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Where the jobs aren't

By jkameleon ·
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_39/b4002008.htm

2001-2006: Over a millon of jobs less in IT.

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There is a massive IT staff shortage in the USA

by TechExec2 In reply to Where the jobs aren't

U.S. corporations hire many hundreds of thousands of foreign IT people because they have no choice. There are not enough American IT workers. And, the American education system is failing to turn out qualified Americans.

Oh, and because they're a lot cheaper. There's that. X-( X-( X-(

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Maybe it is just my area but

by Tig2 In reply to There is a massive IT sta ...

There isn't a shortage of employable people. There are some great talents out there who have either given IT up as a viable field, or struggled so hard to get into a non-IT job that they don't care to change.

There aren't a lot of projects running so no need for PMs. That means that I either find something outside of that skill set or wait in line with all the other PMs for project work to come back. And hope. My partner is an App Architect and is being underutilised by his company because they don't know how to use him.

And let's face it- I constantly have to adjust my bill rate to remain competitive. That's hard.

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Sorry, Tigger...

by TechExec2 In reply to Maybe it is just my area ...

Sorry, Tigger. I didn't mean to be misleading. I was being sarcastic in my post (and apparently a little too subtle).

It is so obvious that there is no IT labor shortage. It is a complete lie and I am sick of hearing it. The massive employment of foreign IT workers (offshore and onshore) is ONLY about reducing the cost of labor.

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No worries, TechExec

by Tig2 In reply to Sorry, Tigger...

The problem was that I have been hearing how "competitive" and significantly "looser" the market is currently. Sometimes I get tired of the "rebounding market". It is only rebounding if you happen to not live here or can work for $9.00 an hour. It is really frustrating.

It gets difficult to keep trying in an industry that no longer values you. And I am at a complete loss at what to do about it. In 20 years, I have watched the entire market change and, while very capable, I am no longer able to participate in it.

I wish I knew what the answers are...

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What can be done?

by TechExec2 In reply to No worries, TechExec

What can be done?

The answer is not an easy one to swallow and it varies depending on the very specific job you are doing. You have to face the reality (and I don't need to tell you this). Here are a few (mostly random) thoughts:

- The H-1B visa came into being in the early 1990s in order to provide IT labor (software engineers) during the dot com boom when there was a real shortage. It has stayed in order to drive wages down even though there is no longer any shortage whatsoever. I think of it as "revenge of the corporations". That is exactly what it is.

- Congress keeps at least reinstating the H-1B cap, if not raising it. There are some congress critters who are actively working (powered by corporate dollars) to completely eliminate the cap. Can you say "all **** breaking loose". It will be like when they turned off the power on the "grid" in Ghostbusters. Regardless of the specifics, I think Congress will work to ensure IT pay rates stay low in the U.S. (or go lower). It is VITAL to the global competitiveness of U.S. corporations. So, it will be done.

- There are NO LIMITS on the number of people corporations can move from offshore to onshore on the L-1 visa (a "transfer" from an offshore corporate office to an onshore one).

- When "free trade" agreements are negotiated, the U.S. negotiators give up the U.S. jobs to the foreign workers in exchange for the U.S. corporations getting to operate offshore. Nice, huh.

- In general, the solution is to stay out of the way. The foreign IT workers (mostly software engineers) are coming to the USA in large numbers on H-1B and L-1 visas. Other other IT jobs are leaving he USA (to India, China, etc). U.S. software engineers are getting hit and that's that. If you are not directly affected, you are one of the "walking dead". Think about it.

- Any IT job that mostly sits in front of a computer (e.g. software engineer, tech tele-support, etc) will be directly affected. If you're in one of those jobs, the best advice is to make plans and get out into something related no matter how painful and unattractive that option might seem (management, field tech support, marketing, sales). This is the bitter pill that a U.S. software engineer must swallow. I'm a career software engineer myself and I am sad about this. My sadness does not change the reality.

- Here are some obvious ones: 1. Become a IT recruiter (temp and/or perm) specializing in bringing offshore IT talent to the U.S. on H-1B visa (lots of competion in this). 2. Start a consulting firm that specializes in using offshore software engineers to do work for US-based firms (massive competition here too, not recommended unless you are very clever...maybe you are!).

- If you are a software engineer and want to stay one and want to continue making good money, you're going to have to do something about it. Example: Start your own software firm (of course, then you're not just a software engineer anymore). On the other hand, as Max points out so very well, this is the OPPORTUNITY in front of you. Grab it! One door has closed. You must open another.

- Even defense IT jobs are directly affected by H-1Bs. But, top security ones are not directly affected (only indirectly...lower market rates) as they will want U.S. citizens with security clearances.

- Did you know? It is India's goal as a country to dominate software engineering and IT jobs. This is very much like the kind of national initiatives that Japan has done in the past (autos, steel, etc).

- Any software engineering job that will pay sufficient money will be pursued by the foreign IT workers. Plan on it.

- You might be able to find an off-beat but still important software engineering specialty. This used to include such things as SQL database tuning, but I don't think that one is going to last that long. Too big.

- If your job involves direct customer interaction, there will be some relief because the customer will get what he demands. If he wants an American, and is willing to pay for it, he will get it. This does not apply to software engineering.

- Above all, do not swallow the BS that some industry leaders send forth. Software engineering is NOT a good profession to pursue in the USA anymore. They will ALWAYS seek to push down your rates by injecting cheap foreign IT people. It's like the old mathematical game: "Give me an epsilon" (ask me if you haven't heard this one).

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Strategy

by Tig2 In reply to What can be done?

As I am Project Management, I am looking for work unrelated to IT. Got a call for a project yesterday- they wanted to know what dialect I speak. This does not bode well. But in a small shop, I would still be considered an asset- I can configure a server as well as keep projects on track. I am exploring those kinds of options.

My partner has it a bit tougher- he has development expereince in a number of languages in addition to the ability to construct complex applications in complex environments. Where he might be safe is that he has managed off-shore teams in the development of complex solutions.

I have been playing with the security idea- I don't see security going off-shore. Especially in the compliance/audit space. As I have some entry level experience in that arena, I may be able to leverage that.

Bottom line- I have learned to completely ignore the so called "industry experts". I don't see the "recovery" that they have been touting. I am sad to see this turn of events- I built a career doing something I loved and am watching that die.

You mentioned the goal of industry domination. Kinda reminds me of Japan in the 30s. Wasn't that goal of domination a driver to 1941?

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by Ms.Vagat In reply to Strategy

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by Ms.Vagat In reply to What can be done?

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by Ms.Vagat In reply to No worries, TechExec

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