Outsourcing

Sanity check: The IT labor shortage is real and offshoring is overblown

IT departments are planning to increase offshore outsourcing in 2009, after two years of declines. Nevertheless, a new survey shows offshoring remains a very small portion of IT budgets and U.S. IT leaders say they're still grappling with an IT labor shortage.

IT departments are planning to increase offshore outsourcing in 2009, after two years of declines. Nevertheless, a new survey shows offshoring remains a very small portion of IT budgets, and U.S. IT leaders say they're still grappling with an IT labor shortage. 

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The fastest way to raise the hackles of most U.S. IT professionals is to mention offshore outsourcing. Among them, there is a common perception that U.S. corporations are cutting IT budgets by laying off lots of IT professionals and shipping their IT jobs overseas, and generally wrecking a lot of IT departments in the process.

This perception has been driven by two sources: 1.) the media, which has latched on to outsourcing stories, and 2.) by several large and prominent U.S. corporations such as Dell and Citibank that have outsourced much of their consumer customer support to offshore companies in India.

However, new evidence shows that the IT offshoring trend is greatly exaggerated. The Society of Information Management's 2008 IT Trends Survey shows that IT leaders are planning to increase offshore outsourcing in 2009, after two straight years of declines. Nevertheless, even with the increase, offshore outsourcing only represents five percent of projected 2009 budgets, and CIOs say they are still having trouble finding enough domestic IT workers with the right mix of skills to fill the open positions that they are keeping at home.

As you can see in Chart 1 below from the SIM survey, IT leaders reported that they plan to make offshore outsourcing 5.6% of projected 2009 budgets, a jump of two percent from the 3.2% in 2008 budgets and breaking the trend of two straight years of decreased outsourcing after it had previously peaked at 4.2% in 2006.

The global economic slowdown is obviously the most likely culprit behind the uptick. A lot of IT leaders will be trying to do more with less in 2009, or at least doing the same amount of work with smaller budgets. Thus, it's likely that many of them who already do some outsourcing will be shuffling some work to their overseas partners in order to trim budgets.

Chart 1

(The 5.2% in Chart 1 should actually be 5.6%)

However, if you look at the big picture of projected 2009 IT budgets in Chart 2 from the SIM survey, you can see that offshore outsourcing is still is very small sliver of the overall budget. It is dwarfed by the 33.7% of the IT budget that is dedicated to internal staff - the largest item in the budget by far. It is also less than the 6.2% of the budget that is dedicated to domestic outsourced staff.

As for the color coding of Chart 2, yellow denotes items that are roughly the same since last year's survey, red denotes items that are decreasing, and green indicates items that are increasing.

Chart 2

Jerry Luftman, an IT professor and the SIM director who oversees its surveys, said that a number of factors are behind the exaggeration of the impact of IT outsourcing, but he called out the media as one of the primary culprits. He said, "Part of [the problem] is the press saying everything is going to India, which is absolutely not true."

Luftman, who is also a former IT executive, said that he's hearing from CIOs that they continue to have trouble finding enough candidates to fill all of their open IT positions. "There are more jobs than there are qualified people," he said.

Sunoco CIO Peter Whatnell, who will serve as the president of SIM in 2009, confirmed that he's one of the IT leaders grappling with the IT labor shortage. He said, "There's the attractive companies like Intel, Google, and Sun that have to beat people off with a stick, and [then there's] the rest of us who have to work to find people."

Of course, as an oil company, Sunoco is part of what Whatnell calls "the old heavy metal industries." He noted, "These types of industries have been unattractive since the turn of the century."

Bottom line for IT leaders

While articles like a recent one from CIO Magazine about the impact the U.S. recession will have on offshoring continue to talk about the offshore outsourcing as if it's a massive chunk of the IT budget, the data from this year's SIM survey helps put it in the proper perspective.

For the U.S. IT job market, there's a bigger threat than outsourcing. It is the lack of qualified candidates in the labor market. Even in the current economic environment, this issue is going to become more acute with the impending retirement of Baby Boomers and the smaller-than-needed numbers of math and science students that are graduating and looking for IT jobs.

There's no quick fix to this problem. Most of the SIM chapters do a variety of activities to help advocate for math and science and to help raise awareness among students about IT as a viable profession. College IT programs are maturing as well, as TechRepublic recently noted in its special report on the Top 10 IT College Programs.

But a big part of the solution is changing the perception that most IT jobs are being outsourced to India or China, or will be eventually. As recent data indicates, that is blatantly false.

Your take

What do you think about these two issues? Take the polls below and join the discussion.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

337 comments
luis_a_roman
luis_a_roman

I believe that offshoring is impacting the IT market in the USA. As a result the colleges and universities are being impacted because no one want to study IT any longer due to offshore. Therefore, the IT labor shortage in the USA will be a problem for years to come. Ex. No Fortran, COBOL, mainframe etc. programmers available any longer.

PMPsicle
PMPsicle

To slightly restate a famous quip ... To lie is easy, but to lie well takes statistics. 5.6% hmm or is it 5.2% ... which shall I pick ... Personally, I'd compare apples with apples and oranges with oranges rather than mix them together as this "statistician" has done. Huh? In short terms, outsourcing is primarily concerned with labour (or labor for you Yanks). Therefore if you want to determine the effect of outsourcing you need to compare ONLY the labour portion. (That's only point 1). Recast the figures and the percentages shift ..... Internal Staff - 33.7 % becomes 61.6 % Consulting - 9.2 % becomes 16.8 % Outsourced-Domestic - 6.2 % becomes 11.3 % Outsourced-Foreign - 5.6 % becomes 10.2 % Total Labour - 54.7 % becomes 99.9 % (the lost .1% is rounding error). Now personally, I consider 10.2% with a projected increase of 75% (5.6/3.2) to be a significant portion of the entire market. But it gets worse... (this is point 2) unless you've been ignoring the actions of the big outsourcers you'll have noticed that most of them are now outsourcing to foreign markets. So the Outsourced staff - domestic is, in fact, primarily offshored through a domestic supplier. Since I don't have the actual segmentation of that market between offshored and onshored, I'm going to temporarily presume that it is 100% offshored. That means that the total offshore spending is a maximum of 21.5% (and a minimum of 10.2%). Even if we saw off at halfway (and I submit that the actual is probably closer to 75%). That means that offshoring accounts for 15.9%. Now I don't know about you but I would consider 15.9% with a projected increase of 75% to be statistically significant. And 21.5% to be even more so. FYI, if you want to reduce the statistical effect of any item just increase the universe. This is especially true if another item is statistically larger than the item being examined. From the book ... How to Lie with Statistics (a required reading in my statistics course many moons ago). Don't know if anyone else picked up on this .... Glen Ford http://www.trainingnow.ca

bharris0
bharris0

I work for an outsourcer and I know for a fact that they have sent all of the work that can be sent offshore, to India and other countries. They also lay off American employees at least once per quarter and have done so for the past 10 years. If there were a true shortage, this company would not have ANY employees left except for senior executives. EVERYONE of us, middle management included, would be employed elsewhere.

JerryM MCSE+I / A+
JerryM MCSE+I / A+

When a hiring manager states that they "cannot find a qualified candidate locally" it's code for "I can't find one willing to work for lint and colored paper". I've been working in the industry for over 20 years and have seen job reqs that mere mortals cannot meet. Yet we are expected to believe companies can go overseas and train people to fill US jobs yet can't do that locally? Bull! Microsoft is a prime example of this type of abuse. They hire US engineers, provide zero training and expect us to operate at a very high level. Then they (MS) claim shortage, goto India, send our best over to train, and hire Indian workers for peanuts. Then management can't understand why some customers are frustrated that issues aren't being resolved by offshored engineers as efficiently as local talent. If MS spent the resources locally to train engineers to get them up to the level they (MS) want there wouldn't be any perceived shortages. In Addition customer satisfaction would be higher.

jkameleon
jkameleon

> You posted some beautiful shots and then come back with CAN WE TAKE MORE OF YOUR IT JOBS?????????? Oh please. From Eastern Europe I would love to see you try to do something on-site here at a reasonable cost. You've got enough trade where you reside otherwise you would be living HERE and doing work. So stay in Eastern Europe, live happy there and drop the damn attitude. What kind of an attitude would you like me to have? Like "Yea, you are a nice guys, you can keep your jobs, we won't compete, you are entitled to them, because it's your God given right to make more money than we do"? Fat chance! Outsourcing is no longer about USA and India or Eastern Europe. It's no longer about quality & innovation, which is about the same everywhere. It's about supply and demand. You can bitch about outsourcing to India (or any other distant place of the world) until you are black and blue in the face, but you'll achieve nothing.

reisen55
reisen55

A SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR posed a question from India - POSTED on the SiliconIndia board. ?I have install McAfee Anti virus in my system.After Installing McAfee, no one application is opening. And always showing run.dll file is missing. After that I removed the McAfee. But still the applications are not opening. And the same problem is showing(run.dll is missing. why its happening? Any idea!? ***** That is her question, cut and paste. Wonderful language. Here are some of the tech answers that came back. Read these and weep. American IT is being replaced by this level of incompetence. ***** Run System restore with the date tentitively before this problem started and then install A/v. It is best to format the system after taking backup of data and install your a/v. U HAVE TOUGH TIMES I ALSO FACE SUCH PROBLEMS AND GENERALY CALLS OME COMPUTER GUY hi.......... to solve ur problem u must repair your window with window cd Ur dll files were infected with virus and have been corrpoted/deleted. Replace the missing/corrupted dll files or repair OS by using f8 feature Hi. ur run.dll file has been curuupted ! just repaire ur pc with ur os !! u may copy this same file to windows directory !! it will be resolved !! Hi.Some files will not copy from another pc. better u can repair with oprationg system (like XP)cd. Go to Console mode during boot with F8 option. Get a copy of the run.dll from another working PC (with same OS), typically located at C:\Windows\System and copy it to your PC in the console mode. you should have to see computer master think ur computer having virus & the run.dll file is deleted.So plz. repair ur window or New installation.

ptherond
ptherond

Well, one has to look at the dynamics of the situation. Firstly I have found more recklessness in the offshore resources than the local ones. People are more prepared to lie and take risks with software to get their foot through the door. I suppose for many, getting an IT job is some kind of equivalent of wining the lottery. Secondly, once offshore people are trained up and performing, just like their local counterparts, they leave and get better paid jobs. The net result of that is that the outsourcer loose their investment and that the knowledge gained by the offshored resource joins the pool of indegenous talent, not the local one. They often go to consultancies where they compete with the big Western ones to tender for projects and win business. Therefore to simplify, people are more ready to take risks with your systems to try and impress to get in, and then you loose them when they go to compete against some of your suppliers. While doing that, they become more demanding and more expensive and so do their economies. Although there will always be a gap, one has to think it will narrow down and the attraction of outsourcing will diminish over time. What might happen too is that eventually the offshore consultancies will compete with the Western ones on an even basis of competence and not purely price. That can't be a bad thing. I keep coming accross people whose presence in our industry surprises me, as they seem to have neither the brain power nor the inclination or motivation. However is it those who will suffer from a stiffer outsourced competition, or the more demanding and often more diffcult to deal with talented ones? For that reason, there is a risk of driving talent away from IT if the logic of outsourcing remains purely cost driven. That surely, has to be the line outsourcing, as an activity, has to approach carefully.

jkameleon
jkameleon

It's always a shortage of cheap labour. Increased level of IT shortage propaganda pitch is therefore primarily an indicator of tightening profit margins and struggling companies. When management fails to do even more with even less, the lack of skilled candidates is the most handy and most effective excuse: "It's not our fault, we could have increased our turnover by xxx%, we could get a zillion new projects, but we can't, because there are not enough candidates with exactly the right mix of skills to do the job. It's today's youth, they are lazy and selfish, and they don't want to study computer science." So, when incessant horsetwaddle about IT talent shortage gets louder than usual, better start considering non-IT career, because the IT industry is about to hit a snag... again. > Outsourcing Even if that 5.2% figure is accurate, which I doubt, it's still a distinctive, visible symptom of a state IT field is currently in, suitable for pointing fingers at. > enough domestic IT workers with the right mix of skills Same old, same old. The glut of domestic IT workers, whose mix of skills is never quite right. > impending retirement of Baby Boomers Thanks to rampant age discrimination, there are almost no Baby Boomers left in the IT workforce. Retirement of the remaining few will be entirely inconsequential.

alv7722
alv7722

Offshore outsourcing is pure BS, dealing with the American market. You need techs? Train them here in the US! Go to Scneider National, the trucking company, they'll show you how to do it!!

CompuGeek94
CompuGeek94

If you stop looking at IT budget percentages and start looking at the number of position locally and offshore the numbers paint a very different picture. The cost of offshore labor is so substantially meager compared to paying a US Citizen for the same work. Places offshoring to India can hire 10-20 people in India for the same cost as one US Citizen in the USA with similar credentials. I have been working as a freelance consultant for the last eight years. I have applied to hundreds of companies in the midwest for a permanent position. In once case I was offered a position last year at one third the income I was earning in 2000. Where are all the open positions for US Citizens? They don't call me when I apply! When they do, they reconsider based on my salary history. Regards, Brian

jhoward
jhoward

Has anyone asked the employers who they look at as "qualified"? I meet people every day who are qualified on paper but lack the experience to do the job they are "qualified" for. I also work with people every day who would not get considered for their current job given their resume but perform it extremely well. Increasing the number of jobs being exported from a country in any field will NEVER help anyone in that field get a job in their own country. That concept is a reason we as IT professionals need to find a way to make ourselves more competitive in a global economy. I don't have the solution to this dilemma IT professionals face today but I do recognize it will get worse as more jobs leave the country even if it is only a small amount at a time.

Redsheep
Redsheep

Of course outsourcing represents only five percent of budget! Wages for white collar workers in India, for example, were under $350 a month in 2006. Adjust that cost for the average American wage and I think you can see the fallacy.....

kino.mondesir
kino.mondesir

I would have to disagree with the article. Maybe because I'm not taking a bird's eye view but as an out of work IT professional with a college degree and several certifications. The shortage is very hard to believe. I can only assume that the reason for continuing the myth that their is a shortage is that if one does develop then IT professionals like myself will be able to negotiate better wages for ourselves. Right now I am looking to change careers, that's how bad it has gotten.

reisen55
reisen55

Just rewards. 180,000 tech jobs are due to be lost in India according to a tech site I subscribe to and these "entities" are finding it hard to recruit too. http://www.siliconindia.com/shownews/48905 Joy. I hope they feel the misery they have brought to our shores as well. Now maybe American firms will begin to hire AMERICAN WORKERS again.

nsnrecruiter
nsnrecruiter

No, I don't believe there is currently a shortage of I.T. knowledge workers. However, there may be a shortage of specific skill sets in some areas. I would agree that many employers are being way to inflexible in what they're willing to look at, to often playing the game of "acronym soup" rather than trying to understand the scope and depth of a candidate's experience. That being said, stating that companies must go offshore because of price or supply is simply a ridiculous argument. The direly little secret is that most of these jobs going overseas didn't result in much of any savings because most of the hidden costs (infrastructure, travel,start up, re-work, higher on-site blended rates, dollar devaluation, additional management oversight etc) were NEVER accounted for. That takes care of price. Here's one solution to the local supply problem: As all these jobs come home, companies should look to employ people in more rural areas and allow them to telecommute. This will give the worker a better quality of live even though he's making less then their big city counter part. The company will be able to use the entire country to as a base to recruit from which will allow them to find just about any combination of skills they need. This will result in a Win/Win situation for both the employer and the employed. There's a good blog out there that goes into much more detail. Apparently, some California firm has developed the "Homeland Onshore Model", where they were able to utilize domestic I.T. knowledge workers in lower cost of living areas to directly compete with offshore firms. You can check it out at: www.ITOnshore.wordpress.com

Refurbished
Refurbished

If there is a shortage of IT workers, why are there so many who are unemployed? Experienced programmers can learn new computer languages. It has been done. It is even possible to transistion from a mainframe, procedural language to web development using object oriented code. It has been done!!

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Honestly, what is going on. How fscking hard is it to find somebody that is competent in MS SQL, has a clue about IIS, can do a modicum of jscript, and communicate? The skills missing are application skills. We're having a tough time finding anyone that even knows what a normalized data is, much less a left outer join. Also, how hard is it to fart with applications pools in IIS? GARG...It's frustrating. I think the problem is that a LOT of IT folks are not application oriented, they are OS or coders...that app middle road doesn't seem to exist anymore.

lcarliner
lcarliner

Ask the U.S. I/T workers formerly at Nielsen Media in Oldsmor, Florida, that were forced to train their replacement from Tata Consultancy via H-1B visa from India before being fired! With CISCO and Sun Microsystems announcing huge layoffs among others, any further granting of any more guest worker VISAS need to be SSUSPENDED NOW! Why, oh, why isn't Sallie Mae deploying its lobbyists to demand that Elaine Chao's Labor Department CLEANUP the abuses in the guest workers programs that threaten the collateral of its very loans, the ability of gradates to quickly obtain employment in the field trained in and at wages sufficient to allow payoff of the loans in a reasonable time period?

Marty R. Milette
Marty R. Milette

I've been in the Microsoft world since DOS 1.0 and have passed over 40 Microsoft exams, plus CompTIA and many others -- over the past 14 years. During this time, MANY of my friends have been hired by Microsoft. Contrary to what you have said, the FIRST thing that happens is that they receive training -- LOTS and LOTS of training. A couple of months ago, one friend from the UK spent a full month of training (all expenses paid) in Redmond -- despite his EXTENSIVE experience and extremely high level of knowledge. Microsoft doesn't screw around. They want to make ABSOLUTELY certain that anyone they bring on-board is properly qualified. I only wish that I had such opportunities. I have to say that I'm extremely disappointed to hear people talking out their butts. Perhaps you have not been in the industry very long and don't know the kind of training that Microsoft provides? Before slamming Microsoft, maybe visit their 'campus' in Redmond and have a look at what is going on? You may be surprised. Certainly, we look forward to hearing about what you have seen with your own eyes.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

What's really just beyond silly is that some people tend to think it'll just go away. It's part of the MBA lexicon and will remain so forever. Now, is outsourcing all bad? Nope...is it over done? Yup. We need, as IT folks, to educate management what is outsourcable and why. We also need to explain why some functions work better in house.

jkameleon
jkameleon

You better outsource to us, Eastern Europeans. You'll get nothing but top quality service here.

jkameleon
jkameleon

As far as I can tell, there is no substantial difference between the IT in different countries. Logic and economics of it are more or less the same everywhere, as well as quality. The debates about dynamics, quality, and so on, are pretty much futile. You came to the heart of the outsourcing problem in the last couple of sentences of your post, however: "there is a risk of driving talent away from IT if the logic of outsourcing remains purely cost driven" "Cost driven outsourcing" effectively means, that you, as an individual, have to compete against the whole world in who's going to work cheaper, a race you will ultimately lose. As a matter of fact, it's a race no sane man would want to win in a first place, so there's no wander the talent is driven away from such deal.

dbecker
dbecker

In simplistic terms: 1) Fast 2) Cheap 3) Good Pick any two. But it was Lee Iacocca who introduced to the world the concept that you can actually have all three. So you see, you CAN have IT work which is fast, cheap AND of excellent quality. All you need to do is reconcile the concepts of ISO2000, ITIL and Agile, as we do here [and with about the same results as you would expect anywhere else]. So outsourcing IS the answer, because we KNOW MANAGEMENT CAN HAVE IT ALL!

njoy_d_ride
njoy_d_ride

That's right, half of the people are saying that outsoursing is the best thing since sliced bread and so small that it doesn't matter anyways and by the way, they simply CANNOT GET good IT workers in the US. Just for grins let's call these the "Employer Leaning Group" Now the other half say outsourcing is taking away their jobs and no US campany wants to hire them because their skill set is not what is needed. Training? Don't say it too loud or the Employer Leaning Group will become the ROTFL (Rolling on the floor laughing) Group. Besides if they start training they can't claim a shortage. That's not what the law firms helping them fill out their H1-B's are advising them. Anyways, we will call this second group of people the "Starving IT Professionals Group". Sanity? There is no sanity. BTW, these shopping lists of skills serve only one purpose. It is a fast way to eliminate a candidate.

dbecker
dbecker

John Deere, for example. Trained all their people internally -- all pretty much local folks, and they have been there a long time. There really isn't that much need to go outside the U.S. for U.S. technologists. Also consider: A premiere technologist gets years of outstanding job reviews. Then, suddenly, his / her job doesn't change, but there are really crummy reviews. What changed? Management, of course. You figure it out.

amin_adatia
amin_adatia

Actually, if you ask any of the really good DBA or System Administrators, they will tell you that Certifications now only show that the person can memorize but it does not ever mean that the person can actually solve a problem. If the approach used for granting certifications -- a long list of true/false questions -- was really proving knowledge and skills, we would not need a driving road test to be "certified" to drive a vehicle.

developer
developer

I have that Skill set but cringe at the use of IIS' application pool implementation. And yes, I can left join and write complex queries. I do javascript but don't do JScript. I wrote a paper on normalization vs. denormalization in terms of theory vs. practical uses. But I am a senior level 'application developer' who loves knowing the business case and interacting with people. This is what I prefer to do. I find 'Playing' around with application server issues on a daily basis to be rather boring. In addition, I develop SQL queries as it relates to web-based applications that I build but I abhor DBA duties in terms of optimization of database at the server level, assigning user roles, and all of that jive. DB Administration isn't fun for me. I would do it in order to facilitate project completion if need be but it is not something I would want to deal with daily. There are many reasons why you may not be able to find 'qualified' experts for the job. One could be the pay rate or benefits; another could be how the job description is constructed, another could be your geographical location,where you are advertising, another could be your interviewing approach, etc etc. I am not saying that you are doing anything wrong, but just maybe you need to re-assess the factors in order to facilitate a successful candidate search outcome. God Bless Faith http://faithsloan.com http://www.linkedin.com/in/faithsloan

amin_adatia
amin_adatia

If you want someone who knows data normalization (and data modelling) then why do you need to worry about the flavour of the SQL database? I would ask, how difficult can it be to implement a good data model in any of the various databases? Why do I need to know IIS if I am doing data modelling? I do not see any connection at all except that the " IT Manager" is looking for someone who can be made to do double-duty. The problem is with the IT Management who do not appreciate that jack-of-all-trades does not translate into quality for a very specific task. Regards

TheL0grus
TheL0grus

I have over 6 years of experience as a DBA. I taught database development and design for another 6 years. I also have skills in Perl, PHP and Web Server Administration. It seems in the Dallas area these skills are taught at the high school level. For every job needing these or similar skills there are about 4000 applicants that are over qualified fighting for the job. I know this because we advertised an opening and we stopped looking at resumes at 4000. Now you would think this and my position would be a nice well paid cushy job. Actually I am second level help desk support and so was this advertised position. I know of a 2 20 year DBA veterans that have gone to truck driving because they can't get jobs. I know a C++ / assembler programmer that started a lawn care service because no one wants his 30 years of experience. He is making about 18k a year. It's like every waiter and house cleaner in Dallas is a programmer and dba with at least 10 years of experience looking for a job in the field. There are IT people moving out of the country going to the Pac Rim and India so they can get an IT job. Our current policies are exporting our brain trust skills out of the country. Soon America will be just like "Idiocracy". The American dream has moved to some place in Europe I think.

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

Every skill is like that. The company that I work for is looking for C#, SQL, XML and XSLT. I get the feeling that the majority of developers graduate and never learn anything new. It's no wonder that the world is passing them by.

amin_adatia
amin_adatia

Even with all of the training, it is still the attitude of the individual when it comes to quality. Else we would not ever have immediate patch after a new release. Programmers forgetting the Canada has two numeric formats => the (comma dot) and the (space comma). Yet when we select English_Canada as the Region we get the (space comma) numeric format. Besides with your position you quote statements like >> I have to say that I'm extremely disappointed to hear people talking out their butts.

lcarliner
lcarliner

Whenever a company like Nielsen Media requires an I/T professional to train his H1-B replacement just before being terminated, how can there be a shortage of domestic talent? Why, oh, why is Sallie Mae and its cousins not redeploying its high priced lobbyist to demand that abuses and loopholes in the H1-B visa and other guest worker programs be stopped in order to protect the only collateral a student loan debtor has, that is, employment at reasonable wages in the field he paid to be trained in? Why does Elaine Chao continues to refuse to get on top of abusive use of guest worker programs when JP-Morgan/Chase has announced that some 450 Tampa Bay region jobs are going to be off-shored over a 13-month period while receiving generous TARP bailouts?

reisen55
reisen55

And at Aon Group the McKinsey consultant in chief (read that imported CEO Greg Case) believes that all backoffice functions (finance, HR and IT) that are non-client facing are subject to cost cutting and outsourcing. At 199 Water Street, a 1,200 office is now supported by one (1) onsite technician. Everything else is outsourced to CSC/Decision One now. I would not recommend IT as a career to anybody anymore. No matter how good you are, how many certs you have, how many years of practical experience are under your work belt ... you are an EXPENSE and will be outsourced eventually to somebody in India who is a new college grad and earnestly eager to begin helping clients at 1/4 salary with no health care benefits. American IT has gone to hell and will stay there.

reisen55
reisen55

Those physical visits to client sites can be a commute problem - LOL. Stay sane.

amin_adatia
amin_adatia

I wonder if having all three components has been the reason for the need for the bailout money.

jkameleon
jkameleon

I've just checked the results of the poll. 56% of people say there is no shortage, 44% say there is shortage. Looks like there's 44% HR-er and managers on this forum, and 56% rank and file folks.

mattie289404
mattie289404

I can tell you haven't take any certifications its a little more involved than that and many a self-proclaimed IT genius has walked out with their tales between their legs..if that is your perception then why have college education? You're just memorizing and spitting it out there too?

ron
ron

I area that most are like that, I remember the phrase in the 90's "Paper Engineers", companies would hire anyone who knew what a router was. Does the Novel CNE come to anyone?s mind? So many so called techs would simply read a book and take a test and be granted full access to a network that they had no clue how to manage. When you have a network down emergency in a large network (several thousand users) you don?t want a paper engineer handling the issue. I'm glad that Cisco had revamp their lower certs, I believe the old T&F tests should be a thing of the past and vendors should move closer to hands on, multiple answer exam type, simply to weed out the "quick studies". It helps maintain the value of the Certs we worked so hard to obtain and maintain.

Marty R. Milette
Marty R. Milette

Please fill us all in WHICH certification exam you have ever seen that is a 'long list of true/false questions'? These arguments don't carry any weight when made by someone who obviously hasn't even bothered to look at, let alone try to take one single exam.

reisen55
reisen55

Residence in Bangalore is everything in the world of information technology these days. Management does not want to employ American workers because we demand more salary because we just happen to live HERE and not in Bangalore. American management has destroyed the future growth of information tech and handed it to India and China. I would not recommend a career in IT to anyone today. You will only be outsourced in a few years because no matter how good you are at your job, you cost too damn much. Bye, and train your replacement on the way out too. Outsourcing is indeed treason. And India can go to hell along with every firm in America that promotes and exploits outsourcing and destroying the IT workforce. Bitter? You bet.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

It's the Bay Area, so it's tough going anyway (lots of talent, but not looking to work for somebody without a big name). I think it may be beneficial for us to reevaluate some of what you bring up....That could be a factor (although the pay rate/benefits aren't even discussed until you get the nod anyway). I don't think our postings are obscure, but perhaps ;-) * Edit: I don't blame you for hating IIS and app pools, they are pure evil :-)

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Why do you need to know IIS? Because you need to know how it operates, on what and when in order to do the correct data model. For instance what about de-normalising or segmentation for performance ? You should bear something in mind the reason single track specialist/experts get work is when a generalist identifies that they are required. Specific task is collect and store some data for distribution on an intranet, not a potentially minor aspect of it. Use of specialists essentially follows any other form of optimisation, after a certain point you hit rapidly diminishing returns. JD, I and many other generalists are expert at getting something working in a cost effective fashion. In commercial IT, quality takes a the back seat in a forty carriage train, compared to ROI, in 99% of situations. IT managers may or may not understand that, be assured businessmen do. Specialisation is for insects Robert Anson Heinlein.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Why do I need to worry about the flavor of SQL? Let's start with training time. If I'm using mySQL, why should I have to spend a couple days getting somebody up to speed with all the differences between that and MSSQL? Normally I wouldn't care too much, but I've seen it time and again, too many IT people WILL NOT ADAPT. It's getting tiring. You need to know IIS because we are a shop that does web kung fu. So, realistically, you need to understand at least a LITTLE about IIS and how to plug in. The problem with you is that you are one of those intractable IT guys that makes it so hard to hire anyone.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

It's BRUTAL out there. It seems were getting less and less qualified grads, employers that are investing in their people and employees that aren't investing in themselves. We're screwing ourselves in a lot of ways. But be honest with me, what DBA worth their salt doesn't know how to write a simple XSLT?

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I can see being short on C# (to some extent), but what DB guy doesn't know SQL, XML, and XSLT? I mean honestly? I thought that was common knowledge at this point!!??

reisen55
reisen55

You posted some beautiful shots and then come back with CAN WE TAKE MORE OF YOUR IT JOBS?????????? Oh please. From Eastern Europe I would love to see you try to do something on-site here at a reasonable cost. You've got enough trade where you reside otherwise you would be living HERE and doing work. So stay in Eastern Europe, live happy there and drop the damn attitude.

reisen55
reisen55

Of course it is a hoot but I envy the train and the experience. Beautiful shots indeed. Thanks for posting.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Honestly, what's this all about? Because you were pwned about your lack of business sense and flexibility means you gotta pop this up?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

How many of your designs were actually implemented and with what? Come on , fess up. I'm trying not to judge you too harshly here, but you aren't helping. Both Mr Garvin and I could find value from what you do, once we've done our bit. But your obvious contempt for our skillset, is making us wonder if there is any value in yours. Data has no intrinsic value, until one of us clueless numpties presents it as information. How well we can do that depends on our skills, the available tools and the quality of the data. We couldn't do what we do without being able to make that assessment. Seeing as far as I can make out you woudln't have a clue where to start doing our job, but either of us could do and probably does do yours without any effort worth remarking on, one wonders..... You might be better at doing wholly agnostic designs, certainly in my case, because I always have a really good idea of what the implementation tools will be, so may be some of that gets injected into teh design early. It's not what I'd call a big deal though, certainly my bosses would be upset if I spent a lot of time of doing an agnostic design, when it was going to be in SQL Server anyway. SQL Server is a popular DBMS implementation by the way...

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

"Actually, I only get paid if my models work. So far since 1989 I have not been paid for one project out of 30 or so I have done. So please do not make your assumption." Blatant appeal to authority. "ROI gives the wrong results when you have a change in sign (positive to negative) of the cash flow stream for the project time period." No. Wrong. ROI is single variable. So as long as ONLY that variable changes, ROI is just fine. "Do the calculations and compare. It is basic Finance." It's also common sense to use ROI for single variable and NPV for multiple variable problems with a high information availability. See, NPV doesn't work very well if you don't have a large amount of information. "A business man should look at the data and assess the correctness of it." Thank you Captain Obvious. "The role of the IT Manager is to not provide incorrect analysis and hide behind jargon." Uh, wouldn't that be the role of ANYONE? Unless you want to do a crappy job, you try to provide sufficient and correct information in a jargonless way. However, let's live in reality for a while. "But if the focus is the short term gain and preservation of the job employment then I think the choices made to provide the solutions will reflect the mode of operation." Welcome to the world of business... "I do not believe in having to go back for ever to fix the data model when nothing the business is doing (WHAT) has changed." Uh, again...duh. That's assuming: A) The business can, in fact, define their processes correctly the first time B) The business UNDERSTANDS their processes. C) The business has IMPLEMENTED their processes. D) The business ENFORCES their processes. "Technology improvements may allow for doing things differently -- the HOW. Just do not go about saying that the HOW is all the focus should be." Uh, that's what we are pointing out to you. The HOW. You keep talking data models, magic and pixie farts, but you have yet to answer how your data model is usable if NOBODY can use it. A DB isn't just to store data, nor is it meant to live by itself. Please help me out here. How do users access the db? How do users retrieve and store data in the db? How do users at various corporate sites, connect to the db? What about disconnected users? How about third party apps? You have this concept of a flawless data model, but no concept of how it's going to be used.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Business is not clean, nor is it clear on what it needs most of the time. You still haven't answered the simple question: Where does your data come from? How do people get data INTO your database or do you only store data? The data model is pointless if I can't USE the data. You'll find that the reason I bring up WSDL (since you didn't know what that was I assume you are Mr. Oracle) is that business forces you into the web model to GET data and to RETURN the data you need some kind of web connector. Or you you plan on having 100,000 users using a two tier connection to your magical data model?

amin_adatia
amin_adatia

Very funny. I guess your view of having a database is to nnot use it at all and have everything be in xml files and spreadsheets and then run around trying to reconcile all the sources of data and pronouncements on the state of the business. So long as there are people who design/build the way you are, I can be sure of having a contract. Eventually, someone realizes the futility of the approach. No need to malign me because I am saying that the Emperor has no clothes. Regards

amin_adatia
amin_adatia

Actually, I only get paid if my models work. So far since 1989 I have not been paid for one project out of 30 or so I have done. So please do not make your assumption. ROI gives the wrong results when you have a change in sign (positive to negative) of the cash flow stream for the project time period. Do the calculations and compare. It is basic Finance. A business man should look at the data and assess the correctness of it. The role of the IT Manager is to not provide incorrect analysis and hide behind jargon. But if the focus is the short term gain and preservation of the job employment then I think the choices made to provide the solutions will reflect the mode of operation. I do not believe in having to go back for ever to fix the data model when nothing the business is doing (WHAT) has changed. Technology improvements may allow for doing things differently -- the HOW. Just do not go about saying that the HOW is all the focus should be. Regards

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

You can't possibly have a need for outside applications if you have a DB! Honestly, your view on things is myopic, at best. You really need to stop drinking the Oracle Koolaid and get out more.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Not really, classic bean counter myopia did that. Now bean counters do have a massive impact on quality in IT, much greater than ours in fact. Mainly again because they are short term thinkers. As for your technical points, you talk as though your unimplemented and perhaps unimplementable data model is some sort of holy grail. You were the one who started throwing low quality about. Are my designs the best? Well they worked, many of them are still working. And I'll tell you why, I don't deliver a bunch of documents with lines, boxes and malformed arrows all over them. I deliver working systems, that can be maintained and enhanced within reason. Could you do a better data model, quite possibly, could you implement it with the in place tech choices, according to you, no. So do you have ROI, NPV or any real value measured anyway you care to assess as far as a business man is concerned? I do..... All assumptions are based on your posts, you don't like them, don't say multi-skilled = low quality. Quality in the real world is not the best product, it's the value for money one.

amin_adatia
amin_adatia

Perhaps you never heard of views to get the "output/input" necessary. But then if all you have is a hammer then everything will look like a nail. >> As soon as you denormalise ...

amin_adatia
amin_adatia

I design/build applications. Never do I have to go around making changes to the data model because of the data transfer mechanisms. De-normalize indeed! People with money also talk NPV but then the current financial situation is the result of ROI focus, not so?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

but that becasue IIS is the delivery system you might have to de-normalise ! How can you not know that? As soon as you denormalise, obviously the super duper psuedo model you came up with is going to have to be revised somewhat. Changes like that proliferate through the design. I use the terms the guys with the money use, if you want to evangelise NPV, talk to them not me. How much will it cost to do, How much will it save/make. You need to get out of academia and apply what you're parroting. Experts, people who know nothing about anything else. Sheesh

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

You going to make data from magic and pixie farts? IIS is the way to interface to GATHER DATA...I can design all the materialized views and bitchen queries I want, but without data they are useless. Oh god, you must be taking MBA courses.......NPV vs ROI...let's start a Perl vs Python thread while we're at it? I could argue all day long WHY ROI is useful (see imperfect information) and why NPV is useful (see multiple constraints and perfect information). I could also argue that each has its place and that without ROI you would never know if your NPV was sane.

amin_adatia
amin_adatia

Lets see ... >> Why do you need to know IIS? Because you need to know how it operates, on what and when in order to do the correct data model. For instance what about de-normalising or segmentation for performance ? compared to ROI, in 99% of situations.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

WHERE DOES YOUR DATA COME FROM!!??

amin_adatia
amin_adatia

".. Web Services Description Language Version 2.0 (WSDL 2.0), an XML language for describing Web services. This specification defines the core language which can be used to describe Web services based on an abstract model of what the service offers. It also defines the conformance criteria for documents in this language.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Or do you not do that either?

amin_adatia
amin_adatia

Please post one query you would write that needs the knowledge of IIS. What am I going to plug in?

jck
jck

It's quite helpful, but not a requirement. It's handy when you're doing data acquisition from a servlet and you want to transform it and what not. Personally, I don't move data with database functions and SPs. Triggers and the sort stay internal to the DB. I write applications to migrate and process data. But, jmgarvin is right. Knowing XSLT is a big benefit for a DBA to know, since XML is becoming (unfortunately) the defacto means of getting data across networks.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I can't figure out which, but it's definitely one of them. I'm both, it's what I do (among other bits and pieces). I'm very good at it as well, that's why people have been paying me for over twenty years. I've never seen a data model that didn't have to change during implementation, so if I didn't understand both I couldn't do either. I'm sure it's upsetting that you can be both out-performed and undercut by a mere JOT, but that's life, adapt or die.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

You claimed XLSTs were worthless, I proved you wrong. Regardless, TONS of third party DB apps require XSLT knowledge...guess what...You gotta know XSLT. The fact that YOU think you don't doesn't change the fact that the industry thinks you do.

amin_adatia
amin_adatia

There must be better things to do than transformations of the schema. Any business can be modeled with about 1500 distinct data elements. So unless your business changes from lending money to making shoes, the data model remains the same. Assuming that there was an effort to build a model. If everyone can come and do " design" is the approach, then you have a different problem.

amin_adatia
amin_adatia

If you can only think of a one solution then obviously you need to know XSLT. There are other methods. In any event unless you tell me that the data format changes every two seconds or with each file you get, it is still a one time design/mapping. The bigger question still has to be the design of the various tables in the application. But perhaps the database is just a bit bucket and who cares abut it anyhow, eh?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

As in take some data laid out in one schema and transform it into another. I can see one or two potential uses for such a tool. Never mind the presentation side. Try to keep up.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I've got a file/email listener feeding data to my DB. How the hell else am I going to do it quickly and easily? What about taking existing data and importing it into a db? What about applications that sit on top of the DB? YOU are part of the problem.

amin_adatia
amin_adatia

I would ask -- what has XSLT got anything to do with being a DBA? If you want your car transmission fixed, do you look for someone who also does tire rotations? After all, how difficult can it be to rotate tires!

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