inexperienced person with claim of a sql server 2005 cert, is one of the candidates you get to see.. I've got that one, but I wouldn't expect to get a dba position, because it was to back me up as a client server database developer not a dba. I could probably learn and do the job, but you proably preferred some one who could do it now, and I don't want a starters wage. Certs just don't give enough of picture to give a go no go. Use them as a cut and you've still got wildy unsuitable candidates and 'you've' binned a lot of suitable ones with effectively no thought at all. That's the easy route, convincing someone to make you a DBA without a cert, most definitely isn't....

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Isn't the push big enough now? With the guaranteed pass centers and the amazingly backwards step certs are taking (all test, no practical), how can they gauge anything other than test taking ability?

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

I have 10 years of Windows 2008 Experience, don't you??? :) I think you are on to something, in that IT, relatively speaking, still isn't as 'mature' a business function as others. Combine that with the dynamic nature of IT, and it is small wonder that HR doesn't always have a firm idea of what to look for in candidates or what to convey about a position.

blissb
blissb

I wonder where you draw the line? Would you overlook a candidate who has half a dozen certs and a couple of degrees? I know there are some who would, regardless of the years of experience intermingled with their acquired education. Again -- it comes down to due diligence. Don't let the presence or absence of certs or degrees drive the process.

georgef
georgef

We've had similar observations and conclusions. I've done a good deal of musing and observation on this and have the same basic opinion of what's going on, George

georgef
georgef

Very Good Oliver. Of all the good responses here I like your's the best. I've been in IT for over 20 years, over half of them at the top level and have been bouncing around in consulting since my last full time position, which I left because I saw disaster written all over the giant merger. This has been true throughout and, I believe, applies to all tech fields. When hiring: -Core competencies, work ethic, openness to communication, "educatability", cooperative attitudes are the MOST import attributes to look for in a new hire and building a team. Even the most socially dysfunctional person can manage to get a degree or certification these days. Just pay and demand that you get what you paid for. -The above attributes are not tied or identified by certs or degrees. -If you want to succeed at building a great team, you must do you due diligence and insist that your managers due the same. -You cannot rely on certs and degrees to bring you good workers or good workers for your particular environment. -As in the old "No one got fired for buying Blue" days, hiring manager, some protecting their own jobs, but all, doing major CYA, use these certs, degrees, and ridiculously specific job specs to avoid being accused of making a bad hiring decision. Since the Novell CNE days there has been an explosion of an IT Education industry. The model was observed and recognized for the cash cow it was, and everybody jumped on the bandwagon. The government cooperated. You had people, passing tests and getting degrees and certs, who had absolutely no basic understanding of what they were doing. Colleges saw this happening in "trade" schools and decided they'd reach for the golden ring, too. Now they try to mass market MBAs to IT people. They have the money, why not? Unfortunately, many people have bought into this paradigm and have gotten, and paid for, certs and degrees up the wazoo. The IT industry is highly commoditized and in some ways we've lost a lot ground since the days of the big system IT companies like Digital, HP, NCR, IBM, etc. They had their sins but there was a more of a scientific discipline to the business computing industry, thanks to the four companies I mention.ng. We have not advanced as far as we think we have technologically, because of that commoditization, and skilled marketing. There seems to be too many IT managers/directors/whatevers without a basic foundation in technology. The person at the top should have business savvy, people savvy, and real technology experience. This is the chief reason why you read so much anger and angst from IT workers at other levels. Their managers are clueless. I absolutely don't believe you can become an IT manager by going to xyz institute and getting their IT manager degree. As far as I know there is noone giving CEO or CFO degrees. Why are we so naive to believe that its could be different in IT? Spleen more or less vented.

jkameleon
jkameleon

> Clarification: the word "racist" was not intended against any ethnic group of people, and did not belong in that sentence. In the given context, I understood "racist" as "foaming rage against something only racists are capable of". I assure you again, that it won't help you a bit. > I am biased in favor of > Quality work > Meeting Deadlines > Functional Results Often you can't have it all, and you got to compromise. Quality is usually the easiest thing to sacrifice. Somewhere down the line, somebody has to pay for your work. That somebody is called "customer". If 99% of your customers tolerate bugs, bugs is what they should get, and to hell with the remaining percent. That's the logic that made Bill Gates rich. > A few outsource projects do indeed turn out successful. But my experience is that most are pure hell and achieve the precise opposite of what management, in the blind pursuit of cheap, intended in the first place. > I own my business, and achieve excellent results for my clients. You own your business, you don't outsource, and achieve excellent result that way. Meanwhile, your competition is screwing everything up, because it outsources. Good for you. So, where is the problem?

georgef
georgef

..in what you say are true but some are not. Every country, from my experience is the same as the U.S.. There are good, talented, hard working individuals and then there are also backsliders, ineffectuals, incompetents, and people with no career ambition. The only difference I can point out about people from one particular country, and you can guess who you think that may be, is that they are generally cordial and polite and considerate and seem to bear no actual malice to anyone. At least of the people who I've seen here. You probably don't know the U.S. too well. There is racism, bigotry, and prejudice against even native born Americans, but that can exist in anybody.

georgef
georgef

A good friend of mine works for that company. Walmart is very hard on their suppliers. In the grander scheme of things, something that is lost on these corp and govt types, since the Nixon days (Look for the Union Label...) is that if all the jobs are outsourced, or enough of them, who will be left in this country, with any money, to buy their crap?

dschrock
dschrock

Thanks for the suggestion! Any ideas are greatly appreciated at this point! I feel kind of in a rut, and maybe need to look at things from a different point of view. Doug

kehill50
kehill50

Just kidding :-) However, I myself have been "testing" the waters for a new opportunity. It was for a Software Developer utilizing the UNIX Operating System. Now here is where things became somewhat unusual if uncommon. Candidate Must Haves: 1. At least 10 years in C-Programming Language - check 2. Expert in UNIX OS - check 3. Creating UNIX Shell Scripts - check 4. Excellent written and presentation skills -check 5. Ability to work in a Team enviornment - check. (.. OK - now hum/sing the theme music from the Twilight Zone...) 6. Three or more years Visual Studio - Uh, okay... 7. Proficient in Web-Sphere - What...??? 8. Knowledge of Creating Crytal Reports - Who...??? 9. MicroFocus COBOL a plus - WTF???? Now, most of these requirements were a "No Brainer" for this position, but MicroFocus COBOL...???? Needless to say, my search continues.

C in CT
C in CT

the manager has enough background to do the proper amount of due diligence. It's all about management earning their paycheck by evaluating, rather than being overly influenced by parchments or letters following someone's name.

jkameleon
jkameleon

"You have reached your maximum message level" it says, so I've posted the reply here. > Since you add the "better" to your statement, you are making a quality statement and not just an "inventory" statement. It was "OR better", if my memory serves me right. I also provided non-bigoted explanation why: Tech professional in India (as well as other non developed countries) can see a future in his profession, while professional in the USA (as well as other developed countries) sees only layoffs and downsizing. Consequently, Indian professional will be much better motivated, and better motivation also means better job. This has nothing to do with nationality. It's the living standard that matters. In countries with high living standard, tech career is a losing proposition. > Maybe you could understand some folks concerns and feelings if, all of a sudden, all work for you dried up in Slovenia because all the work was being outsourced to Bolivia. Yes, I understand their feelings, because work actually did dried up in Slovenia and got outsourced to Croatia, and further down the Balkans (see my above post). Understandning feelings and concerns won't help a bit, though. We have to live with facts, and the fact is, that in developed world, there is simply no demand for tech talent. The more creative and knowledge intensive certain work is, the bigger problem are the salaries. This means, that every effort will be made to outsource such work in the cheapest country possible. There is no way of stopping this, and it doesn't make much sense either. Young people, who avoid careers in IT, have obviously wisely taken this into account. Now it's universitie's turn to stop bellyaching, face the reality, and adapt themselves to lower demand.

jkameleon
jkameleon

I've seen outsourcing from both sides. Around 1990, I was making my living by writing embedded software for industrial machinery (pharmaceutical industry air conditioning, bottle washers, transport systems, coin counters & sorters, etc). Most of the projects I did were outsourced to me from Italy. It was very interesting, creative work. I started projects from scratch, familiarized myself with the problem, found the solution together with hardware guys & machinists, and finally wrote software. Being pretty easy to specify, such work is the most outsourceable thing you can possibly imagine. So, in the mid 1990s, when living standard in my country went a bit too high, my the then business moved into cheaper parts of the world. I was forced to abandon it, and go into financial application development. It's dull, it's tedious, but I guess I can't complain much. Generally, people get paid to do things that suck, while things people like to do are usually done for free. Besides, I knew very well what I was getting into, from the very moment I started my career in software. Here's my survival rules, told to me by my college professors long ago. They served me well enough so far. - It's a fast changing field, things can change virtually overnigt. Learn constantly, always be prepared for unexpected. - Software development by itself is not enough to make a living. It's the knowledge other than programming that counts. ***** IMHO the bad guys in this story are not our overseas colleagues, neither the management who ships the work to them. If certain work can be done more cheaply and more effectively somewhere else, than that's where it should be done. That's also where it will be done, sooner or latter, no matter what. You can't beat the market. More IT work done in India obviously means less work in the EU & US. Less work means less demand for talent, which in turn means lower enrollment in IT courses. And here comes the real menace: shortage shouters. Academic-industrial lobbyist groups (ACM, the infamous ITAA, British BCS, etc), established with the sole purpose of grumbling about IT talent shortage. According to British shortage shouters themselves, only 30% of IT graduates got the job in the IT field in 2007. To extrapolate: Despite of ~50% drop in enrollment since the dot dom bust, universities still produce about three times as much IT graduates as industry currently needs. Adjustment to market demand would be very painful for universities indeed. More than 80% drop in tuitions is an awful lot of money. No wander they are constantly shouting about imminent talent crisis, which is perpetually just around the corner, and which never happens. As far as industry's part in shortage shouting is concerned: A little talent glut never hurt anyone (except talent, of course). ***** > I own my own business and if you see my heading I am a computer consultant. I support servers and computers in my client's offices. What customers want here is prompt and professional response. They want to be sure, that if anything goes wrong, somebody will come and get things in order, fast. Since teleportation hasn't been invented yet, this clearly can't be done from overseas. Such services can only be outsourced locally. Your business is therefore pretty much offshoring proof.

reisen55
reisen55

I am glad to see you post from half a world away from America, gives you an excellent view into the outsourcing problem as it exists in this country. I own my own business and if you see my heading I am a computer consultant. I support servers and computers in my client's offices. In a sense, I am an outsourcer myself but I follow some basic rules.... Respect for the individual (my client) Go the extra mile to do a thing right. Spend alot of time making the client happy. These were OLD RULES of an ancient, very good company known as IBM. They are still good rules to live by. Outsource firms have another set of rules these days, far different and all too often bad ones. Respect for the contract Cut the extra employee to do a thing right. Spend alot of time justifying SLA results. ***** As this is a discussion on CIO responsibilities, it is worth noting that the CIO of Aon Group and the CTO of the same company sold their Aon stock in August, 2004 within one day of the signing of the Computer Sciences agreement, and on the next day quit the company. CIO went to Chubb and the CTO to Coca Cola. Tells one about the amount of faith they had in the results. It is called CUT AND RUN.

georgef
georgef

>CIO's today look at American IT talent (and it is a shrinking pool indeed) in the insane belief that the same talent exists in outsourcing. "The same or better talent DOES exist in outsourcing. It is bigotry to believe it doesn't." Since you add the "better" to your statement, you are making a quality statement and not just an "inventory" statement. What you are actually saying is a major misconception on a lot of people's minds. Same, Better, AND WORSE talent exists in India, Slovenia, China, Russia, and every other damn place. Maybe you could understand some folks concerns and feelings if, all of a sudden, all work for you dried up in Slovenia because all the work was being outsourced to Bolivia.

DaemonSlayer
DaemonSlayer

It's racist to prefer to hire someone residing in the country where you live??? Do some research on this: Where do most of these outsourced labor get their education? Is it in their own country, or here in the USA? I offer my answer of: here in the USA. My money doesnt come from corporate stocks and bonds, but comes from corporate decisions on where and how much they will pay in the name of those profits. If my department sub-division is deemed unprofitable tomorrow and axed, my income takes a nose-dive with it. It's the jobs of the bean-counters to squeeze out every last penny, even if their shortsightedness means bigger budgets for customer care (and returns where applicable). It's the job of IT to keep the information moving. It's the short-sightedness of Corporations and bean-counters to outsource in the name of profits. LOGICALLY: 1. Outsourcing means less work here. 2. Less work here means less $$$ to spend 3. less money to spend means fewer products and services are sold. 4. less product and services sold means less profit 5. less profit means cuts (quality components, jobs, etc. and/or more outsourcing) 6. repeat ERGO: To outsource is to cut off our noses in spite of our faces in order to line our pockets now, at the cost of future profits. [edited for clarity of content]

reisen55
reisen55

I have not a bone of racist attitudes towards Indians and Bangalore per se. I always love it when the pro-outsource crowd throws that one into the ring. And then follow personal insults. What I have seen is that outsourcing occasionally works, often does not because American Management (our fault mind you) is short sighted on shareholder value, expense reduction and the belief that IT does not add value to their company. IT is, in their eyes, a commodity item ONLY. That's it. So, fire the American workers and hire somebody else to manage the mess and then they are surprised (the workers, not management) when the QUALITY OF THE JOB ITSELF suffers and falls away. Management, safely nested away, is happy in the decision, blind to the rank and file who must deal with Helpless Desks and bad language skills and somebody reading from a trouble script 3,000 miles away. Or the hire of untalented AMERICAN WORKERS who have previous job skils as (I kid you not) pizza delivery boys. Yes, I saw that for real and true. So I have a horrible RACIST attitude against BAD QUALITY WORK in general and really bad attitude towards AMERICAN MANAGEMENT in particular. Indian workers are, by the way, being exploited horribly because their cost of living is way below the USA standard, their salaries are cheaper and so they are doing (are you ready?) .... slave labor. Yeap.

jkameleon
jkameleon

This is what I was responding to: >CIO's today look at American IT talent (and it is a shrinking pool indeed) in the insane belief that the same talent exists in outsourcing. The same or better talent DOES exist in outsourcing. It is bigotry to believe it doesn't. > That American professionals . . . terminated through no means or fault of their own making just because management believes (falsely) that the same QUALITY job can be done in India for 1/4 salary with no health care benefits is madness. Management does not falsely believe that. The same or better quality job CAN be done in India (or elsewhere) for whatever salary Indians (or whoever else) consider sufficient. It's very hard to respond to such claims in entirely politically correct, unbigoted manner, so give me a break already! As far as I can tell, many American anti-outsourcing activists fancy they posess some sort of innate superiority, which enables them to do better job than others. They blame their managers and IT-heads for not recognizing their superior qualities. With such ideas, American professionals can only shoot themselves in the foot, and keep shooting their toes off. The problem here are not managers, MBA's and IT-heads. It's not their job to mind the future of the nation, nor welfare of the workforce. Their job is to maximize profit, period, nothing else. The first thing, which makes American tech professionals uncompetitive on the global scale are differences in PPT: http://www.ieeeusa.org/policy/POLICY/2003/061803.html In short: In 2003, Russian or Indian engineer makig $14000 could afford approximately the same living standard as American engineer making $70000. Another thing are differences in socioeconomic systems. Even if PPT's were the same, can Indian, Russian or Chinese engineer, whose education was paid by the state, still afford to charge for his services less than student debt burdened American engineer. Another thing: Many countries have state sponsored PAYG pension systems, as well as state health systems. Despite of the fact, that this means higher taxes, it can still put Americans in the disadvantageus positions towards foreigners.

georgef
georgef

..Don't think so. The main problem is economics, short-sighted MBAs, and IT-heads hiring based on the wrong things. There are plenty of very talented, likely hard working American IT workers out there, struggling. Its very complicated and there are more factors than these, but it smacks of bigotry on your part when you generalize on all US workers.

jkameleon
jkameleon

The term "racism" is used very broadly nowadays ("muslim race", for example). I hope you'll excuse me if I used it this way. It was not my intention to offend anyone. Call this "we are something special, we are the best, nobody is as innovative as we are, nobody else can do the job as good as we do" attitude whatever you like- IMHO it's the main reason why the celebrated American IT talent was caught with its pants down.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

I've seen LOTS of these job postings too, btw.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I can top you: * 7-10 years experience Business Systems Management and how to implement in a large company - Ok, enterprise deployments and enterprise fu, no problem * Enhance and adopt company foo's Enterprise Architecture. - Ok * Lead Enterprise Architecture Governance for projects in the engineering and operations area with a focus on systems management. - Ok * Drive definition of the enterprise strategy for systems management tools and their integration. - Ok * Own technology standards assessment and adopt systems management technologies. - Ok * Project consulting and support related on an as-needed basis. - Ok * Participate in infrastructure simplification efforts and other key initiatives as required. - Uh....ok??? * Detailed ITIL knowledge, with minimum foundation certification. - Ok, ITIL certified.... * Detailed understanding of Configuration Management, including CMDB and Discovery of various Systems Management Elements Extensive experience with systems engineering and operations and it*s relationship to systems management Detailed understanding of Asset Management, and the dependencies on the Systems Management Architecture. - Wait...You want SAM, ITSM, and CMDB kung fu!!?? I'm sorry, you must be offering at least 200k for this position...oh, you're not... * Detailed understating of cost models, and creation of Total Cost of Ownership. Organizational awareness and how the different Tools infrastructures have dependencies e.g. Systems, Network & Security. - HOLY CRAP...so know I have to be an ITIL master, enterprise deployment expert, and a business analyst that does detailed risk analysis on every IT tool??? * Detailed understanding on how process definition drives Tools requirements. - Uh, what? Know how to pick vendors to buy tools??? Duh??? * Detailed understanding of Integration methodologies and how major Systems Management vendors apply these. - So now I need to know how various vendors integrate with various products? * Experienced with management of Vendors including understanding of their software pricing methods. - Boggle!!???