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  • #2293045

    Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

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    by lumbergh77 ·

    I hear a lot of talk on how far the IT has fallen over the past 5 years. It seems that salaries are down, jobs are down, and thousands of new graduates are being thrown into an already oversaturated field.

    Five year ago, I was working for a large corporation as a web programmer/help desk support (hired with ONLY 4 months experience and was 3 months from an Associate’s degree in CIS) but was laid off last year. I am now working for a small company in a similar position. While I have obtained a Bachelor’s degree in that time, I am making about the same amount of money as I was 5 years ago (in the mid 30 K range), and less benefits.

    Seems to me that a B.S. degree now is worth as much as an A.S. five years ago and I’m thinking that certifications are necessary in order to get ahead. Or maybe it would be better to get training in something else to go along with my generalized IT skills (jack of all trades).

    What about the rest of you? I’d like to see some personal examples on how you’re faring now vs. 5 years ago. Do you regret your career choice? If you had to do it all over again, what would you have done?

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    • #3303833

      things seems to be able the same

      by secure_lockdown9 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      i feel it’s about the same. money wise.

      i really don’t think i am making anywhere near as much money as i was hoping i was going to make 5 years ago by now.

      i also find that i work less hours and get home on time more often – but thats just the job and employer i have. i am very willing to give that up in order to work more hours and advance my career in information security.

      • #3298475

        I am Happy

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to things seems to be able the same

        I enjoy what I do. In the last five years I went from progamming full time (cobol) to sys admin then to net admin.

        Money, about 15% more than I was making five years ago but if I was interested in the big check I would have moved off to Detroit or Lansing a long time ago.

        I guess it all depends on what “better off” means to you.

        Reasonably healthy, have a job that pays the bills, and have my family and time to spend with them. Sounds like I have it damn good to me.

        • #3304717

          Definately better for me

          by blkbam ·

          In reply to I am Happy

          Five years ago I was in college for a BS in CS and decided to drop out because I wasn’t learning what I thought I should. I went to a technical school and graduated in Feb 02. The market was horrible because of the 9/11 incidents and no one was hiring.

          I made due a restaurant manager making less than $24K a year without benefits. I decided to work on my skills myself since no one would hire me without experience.

          Eight months and two (that?s right 2) interviews later I had job with a software doing support. That was decent pay and decent benefits. Now 2 years later I am a programmer with the same company making twice as much as i was 5 years ago. Am I better off? I’d have to say hell yeah!

          What’s my advice to everyone else? Never stop learning. There are so many people in this field who once they get a job, never pick up a book again. If you have a bookshelf with books on it that you haven’t added to in over 6 months then you need to get on it right away. Train for a cert, learn a new programming language or expand your knowledge of your current.

          I decided to work on my skills in my down time and that’s what I attribute my success to.

        • #3304702

          Better Job than before

          by sadler ·

          In reply to I am Happy

          5 years ago I was working for a company that considered LAN administration a part-time job. I worked most of my day as an assistant paper purchaser and the remainder was dedicated to my computer and network duties. Worked 10hr plus days, no chance for full time computer position although it was needed. However for the last 3 years I have been making the most money in my life, got great benifits, job security working for local government and only work a 7.5 hr day. So for me it is better, but I have always put benifits and job security before tons of $$$ that can be here today but gone the next. I recommend working for a local or state government agency.

        • #3313827

          Government worker

          by sasquatch14b ·

          In reply to Better Job than before

          I’ve been a government worker since graduating in 02, but the taxpayer revolt in WA state has me out of a job. Would I make the same career change choice again, you betcha. I’m working on my certs in the downtime, and it’s gonna be all right.

        • #3304643

          Well put…

          by visionbender ·

          In reply to I am Happy

          In the last five years I have only increased in pay and responsibility. I started off doing software support, then network admin, and now IT Manager. I already had a BS, but pursued the MCSE which helped with the network admin job.

          Education is the key. I am pursuing a Masters now, which was helpful in getting the management job.

          Pay has increased almost 85% as well from the high 20’s to the low 50’s.

          Stable job, wonderful family. Couldn’t ask for more.

      • #3304688

        Mid-Life Transistions

        by smichael9 ·

        In reply to things seems to be able the same

        I went through the same trauma, my job disappearing 4 months after 9/11. I interviewed for the next 14 months, sent hundreds of resumes, networked, went to networking clubs. Like most of us, I finally panicked, wondering if I would have to sell the house, wondering if I was no longer valuable to the industry that I had worked in for so many years. Not a good year that.

        I spent a considerable amount of time thinking about my skill sets, trying to discover the center of who and what I really needed to be to a potential employer. I finally realized that like most of us, I?m a problem solver. I analyze problems, seek optimal solutions, and implement the necessary steps to resolve the problem, test the results and optimize the solution to meet the business needs of the company. I realized that most of my primary skills are not IT, but providing solutions to real-world business problems. The many years in the trenches had given me the opportunity to be directly involved in the solutions process.

        On my next interview, I focused on the company I was visiting. I researched their industry, tried to put myself in their shoes to envision what their primary problem areas were. After the interview I was asked to take on a small consulting project relating to their accounting system. No real IT involved, just a business problem that was causing them considerable pain. After analyzing their accounting business process, I recommended a new accounting system be installed as well as several structural changes to the accounting department. I helped select the vendor, working with them to schedule implementation and improving the information flow from both the service and invoicing departments.

        That was 7 months ago. I?m now the General Manager of the company with a great salary, full benefits, 401K and profit sharing. I still get involved in IT, but I sub-contract a local company to handle most of the technical details. My responsibilities have shifted to the management side of things and I find that I truly enjoy this side of the aisle. I seldom have to work on an emergency basis or weekends, something that I don?t miss from the IT world.

        Mid-life transitions are not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes we have to look beyond the crisis to see the opportunity.

        • #3304672

          Mid-Life Trasitions Part Deux

          by joiseybill ·

          In reply to Mid-Life Transistions

          I too was affected by 9/11 – I was the engineer of the PATH train held under the WTC while the second plane hit. After the immediate crisis died down, PATH told me I was unfit to work due to PTSD. I had spent 10 years working for PATH, 6 of those as an Engineer.
          Computers had always held interest for me, and I was already working on my Bachelors in CS when this happened.

          I took advantage of my long-term disability policy (no sick pay),refinanced my house for expense money when the disability ran out, and ramped-up my education. As I got closer to my degree I started really looking for a job in the field. As SMicheal9 did, I made friends and networking connections, and I went on a lot of interviews that wound up working as practice for me.
          I landed a job working in IT for a college (not the one I was attending),just over two years ago. I am currently doing a little bit of everything, – desktop support, network admin, security, linux/novell/windows, cabling, wireless… etc., and continuing my education. (Again, at a different school than the one I work for.)
          Today, I’m making acceptable money – not as good as the train engineer job – but I’m confident that with a combination of industry certifications, experience, and education I should do much better.

          For me, the events of 9/11 cost me a bunch; I had to refinance my house to eat, and borrow lots in student loans.. but I think it will also be better for me in the long run.

        • #3304620

          Mid – Life Transitions

          by don fachabella ·

          In reply to Mid-Life Transistions

          I would like to know the age of the respondents. As a 50-something IT Operations Manager with over 20 years experience I have been out of work since 9/11. I left employment in the public service sector and started working for a Dot Com.
          Well it was great while it lasted. But since we were just a couple of blocks from ground zero every customer pulled out.
          Sort of hastened the chap 11. sequence.
          Since then I have sent out about 1000 resumes. I have been told (in private of course) that being 54 really hindered my job search in the IT field.
          So now I am a Bar tender,musician,Sound man with 25 years of IT operations experience.
          I would like to hear from anyone who is in this age group with similar experiences.(email: Donfachabella@aol.com)
          Could be a book, maybe movie.

          Imagine one day waiting for a table at a posh dining establishment and the next waiting on tables.

        • #3304585

          Age Discrimination Is Alive & Well

          by mejewell ·

          In reply to Mid – Life Transitions

          Ten years ago this week, I was “right-sized” out of a division controller job at a large corporation after 22 years. I was in my mid-forties. Temporary & contract work kept me going for six years, during which time I went back to school for a masters in IT and sent out a lot of resumes.
          A year-long contract developing a time-collection system resulted in a full time position as Manager of Budgets & Accounting Projects – a little beancounting and a lot of accounting/control systems projects. Great job until our company was purchased – 70% of the 50+ age group lost their jobs, mine included.
          Out go a lot more resumes – only one interview. I’m still finishing my masters – only my thesis to go – just because I’ve come this far. But I’ve also recognized, masters or not, that a 30 something (20 years my younger) with specific skill sets that match very specific needs will be hired first.
          However, I lucked out – my wife’s partner and audiology practice owner decided to pursue a different direction – so we purchased the audiology practice. I’m now running (sorta of) the business side of the practice, and my wife handles the audiology stuff. I’m studying for my hearing instrument certification, and my systems & IT background come in handy once in awhile. But I no longer have to look over my shoulder wondering if I’m next on the chopping block. An added bonus – many of our patients are our age – something about loud music and rock concerts!!

        • #3313742

          Re: Mid Life

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Mid – Life Transitions

          Age discrimination is still illegal, anyone that commented on your age being a hinderance was violating the law and opening their organization up to a law suit.

        • #3317121

          Hard to prove

          by strikeleader ·

          In reply to Re: Mid Life

          Age discrimination my be illegal, but is very hard to prove. I think the sad thing is most employers would hire older more experienced people, but the cost of healthcare insurance keeps them from it.

        • #3317021

          Re: Hard to prove

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Hard to prove

          I agree that age discrimination is hard to prove just as any other type of discrimination, bar blatant acts. The previous poster indicated that he was told (in private) that his age was an issue. In that case they have basically admitted the discrimination. I also agree that most employers would prefer older experienced people. I don’t know about the healthcare issue, but then again, being retired military I only pay $230 yr and don’t use the coverage offered by the company I work for. Actually, my company offers a supplement to my military coverage at no cost to me which is really nice. The only coverage I accepted from my company is dental and vision care and as I post this I realize I can probably drop the vision care since it’s covered under my military benefits. Of course I realize that I’m in a special category compared to civilians that have no military benefits.

        • #3135328

          True about age discrimination, but. . . .

          by nobby57 ·

          In reply to Re: Mid Life

          It still happens. I am not in IT although I tried to enter the field a few years ago. After meeting a lot of fellow graduates and certification holders who were trying to do the same thing — change careers in midlife by going into IT — it became painfully obvious that middle aged career changers almost always need not apply.

          And not just middle aged entry level people — one experienced sysadmin I know very well lost his job with a defense contractor five years ago when their gov’t contract ran out (he is 50+) and has been unemployed since. This in the DC area where there are a fair number of jobs.

          Of course, it’s not only IT. Many fields suffer from age discrimination. Nobody talks about it, and never will they say “you’re too old” just like they will never say “we don’t hire your kind.” But it happens every day.

          OVERT age discrimination is illegal all right, but there are more subtle methods.

        • #3120795

          Not just for older staff

          by 69552901-69552901 ·

          In reply to True about age discrimination, but. . . .

          Younger staff experience the same kind of age discrimination. In my experience, a 20 year old network tech can know her stuff inside and out will probably still not be able to find a job. Of course, if you’ll notice I said *her*. I’m in my mid-twenties now and a girl still has troubles finding an IT job in Canada…

        • #3304558

          Are we ignoring/disguising what?s going on in America?

          by bospgmr ·

          In reply to Mid-Life Transistions

          http://techrepublic.com.com/5218-6230-0.html?forumID=6&threadID=161127&messageID=1660566

          Hello Ben & All,

          With all due respect, this is going to sound like an addiction admission at an AA meeting. My story, and I?ll try to make it brief, is very typical of millions of second-generation computer programmers in my age group in America.

          I?m Bill from Boston, I?m 48 years old with 26 years of IT experience. It use to be called EDP Electronic Data Processing then MIS, IS and now IT. Anyway, I started my career at the ripe young age of 22 after completing a six month computer programming training course at CPI (Computer Processing Institute) in East Harford CT. These schools were common then because most large companies were automating, mostly on IBM 360/370 mainframes, at a furious pace and most colleges did not yet have computer curriculums or programming courses. Hartford CT?s claim to business fame was/is insurance, it was once known as the ?insurance capital? of America. American business desperately needed programmers and mostly COBOL.

          So there I was, like most of us I had a job offer from a large company even before graduating from the program. $11, 000 per year, wow, I thought it was a fortune, and it nearly was for a bright eye 22 year old from CT moving to the big city of Boston. Larry Bird and I were born in the same year, 1956, and we each moved to Bean Town the same year, 1979. IT/programming shot off like a rocket in the 80?s and 90?s in Boston and around the US, similar to the Celtics. It certainly was a ?heyday?, and 90% of the work was development, all new, all creative all large and expensive projects and systems.

          Again my career progressed similarly to most. In the 80?s as a computer programmer you were constantly learning. Yes, companies would constantly TRAIN you either in-house or they would send you away, it was vital for them to have skilled computer professionals. At most companies the computer geeks and EDP were like the unwanted stepchild. We were resented by those who normally ran the show prior to us and ?the? computer arriving on the scene. The computer was a ?culture shock? to most companies. These people were mostly finance workers, accountants the A/P & A/R departments etc. Companies then would actually post computer related job opening and allow employees from other departments to get trained and switch careers, as opposed to the current trends. Have a skilled need? Hire somebody in India.

          Along with the company training many programmers would take evening course at local colleges to stay current and get ahead. I hung in for 5 tough years of night school obtaining a BS in Computer Science from Boston University in 1985. Mine was the first graduating class from BU to include Computer Science as a degree major, prior to that they were Math degrees with a concentration in computers. I made it, I was ?all set?. The federal bureau of labor statistics annually stated the need for computer professionals would far outweigh the supply past the year 2020, we were sitting pretty.

          Again the 80?s were hot for computer programmers and for the Celtics. If you became disappointed with your employer or job you could quit and quickly be hired somewhere else with a sizeable increase in pay. Most programmers would job-hop, 2 to 3 years was a normal length of stay. Recruiters would call you, at home or at work, constantly telling you of new and better opportunities for even more money. Again, in 1979 I started at an $11k salary by 1985 I was making $48k plus bonus.

          Another trend for computer programmers in the 80s & 90s was to obtain several years of experience and some expertise and become a contractor. You would find a client by marketing yourself and your skills either directly or via an agency, a headhunter or ?pimp? as we affectionately called them. They are the scourge of the earth. I took the leap in 1988, $40 per hour. I gave up the security of a full time job and salary for a temporary assignment. The hiring manager cautioned me that it would only last 3 months, it turned out to be a 2+ year gig. And that?s how it normally went on average for me for the next 14 years with my net billing rate continually increasing from $40 per hour in 1988 to $62 in 2001. The year 1999 (what a surprise) was my best to date, $129,000 gross. A good thing about being a contractor is there is NO overhead. Compared to a doctor or some other profession, they may gross more but they have overhead; expenses, offices, supplies, employees etc.

          Then came 2001;

          I have a few key words that I attribute the dismantling of this profession and even worse the US economy, as we KNEW it;

          Head Hunters
          Illegal Immigration
          H1B?s (NAFTS, Free Trade)
          World Economy
          NAFTA
          Out-sourcing/Off Shoring

          As most of us know 2001 brought everything to a screeching halt, especially high-tech and IT. The anticipated long-term assignment I was working on was cancelled along with my contract. I was out of work for several weeks before I found another assignment, this time only netting me $50 per hour. That lasted for about 10 weeks, into September 2001, when as we all know, stuff really hit the fan. A declining economy went into a tail spin and again even more so for High-tech/IT. By that time many IT professionals had already been out of work for long periods of time. I sought another contract position but quickly realized that the trough was near empty. I changed my strategy to seek safe harbor from the storm and found a full-time job. I luckily found a job at a VERY large national bank, in Mass., within their Treasury Services department. For the next 2.5 years I was the last IT (legacy, mainframe, development programmer) hired. I found the job to be extremely boring but I was glad to be working even at $75k, $54k less than what I made in 2000, $129k.

          My strong opinion as to why SO many IT workers were (and still are) out of work for so long is a direct result of 1) HB1?s & NAFTA etc. visa statues, foreign workers with temporary visa?s taking American ?citizen? labor from them and 2) IT work being sent (off-shored) to foreign countries.

          Out-Sourcing is nothing new. What?s different about it now is the ?off shore? element of it. In 70s, 80s and early 90s out-sourcing meant a company was contracting a portion of their business to a service bureau or software vendor. This meant that lost jobs in company ?A? would end up in company ?B?, maybe within the same state or possibly another but most likely remain within the US and its economy.

          Anyone who tries to sell and defend Off-Shoring and the ?open? and ?world? economies is talking techno-babble and MBA-speak. The ONLY person who benefit from Off-Shoring are the corporate Sr. executives and financers who get huge bonuses for improving their bottom lines. This improvement of the bottom line comes at the price of a job for their neighbors, brothers, cousins and fellow American?s. In my opinion it is treasoness and unethical.

          The reality of what ?world economy? means; USA has long enjoyed being the richest nation in the world which included the highest per-capata income the least percentage of poverty etc. A world economy, to America, simply means that the US is going to voluntarily allow our standards of living, income and the power that goes along with wealth to be diminished, homogenized and sacrificed so that other countries can approach or attain our watered-down wealth.

          Do I sound ?selfish?? This is simply another step towards socialism being pushed by the extreme liberal left. First the US belongs to its citizens to have and protect. In the US it has always been O.K. to make a buck, compete, win and be on-top etc. Now we are being conditioned to believe that ?purposely being less competitive to allow the rest of the world to catch up to us economically? is a good thing. All it means it that their economies will improve and ours will decline along with our lifestyles.

          IT is going the way of many other lost (given away) American professions and industries (steel, tires, leather, garment, automobile, ship building, manufacturing in general, electronics, farming, etc. etc. ..) Soon it will be more of the financial sector up to and including the MBA?s themselves. Maybe it?ll reach the executive level, it already has for those foreign companies that have replaced ours.

          Off Shoring, Out-Sourcing, NAFTA, H-1B?s etc are all bad for the US its people and its economy.

          Bill

          http://www.murthy.com/nflash/nf_112204.html

          http://www.indiadaily.com/breaking_news/14090.asp

          Software firms eager to cash in on H1Bs
          Nov. 24, 2004
          For the Indian software industry, the law passed by the US Congress last week to issue 20,000 more H1B visas for foreign students pursuing higher studies in that country seems a sign of “more to come”. This has also set the tenor for them to recruit more post-graduates from US Universities. “This is a positive signal from the US government and is expected to pave way for more relaxations”, said Deepak Khosla, general manager, marketing, of Patni Computer Systems. The company sees this as access to a larger talent pool. It has over 2,000 software professionals working in the US, a large number of whom have studied there. “Already, around 3-4% of our 4,000-odd employees have American degrees. We see that number doubling in the next year,” said Deepak Ghaisas, CEO of iFlex. However, while this law enables mobilisation of more people for onsite work, it restricts the choice of employees, he said.
          http://www.sulekha.com/classifieds/clad.aspx?cid=308589

          http://www.zazona.com/ShameH1B

        • #3299198

          The real treason

          by cinnester ·

          In reply to Are we ignoring/disguising what?s going on in America?

          The real treason is not the local mid-manager who fires his friends. He/She is forced by business policy. i.e., profit motive. The real traitors are the people who devised a foreign policy and tax structure to literally prevent Americans from being hired. Ask Congress why they enact laws and tax codes that disadvantage Americans in the workforce. Ask the Republicans why they enact these laws and policies at 3:00 A.M. and hide tham in Omnibus Bills. You’re being betrayed by the people you voted for.

        • #3313760

          Refocus your animosity

          by kghthawk ·

          In reply to The real treason

          To those intent on laying the blame of IT joblessness at the feet of the Republicans, I’d like to point out that it was the Democrats who engineered and implemented NAFTA. Additionally it was a Democratic President who supported and signed the H1B Visa bill. While I am sickened by corporations who willingly sacrifice well qualified Americans for cheap foreign labor, I don’t see where you can lay this at the feet of any one political party nor look to one specific party for salvation. Greed knows no boundries.

        • #3120010

          Please Refocus the Truth

          by tx1cajun ·

          In reply to Refocus your animosity

          The downturn in the economy is directly based on selling out your brother. It doesn’t matter what country or what human or inhuman rights that are at stake. Can you talk to your corporate heads and executives and place responsibility at the right place. We as Americans, can compete, but as long as we have both Democratic and Republicans on the big kick back in this country , we will fail.

          Our government is for sale for the right bidder and the influence from anywhere other than the US is on the bidding block from both parties, bar none. How can you make a difference, taxes , that is it. Tax the heck out of what comes in and make it more beneficial to do it “here” than there. Make your friendly unaccountable Washington rep on either side of the house…accountable. We at the technical side of the issue, need to broadcast wrong doing, and become accountable ourselves at what levels we are participating in the sell out and stop.

          As dangerous as our sell out is, we have to accountable that we are compromising our existence as a free and democratic society. We are leveraging debt into the hands of countries such as China, and as friendly as they might be , the payback is on the horizon.

          Free Trade, competition, I believe in it all. But selling out your brother has been bad back into biblical times. The whole country suffers, want to make a difference, stand up and be counted, don’t buy into the whole global bit until the globe start cooperating with taxes coming in not tax breaks.

          We could begin to educate the next generation for world wide competition, but giving tax breaks to sell our country out used to be treacherous, some levels it is thought to be treason.

          Cooperate and gain by business cooperatives but also tax the other countries so that we are even ground and help our own economy and our own children to prosper.

          Can I hear from the believers?

        • #3317062

          Re: treason

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to The real treason

          I’ve noticed a trend in the threads that I follow, whenever things don’t go the way the poster wants them to, it’s the Republicans fault. What ever happened to personal responsibility? I think this instant gratification society we live in now gives some a false sense of self worth. There are jobs out there, some high paying if you’re motivated by profit, but we need to ensure that we’re marketable. If you think because you have a certain skill you should have a job you’re doomed to continue blaming the Republicans. The free market will decide what skills are required and employers resond by hiring who they think will yield the best bottom line for their organization.

        • #3344306

          AMEN, VLTII!!!

          by momtojustin ·

          In reply to Re: treason

          You said it very well. It is easy to blame the other guy or some big nameless entity, such as a politcial party.

          The free market system (with all its flaws, still the best system in the world), depends upon a workforce that will take the PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY to see that they are marketable.

          There will ALWAYS be highs and lows in a free market economy, people. It’s the nature of the beast. It is up to us, the workers, to stop whining and work. Don’t look to the gov’t for help!!! It is up to YOU. It’s NOT the gov’t’s job to help you! Nowhere in the Constitution are there guarantees of a job or any job security.

          Renee, a committed Libertarian (who is currently unemployed)

        • #3197445

          Democrats support H1-B as well

          by thedanc ·

          In reply to Re: treason

          I did a paper on H1-B during my MSCS program since my industry is so full of this. While this is largely a Republican led idea, the Democrats are hardly blameless. Here’s an excerpt, based on the congressional record/Library of Congress:

          Senate Bill S.2045, the “American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act,” combined with House of Representatives Bill H.R.5362, an Act to increase the fees charged to employers who petition to employ H-1B nonimmigrant workers was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 17, 2000. Senate Bill S.2045 officially increased the H1-B cap to 195,000 each (up from 60,000) for fiscal years 2001, 2002, and 2003. Senate Bill S.2045 was sponsored by Senator Orrin G. Hatch [R,UT] (introduced 2/9/2000) and was cosponsored by 24 other senators. Of the 24 senators, all were Republican with the exception of three Democrats: Senator Joseph I. Lieberman [D-CT], Senator Dianne Feinstein [D-CA], and, former 2005 Vice-Presidential hopeful, Senator John Edwards [D-NC]

          The three Dems are from strong IT communities. As immigrants go, these Indians are hard not to like. They are here legally, they come with degrees, and most of the ones I know work very hard and contribute greatly to the economy. If we don’t hire them, other nations will and we as a country will no longer be a technical superpower.

          I too have been in the computer biz since the 1980’s and was quite spoiled by the lack of competitition for my job. So far, I remain competitive and my salary keeps climbing, but I keep saving and investing knowing that as good as I think I am I can always be laid off. That keeps me working hard and staying competitive through new degree programs and certs. You have to love IT as a lifestyle, otherwise you will be miserable, your work will suffer, and you will be quickly replaced.

        • #3313729

          Your Story Sounds Famliar

          by judger48193 ·

          In reply to Are we ignoring/disguising what?s going on in America?

          I graduated from college in 1966 with honors in Math. I had companies I never talked to offering me jobs by telegram (dated, but just substitute “email”). I had 3 offers to pursue a masters degree while either working full-time and getting full paid or as a teaching assistant. All of the work I did for 20+ years was original and very interesting and of course extremely demanding. I have run projects with budgets in the millions as both a technical contributor or as a technical and/or project manager.

          Sounds like I should be all set, right? Wrong! Since 1992 the IT market has gotten terrible and companies very selfish. Yeah, there was a reprieve for year 2000 and the dot-com mess where I too worked for one for an instant. Every company I have worked for since 1993 has been mean-spirited, selfish and frequently financially shacky, even though I worked for some of the largest technical, insurance and hosital companies in Chicago. Many of them just about totally cleared out their IT staffs of sometimes 1000’s or dumbed down their highly creative staff.

          I still love creative IT work whether it be technical, technical management or project management. But IT ain’t fun or lucrative any more. In my eyes, my experience and that of many people I know should be to kill for. Ain’t so! Most IT jobs only consider which cert or technology you have and companies do not train. Many IT jobs left in the US resemble technician jobs, sophisticated but still repetitive, configuration-oriented or operational in nature. I am not putting down this needed expertise, however, I wouldn’t enter the IT field today if this is what lay ahead. I have seen few of the young, in-demand IT types trained in the latest technologies that have had full life-cycle experience on large challenging projects. The companies where I worked on projects like these have not retained any of the IT staff, used consultants for all of the interesting work or just about went out of business.

          I would be cautious if I were advising my family or friends about sticking with IT in the future. This is sad and terrible for the US and our financial welfare.

          For years I have been doing many types of low paying, mostly uninteresting jobs. I moved out of the Chicago area where I lived and worked for over 30 years to a much cheaper area of the country. I am fortunate that I may be able to retire, whether I want to or not. This is not an option I would have if I was in the beginning or middle of my IT career with all of the family and financial responsibilities implied. I would be in dispair and financial trouble if I relied on the “new”, current IT environment.

        • #3345029

          I feel much the same as you.

          by pmanjunk ·

          In reply to Your Story Sounds Famliar

          I have been in the IT field for 28 years. Since Oct. 1976, when I first worked for Honeywell Info. Systems here in downtown Chicago.
          Since then I held a few more jobs, each time increasing my pay substantially and climbing in position and responsibility.
          I was ‘downsized’ from a well-paid tech support position in 1990 and suffered difficult times shortly thereafter. Once I was on my feet again I found I would never make the same kind of money again.
          My wife and I ran our own retail computer store here in the south suburbs of Chicago. The ‘big box’ stores limited our sales and pretty much put the writing on the wall. At least we got out and sold the business for a profit.
          In 1997 I was hired on as an IT manager for a local non-profit, but here in 2004 was ‘downsized’ again due to budget woes.
          I’ve sent out hundreds of resumes and networked with groups as well as worked with an outplacement firm to try to find suitable work, but so far haven’t.
          At 53, I feel that age discrimination has a bit to do with it. Outsourcing to other countries has a bit to do with it. And the economy has a bit to do with it.
          It’s late and I’m tired. You said it well.
          At this time I discourage anyone who asks from seeking a job in the IT field unless they have a clear understanding of what is likely to happen to them.
          Regards,
          Pete
          p.s. Please don’t crab about ‘keeping up your skillset’, etc. I am an MCSE+I and A+ for years, I’ve read more technical manuals than I ever care to remember, and I have been going to evening classes for most of the past 28+ years. (Including this last semester.)
          Sorry if I sound crabby myself. It’s late and this subject is a sore one with me. 🙂

        • #3294206

          “by the extreme liberal left?” Is that what they are calling REPUBLICANS?

          by hardknocks ·

          In reply to Are we ignoring/disguising what?s going on in America?

          Believing the “liberal left” is behind a policy that benefits, to quote you: “The ONLY person who benefit from Off-Shoring are the corporate Sr. executives and financers who get huge bonuses for improving their bottom lines.”, is a HUGE MISTAKE.
          This “stinking thinking” is why the resistance to these trends is failing. According to your own statement you understand the perpetrators of the “global economy” movement are the top execs of the fortune 500. These people are certainly REPUBLICANS.
          Think about this, I really don’t mean to anger you. I hope more people begin to understand the problem.
          The “liberal left” is the only hope we workers have but we have to get their attention and make them understand they are making a mistake by trying to be “more like Republicans” in order to get the votes.
          I too, am totally disgusted by the way we have been sold out but don’t misplace the blame. Admit it when your party has sold you out. Both parties have sold us all out, help to change that.
          We need to support a new “American” party that TELLS THE TRUTH.
          THE TRUTH WILL MAKE US FREE AGAIN, but it’s not pretty and hard for people to admit they have been fooled.
          H. Ross Perot tried to tell us but no one would listen.

          Reality bytes,

          John Coleman

        • #3294101

          Re: Left

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to “by the extreme liberal left?” Is that what they are calling REPUBLICANS?

          We can’t expect any party to tell the truth when we don’t want to know the truth, especially when it would mean that we would have to abandon our own beliefs of what the real source of the problem(s) are. To say that top executives are “certainly Republicans” is clearly an outright false statement. There are just as many Democrats that are senior executives (if not more) as there are Republican. Don’t confuse financial success with party affiliation, there is no direct correlation between the two doesn’t. If your premise were true that would make hollywood a Republican safe haven and anyone that is capable of breathing on their own know that is no true. The truth will set us free, but we have to be willing to accept the truth for what it is and not what we want it to be.

        • #3345026

          Mostly republicans & some dems

          by pmanjunk ·

          In reply to Re: Left

          Really, now. Since at least early last century the republican party has been known as the party of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. And yes, there are many more republicans at the heads of companies than democrats.

          Of course, there are many democrats in those positions, too, but your reference to ‘Hollywood’ is almost ludicrous. Hollywood is a drop in the bucket when it comes to corporate wealth.

          On another note, I do not support NAFTA. I have written my senator (Durbin) requesting a repeal of NAFTA.

          Many thought it was a grand idea at the time. Although many objected and warned us of problems, it passed under the Clinton administration.
          Now many believe it has shown not to work and it is time to repeal it.

          I also believe H1b visa’s are an enormous problem for our country and need to be curbed dramatically.

          I’m trying to do my part.
          Regards,
          Pete

        • #3326361

          Re: Mostly

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Mostly republicans & some dems

          The fact that the Republican party has been known as the party of the rich doesn’t change anything I said in my post. As I stated in my response it’s easy to accept that position if not doing so challenges your own beliefs.

        • #3120859

          Agree with all but one thing…..

          by quiet_type ·

          In reply to Are we ignoring/disguising what?s going on in America?

          You’re putting the blame in the wrong place. It’s not the liberal left that benefits most from off-shoring. It’s the rich, conservative, Republican aristocracy in this country, with its insatiable greed for more and more money, at any cost to everyone else. They’re the ones talking about a world economy. This year, Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco will be pouring a combined $3.8 billion into developing their interests in India. It’s the rich in the U.S. that benefit most from illegal aliens and cheap labor. There used to be strong organizations of the liberal left. They were called “unions,” and they helped to make sure the rich shared some of the wealth. The gains they made were passed on to everyone, in some ways, as even non-union shops benefitted from better wages, insurance, and other benefits. Now look at us. The unions are dead, the Republicans are in power, and our workers are being laid off by the 10s of thousands, and still our jobs are being off-shored. It’s people who think like you do that make this possible. By the way, I hope you’re not driving an import car. What’s happening to the American IT worker is the same thing that’s been happening to other American workers for years!

        • #3123946

          Off-shoring

          by jamesg ·

          In reply to Are we ignoring/disguising what?s going on in America?

          Off-shoring, is of course, a Republican fueled phenomenon in that it is just another give away to mega corps looking to dodge taxes, and health care costs, another thing the far right fasctist wing of the Republican party has foisted off on us in the interest of enriching their corporate masters. So don’t blame liberals, blame money hungry republican wolves in sheeps clothing claiming they give a damn what happens to you.

      • #3304684

        Definately Better

        by djc13099 ·

        In reply to things seems to be able the same

        I also am not making as much money as I was hoping I would. But I am making more than I was 5 years ago.

        I own my own business that supplies software, hardware and support to the health industry.

        The problem I run into is that just about the time you start getting a good handle on setting something up, everything changes. For example – going from W98 to WinXP, or ISDN direct (secure) connections to Internet VPN connections (with added firewalls, etc.) And now I am in the process of taking on a software package that is written in PHP and resides on a Linux server.

        I guess the point I am trying to make is that if you do not keep up with the changes, you will die.

        • #3299088

          Absolutely

          by piratetoolz ·

          In reply to Definately Better

          I also am doing way better than I was 5 years ago, and I’m also not making as much as I thought I would be. Given the circumstances, however, I’m thankful to be making anything at all. You’re absolutely right, letting your skill set stagnate is certain death.

          Here’s the question, though: If the company you work for doesn’t grow technologically, does that mean that we (as IT professionals) have no choice but to hop from job to job, in order to keep up with the times?

        • #3313817

          Just my opiniomn

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to Absolutely

          If your company does not grow technologically, then your company will proably not survive.

          However, reading a lot of trade journals will help keep you up on things.

        • #3291917

          Sure

          by piratetoolz ·

          In reply to Just my opiniomn

          I agree. Too bad the folks that run the business units don’t feel the same way. As for trade journals, they certianly help, but there is no substitute for actually working with the technology.

        • #3317018

          Re: absolutely

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Absolutely

          Job hopping is one option, but the more technologically savvy you are, the better equipped you are to sell the company you work for on technology. Historically, companies that resist advances in technology end up playing catchup which can be costly if not terminal.

      • #3120611

        Reply To: Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

        by daydo ·

        In reply to things seems to be able the same

        I got my A.A.S degree a little over a year ago and started of as helpdesl/infrastrucre support now I pretty much am doing the same thing (A little more SysAdmin and responsibilites, different comanpany) but I am making about 40% percent more than a year ago. I see my self acheiving another increase like that in the next 2 years. I can see good things in 5 years. I just think you should work harder at climning the ladder, There is no reason you can’t accomplish the same. Leave to another company if needed. Dont give up on IT, there is growth and a lot of money there.

    • #3303830

      Definitely much worse than 5 years ago

      by av . ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Personally, I have had the same job as an IT manager at a small company, but wages were frozen for 2 years – until this year. The raises were small.

      I’m also affected by the downturn because my husband is an IT analyst. He worked for a large corporation and lost his job 2 years ago. Since then, work has been unsteady, just consulting assignments. They all paid less than his previous salary. Because of this, we are just getting by.

      My brother, a programmer with a large corporation, is losing his job to offshore outsourcing the week before Christmas (now there’s a company with a heart!).

      Certainly, any certifications or degrees you have will benefit you, but only if you are an exact match for the job. There are so many candidates for one job, companies have become extremely picky in their search for perfection.

      After going through what I have experienced over the past 5 years, I have become very nervous and fearful about future prospects in strictly IT. Because my husband and I are both IT people and older, our future employment prospects are slimmer than most. Never in a million years did I ever think a career in IT would end up this way.

      Do I regret going into IT? Never. If I had to do it all over again and I was younger, I would. Call me a fool, I just love IT! In today’s world though, I would concentrate more on soft skills and business skills. I would also certainly have a plan B because competition is fierce as well as global.

      • #3303803

        have you heard of anyone who benefited from certs?

        by secure_lockdown9 ·

        In reply to Definitely much worse than 5 years ago

        i have not.

        • #3303746

          Sure – some have benefitted from certs

          by tellangon ·

          In reply to have you heard of anyone who benefited from certs?

          Project Management Institute…
          Cisco…
          Microsoft…
          Lazy hiring managers…
          Those that got their certs early & raised the bar behind them…

        • #3291844

          Can’t do warreny work without

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Sure – some have benefitted from certs

          Your shop can’t do jobs fixing warrenty work if you aren’t certified for that hardware.

          It means a lot on a shop sign to say they have Certified Technicians.

          Means a lot more to non-techs to know you had some formal acknowledgement of your abilities as well.

          Yes, I know people that benefit greatly from Certs.

          I also got a big increase in my last raise because of getting Certs.

          I am also working on my next Cert.

        • #3304738

          Yes

          by mr_dobby ·

          In reply to have you heard of anyone who benefited from certs?

          I obtained my first (and current) job due to a college course with an mcse/ccna qualification at the end of it. Since then I have passed my cna, mcsa, security+ and my second mcse, I have (do)benefitted from all of them. And yes, I know of many others who have benefitted from certs also. Certs are not as important as experience but they can get your foot in the door, and this is what you need to start gaining experience (no one was born an IT expert).

          I live in Europe, perhaps the situation is a lot different here from the US (?) with regard to IT jobs. It is important to have other, non-it skills however. I speak 3 languages which has also helped my situation a great deal.

          regards

        • #3304712

          Definite benifite

          by bpkelsey ·

          In reply to Yes

          I think that certifications definetly have benefits. The main one is they get you in the door for an interview. Anyone can say that they have experience and know what they are doing, but certs help back that up. Also if you go through the process of preparing for certs and not a boot camp or brain dumps you can learn a lot in the process. I haven’t taken the tests to keep up with the latest certs, but have done a lot of studying for them and have learned a lot of usefull information in the process.

        • #3313710

          born expert

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Yes

          “no one was born an IT expert”

          . . . except me. Heh. I’m a third-generation computer geek.

        • #3135360

          by zyphlar ·

          In reply to born expert

        • #3135359

          same here

          by zyphlar ·

          In reply to born expert

          the only thing a+ and mcsa have done for me (at age 19) have been to put an eye-catching abbreviation to the skills i’ve gained myself.

          then again, for anyone who doesn’t have the time to pick up skills by themselves, certification programs are pretty good ways to learn the basics.

        • #3304565

          Define benefit!

          by joelz ·

          In reply to have you heard of anyone who benefited from certs?

          I would say the real answer is no. Yes employers look for MCSE, CCNA, etc. but especially when it comes to MS certs, they just don’t get you what they once did. Now employers are looking for MCSEs to do desktop, network, and install phones and they want to pay less, short term assignments or no benefits….

        • #3304559

          No

          by larry.johnson25 ·

          In reply to have you heard of anyone who benefited from certs?

          In 2000, I got my MCSD in VB6, and nobody cared.
          I learned a lot in studying for it, but as far as my “employability” is concerned, it was a lot of effort for a couple of lines on my resume that just take up space.

        • #3326444

          did you research at all?

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to No

          What skills are wanted in your area? Did you check at all or did someone come up to you and tell you if you get certified through them you make X amount of money?

          Need to have the right Cert for the right job.

          Your Cert would not get you hired where I am because there is NO NEED for that skill here.

          Don’t blame the Certs because you didn’t have someone hand you a job.

          There are many cases where the Cert makes a big difference.

        • #3299325

          Certs: Without the right one you’re nothing.

          by givemeabreak ·

          In reply to have you heard of anyone who benefited from certs?

          Try to get a job without one. I know people who don’t even use their’s but they had to have it to get the job. I have an AAS, 2;(count ’em)2 -BS degrees, an MBA, A+, Net+, Methods Engineering certification and 15 years of experience. I have had 4 interviews in 5 years that all went to people less qualified than I was. But guess what; They all had MCSE’s which was a requirement of the job. Guess what I’m working on? You got it. MCSE. Screw 15 years of experience with everything from DOS 3.3 to Cisco to zSeries servers, just give me the paper. Give me a break!

        • #3299129

          Over-Qualified?

          by mr_dobby ·

          In reply to Certs: Without the right one you’re nothing.

          Why are you applying for positions suitable for an MCSE (or similar)? Lets be honest, the qualifications you list are absolute overkill for a network admin(MBA, multiple BSc,s,etc, etc – how did you even have enough time to study for some many university degrees?).

          Employers looking for an mcse candidate are generally not after MBA canditate, the job positions don’t match.

          It is hard to believe that someone with your qualifications finds it dificult to find a professional position, could it be you are over qualified for positions you are applying for?

        • #3299005

          Re: over-qualified

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Over-Qualified?

          I agree with the overkill in skill set, however, if someone in his position really wants to work in that area, they probably shouldn’t disclose all of their qualifications. The downside to that is that later if they want to move into a position that does require those skills they will be faced with a dilema.

        • #3313812

          Similar problem

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to Over-Qualified?

          There are very few IT job openings for an MBA or MS. A network admin position is probably the best job available.

        • #3317068

          RE: Over-Qualified

          by givemeabreak ·

          In reply to Over-Qualified?

          I worked in Textiles as a Network/Systems Engineer before I had the MBA. The reason for the MBA was because company management required it before they would promote up to the executive level (I was offered the Director of I.T. position (a fast-track position, the VP of IT was ready to retire)but I HAD to have the MBA). Unless you have been living in a barrel (or cave, take your pick)you know that the American Textile industry is DEAD. With it went my future. I had alot of good executive-level contacts in the textile industry and with the MBA I became a rather hot property in the industry. The MBA helped me to judge when to get out of the textile business, I left the company and two months later the entire company (2000+ employees) ceased operations. I took a position with a local governmental utility as the Mgr. of IT because I THOUGHT it would be stable and secure (I have small children). I planned to stay long enough to find a better position and the pay was not but a few bucks less than I was making. Well, that was 6 years ago. I have applied for Director and Manager level positions while keeping my skills as sharp as possible. In the meantime, I and the rest of the entity where I work have been under a wage freeze for the past 5 years. People I used to manage at my old company are making more than I am. Most companies in my area promote from within. But the reason for the MCSE is because the Director and Manager positions have all stated that a MCSE is required and a CCNA is preferred. Forget networking here. I tried to start a monthly IT conference to allow the local IT people to network here and maybe make some good contacts. The first meeting there were 12 people out of the 100+ invited. The next meeting there was 20, the next there were 10. PeopCompetition is very tough in this geographical area and you have to have a leg up on the competition to even get an interview.

        • #3317012

          Re: over-qualified

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to RE: Over-Qualified

          I think competition is tough industry wide. This in my opinion is why networking is so critical, but even networking will only get us noticed. Remaining marketable is an ongoing process that doesn’t stop once we’re hired into a position. Being proficient in one position does not mean that we’re good candidates to be promoted into positions of higher responsibility. Politics as much as I don’t like them play a critical role in our career successes.

        • #3299006

          Re: Certs

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Certs: Without the right one you’re nothing.

          Unfortunately, now because of the flood of certs (especially Microsoft) employers feel than can be more selective in who they hire. From a budgetary perspective they would rather hire someone who may not be as qualified for the job as they should be and have them learn on the job. I personally think that all certs (where practical) should be modeled after Cisco’s CCIE where once you earn the cert it’s understood that you’ve also demonstrated proficiency in that particular area.

        • #3313722

          The Cert-Go-Round

          by judger48193 ·

          In reply to have you heard of anyone who benefited from certs?

          Sure training is very valuable, but IT has gotten to the stage where only experience in the most current whatever is looked at. Seems like you will never get off of the cert-go-round if that is your strategy for IT success.

          Technical knowledge, as refelected by a long list of certs, shouldn’t be the only measure of the value of an employee. If a company wants specific technical knowledge, capable IT staff should be trained. You cannot train for things like people-skills, performance under fire and the big picture view gained by years of experience and challenging projects.

          Companies are placing the responsibility and cost for acquiring technical skills on the employees. Employees shouldn’t have to guess at what technical direction will be needed and of value to a company. Frequently we have to make these choices before we are even considered for hire. Technologies are changing very rapidly. I always believed that a mutual respect and everybody with skin in the game is needed to have a productive and mutually beneficial employer/employee environment.

      • #3303801

        Better for Worse

        by s_hunnicutt ·

        In reply to Definitely much worse than 5 years ago

        Five years ago I was in the Military, From there I started working in Japan for a small It company, this company went bankrupt about 9 months after I had started. But luckily I was able to move to another company, The only problem was no one at that office could speak english until I decided to leave that company. Now I am the sole admin at a small office only getting smaller 4 servers 50 clients. next year looking at about half the clients. Once again luckily I have found a new contract working at a larger corporation that I will start at the beging of next year. Money wise I have never gone to another job accepting lesss money. So for the better I am until I start the new job to find out the worse!

        • #3304569

          Better than before — Certs Pays!!!!

          by irvin.irizarry ·

          In reply to Better for Worse

          I was on IT only 4 years ago. And started on a local IT Consulting company doing software support then networking(bad slary and benefits) now I moved to a goverment Agency (Better salary : 50% more and a lot of benefits), 30 days of vacations, 20 days of sickness (if not used they pay me back those days) , Performance bonus, etc..) how i get the job? Was the only one with the certification that they are looking for. The certs Pay!!!!

        • #3301626

          Do Certs really pay?

          by holg555 ·

          In reply to Better than before — Certs Pays!!!!

          From reading all the replies about Certs I was wondering which Certs are the most desired and sought after? I know of many people who have gotten CISCO certifications MCSE’s etc. and were having trouble landing a job for lack of experience within that specialisation? I too want to keep up with times but with so many certification available which one to choose?

        • #3313947

          Re: Better or Worse

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Better for Worse

          I also was in the military five years ago and retired in June 2003. From a monetary perspective, I’m doing considerably better than I ever could in the military and actually better than my peers in my organization, at least in the local area (I work for a global organization).

          Money, I don’t think is the only gauge of whether one is doing better or not. Job satisfaction, in my opinion is probably a better gauge. I really like the company I work for and if it were at all possible I would probably stay with them until I retired. I’m currently working on a government contract and am not crazy about the work that I do, but I’m roughing it out in hopes that the experience gained will eventually get into a position that I really enjoy.

          Overall, I would have to say that I am doing better, but with some reservations.

      • #3304691

        Who knew?

        by droll ·

        In reply to Definitely much worse than 5 years ago

        I am in the same boat and my story is the same. I was an IT Director for a very large ($6 billion) company for 8 years with great performance reviews when I was laid off back in August ’02. It took me 2 years and 3 months to finally find another job.

        In the months following my layoff I finished my BS because I knew there was no way I was even getting in the door for an interview at my level without it. I was pretty proud that I had risen to the level I had (40 reports in 4 locations across the country) with my Associates degree.

        As it was it still was difficult to get interviews. I needed to match 8 of 8 job requirements. What happened to the days when 6 of 8 got you in the door?

        My sister works as a Help Desk tech and she has been bouncing form job to job due to outsourcing/off shoring and layoffs where she has worked.

        Things were so bad during my job search that I seriously considered changing careers. The only problem is that at 45 I didn’t want to throw out all of my experience and start over! I had also finally just completed my BS in (of all things) Computer Science. I knew that my knowledge and experience were valuable – if only someone would hire me and let me prove it.

        I am now a Director with a smaller company (13 staff $300 mil) about 15 minutes drive from my house. My old job was 1.5 hours away in NYC. While I make slightly less, I am very happy. I also realize I am very lucky to have found this job and worry about the future of my career.

        I remember all the predictions 20 – 25 years ago that IT was the career of the future. I need to get another 20 years or so out of it and I wonder if that will be possible.

        So to answer the question ? Am I better off that I was 5 years ago? The short answer is yes ? but I was slapped with a wake-up call that still leaves a ringing noise in my head.

      • #3304552

        Yes, but is this an issue of geography?

        by braindad ·

        In reply to Definitely much worse than 5 years ago

        Five years ago, I had a great job as an IT Manager that paid very well. This was in retail, and the company decided to cut back staff to better compete with Wal-Mart. So I am out of a job (along with many others), but have rebounded to a position in education. The hours and benefits are great, but the pay is much lower. I am glad that my wife is a working professional and we have not had to change our lifestyle very much.

        The biggest problem in the Midwest is that manufacturing jobs are also leaving, shutting down companies and leaving a glut of IT workers in the wake. Except for a few opportunities in large healthcare organizations, it is pretty dead around here! Are things better in other parts of the country?

        • #3304542

          Yes, issue of geography

          by ubergeek ·

          In reply to Yes, but is this an issue of geography?

          Pretty much the midwest sucks when it comes to IT work. At
          least the area I’m in, Ohio/Indiana region, there’s just not much
          out there. This is especially true if you’re not in one of the big
          cities.

          I’ve had a lot of offers from other areas, just nothing around
          here. So, I’m at a small college. The pay is bad, but some of the
          benefits are good, like 4 weeks paid vac and unlimited sick
          time(this comes in handy when my daughter gets sick and I need
          to take off). Also the atmosphere at the college I’m at is VERY
          relaxed. Not much pressure about deadlines and getting things
          done because there’s money riding on it. That I like. I don’t
          know if I want to get back into corporate America… too cut
          throat.

        • #3313940

          Ditto

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to Yes, but is this an issue of geography?

          Things are similar in Central NY. Companies (and people) are leaving in droves and there are no IT jobs here.

          I too am in a low paying position in education. The benefits are great, what with free tuition for my kids. But I only have one kid left, and I should be able to make up for the tuition benefit if I move elsewhere. (Which I am looking to do.)

        • #3313935

          Re: Geography

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Yes, but is this an issue of geography?

          I’ve had two jobs (still at the second) since retiring from the military, but to date I have yet to actually go out looking for work. People I knew-knew that I would be looking for work and they knew people and the phone calls were pouring in. I felt/feel extremely fortunate because the whole notion of having to look for a job seemed quite stressful. The point I guess is that there are jobs out there. As I stated in another post employers can afford to be selective about who they hire and pay less than what the position could actually earn. I’ve read that 80% of positions are filled because someone knows someone (networking) and the other 20% are filled in the blind. I’ve also read a while back that in the IT sector, despite what the media presents, there are a lot more jobs being filled than there are layoffs.

        • #3313930

          Re: Re: Geography

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Re: Geography

          Forgot to mention that I’m located in Southern California.

        • #3326073

          Geography is a factor but overall the downturn has been huge

          by oliverllc ·

          In reply to Yes, but is this an issue of geography?

          I’m in Southern California and I’ve witnessed a huge drop in IT contract rates as well as job opportunities. It seems that the most active sector in the IT job market is government contract work. I don’t think our area took quite the hit that some areas did due to the large military presence and the government contract work.

      • #3299184

        MUCH WORSE but trying to scratch and claw my way back

        by zoseri ·

        In reply to Definitely much worse than 5 years ago

        Hi,

        Great diversity of responses here. People in my group, the IT elders, seem to be faring worse than anyone, seemingly because they are obsolete or overqualified (if not just too damn old, though nobody would admit that). Personally, I am much worse off financially, currently working at a 60% cut from my last real IT job, although up from the 80% pay cut I was operating on for a while…

        I got my CS degree in 1981 and had gone from Software Engineer, up to Principal Software Engineer when I got the 2001 kick in the teeth. I had largely kept my skills up to date, but at my last job, had been held back from this because the big contracts were for enhancing legacy systems (Unix/C++) and I was too busy to go, for example, and learn Java on my own. Besides, I was being thrown stock options and bonuses right and left, so what did I care?

        A year before I was laid off I was making 98K and had stock options that had a value (had they been fully vested) of about 350K! Fast forward one year later? Options are gone (company stock went from $130 to $9 per share in a matter of months) and so is my job.

        2 1/2 years later…I have worked in a department store…did a small contract as an admin person but also doing a website for $19 an hour. Now I am about to start a 40K/year job. Sigh!

        However, I like to think that I am investing in my future. Although the job pay is low, the work involves using state-of-the-art tools. I am hoping that by doing this project for a small company I will become marketable again. Time will tell.

        In the meantime, I struggle, not only with the lack of money, but the lack of respect. I feel that I am treated as a technician rather than an engineer.

        I did try certifications. Got certified in Java Programming and J2EE development but it didn’t buy me anything, because of the lack of on-the-job experience. Now, the job I am taking will be another shift, using .Net technology. I will probably get my cert there, too, eventually, and hopefully the on-the-job will make the difference.
        The work is to build a proprietary application to manage company databases, and help automate their business processes. I look forward to putting the words “business processes” on my resume.

        This company originally hired me as a $12 an hour typist, so I guess I should be grateful after all to have parlayed it into development work. I am only hoping that it will pay off at some point.

        Has anyone else had any similar experience in kind of carving out their own opportunity (trading money for skill enhancement) and having it work for them, or am I just flailing in the ill winds again?

        BTW, some people brought up geography. I live in Massachusetts, which used to be an IT mecca of sorts, and things are terrible here with so many out of work IT professionals. In fact, MA was one of only a very few states that lost population in the last count (not sure of the time frame). I hope all those that left were in IT!!! Anything to increase my chances…

        Good luck to all the posters. Most of us seem to need it.

      • #3323718

        Infintely much worse

        by donweinstein ·

        In reply to Definitely much worse than 5 years ago

        In my case things are much worse. I’ve been laid off from my network postion at IBM for 8 months now, still unable to find work. IBM was in mood to get pinpoint experts in tiny fields to do consulting work. I’m very embittered. The entire IT industry is tanking, with outsourcing, consulting, long Dilbert hours, and exhaustion, I’m fed up with it.

    • #3303811

      A job is what you make it.

      by zlitocook ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I have been in IT for a short time, six years but I have been using computers for about fifteen years. So I have been through the server room boom to the PC and internet blast. I did not get a ton of money as so many others did. To survive you need to learn as much as you can, about as many things as you can. I am a Generalist I work with any Window O/S and Linux systems. I have used any programs that I can and do what is needed at each job. I might unbox new computers and set them up or set a new GPO for the new COO.I can do what they need. But the money is now in the corp. hands. You need to place your self in the middle.

      • #3303584

        uncertain future

        by secure_lockdown9 ·

        In reply to A job is what you make it.

        to be honest – a big thing that swarms my mind is should i stay in IT or get out now while i can falrly easily learn something new?

        it’s easy to be confident and full of yourself when you are young – but you got a long time left til retirement – and a very long time to toil and tiumoil in the labour force! the question is, will you have a job in IT all them time? if due to circumstances out of your control, you get ousted from IT, can you get back in? if the result worth the effort?

        we seem to be seeing many very experienced people complaining that they can get a job. and everyone knows, experience is worth more than certs or education.

        • #3316987

          Re: future

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to uncertain future

          I think one of the fatal errors that are made is that a lot of people count on their experience to carry them. There is much more to being able to get and hold a job than experience. In fact I would say that experience is probably not even the strongest factor is some hiring. These days there are plenty of employers that are willing to allow a new hire grow into their position (gain experience on the job). This I believe is true in any industry, not just IT.

        • #3135358

          confidence in the face of uncertainty

          by zyphlar ·

          In reply to uncertain future

          i would stay in IT, but continue to expand your abilities and remain flexible.

          remain flexible. that’s the biggest thing to remember in the open market. don’t lock yourself in with an associate technician degree, don’t lock your perspective by looking in a certain field in a certain place.

          maybe years from now, IT will totally disintegrate. who knows? in the meantime, gain general skills that will help you in any job, and constantly keep your finger on the pulse of the workforce.

          don’t think there’s a magic job out there that you can land and stay secure until retirement. those days are over.

          you can whine all you want when your sector gets eliminated, but it’s not the government’s fault that you don’t want to pick yourself up and try something else. (ever thought of becoming a consultant? what about moving to india? some of the best experiences of our lives are the result of something distasteful.)

    • #3303756

      No

      by packratt ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Are we better off? No.

      5 years ago I had a decent full time job with benefits working sane hours. My family was healthy and we had stable housing. We had no fears of not having enough to eat and the threat of losing employment was not always at the forefront of my thoughts.

      Now. I have not been able to find stable employment for quite some time, take temp gigs and contracts where I can find them with no benefits whatsoever. My wife is sick again and we cannot afford a doctor because we have no insurance and no steady income. We lost our home and move around to find jobs like nomads, one step away from homelessness. There were days that we went without food and we never know what will happen from day to day.

      I’ve been in IT for almost 12 years now. I used to be a steelworker and got into IT because it was something I had a strong aptitude for and there was no future in working at steel mills, little did I know there was no future in IT.

      Would I do the same thing again? If I knew then what I know now? Well, many years before I went into that career I ran a BBS and played around with networks and programming as a hobby, occationally helping others with problems. If I had my wish it would still be a damn hobby and I would have went back to college for something else.

      Good luck.

      • #3299283

        (side comment – medical)

        by crawk ·

        In reply to No

        If you live in the US…

        Not-for-profit hospitals (most are NPF) are required to treat all individuals regardless of ability to pay, including their clinics. Catholic hospitals seem to be the ones to take this most to heart in their charter.

        If your wife’s illness happens to fall under the Social Security Admin’s list of disabling conditions (doc available at ssa.gov), sign her up for SSDI, SSI, Medicaid, whatever you can (can be done online).

        Instability of income coupled with a chronic illness, even one not qualifying as an official disability, or some chronic illnesses all by themselves, may entitle one to State/County assistance.

        Many conditions have their own online advocacy groups that may be able to help with resources.

        Now, by way of caveat, I do know one couple who has fallen through every single crack (very frustrating), but only one.

        Help is out there; keep looking. Holler if I can help.

        • #3299232

          Thanks

          by packratt ·

          In reply to (side comment – medical)

          Thanks for the advice, sounds like it comes from experience.

          Our situation is a bit more complex than that and my wife wouldn’t appreciate me going any further into it.

          Needless to say, as of a couple years ago her ilness was not in the list of those covered by SSI and she hasn’t worked long enough to have earned any SS.

          When we have gone to the ER when her pain was too much for her to deal with, we were turned away with a just a perscription for pain medication (which my wife doesn’t like to take because she got addicted once), and told to go make an appointment with a doctor’s office, (which we can’t afford to do).

          See, she needs a lot of really expensive diagnostics done and a major surgery, something the doctors know I think, so they play hot potato as long as they can until her condition becomes critical and they cannot pass her off with a script and a quick exam. (sometimes even they refuse to look at her old charts and won’t do any tests and say there is nothing wrong without an examination).

          Her condition is considered one of the most painful disorders a person can suffer from so there are some support groups, but they haven’t been too helpfull for her.

          Besides, with two young kids I would have to take months off work if she was admitted for the surgery she needs, and as a temp worker we can’t afford that time without pay, she would get out of the hospital to live with us in the streets. She knows this and refuses to see doctors now, even when I try to get her to go.

          If things improve I will look into some of those options again, but for now there are no options but surviving as we have been doing.

        • #3294072

          Re: Thanks

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Thanks

          Don’t give up on this. Continue to press the issue with the emergency rooms, doctors, media if appropriate, your elected representatives, etc. I actually thought that emergency rooms were required by law to treat anyone that comes in. Perhaps that’s only here in California. In any case there must be a solution, especially if your wife’s condition is as serious as you indicated.

        • #3291944

          To a degree

          by packratt ·

          In reply to Re: Thanks

          First, like I said, a lot of the issue isn’t even the problems with being uninsured and the loopholes involved there but the fact that we’re on financial thin ice and any interuption to the paychecks will be devastating. There were days my family didn’t eat when I was in between contracts last year, I don’t want to see that happen again.

          But, as far as what happens… ER rooms are required to examine and treat anyone who seeks treatment, but that treatment is at the doctor’s discretion as to whether or not it’s something that is sufficiently critical to require admittance to the hospital or can be defered to a GP or family doctor for further tests and treatment instead.

          The crack in the net is thus, if the condition is not critical enough to require immediate attention all they have to do is look at you, advise you to make an appointment with your doctor, and send you on your way with a perscription or whatever have you.

          Eventually we’ll figure something out, either that or eventually it will be critical and the issue will be forced.. It’s just frustrating that she has to endure treatable pain needlessly in the interim.

          *added after post:
          Oh, and yes, I have been in contact with several people including the media, was in a few papers and a televised interview with an international news org.

          I’m not one to lay down and play dead.

      • #3316985

        Re: No

        by vltiii ·

        In reply to No

        It’s never too late to go back to school. I understand in your current situation you probably can’t afford it, but I recommend you do a little research. The government for starters has many not very well known programs that can be put to good use. Since you have internet access do some searching. You may be able to find something within the government (or elsewhere) to ease your family’s discomfort/worries, even if only a little.

        • #3316976

          Thanks

          by packratt ·

          In reply to Re: No

          Indeed, I would go back to college if it were an option… Not just because this career choice is no longer sufficient to support my family, but also because I’m having trouble seeing the worth or value of doing what I do in the larger scheme of things.

          The problem is not just the cost of tuition itself but the cost in terms of time away from work while retraining and that since my wife has health problems she relies on me to help her when I’m “home”. (I keep resisting calling the hotel room “home, sorry).

          For right now, going into a different line of work just isn’t an option unfortunately. Thank you for the suggestion though.

    • #3303744

      I wish I knew what else to do

      by tellangon ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Five years ago seems an eternity. I had no real worries then. I was in demand. I had enough money to make ends meet & a bit more for the first time in my then 15 year career. It seemed like the hard work was finally paying off.

      Since then, I have been downsized twice and have started a business then went down in flames with it. This year is better. Life is all the way up to “sucks”.

      My daughter is headed off to college next year. I have no idea what to advise her on a solid career path.

      Is life better than five years ago? No. Is it better than 5 years from now? I certainly hope not.

      • #3298876

        Try this

        by wrlang ·

        In reply to I wish I knew what else to do

        Man I hear ya.

        My kids look to me for answers to the hard questions, but don’t always follow my advice.

        Here’s what people need to do. Go to the Goverment website http://www.bls.gov/home.htm and find out which jobs are forecast to be in demand for the area(s) that the person wants to live in. Go from the top of the list down until they find 5 things they may want to do. Talk with people actually doing the job to determine if the bad points of the job are acceptable. Thats the choices in education and career paths they should make now.

        Let them know that the average person makes at least 3 career changes in their lifetime, so they may start out as a server admin and end up in customer account management, it all part of life, don’t be afraid of it.

        Stop aganozing over whether you really want to do this for the rest of your life because you probably wont. Just get an education that will provide enough pay to get you on your feet and make any career changes you may need to.

        Take some money management courses because very few people can actually manage money, most let the bills manage their money for them.

        Stay far away from credit cards and paycheck loans. To build a credit rating, use a credit card only for filling the gas tank and then pay it off right away. Young wives must always get a card in their name only and build a credit rating for themselves, totally separate from the husband.

        Kids tend to look at monthly payments, as monthly payments – I don’t have to worry about it until the end of the month. Break it down into hourly wages for them. A person works 2000 hrs/yr. If car insurance is $2000/yr, then $1/hr is going to car insurance. If rent is $1000/month, thats $12000/yr and $6/hr. The realization that they need a job paying at least $12/hr to support themsleves they way they want to live.

        I’ve had mixed results with my 3 kids over 18. One just wants a job to fund the nightlife. One is in a carpentry apprenticeship with network admin as a second career path. The last one is headed toward US Customs with a second in law enforcement or (deep breath) Military Police.

        Hope that helps.

        • #3298831

          great suggestions

          by dmartin@it ·

          In reply to Try this

          Good post wrlang…all of your suggestions are particularly important – especially in times of turbulent employment.

          I was downsized from my job of 5 years at a big computer firm a couple of years ago – but i was lucky enough to use all of my skills – not just the IT ones – to get a better job.

          It was only about 3 or 4 months I was out of work, and fortunately was covered during that time with severance pay. I know others have had a much harder time of things in the industry, so i am thankful of all the good fortune.

          Wrlang made a very good point in that most people will change career paths 2 or 3 times during their working life. This is due not only to fluxuations in what careers are saleable, but also due to your own personal growth.

          Who knows, maybe I will want to develop some other skill 10 years from now that may or may not make me more money. However, that change may make me more happy…who knows.

          I also like the point wrlang made about reducing expenses – we cut our cable and one cell phone when I lost my job…we got so used to this that we stayed that way for a year even after I got the better paying job.

          Anyway, there’s my two cents worth…

        • #3304591

          Nice Site – Thanks

          by driv ·

          In reply to Try this

      • #3317585

        I believe it?s as good as you make it

        by tracks ·

        In reply to I wish I knew what else to do

        I have been in IT for 12 years now. Sure salaries have dropped but did you really think that these CIO?s of the internet boom would keep making salaries deep into the 6 figures? I believe we have finely found some stability in the industry. Personally, certs did nothing for me nor did the MBA. What made the difference was finding the right company that fit me. I have met several people that have MCSE and all the certs that still really don?t know where the on switch is on a PC. I always ask myself ?How well do you really know your job? you have to answer that question realistically. Than adjust your knowledge base for better performance. In conclusion, you need to like what you do and set a standard for yourself as to what your worth and don?t accept less.

      • #3304637

        don’t we all

        by admin17 ·

        In reply to I wish I knew what else to do

        I was laid off in July from an administration position that I at least mostly enjoyed. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to have a few consulting jobs to supplement my scholarship income, but it’s definately not been as worry-free as before.

        As far as college suggestions, I’ve been wrestling with that myself recently. I started the semester with plans only to get a BBA in MIS, but have since decided to add Accounting as a second major. Accounting is and has pretty much always been solid and IT functions are closely tied to Accounting functions (back in the day, it was a department of Accounting). I would recommend more of an emphasis in business for anyone entering college now, however make sure that you like what you are getting into. I made the decision not based solely on money and job security, but my interest in the field.

        • #3298039

          Cringing…

          by rrainsbe ·

          In reply to don’t we all

          .. is my reaction when I hear IT types look to accounting as a good career move. As an accountant I will grant that the two areas are extremely compatible. However, whose jobs do you think those were that were being replaced by productivity gains due to tech advances of the last 6-8 years? And now they are just as likely to be outsourced overseas as IT jobs. Salaries have fallen, jobs are harder to come by without very specific skills such as SarBox or IT auditing. Claims you see in the press to the contrary are, I suspect, largely due to press releases from the AICPA.

      • #3326123

        I left IT to become a real estate appraiser

        by oliverllc ·

        In reply to I wish I knew what else to do

        At the height of the dot-com boom I was making 175K/year as an IT contractor. Subsequently, my hourly rate took a 40% drop, then the contract market in my area totally dried up. My only option was making a 60-70K/yr salary with an hour+ commute each way and a lot of free overtime. I did some soul searching as far as my interests/abilities/etc. and ended up taking a job as a County property tax appraiser 3 years ago. I love it! It will take me about 2-3 more years to get to the 60K salary I passed up BUT I have job security, a pension, no commute, no free overtime, and I like the work more that I liked IT work. The downside is that my wife now has to work, which she did not before. We don’t spend money like we used to but that’s OK too. There’s a lot to be said for peace of mind. One of the things I like about my new field is that your skills don’t become outdated overnight. Aaaaaaaaah; this is what a normal work-life feels like. I’m loving it!

    • #3303685

      Very much worse.

      by dc_guy ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      In 1999 I was a contractor working for a consulting firm with a Y2K contract for a government agency. I had a huge salary, the largest I’ve ever earned. I was working away from home, but only a one-hour flight away. I was able to go home every weekend. The work was not onerous, no 80-hour weeks, I was learning a lot about IT, and my career seemed to be on the upswing.

      Today, after a year and a half of unemployment during the past five years due to the 9/11 consulting recession, I have a salaried job thousands of miles from home. I get to go home twice a year. My salary is the same as I was making in 1995 and I’m lucky to have it. My job duties are the same as I had in 1991 and I’m lucky to have them. The job is in an area that feels like an alien planet to me. I have no career future, but I do have job security. Just not enough income to build up a retirement portfolio.

      My life is infinitely worse than it was five years ago and shows no signs of possible improvement.

      • #3298780

        What have I got myself into?

        by molinyk ·

        In reply to Very much worse.

        It is depressing reading many of the responses. I changed my career from an automotive mechanic to IT looking for greener pastures, BUT …. I just finished my degree in April 2004 and just started paying back my student loan and just turned 42.
        I couldnt believe a friend’s wages being a nurse -Why didnt I do that?
        I suppose I could go back to the automotive business – I hear its on the upswing ….
        Live and Learn .

        • #3298728

          IT + Mechanic = Performance Tuning

          by badamson ·

          In reply to What have I got myself into?

          If you are experienced in both Auto Mechanics & IT (especially programming), I would suggest you look for a career in tuning cars for performance. There is a lot of money to be made in that area in most major cities in the US.

        • #3319078

          You’ve hit the nail on the head

          by sdhanraj ·

          In reply to What have I got myself into?

          Aah, nursing…

          I work not in nursing but in healthcare (clerical based) and have noticed that out of diapers there are those with an ASSOCIATE (that’s only two years of schooling) are making @50-55k starting.

          I have a BS in Biochemistry and let me tell you these people have not a clue about healing but are pulling in that starting salary.

          A shortage in nursing might be mimicking IT, but you can’t just lay off nurses like in IT.

          In the downturning economy (I believe that things will only get worse in the US) nursing has a not been affected, like IT.

          May be you should think about nursing or at least something in the healthcare profession to ensure security.

          Hey, the bar has been lowered in nursing also because they used to hire only RN’s with a 4 year degree now it’s 2year ASSOCIATEs.

          IT’s revenue is variable because you can opt to do without while in healthcare the well being in lives is not an option. Also the gov is putting much money into healthcare and that might become useful as these hospitals pursue a totally computerized format.

          I’ve learned that IT Pro are always on the current edge of information and that is a curse that gives us our value, while the nursing/md professional is latent in knowledge pending protocols and treatments that are to be approved in whose ever is controlling the treatment’s time.

          In other words if the cure existed then you wait for a global adoption. And you suffer now (or die). IT moves rapdily and institutes solutions much more rapidily.

          While, IT would be using the newest cutting edge technology to save money.

          Healthcare is very ineffcient and wasteful with money.

          So you can see that in an economic climate where money now becomes a commodity, how IT, who is suppose to streamline costs, now is sidelined because it it now too expensive as a solution. (also outsourcing, etc)

          I was considering nursing but ONLY for the money and stability.

          I care too much for others to do a job just for money, but economics governs us all.

          As for IT, technology will return but in the mean time you still have to eat.

          You mentioned a very viable solution to the job crisis.

          SD

        • #3304669

          DO NOT take a career just for the money!

          by cswearingen ·

          In reply to You’ve hit the nail on the head

          You choose a career in something that can keep you interested in doing it for 8-12 hours a day for years on end. I’ve been in IT for only 7 years. My mother has been a nurse for 35 years or more. I’ve known doctors and nurses all my life.

          I can tell you that to take a job in nursing just because there’s a shortage is a HUGE mistake. Nursing isn’t about the money you can make. It’s about caring for people! It’s not a glamour job at all. I’ve heard my mother tell stories that’ll eitehr turn your stomach or break your heart (and sometimes both).

          The people that would go into nursing for the money are the one’s you’ll see on the news being arrested for abusing/neglecting patients. I don’t want my family member (or myself) being treated by such a person. Do you?

        • #3304625

          Leaving IT for Nursing

          by tmana37 ·

          In reply to You’ve hit the nail on the head

          I?m former USAF security police, former Federal Corrections Officer, who went to a tech school and became a paper cert in NT 4.0.
          Got hired at Compaq and have since been in IT for 5 years . At one time I was certified on different Windows certs, Servers, Storage, and Sans but got burned out chasing certs and trying to keep them updated. I have survived several lay offs and have just barley stayed a step ahead of the ax. I?ve seen and spoken with so many talented, educated, certified people who have been laid off and unemployed. I have friends with bachelors in Information Technology along with certs who have been laid off and either unable to find IT jobs or having to move far away in order to find jobs. Other?s have experienced age discrimination and other?s have given up on IT all together. I have several co-workers, one who received a bachelors in business and another who just received an MBA, both looking to get out of IT. I?m also surrounded by H1B-Visa employees from India. I walk by their cubicles, where my fellow co-workers used to set and see the faxes and copies for application for H1B Visa extensions and ?how to apply for US Citizenship? I?m so sick of all this outsourcing.
          After seeing and experiencing all of this, I started looking around for another career. I like helping people, it?s what I?ve done for most of my adult life. A neighbor of mine suggested I look into Nursing and the more I looked, the more interested I became.

          I?m currently working on my pre-req?s and plan to apply for Nursing School in the spring of 2006. The good thing about Nursing is the skills do not become obsolete over night, nor do you have to chase after paper certs. The education and continuing classes only benefit you more and you can continue working on different skills or pursuer different fields. The education and classes aren?t wasted and the opportunities are amazing. Nor, is there isn?t age discrimination. Not that I plan to work when I’m 70, but the Nurse at my son’s pediatrian is in her 70’s and just loves her job. Tell me, do you know anybody in IT who’s that old and loves their job? At 38yrs of age, I need a career not just a job. Nursing has scalability, flexibility, mobility, profitability, the opportunity for job satisfaction and
          Scrubs 😉
          IT is a rough business and it?s tough out there. I wish everyone the best of luck in their endeavors

        • #3304603

          Be sure that’s really what you want

          by *artemis* ·

          In reply to Leaving IT for Nursing

          You didn’t mention whether or not you have patient care experience…if you don’t, I would strongly recommend that you volunteer at a nursing home or hospital, or become a nurse’s aide. I am an RN that went to IT to get out of nursing, and though I don’t get paid as much I’m much happier in IT. Money isn’t everything when you dread punching that clock every day. Yes, there are many opportunities in nursing, and it tends to pay well. They need to offer good pay and signon bonuses, etc because they can’t attract enough people to the profession. You have to consider why there is a shortage in the first place. Only those who truly love nursing have staying power, everyone else seems to want to find a way out or want out but are afraid to make such a change at that point in their lives.
          If you enjoy working with the elderly, have a strong stomach, react well to stress and are good at organization and multitasking, go for it. Just test the waters first if you can. I don’t mean to scare people away from nursing, it is a very rewarding profession for many people. But those considering it need to really know what they’re in for before taking the plunge.

        • #3313983

          Artemis

          by tmana37 ·

          In reply to Be sure that’s really what you want

          Artemis,

          I’ve spoken to many RN’s and have yet to find one that didn’t like their job. As a former Corrections Officer, I’ve seen a LOT! I don’t have a weak stomach and believe there are more options in the medical field than in IT.
          If you have the time, I would like to discuss this more with you. You can email me at Tman6366@yahoo.com
          Thanks

        • #3313807

          Point of View

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to Artemis

          A lot depends on what nurses you have come in contact with. I’ve worked with a lot of RN’s in a health insurance company. Very few of them enjoyed being an RN. I have also worked with nursing students. About 20% of them were only after the degree, they had no intention of being a practicing nurse.

          And in nursing it is not called certification, it is called licensing.

        • #3291889

          Re: nursing

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Leaving IT for Nursing

          I’m not sure I agree with your assessment of nursing not having to continuously chase certs. Nurses are licensed professionals that must remain proficient in their trade to keep their license. They may not have to do so as often as an IT professional, but it does have to be done. There are advances in medicine as well as medical procedures all the time. There also are varying levels within the nurses profession, LVN, RN, emergency room nurse, surgical nurse, specialty nurses, etc, just to name a few.

        • #3291835

          Nursing and chasing certs

          by sdhanraj ·

          In reply to Re: nursing

          Nursing is a field with diminishing returns in terms of salary with regards to educational effort.

          Advancing in anything medically related takes time in education (years) to advance. IT was just as long as eg. MCSE cert.. Definite advantage for IT. So market was innundated with paper certs. Now you get a handle on that by demanding a certain years of experience. So IT was commoditized.

          Nursing for STARTERS with an ASSOCIATE (2yrs) (yes bar was lowered from RN degress 4yrs due to shortage) will command 50-60k. That’s the hook to get you in the profession. Continue your education and the pay increase is less per effort. Nurses don’t have to assimilate NEARLY as much information as IT professionals because the field is handicapped by legalities/restrictions. In other words, just be a medical waitress and do your procedural and legal tasks and you can keep your job. There is no pressure to constantly upgrade your knowledge base or specialize.

          KNOW your function and you are paid for that. That’s your proficiency.

          You’ve mentioned specialities and you never have to venture into specialities to keep a nursing job. Also with anything that commands more money, there is more to learn. That is an option in nursing but the norm in IT. In IT, you don’t know, then bye, bye.

          Hint for nursing – Get basic licensing ASSOCIATE and then do loads of overtime and I guarantee that you will make more than the specialities with less worries than they do.

          There is no modesty in medicine and the pathogens, body fluids, pew de toilette are the trade offs. Big trade off.

          I work with nurses and I am just amazed at the state of deficiency in proficiency that commands that type of salary.

          I know loads of nurses (work alongside them) that don’t really know anything about medicine, just their function, and making 50-60k. While my knowledge is more expansive and always cutting edge in regards to the next new treatment. (Hmm sounds like the IT attidude in medicine..hmmm)

          Also nursing has had the stability during a downturn in the economy. IT got killed. Stability, you can’t put a price on that.

          I care too much for people to just do a job for money especially medicine. I work with nurses and they tell me “don’t do it”. But I know that most people that are going into nursing are doing it for the money.

          You don’t have to specialize to make the big bucks, just do the overtime. The knowledge base is more legacy based than cutting edge.

          What so you say to Phd’s and physicists making less than nurses?? I guess it is the same as people complaining that NBA players make so much.

        • #3301488

          Re: Nusing

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Nursing and chasing certs

          What you’ve described here is someone whose motivation, ambitions, etc, can’t possibly get any lower. Of course they may be able to get by with the least effort. I personally think that is also true in the IT industry. I also can’t imagine that anyone who has so little interest in bettering themselves would be interested in putting in overtime. I’ll agree that advancing oneself doesn’t guarantee professional advancement, but it certainly puts you in a better position. If the only concern is whether big bucks can be made, then I think that mindset is probably part of the problem.

        • #3124042

          You’re not the only nursing student

          by foothillscg.com ·

          In reply to Leaving IT for Nursing

          A good friend of mine got downsized twice. His wife is working full time while he goes to school full time and pulls double-shifts on the weekends at an old folks’ home.

          Can’t outsource cleaning up vomit. After he graduates and gets about a year of experience, he’ll be able to work anywhere.

          I met two nurses who specialtize in surgery, and hospitals paid for their room and board, too. They were touring the country by going from hospital to hospital. I met them outside their marina-side apartment in Marina del Rey, CA, where those places were going for $2300/month, minimum.

          I don’t remember if it’s 45% or 55% of the nursing profession is nearing retirement age in the next 5 years…

          Also, more and more computing is being integrated into the medical professions.

          I also have another friend who used to implement computer-controlled medical equipment in a large HMO. He was one of the few people doctors there treated with something close to respect. He knew how to use the equipment better than they did, and they needed him to do their jobs!

        • #3344331

          Nursing…agreed

          by etan ·

          In reply to You’ve hit the nail on the head

          I’m not in healthcare anymore but do keep my nose in it because my neighbor is a charge nurse for a hospital.

          Here are some articles on nursing shortage:
          http://tinyurl.com/4hnu4
          http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/reporter/?ID=2121
          http://tinyurl.com6om3n
          http://www.acn.nche.edu/media/Backgrounders/shortagefacts.htm
          http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/nursing/shortage.htm

          Somewhere I read that NY city was short 10,000 nurses while Florida was similar or higher.

          I’m now a network admin and have taken a 60% pay cut in the past 5 years. We were on full time but now on 90% time. At one time we were at 80% time. So now I work 50 hours a week to keep the network up but cannot complain. Lucky to have the job that I love. We barely make ends meet, sometimes borrowing money from bank’s LOC to pay for wife’s re-education. She’s going into dentistry. Can’t wait until we start paying $30,000 a year in tuition! That’s almost what I take home now. Wonder how we can afford that? Sell the house, I guess.

          I know a network admin who moved to a small retirement town in Arizona, setup shop as ISP and does computer repairs for retirees. He’s making a killing. Wish I had the same fortitude but at 48 I now tend to be more cautious.

          So am I better off than 5 years ago? Definitely not.

    • #3303679

      Yes & No….

      by yorkqh ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 Years ago I was a Senior Consultant with a consulting company. I was a victim of the IT downswing with the dotcom industry – and after being unemployed for about 9 months took a position as a network analyst, subsequently promoted to network administrator and then to Director of the department. So, yes my fortunes have changed – employment wise. Bad News – my salary is LESS today than it was 5 years ago.

      Good News again – I’m on my 4th interview for a CIO position for a firm where the CFO use to manage the IT folks. They want a more technical person with business skills to manage the technical strategy of the corporation. I’m hoping that I get this dream job, however I’m not sure that IT will be as it was – it seems off-shore outsourcing is more the norm these days…

      • #3304699

        Critical Concept — Business Skills

        by caharib6 ·

        In reply to Yes & No….

        You touched on something that a LOT of IT folks ignore–business skills. Having solid or even great IT skills just isn’t enough anymore.

        After being reorganized out of a job twice I went to work for a big bank and I quickly realized I had to learn something about banking so I could have intelligent discussions with my business-side customers. I enrolled in a Certificate in General Banking program at the local Community College and I’ve been doing great ever since. I’ve had two promotions over over the past 5 years and my salary is up over 30%. Most employers look at IT as a cost center, so my advice is to learn the business so that you can add more value to the company.

        • #3299237

          I agree-Saved my A**..

          by gaijinit ·

          In reply to Critical Concept — Business Skills

          Financially, I have lost some ground, but overall, I’m more happy now than 5 years ago.
          I have installed, tweaked, and trained customers’ engineers for large international telecom systems, from terminal hardware to Unix computer driven supervisory server/remote client networks for the 3rd largest manufacuturer of submarine cable systems in the world out of their Tokyo ofice (Japanese company), all as a result of a lot of hands-on work, self study, and good military (Navy) electronics training.
          I was the first foreigner they had ever hired and I helped organize and manage their overseas customer support services division starting 20 years ago, travelling all over the world about 60% -70% of the time (tiring). After me, they hired about 10 other non-Japanese, and as a result of the big telecom crash in 2001, they dropped me last year like an old suitcase, keeping the younger, less experienced and less qualified people that I had all trained. So I can sympathize with the earlier postings about ‘Age Discrimination Lives’.
          But my college time (cashing in on the GI bill after the military) resulted in a BS in Business Management. This combined with some minor graphic programs and HTML skills landed me a job with one of my old company’s subcontractors, (who had only production engineers and salesmen and were planning on expanding into the international market) at a bit lower salary, doing market research and fiscal forecasting for project implementation combined with project management and advertising.
          Now I’m only answerable to the company president, and have much more free rein for my own ideas and deal with a lot less bureaucratic nonsense.
          If not for the business skills, I never would have gotten this job, and overall, I am pretty happy with this change of jobs at my age (54). When the company’s business climate improves, so will my salary, so I am patient and enjoying my new role in the meantime. It’s no fun looking for a new job in IT at my age.
          For what it’s worth, I’ve always felt the most important skills were; 1. the willingness to relocate to where the jobs are (Tokyo is not very close to Michigan) 2. doing the best job you can for the pay you receive, 3. Don’t dwell too much on what others make, they have different skills/talents or sense of pride than you (sycophants are an international species) 4. keep an open mind to new ideas and conditions – things change (s**t happens) and you can either turn your back on it, or adapt to it, and 5. (maybe the most important) – remember, it’s just a job. You work to live, don’t live to work. Leave office problems at the office.

    • #3303677

      Yes & No….

      by yorkqh ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 Years ago I was a Senior Consultant with a consulting company. I was a victim of the IT downswing with the dotcom industry – and after being unemployed for about 9 months took a position as a network analyst, subsequently promoted to network administrator and then to Director of the department. So, yes my fortunes have changed – employment wise. Bad News – my salary is LESS today than it was 5 years ago.

      Good News again – I’m on my 4th interview for a CIO position for a firm where the CFO use to manage the IT folks. They want a more technical person with business skills to manage the technical strategy of the corporation. I’m hoping that I get this dream job, however I’m not sure that IT will be as it was – it seems off-shore outsourcing is more the norm these days…

    • #3303667

      well……for me anyways

      by trockii ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 years ago I was a punk 20 year old washing dishes for $6/hour. Now after 4 years active duty Air Force as a Network Administrator with experience in helpdesk, LAN configuration, router configuration, and firewall administration I have an excellent paying job with excellent benefits as Director of Information Technology. It took me 6 months to find this job but I can see myself staying here for 20+ years. I don’t have an associate’s degree nor any certs, just 4 years hands on experience with a network of over 3000+ users. Experience speaks volumes.

      • #3298757

        Thanks..

        by ljohnson ·

        In reply to well……for me anyways

        Thanks for a positive note!

        Hang in there. When I was your age I just started working on these “confusers” in a Law firm, the weekend before I interview for the job I practiced typing, I became their DP Manager, after 8 years it was time to move on. This last job I have been at for 6 years, I have never seen such a bunch of “Hard Candy Christmases” but things are looking up. I am making my salary average, I hope the same for all of you, if not more. Happy Holidays..

    • #3303658

      Need to go back further

      by jdmercha ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I’m doing a little beter than I was 5 years ago, as I have had the same job for the past 6 years. I’m doing much better than I was 9 years ago when I started in IT. But after 9 years in IT I have finally caught up to where I was before that, as a nucleaer engineer.

      • #3298724

        Lucky one

        by joe.canuck ·

        In reply to Need to go back further

        I guess I’ve been luckier then most. I retrained for IT at 30 and graduated in 89. Since then I have had progressively better jobs and last 6.5 years in a govt position, good benefits and salary, pension etc.. I met lots of folks on the way. During the late 90’s boom a lot of people went after the big contract bucks doing niche work, I just worked salaried for large outsource and integrators like System house. The beneift of that has been extremely wide exposure to every facet of the trade (and I consider IT a trade, similar to plumbing, rather than a profession). So now I’m a usefull person who can do just about anything in IT. I administer the network, Oracle DB’s all OS platforms and can take care of all the break fix. I debug and update code and do business process analysis and tuning. The important thing is to get into the business your’re in. If you are IT at an airline learn the airline business, etc.. Pure IT is dead, you need to be in step with the organization you serve and undestand their business mandates and goals. I work for the Provincial public transit system. I knew nothing about transit 6 years ago, I know almost as much as the professional transit planners do now, read all the trade magazines and attend conferences etc…. You gotta stretch yourself to survive and get ahead these day’s.

        • #3304715

          Stretch

          by razzy11 ·

          In reply to Lucky one

          Bruce Townsend is exactly correct. Old IT is out. I have been in IT since 1987 and it has changed. You now must now the business and the software. I know the business and software I support better than those doing the business. It is a must to be cream of the crop….My 2 cents…Thanks

      • #3304791

        Nope

        by briansnat ·

        In reply to Need to go back further

        5 years ago I was a mainframe systems programmer with a major corporation, involved with mainframe networking and MQ Series admininstration. I was a section leader with 3 people reporting to me and with my bonus, my salary would just crack 6 figures.

        I was downsized after 23 years with the company (and 27 years in IT), was hired as a consultant by said company, then let go after 4 months. I spent 11 months searching for a new job and finally landed one as a consultant making 50K. Half what I made 5 years ago.

        On the bright side the consulting firm I work for provides full benefits and though my current assignment (Its run nearly 10 months so far) is little more than a call center position (and I have to deal with shift work), subsequent assignments will hopefully be more challenging. I’m not sure how I’m going to deal with the travel involved and being away from my family though. I’m lucky in that my current assignment is just a few miles from home. The next one could be 3,000 miles away.

    • #3303633

      Absoultely – without a doubt

      by maxwell edison ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      .
      Without learning what I have from my experiences over the past 5 years, I would not be as prepared as I am to plan for the next 5.

      Is there a better way to look at it?

      • #3303586

        unhirable

        by secure_lockdown9 ·

        In reply to Absoultely – without a doubt

        i think a big concern on many minds is what happens when you reach the un-hirable stage in life and a downsize happens…. 🙁

        good luck someone giving you a high time commitment job when you hit your 50’s and they know you got a family to look after.

        • #3303539

          There’s always an option

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to unhirable

          .
          There’s absolutely ALWAYS an option. But a person just might have to look for it — perhaps in a different direction.

          If someone wouldn’t hire me, at least in what I consider a reasonable amount of time, I’d take it as an omen and I’d hire myself.

        • #3298506

          Amen to that

          by beljay3 ·

          In reply to unhirable

          Try being in your 60’s still needing to work for another 5 or so years and being a female in this business. You might just as well dig your grave and fall into it. For some reason employers believe you are no longer viable and worthy of having a high position. I was laid off for 13 months before finding my current job and am making 20,000 less that five years ago.

        • #3135355

          old is a state of mind

          by zyphlar ·

          In reply to Amen to that

          at a certain point, sure you’re too old for something. it might not be ageism, but something related (like compatibility with the current team). i helped hire a tech support position under me, and we turned down a highly qualified, confident 26 year old for a qualified and eager 18 year old. Why? The position was too small for the guy– he should be leading teams, not following orders.

          I don’t want to tell my elders what to do, but i would consider alternatives, like the comment about hiring yourself. Your years of experience could be worth gold in other places, like teaching, training, consulting, etc.

          You’re definitely more knowledgeable and experienced than me. I believe you can leverage that to your advantage and, with some creativity, come out for the better.

        • #3301450

          Re: unhirable

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to unhirable

          I think that mindset plays a part in someone not being desirable after age 50. Intentional or not those individuals send a mesaage about themselves. There are plenty of people that maintain professional careers and retire when they choose as opposed to being forced to do so. Clearly, being unhirable is a falacy created most likely by those that can’t effectively market themselves.

      • #3301487

        Re: absolutely

        by vltiii ·

        In reply to Absoultely – without a doubt

        I agree, and as a result you’re probably better prepared to set yourself up for success. I think too many that were around during the dot com boom are expecting those days to return. It’s unlikely they will. Career planning is the key and there is more to that than getting a cert, completing a degree program, etc.

    • #3304190

      Depends on how you define better off..

      by admin ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Financially … No. Do you call it losing in an overinflated market anyway? At any rate, small raises and several voluntary cuts to keep my position. Retirement instead of being Grand will now be acceptable until the first big Medical Blow and the days of getting a couple calls every month with offers or invitations have been gone almost three years now.

      On the other hand, I lived abroad a while and we in America are rich even if we are living below the poverty level so I have no complaints. I love what I do in IT and, well I am thankful for the following, cuz no matter how much money you have you get to share the most important things:

      I am thankful for-

      The Earth that holds us up as we travel upon it.

      Every Breath, in and out, that feeds our lives.

      Every drop of Water that is given to us to take in and quench our thirst.

      That somehow every day no matter what it seems like somehow there is nourishing Food available to eat.

      That there are other people to share this with 🙂

      These are the amazing everyday miracles that are so precious each day.

      I wrote that 🙂

      If you find someone without food, please share the wealth. Thats all I have to say about working in IT. If ya like it, do it whether it’s in a “Hot” spell or if it’s cooled off like it is now. You make enough to buy food and share it with others and feed your family and get to do something you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it, well do something else. The money is not here anymore, neither is the lack of qualified people. Go away if that’s what you are after and let someone else enjoy what you dislike. That is a great gift too.

    • #3304163

      Sort of

      by zaltech ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Today I am better off than 5 years ago when I moved to a different state and changed careers at 39 – still carry an up to date Master Electrician’s license just in case.

      I had no degree, but had run a part time computer company and had a couple of MS certs.

      I got about a 35% boost from my previous income by doing IT contracting. After a couple years of contracting I got laid off. After 3 months of that I ended up taking a position at a 20% pay cut from what my previous job paid, but a huge increase over unemployment.

      While I don’t get exposed to cutting edge here (and I miss that), I do have alot of autonomy which really makes it for me. I have had a 45% increase in my salary over the last 3 and a half years – of course the benefits keep shrinking and erode some of those raises.

      IT is tough these days and you can’t make it on just a degree, certifications, or experience. Now you have to have be the “total package” with all of them along with the ability to manage or “project manage”. It also doesn’t hurt to have some special knack that makes you desirable – I am no longer young, but the fact that I had done so many things prior to going IT has given me a plethora of oddball data packed away in my brain to seemingly use at just the right moment when that unique solution is needed.

      So overall I guess I am the same, a little more money, a little less benefits, but I can sleep at night.

    • #3298921

      Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      by mtmy ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Go for business degree or perhaps an MBA would be a better option! There are too many pure techies nowaday but if you can manage both technical & business; you’ll have the upperhand!!

      • #3298919

        Defanitely not better off

        by saqibz ·

        In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

        Five years ago with six years of database development/DBA experience behind my back, I was feeling on top of the world. Got a great job at a large corporation with a 3 figure salary and lots of benefits, then got laid off in early 2001. Things have gone down the drain ever since, had to change three countries to finally come a place which is a totally alien for me. The only good part is that I have been able to survive and have been able to provide for my family and have realized the true realities of life in the process.
        One does get anything for free, specially when there is so much competition. so if you want something really bad, work very very hard for it, it will be yours one day. I wake up every day, put on my best shoes and put in an honest effort, with a dream that things will change for the better and I will become what I have always dreamt to be and yes I will have financial independence one day.

        • #3304789

          Are you sane ?.

          by seanc ·

          In reply to Defanitely not better off

          You worked for a 3 figure salary. So at most, you only got $900 a year ?. Was this pocket money for eating your dinner or doing your home work on time ?. You were also feeling on top of the world but when you got laid off you had to change three countries. I’m sorry but you must mean 5 or 6 figure salary, right ?. I know this is a mistake but think about what you write before clicking on “submit”. It makes us wonder why you ever had a job in the first place !!!

        • #3299306

          I’m sure he is

          by rdcpro ·

          In reply to Are you sane ?.

          It never ceases to amaze me how many Americans perceive themselves as the center of the cultural universe. If you make money, it must be US Dollars, and if you get a salary, it must be based on an annual basis. And if you make a three figure salary, you only make $900.

          Last time I checked, the US Dollar was the currency of the US, but not necessarily the rest of the world. If you’ve been in IT very long, you surely must realize that there are people out there in other countries, with other currencies, who probably read and post to these forums. And who have, perhaps, other ways of thinking what a 3 figure salary means. Weekly? Daily?

          Cut him a break, and assume that “3 figure salary” in his culture means “pretty good.” That’s what I assumed.

          For my part, I’m an American, but I try to think globally.

        • #3345256

          Re: sure

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to I’m sure he is

          Amen! I couldn’t have said it better, even though I do find myself falling into the same arrogant traps you speak of from time to time.

        • #3345258

          Re: sanity

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Are you sane ?.

          Please speak for yourself, only!

      • #3304666

        It’s all a matter of perspective

        by ttmillard ·

        In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

        Five years ago I was working for a company on the bleeding edge of multicasting and video streaming. I was able to do a variety of different things (from network engineering to web / graphic design). It payed well and it was a mere 10 minutes from my house.

        Since then, the company folded, and I was forced out on my own for a good 10 months. I scraped by on consulting jobs through friends and associates, and probably could have made some sort of living out of it, but it was too much strain on the family.

        I’ve since picked up with a small consulting firm. On top of that I’m working a second job at night for a radio station and doing web sites on the side (I don’t know what free time is anymore).

        So I’m working twice as hard, and lucky if I’m making close to what I once was. On top of that, I can’t afford benefits for myself or my family because the company is too small and family rates around here are close to 1k a month.

        So better off? Hardly.

        I’ve been looking for other work, but the market is dead in the water. Recovery? Doubtful.

        It’s frustrating that I can’t provide simple things like health care for my family, but that’s a much larger problem that doesn’t have anything to do with IT.

        May be our government needs to step back and start taking a real hard look at what is happing to the American business (outsourcing, downsizing and layoffs, oh my)and see if there is anything that could be done.

        I’m really not bitter. Just discouraged. I love IT and every aspect of it, and I’ll diversify and work hard to make a living of it. I guess I should just thankful to be working and paying my bills.

    • #3298875

      Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      by richabel ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Yes but…

      I did go into a dip for about two years. I do consulting and took a hit in pocketbook by almost 1/3 for 2002 and 2003. I am now ahead of where I was in 2000 by about 25%. I have not gotten any certs either. I did however finish my MBA in 2003.

    • #3298868

      Yes, Yes, and Yes

      by prefbid ii ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 years ago is probably an unfair “mark on the wall”. You are talking about the time when there was a premium being paid for the Y2K scare. Everyone should look at those times as the “bonus” years and not as the standard.

      Personnally, I am doing about 22% better in pay and I have 50% more vacation time than I had back then. I also live in a MUCH nicer location. I work far fewer hours. My health benefits are not as nice and the corporate perks are definitely stingy compared to what I had before. Overall, I consider myself very fortunate to have the job that I am in. In the past five years I had to change jobs because of a buyout (I jumped ship 2 months before the mass layoff). I took a position cut, but I’ve managed to gain that back in the mean time. Even though position-wise I am the same as I was before, I have far less authority and the daily work grind is not really all that exciting.

      So, do I regret the choice that I have made? No, I am rather pleased with where I am at and what I am doing. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I had gone on to Medical School instead of this, but I don’t know if I would have liked it any better.

      For those of you who are out of work or are doing lack-luster jobs — look out of your box (especially if you are in the US). I just looked at our corporate web site and we have 24 IS positions open. Those are real postings and not any games that are being played (you would not believe the hassle we have to go through in order to post a job around here).

      Get over your phobia about leaving home and take a little bit of a risk. Sure there aren’t as many Silicon Valley jobs, but that doesn’t mean there are none anywhere. Maybe it means living in Kansas City or Duluth — but it beats unemployment.

      Most of the jobs my company has open are in North Carolina/Virgina area — so you people alergic to cold wouldn’t have to worry too much.

      Write me if you want the name of the company.

      If you are interested, write me and I’ll

    • #3298865

      Yes, but only because of my choices

      by wrlang ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Only you can make, or break, your lifes goals. The economy and outsourcing is convenient to blame, but it all comes down to the choices you make for yourself. OK, so I’m preaching.

      Out of highschool, I was going to get a job at a large manufacturing plant and live the typical life in my area. Those jobs dried up shortly after highschool ended, so I took a chance on IT, and paid for an IT cert. Worked my way around the IT field and hedged with a BBA. The IT jobs started to dry up, so I took a chance on the newer field of business continuity/resumption plannning. That field seems to be taking off now. If, not, there are several other paths that I’m looking at. Never been laid off, never taken a pay cut, never not gotten a raise, never lived from check to check (even with 3 kids) and have 24 months of investment cushion. You can never rest when it comes to your career. Managing your money also gives you more options and more time to make decisions.

      PS, http://www.bls.gov/home.htm employment outlook can help you decide on alternate career paths if your field begins to dry up.

    • #3298845

      Better than 5 ago but more concern next 5

      by renevelasco ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I was fortunate with my decision. I was a consultant riding the Y2K gravy train but knew it was going the end. I did great managing the project (who didn’t) the company made me an offer to come over to the dark side and gave me a management position. So i became a ‘paper pusher’ budgets, administrative, managing mulitple projects.

      Being in the 50+ crowd the next 5 years are more of a concern. I was around for the first wave of outsourcing in early 90’s that didn’t take but I think this time it will. The $$ savings are too great for CIO – CEO to overlook. That plus ‘smart software’ we are getting from ERP is making any developer look like COBOL programmer (I am one), don’t need them anymore.

    • #3298811

      Salaries have dropped quite a bit!!

      by dba88 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      As a consulting company that deals primarily with business applications, I can tell you with certainty, that our salaries have dropped briskly over the past five years. To a large extent, this is due to global market forces driving down the costs to companies that use outside IT services (pretty much across the board). I’m not disparaging any one country or singling anyone out, but India has done much to erode the salary base in the US. I think everyone already knows that and there’s no real need here to belabor this point. It has already been discussed to death and it’s not going to change. My advice is to either deal with it, re-tool or leave the IT profession for something that’s a bit more offshore / outsource proof, like law or most aspects of healthcare / life sciences. You’re safe with law because they have implanted enough barriers and safeguards to keep outside countries out except for a few tasks and activities that can be sourced out. Many of our consultants enjoyed very good livings five years ago. Those involved with SAP implementations could enjoy six figure incomes quite handily. If you’re an employer / client, would you rather pay $160 per hour for an SAP, PeopleSoft, etc. consultant, or would you rather pay $55 per hour to get roughly the same knowledge from a consultant from India? Sure, there will be some language and communications pushups, but no big major deal. To be brief, a senior level consultant five years ago, making $110,000, now earns about $70,000. Many have been replaced with H1 and L1 folks from India. These people are tickled to death earning $50,000 per year. So, until we bite this offshore / outsource thing in the butt, lower salaries are part and parcel to IT. Do I believe there is any way to stop it? No. It’s here to stay. The powers in politics, legal and corporate America, will simply turn a deaf ear toward anyone complaining openly about it. It’s that simple. To sum up; yes… lower salaries, yes… by about anywhere from 15% to 50% depending upon area of specialty, yes… outsourcing to India (and a few other countries) will not go away, yes… if you don’t like the globalization aspects of IT, then find something else. As Donald Trump so affectionately puts it, “It’s not personal, it’s only business!”

    • #3298779

      I shoulda been a nurse

      by jessie ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I could have spent the same amount of time in school and been making a heckuva lot more money right now.

      I’ve been in IT for 9+ years. 5 years ago I was making 43k + nice bennies. I’m now doing the same job for another company making 38k with NO bennies.

      Maybe I’ll go back to school and become a nurse.

      • #3298690

        H1-B Nurses

        by pj ruder ·

        In reply to I shoulda been a nurse

        Nursing is another field where wages are being lowered by the availability of cheaper labor. If you go for a sub-specialty hoping for a higher wage, keep in mind that you’ll be competing on your rate as well as your skills.
        http://www.imssonline.com/faq.htm

      • #3304801

        Haha

        by ysilent ·

        In reply to I shoulda been a nurse

        you so fun.I am just entered the IT.I don’t know what will happen in coming 5 years.But I am intrested in technology.

      • #3304593

        Reply To: Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

        by pickleman ·

        In reply to I shoulda been a nurse

        > I’ve been in IT for 9+ years. 5 years ago
        > I was making 43k + nice bennies. I’m now
        > doing the same job for another company
        > making 38k with NO bennies.

        Maybe if you’d know how to speak, and didn’t use the term “bennies”, you might not be sharing your sob story..

    • #3298713

      better off now

      by apotheon ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I am actually better off now, but not enough to account for the intervening time. With increased experience, knowledge, and education, I should definitely be further along than I am, financially. Sadly, that’s not the case.

      Of course, I wouldn’t have been any less involved in IT if I had it to do over again. Certainly, I might have cast more of my revenue-generating efforts into other fields than I have, but I would be no less interested in IT-related work. Unlike many people in the IT field, I’m not involved because I’m “trapped” in the field now, nor because I think it’s an easy or effective way to make money. I’m in IT because it’s something I enjoy, and something that I’m good at.

    • #3319123

      Definitely better….

      by uofm ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      My salary actually has increased very little (actually, dipped down first)…. but I think my current position is offering me a lot more. I went from small start-ups to a very prestigious consulting firm in the DC area. While the start-ups really gave me the foundation/technical skills to get me where I am now. The people at my current firm are extremely talented and the resources are just excellent. Not to mention some great benefits – flexible work schedule, tuition assistance, even things like adoption grants, salary adjustments for certain certs. One of the biggest plus’s is their partnership with Johns Hopkin University where employees take classes in the evening at work. and get a MS/MBA from Hopkins (ok…JHU isn’t exactly a business/MS powerhouse… but its free).

      ok enough propaganda about my company…

    • #3317723

      Not Really

      by jwblack ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Five years ago I was doing well at a large corporation, I left to join a startup and did even better for a couple of years. They went under – but I had factored that risk into my decision. I used the opportunity and my savings to get a small business going, but that is definitely not working and finances are getting worse.

      On the other hand, I have experience and skills I probably would not have had staying at BigCorp, and my stress level is way way down and health is much improved.

      So now it’s back to the employment lines, hoping to pick up somewhere near where I left off.

      All in all, my financial position is much worse, but I am happier and healthier, so, given the chance, I would probably make the same choices – maybe just react a little faster to replace lost income during the bad times.

    • #3298332

      A Good Five Years But…

      by magic-g ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Drago,

      Five years ago I was promoted from end user support-PCs and Help Desk to lead of a small Wintel server infrastructure.. Nice move and I fared well. When our company hit the tank, they started shedding IT gigs and I was “shot-gun” promoted to End User Support Manager. That is, the previous two EUS managers were terminated and I was the likely new candidate. Yes it was a promotion and a management gig but I left the semi-comfy world of systems administration. My rapid rise through the ranks ended abruptly in September of 2004 as I was laid off and my position eliminated. The Help Desk went in the tank and my team of thirteen people were left to fend for themselves and a few were tossed over to Operations to assist a floundering server refresh program.

      Today, I am still looking but I am realistic on the job types and pay regression facing me. Bitter? No. Do I regret the move to IT? Nah. But, I have learned a ton since then. Certifications, perhaps. In some arenas, the certifications will almost always get your resume on the “A” stack. Then again, I recently saw an ad for a Help Desk Manager’s position which required an MCSE!! So, when I spoke to the recruiter I had to ask; are not the people obtaining MCSEs the guys and gals trying to get the heck out of PC support and into large systems administration-not Help Desk?

      I am in a niche at the moment. Most MCSEs do not have budget, procurement, vendor and staff management, and project management/business skills when they receive their certificate. Yet, I too may have to walk that road regardless. On the other hand I can tell you other things I learned along the way. As IT does become more of a commodity, we as IT workers need to be cognizant of the coming changes and plan for them. It’s not a question of if but when these changes will arrive. Short of developers and analysts, which can be hired in-house or off-shore, many businesses are looking for IT people with business backgrounds, MBAs, auditing and/or security certifications. That’s where it’s going in my view. Just finished that Bachelors in CS?? While you are working, you might consider a CISA, or CISSP certification along with some business courses. If you are more technically inclined, some of the CICSO certs are powerful career boosters but be careful not to rely too heavily on this as networks become increasingly self-reliant and require fewer people to do in 2008 what it took many to do in 2004.

      For specialized and jack-of-alls, this reality will hit home as each month passes.

      Just some thoughts. Good luck and hang in there.

      Magic-G

      • #3304783

        20 years of upskilling in IT

        by caraldo ·

        In reply to A Good Five Years But…

        hi to everyone on this board this maybe of interest to people i did a assoiate degree in electronic engineering in dublin ireland and worked for an us multinational in dublin for peanuts was made redudant and worked in NY making sandwichs in a deli bar and ui made more at that then i did as an engineer,i work as an illeagal alien so i came got a job for two years doing customer support ,geuss made redudant again then i got a job as a technician in a university and did a computer science degree at night and then did a masters in elearning/computer science i am 43 years old and still working in it my salary has gone and benfits are better then in private industry,, i am doing a law degree , as IT is now a utility ,as afriend of mine who is a software engineer said to me ,, manufasctering is gone and the good paying jobs are for really bright spark phd people there is no place for mister average, in fact i dont think there are any skills in IT its a scam ,like mcse etc the golden years are over

        • #3304721

          Better off – no way – Certs a waste

          by mtucker ·

          In reply to 20 years of upskilling in IT

          As 15 year vet in IT I can say I am not better off, stagnant at best. Since 2000 I have been laid off once and have had 3 jobs. I make about 4% more taht 5 years ago with lss benefits. My job is boring because I can’t get the funding I need for new projects due to budget cuts.

          As far as Certs go I had them all, MCSA, CNE, CCNA, Chceckpoint Etc.. I let them all expire. They never got me a job, experiance has, Also as a hiring manager at my last two jobs I never hired a certified person as most of them had no experiance, which is what I need, help me I don’t want to teach.

        • #3304583

          Reply To: Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

          by pickleman ·

          In reply to 20 years of upskilling in IT

          As long as there are people like you as my “competition”, I know I’ll always have a job.

          You have a degree in electronic engineering.
          You have a degree in computer science.
          You have a Master’s degree.
          You’re working on a law degree.

          And with all that “brilliant” education behind you, somehow you still managed to spew an entire paragraph of 198 words without using a single PERIOD to separate your thoughts and sentences.

          Makes me wanna go run out and sign up for night school this very minute..

        • #3313824

          Upskilling ???

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to 20 years of upskilling in IT

          A Scam, thanks for that only 25 years of my life.

          Hope you’ve finally found a career that you can enjoy, but for some reason I think in three years time that there’ll be post from you on LegalRepublic describing the profession of Lawyer as a scam. Progress though becuase you’ll be right then.

          Did you tell your mate he was a con artist as well ?

          P.S. I have n’t even got one degree, never mind three, but most would describe my progress rom humble work placement to egotistical Senior System Engineer as a success. All in IT as well, so I’ve got at least one skill, I can fool a lot of people a lot of the time. Hey I can see a move into politics here.

        • #3313716

          troll

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to 20 years of upskilling in IT

          You don’t even have anything credible to say. Why are you here? Do you just like flame wars?

          The fact that you’re scamming people when you tell them you’re an IT professional doesn’t make the entire field a scam.

      • #3304782

        20 years of upskilling in IT

        by caraldo ·

        In reply to A Good Five Years But…

        hi to everyone on this board this maybe of interest to people i did a assoiate degree in electronic engineering in dublin ireland and worked for an us multinational in dublin for peanuts was made redudant and worked in NY making sandwichs in a deli bar and ui made more at that then i did as an engineer,i work as an illeagal alien so i came got a job for two years doing customer support ,geuss made redudant again then i got a job as a technician in a university and did a computer science degree at night and then did a masters in elearning/computer science i am 43 years old and still working in it my salary has gone and benfits are better then in private industry,, i am doing a law degree , as IT is now a utility ,as afriend of mine who is a software engineer said to me ,, manufasctering is gone and the good paying jobs are for really bright spark phd people there is no place for mister average, in fact i dont think there are any skills in IT its a scam ,like mcse etc the golden years are over .

        caraldo@myway.com

    • #3304797

      It is entirely up to you to make it better

      by alnikolov ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I am not living in US so what I have to say may not be very relevant to you.
      Now I make 4 times more money compared to 5 years ago. In US$ it will be even more. I live and work in South Africa. We have not been affected at all from the downturn in the US (and global) economy. The South African economy is recording sustained growth (even after September 11). And the busyness is growing and is better than ever.
      But that does not apply to everyone. I have more that 10 years Software development experience and Masters degree. If you do not have experience or degree or something to make you stand out from the crowd – you are dead in the bushes. 🙂 Because of the BEE (Black Economy Empowerment) white males (and I am foreigner, white male) are very difficult to find job. That is why you must make your self ?valuable?, more valuable that the majority of the work seekers.

    • #3304793

      I regret

      by agnibabu ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I do now regret for the carreer i have chosen.
      But what is the alternative, especially in India.

    • #3304792

      Centralization = Redundancy

      by doug.harvey ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I certainly don’t regret working for my current company. They are a great bunch. The past five years have been great, but now, after coming back from holiday, I am faced with redundancy or a non-I.T. post. Yes, things are tough, but who knows what’s around the corner?

      • #3294254

        Hard on you but .

        by tony hopkinson ·

        In reply to Centralization = Redundancy

        In a couple of years time some management type will decide, that if they distributed the centralized IT function, it will be a lot more pro-active and they’ll be able to cut the numbers. They usually leave it just long enough, so the rest of this business has just started coping with the previous round.
        Logical conclusion is the MD’s nephew who once did a wonderful spreadsheet, a mobile and a cheap car.

    • #3304786

      Better

      by btak2 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Things are better for me, but I went into teaching business productivity apps, and opened a small school(9 student work stations)Its a niche, but a good one, and the startup was minimal. Most states have Voc rehab, and workers comp programs. The clients can be difficult, and the state is in no rush to pay, but I’m overall happy. btak2

    • #3304780

      I have experienced hell

      by qualasaida ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Hi all & thanks for sharing your life stories.
      I graduated with a degree in Computer Engineering in June 2002, but since there were few jobs for graduates in my area due to the 9/11 domino affect I chose to move to Australia and study Masters. Graduated with Master degree in Information Systems in December 2004 and have been trying to get an entry level IT job for over 1 year, without luck. The problem is that I do not have any industry experience, even though I know a lot about many technologies (e.g. programming, web, Networking, Management).
      I have completed CCNA and did Network+ a few weeks ago, but still no job! I think I will drop the MCSE and stop spending more money.
      I am thinking of studying law and forget IT all together till I start earning $.
      Life was much easier 5 years ago, I had a savings account, a car and lived happily. Now I have over 50k in debt and no job at all.
      Thinking of moving to Europe and leave Australia.

      • #3294245

        Have a look round first !

        by tony hopkinson ·

        In reply to I have experienced hell

        Not that much better over here I’m afraid. More than a few graduates (though mainly in media studies for some reason) scratching about in the UK. I’m in work, though not contentedly, enormous amount of esperience but no qualifications, may be we should amalgamate our cv’s. One last point if you become succcessful in law you’ll be earning so much money you’d only come back to IT if you developed a serious case of morals.

    • #3304778

      My IT Career Sucks

      by sbecker ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 years ago I was making $150K a year, since 9/11, I have worked 13 months and have made less than $75K………..but with 27 years of IT experience it is hard to make a career change.

      • #3304772

        Not worse but not better

        by creepynweird ·

        In reply to My IT Career Sucks

        I have been able to stay level. Not going down in salaray but barely going up with only 2.5% raises but getting hit hard in the health insurance contributions my company requires (but that part is nearly every company lately) I have subscribed to Monster, Career Builder, Dice, and many more but I get hits for stuff I don’t qualify for regardless of my search parameters OR I get all this work at home stuff that is most likely a scam since they want $$ up front.
        My formal training is a graphic artist but not computerized. I did it the old fashioned way: with pen and ink, pencil or even paint. Those skills are no longer needed due to computers so the skill I built since before high school is nearly useless to me to make a living on.
        The IT jobs that I could qualify for I cannot take as I am a single parent and the jobs I have found require either lots of travel or 3rd shift work. I am at a point in my life that spending time with my family is more important so I ride it out day by day hoping something better will come my way.

        • #3304658

          Worse by Choice

          by ubergeek ·

          In reply to Not worse but not better

          I can relate to what you are saying…. we moved from one state
          to another last year to be closer to family. I quit a very good
          DBA job. I knew that I was underpaid even at that job, but I still
          made about 40% more than I am now. The only thing that I
          could find after moving was a PC Support position at a small
          liberal arts college in IN. And there were almost 100 people in
          the hunt for this job. Because it’s a small college it pays below
          average even for support work. But the perks are that I rarely
          work overtime. I get to spend a lot of time with my family now.
          I get 4 weeks of paid vacation. Health benefits pretty much
          stink, but that’s par for the course.

          I went the route of Monster, CareerBuilder, Dice, etc and overall
          found that because I can’t travel or relocate because of having a
          family, there weren’t any jobs there that fit my needs. Most of
          the high paying jobs that I qualify for because of DBA/PeopleSoft
          experience required either 100% travel or relocation to places
          like CA or TX.

          Sometimes you have to make financial sacrifices because of the
          place that you are at in life. At this point, I’m just happy to have
          a job that pays a steady paycheck and that I probably won’t get
          fired from.

          The way I see IT at this point is that it will have it’s ups and
          downs, as far as a career. This is just one of the downs. I do
          think things will turn around, but maybe not as fast as we would
          like it too. There will also be a lot of people weeded out of the
          career and that will move on to other fields.

        • #3304572

          IT vs. ART

          by id10tnolonger ·

          In reply to Not worse but not better

          I understand MY departure from the IT hopes I once held… everything we have trained for is obsolete within a few years forcing us all into the neverending stream of income for those who SELL the training regardless of whether or not we have any real chance of using it in the marketplace.
          MOORES’ LAW affects us all, whether you see it or not, as chip size and programming changes reduce the manpower needed to manage MORE with LESS.
          I would love to see the figures analyzed regarding the growth of spending on training relative to the debts incurred by those buying it and their ability to PROFIT BY IT as opposed to simply going deeper into debt.
          The view I see is entirely negative.
          Propping up the trainers by increasing your own debt when the hopes of advancing your own future are more slim by the day due to policies we ALLOW our own government to use against us (H1B visas, outsourcing)is insane.
          I wish I had artistic talents… I can hardly make a straight line with a ruler, and when technology crashes, NO graphic artist that is computer centered is worth much.
          Forgive my rant, but if I were you, I would use my talents that are NOT computer dependent and run with them, never looking back. Government cannot H1B your personal talents, only the job which tradition and conventional wisdom make you think you must have to present the appearance of success.
          The training-debt-hole you dig for yourself is engineered one certification and payment book at a time, dug in the fertile ground of mass employment social engineering, governmant manipulation and potential depression.
          You own your own parachute… USE IT!

        • #3135350

          paranoid theory

          by zyphlar ·

          In reply to IT vs. ART

          your consipracy theory regarding training is pretty ignorant. trainers, and by extension training companies, only seek to offer education to those who want it.

          it’s your own fault if you seek an education for a skill you’ll never use. it’s only their fault if they offer something and don’t fulfill it. no training company will guarantee a skill’s relevance in 5 years

          IT has become a cutthroat industry because of Moore’s law and outsourcing, to be sure. if you can’t handle that, it may not be the place for you. but don’t cook up a paranoid theory like we’re all helpless rats in a maze– the winners in the industry aren’t enemies, they’re just flexible, goal-oriented rats like the rest of us.

      • #3304704

        Get in on Sarbane – Oxley

        by gnx ·

        In reply to My IT Career Sucks

        SOX is the next Y2K. I have 2 consultants working for me just on this. I may even go out on my own.

      • #3304580

        Reply To: Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

        by pickleman ·

        In reply to My IT Career Sucks

        > 5 years ago I was making $150K a year

        You were way over-paid.

        > since 9/11, I have worked 13 months and
        > have made less than $75K

        My guess is you’re still way over-paid.

        > but with 27 years of IT experience it
        > is hard to make a career change.

        The fact that you’re considering a career change with 27 years of experience in a field where you were once making $150K, tells me you never belonged in I.T. in the first place.

        • #3304549

          A whole lot better

          by rickyj ·

          In reply to Reply To: Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

          Downsized 3x. Each time I’ve landed a better job, position & now making 2x the pay in same city.
          I had an MCSE. I sought projects that would provide skills to solve business issues. I got more certs CISSP, CISA & CISM which helped. PLAN your career & research. It?s about business not IT.

    • #3304771

      Not better off….

      by flyers70 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      This is an excellent topic. I’ve spent the entire past year deliberating this very issue in my own life. I don’t regret the decision to get into this business. I would have done the same thing if I had to do it again. But I DEFINITELY would not counsel younger folks to get into this business unless they seriously love it. I don’t think I seriously love it, but I have a 6 year head start and a track record that they don’t have.

      No, I’m definitely not better off than 5 years ago. I work more hours for less pay and fewer benefits. I work in a large company and someone with my credentials over the past 5 years would have been easily and quickly promoted 5 years ago, but promotions now are thrown around like raises and manhole covers.

      I think this is just an over-correction of the hysteria of 5 years ago, when people a week out of a tech school with an AS degree were making 90K a year. It was like the gold rush of 1849 and everyone (including me) was looking to get all of the money they could out of whoever they were working for. I don’t believe it will ever go back to the way it was 5 years ago, but I don’t think it’s going to be any worse. Offshoring is having a negative effect on our job market, but it has limits and is not a panacaea for poor management as many companies are finding out.

      We have to find out if we really like this type of work. After that, I think we have to understand that training and/or school is never over for us. I am going back to school for an MBA and I’m going to continue expanding my technical skillset (taking on a programming language). Then, let the chips fall where they may. If I am deemed unsuitable at that point, they can keep this industry and I’ll become a Fuller Brush salesman.

    • #3304761

      Not even close

      by great.plains.pgm ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Five years ago I was making $68 an hour as a Lead Technical Anayst – but haven’t been able to find mainframe work since 2002….now I make less than $10 an hour in a non technical position. I lost everything I had. Do I regret my career choice? No – I regret not paying enough attention to how many programmers got brought into the country in 1998 – 1999….we should have banded together to keep them out then, and we should have tried to prevent the migration of jobs overseas. I miss my career. I miss being able to make enough money to keep a roof over my head, and being able to go to a doctor if I needed to – but as it is, I am now too poor and I have been out my job field for too long – it was as if I never worked in the field for 30 years. Not pretty!

    • #3304757

      Better off (but I left the US to stay that way)

      by blitzhund ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I moved (it was because of love -not good career planning!) to the UK which didn’t experience the same IT downturn that the US did. I quickly got a job in 01 continuing my IT career and have moved up and up since. Things have slowed here, but to my knowledge have never gone down. It really makes me sad to see how poorly the US IT job market has suffered. Hopefully, with the dollar devaluing, more companies will move back to the States and the job situation will get better.

    • #3304756

      Same old same old

      by han810p9 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I’ve not received a raise in 4 years, I have less benefits, work longer hours, make do with a severly reduced budget, and dread work every day. I’ve been looking for a job for 15 months, but in Cleveland, your lucky if you have a job at all. And I’m not alone. I know a lot of people with 20+ years IT experience, degrees and certs, and still it’s a struggle. IT is dead here….

    • #3304755

      Worse than 5 years ago

      by roybrew ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      While I am happy to have found full-time employment in 2004 after 22 months of scraping and trying to keep the boat afloat by consulting work, it came at cost of a 20% pay cut. So, I am making less than I did 7 years ago. Seven years of hard work and merit increases down the tube! When I am at a point in my career (24+ years in sw development) where I should be at my peak earning years, I am very far from it — with a kid going to college in 2 years, followed by another one two years later. It’s just survival at this point. So, I just keep doing my job, glad to have it. But I am bitter towards this industry who abandoned their own in pursuit of the almighty dollar (i.e. outsourcing) only to have it, for the most part, blow up in their faces, although there are exceptions, I will admit. Maybe it was an adjustment that had to be made, maybe not. Who knows? I just think it sucks.

    • #3304752

      Wrong Career Choice

      by ray3d841 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I have been unemployed for the last 26 weeks even though I hold MSCE, MCP+I, CCNA, CAN, and A+ certifications. All of my other colleagues are in the same boat. I certainly would not make IT a career move again.

      • #3304574

        Reply To: Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

        by pickleman ·

        In reply to Wrong Career Choice

        > I have been unemployed for the last 26 weeks
        > even though I hold MSCE, MCP+I, CCNA, CAN,
        > and A+ certifications.

        Let me correct a misconception on your part.
        You’re not out of work EVEN THOUGH you have all that alphabet soup after your name.
        You’re out of work BECAUSE of that.

        If you can’t piece together what I mean, then I’ve made my point tenfold.

        > I certainly would not make IT a career move
        > again.

        You never should’ve made it your first move to begin with..

    • #3304747

      5 years ago

      by sum guy ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I was working as a Technical Support Specialist in a University. I did web development, server support, and supported about 40 computuers running a mish mosh of OS’s from Mac OS to Windows 2000. I was being used like a rented mule.

      At any rate, I still work for the same university, but a different department. The work I do is fairly similar, but I don’t do any web stuff any more. My title is Computer Support Specialist and this position includes being supervisor to 3 other people. My salary has almost doubled in the last 5 years. I find my work a bit more challenging and I actaully look forward to coming to work. So, I am better off now than I was five years ago. However I will qualify my assertions by stating that working in a university is NOT like being in corporate america. The atmosphere and policies are much different and so the opportunities here are greater for me than they would be in “the real world”.

      I would not be surprised if I am in the monority of folks who are not better off. In fact I know quite a few people in the IT field who are worse off now than they were 5 years ago.

      If I had to do it again, I think I would do what I have already done. I worked in corporate america for 10 years and it got me no where but laid off. That is what brought me to a univeristy…. They were hiring. Frankly, it’s paid off for me.

    • #3304744

      short term decisions, long term decisions

      by gaston nusimovich ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Hi,

      Anybody’s career spans from 30 to 40 years, and that is some time span.

      Throughout that period, most professionals will experience many career changes, some of that very sharp, others smoother.

      Five years is OK to gauge an investment, but I think is too short a period to evaluate a career choice.

      Besides, you should take into account that from 2000 to 2005, we all suffered many drastic changes, like the dot-com bust, 9-11-2001, Enron and SOX, Offshore Outsourcing, just to name a few.

      Some of these changes, drastic as they have been, have affected us differently (for instance, I work in a country favored by Offshore Outsourcing).

      The only thing I can say is that change is here to stay, and as time passes, change will become swifter and more drastic.

      What can we do about it?. Just be warned and prepared.

    • #3304743

      Job status from 5 yr to now

      by hustler9ball ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I was making about twice as much, was laid off and am doing software programming in Delphi6 and tech support as I was then. I submit to you that I am worse off having now attained the age of 59. I strongly believe I was laid off due to age and a high salary.

    • #3304742

      Continue to Adjust, Grow, and Search for opportunity

      by davidpmartin ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Five years ago I was working for a Microsoft contractor at the MS Redmond campus. I was making good money – but was killing my self with 80-100 hr work weeks in the process.

      Now I make one and a half times the salary I made at Microsoft, and I only work a 40 hour work week, and could easily change jobs, if I so desired.

      Why the improvement? As I said in my title it was a mixture of adjusting to the IT labor market, continuing to grow professionally, and continually networking and keeping myself open for new oportunities. A little help from the divine and a willingness to take risks didn’t hurt either.

      Do certs help? I don’t think they hurt, and depending on who is your client (mine is now the federal government) they certainly can help a lot! Do degrees help? I think the bar on college degrees has been raised to the point where it only helps if you have a MS in either Computer Information Systems or hard-core Computer Science (I will finish my MS in CIS in April – I may profit well from this – time will tell). And it goes without saying that experience with solid acheivements is absolutely golden. I have been blessed to have gotten all three (certs, degrees, and a wide variety of experience) – but I have constantly pursued all of them over the past five years.

      Five years ago anyone who could do more than spell HTML and had even a AA degree in CIS could find work – but five years ago anyone who had a ‘half-baked’ idea for a web site and could put a power point presentation together could get $10 million from a capital venture firm. Hopefully, those days are gone forever. My gut feeling is what happened between the time you were hired and the time you got your BS and your experience was that the ‘irrationally exuberant’ IT labor market place went through a well needed correction – only you can’t see it because you did not ‘benefit’ from it (actually you did because you kept working – someone who stayed at the AA level has probably not).

      Just my thoughts – you asked:-)

    • #3304735

      Doing Great

      by deron.smith ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I started in IT about 9 years ago although I have a BSEET degree. In the last 5 years my salary has increased 60%. I work for a supplier to the auto industry and write database apps for all areas of our business. We have 10 people in our IT staff. I wouldn’t change a thing. Moving to IT was the best career decision I have made.

    • #3304734

      Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      by mignered ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I retired from IT at age 50. I am a product of the mainframe era. My background was in training and I fell into Programming/DBA work when our training team was abolished. That was in 1983.

      I personally think that IT should be treated as a craft, like plumbing or electrical work. Apprenticeship programs should be offered. IT workers should join the nearest union. We are craftsmen, not “professionals”.

      Taking university classes with course identifiers such as “PowerBuilder 6.0 101” is a waste of time and money.

      A liberal arts or hard science academic preparation is still the best way to be competitive in the “professional” world and the “new economy”.

      Far too many people are in college anyway. The law of supply and demand is kicking in…the dumbing down of IT which started in the 90s.

    • #3304726

      I just feel a little stuck…

      by elsa ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Since 4 years ago I’m working in the same job, almost with the same salary, doing the same things, I think I don’t advance in my career a lot and feel I’m stuck here. I want to try new things, that why I decide to go in the water with my own company, so I need new experiences. And yes besides 5 years ago I feel I have more opportunities, but salaries are very low budget here in Panama.

    • #3304725

      better for me

      by coyotenm ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 years ago I was in a different field, and doing IT work on the job as a secondary duty. Pretty unsatisfactory. In that time I’ve moved to a new and better job, IT only, and made quite a bit of progress. I started as user support and general IT tech work, and am moving into being the network administrator, with a fair amount of database and web design thrown in. I don’t have any certs, although I have taken a couple of cert classes. Certs are no benefit in my current job, so I would have to get them on my own. Rather than certs, I will probably get a Masters for future upward mobility. I’m learning, moving up, and gaining responsibility. Can’t complain.

    • #3304723

      5 Years Ago Was Unreal

      by bridget_huck ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 Years ago the entire industry was overrated, there was quite a shortage of programmers so we worth more. Since then the market has been flooded and the pay for skills has leveled off to a very reasonable amount. I think things are in pretty good shape.

      Back then there were companies hiring people without degrees or with degrees in totally unrelated fields then training them but now when there are people on the market with the skills, the education is many times used to weed people out.

      I have been on both sides of the fences where people were highly overpaid despite their lack of skills and where skilled people were underpaid…but today the market seems pretty level.

      If you look at most salary surveys they don’t look very different from each other and most show a pretty good median salary for anybody in IT.

      I think many got spoiled in the boom of the late 90’s and they need to get over it.

      • #3294294

        The IT bubble bath

        by jennyn ·

        In reply to 5 Years Ago Was Unreal

        Yes, it was a total bubble – when young kids with nothing behind them at all except they were a bit nifty with a computer, could be in 40hr/wk contracts at $40 an hour and call themselves “Engineers”. (Sorry all you PC Support “Engineers” out there but that never really flew… ask an engineer!)

        I was earning about 120k then in financial sector in 2000 and 34k now in the nonprofit sector – so apples & oranges to compare it. …but I did know the good times wouldn’t last and left of my own accord just before the bubble burst.

        I made the most of the money while it was on offer, invested it in my future, then took time off to travel, but never upgraded my lifestyle.

        So now at 40 I have a very rewarding job, and some security put aside for when the youngsters boot me off the field.

        To be honest, I had my first wakeup call in the first months of my first IT job in ’88. I was lowly 23yr old PC support person, and I watched a team of 30 high paid experienced mainframe techs & cobol programmers, (mainly in their 40’s & 50’s with mortgages etc) get “outsourced” and within two months made redundant (the outsourcing step was a way to reduce their benefits from the company).

        I knew then to never get too cosy or too dependent on this career, and have always had a fall back position for when I want to get out or am forced out of IT.

        It’s a bubble bath.

    • #3304719

      Better off

      by dcbeckster ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I am much better off now then 5 years ago. This is mostly because of the increase in opportunities in the Washington, D.C. job market. In addition, through acquiring certs and additional training, I have increased my marketing ability a great deal as well.

    • #3304714

      Its All On You

      by pmadiga ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Degrees by themselves aren’t “worth” anything. Different organizations have different requirements and a specific degree may or may not be one of them. The bottom line is that your salary is a negotiation between you and the employer. If you accepted a certain salary, regardless of your education, thats the value YOU have placed on your degree. Expecting raises based on education, if your employer never stated as much, is a futile fantasy on your part. Step up and ask for a raise and be prepared to back up your expectations with action. Take responsibility for your own future.

    • #3304709

      Became a Jack of all Trades

      by gnx ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Being in IT for over twenty years with no certs or college degree, I have become a “Jack of all Trades”. I work for a mid-sized company (9+ years) with a 3 person IT dept. From installing a server or AS/400 to moving a recycle bin, not doing one thing all the time is good. I started out as a console operator just printing reports and other crap for people at a large company. I find that the smaller – mid size companies are the best to work for. Oh yeah I basically work 9-5 and no weekends. I learned everythng on the job which I think is the best way to learn.

    • #3304707

      It’s all about timing, and experience

      by michael.nixon ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Hello all,

      I must say that I think things have gotten worse for us in the IT world. 10 Years ago all you heard on the radio and TV were ads for IT training and how it was going to be the “JOB OF THE FUTURE!” Well it is, problem is that we over sold ourselves. As VP’s and Managers also get smarter in IT they learn more about who and what they need as an IT person.

      If “we” can not stay up on the technology and provide our bosses the right answeres at the time they need it, then we are not worth the amount of money we are paid. Now I have neither a college degree and only a few cert initials after my name, but the big point in my hiring was my 13 years of experience and my Management Training. I will always tout that training is Vital, but where does training take over from experience? Only the big HR person in the sky knows that one.

      good Luck!

    • #3304703

      Worse

      by flhopkins ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 years ago I was making over 80K as a Project Manager with a Consulting Firm. In Jan 00 I was laid off for almost a year. After selling my house before losing it I got a job in a small software development firm doing project management, product development, business analysis and sales all for 20K less than I was previously making. Jan 04 I was laid off yet again! Unemployed for most of 04, got a few small contracts starting in Sep of 04. It’s Jan 05, guess what? My short term contract ended 12/31 so I am yet again unemployed.

      IT isn’t working for me any longer – Its time for a new career.

    • #3304695

      Better Off in 2005?

      by gothicscott ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      In 1999-2000 I was making 80 k as an instructor, and consultant. Now, I make a little more than a third of my previous salary doing tech support. It still seems no one cares how many certs and / or years of experience I have. Its still an employer’s market while the IT industry has been commoditized to the extent that it is almost pointless to chase the few job openings that turn up. Hundreds of resume submissions to job sites,and recruiters have yielded nothing but a few empty promises.

      I wish I was a bit younger. I’d leave this crap industry for a whole new career in something else.

      So, in a word: NO! IT careers still suck!
      If you’re young and at the crossroads of a career choice, look elsewhere and good luck!

      ScottMan

    • #3304694

      Better off? Depends on what you consider “better.”

      by arjee63 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      You bet I’m better off – financially. I went from doing IT and office management for a small non-profit organization in ’99 to QA for its software vendor, and from there to documentation/QA for another company, and then was pushed into a support management position. I’ve doubled my starting salary at the software vendor, but I’ve worked an obscene amount of unpaid overtime to get where I am. I’ve definitely expanded my skillset, but my hours and workload are are so demanding that I don’t have time or energy to pursue further certifications. My family rarely sees me before 7:30, and I’m usually carrying work home. My boss knows it, but says that I can “handle it.” Right. The tight tech market – especially for technical writers – keeps me from finding something else. So…am I really better off?

    • #3304693

      Better Off; Are you kidding?

      by givemeabreak ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I’m an IT manager for a medium sized company with over 15 years of experience, and I can tell you right now that things are alot worse than they were 5 years ago. 5 years ago I was advising students not to go into IT as a career. 10 years ago IT was a great field to be in. Things were “thumping”. We were respected for our abilities and education. We worked hard but it was rewarded with recognition and raises. We voluntarily worked long hours (with no overtime pay), just to do new things or to learn new things. We were given free rein to be creative and innovative. We did great things for appreciative people and we made (or saved) our companies fortunes. Then a bunch of “Jacklegs” entered the field and things went downhill from there. First, we started seeing attractive young girls with their cute skirts enter the field who were only interested in the field because it paid well and let them go home at night clean. They weren’t interested in I.T. as much as they were interested in looking good. Then the preppie guys started entering the field and that really screwed it up. Then I.T. got political just like the rest of business. People started screaming that I.T. was “Politically Incorrect”; there were not enough females and minorities represented in the the field. So now we throw in a few politically correct personnel and since they are technically incompetent “let’s make them managers”. If you were technically competent you never advanced because they couldn’t replace you. But I.T. 7 years ago time was the “Great Equalizer”. If you could do the work you advanced, if not you were left behind to flip pages at the Help Desk. No one cared what sex or color you were. I met people from every walk of life and every color in I.T. One of the best Network Engineers I have ever worked with was a African- American. He got out of I.T. because it has got to the point where incompetence in the field was rampant and he was constantly being second-guessed by people who had a tenth of the knowledge he possessed. It has only gotten worse. Certifications became necessary because of all the incompetence. Anybody with half a brain can now be certified as a “Computer Genius” when in reality they don’t know jacksh_t. I have run into too many paper wonders that know little or nothing about IT. Yet if you don’t have a cert HR won’t even look at your resume. Due to all the incompetence at home and the political featherbedding (which does nothing but raise the cost of I.T.), companies are shipping the work off-site or off-shore. The U.S. has lost it’s edge and it’s going downhill fast. U.S. I.T. workers are no longer respected but loathed. We are considered overpaid and underworked. I.T. management used to report to the CFO or CEO of the company, now we might report to someone in Billing or HR. We have become a commodity that no one wants to pay for.

      • #3304653

        Well Said

        by super_it_mom ·

        In reply to Better Off; Are you kidding?

        You are exactly right. I could not have said it better myself.

      • #3304644

        Would be different without guest workers,,,

        by redstone ·

        In reply to Better Off; Are you kidding?

        Things are much worse due to 2 main reasons. First the guest workers have absolutely flooded the market. In the northeast the last company had mostly guest workers on H1-B visas – I was 1 of 2 americans of a group of about ten. Offshoring may be a larger driver in the future but most of the recent decline has been due to guest workers. I wrote letters in 98 when guest worker bill was being changed and again a month ago – end result is congress/president listens only to big business . Average citizen just cannot match the money and lobbying power of business.

        Secondly, don’t underestimate how the bleak economy since 2001 has impacted IT. Business have pared spending and headcount and have not been hiring at all in most sectors and industries. Economist say the economy is improving now but they have said the same for some time. Despite massive fiscal and monetary stimulus, the economy is going nowhere -esp. since less is made in the US anymore. Our options are bleak when the stimulus ends.

        It was a mistake letting big business run the white house and congress. I used to think big business would do a responsible job in charge of Govt. – I have since changed my mind. Now I don’t see a change until things get much worse and the economy forces people into soup lines. Might be in the cards: Paul Volker thinks a major financial crisis is in the cards for the US in next 5 years.

      • #3299318

        Very Well Explained

        by paulb7 ·

        In reply to Better Off; Are you kidding?

        I have been in the computer business in Johannesburg, South Africa, since 1991. What happened in America happened here as well. I worked for a large Petroleum company and got retrenched because they outsourced everything (to their own detrimend). We had fun and worked overtime because we were hungry for knowledge for ourselves and to implement the best systems in our companies. We were respected and it showed in our salaries.
        I was retrenched in 1997 and started my own business and have a small client base but I get absolutely no respect from anyone anymore even though all my customer’s network systems run smoothly without any major hassles.
        But when it comes to paying me at month for my services….. I have to beg and plead for my cheques. I can’t go on like this. I am getting out of the IT industry altogether. I am tired of being seen as an evil necessity that just takes from their bottom line.
        It is such a pity because I really enjoy IT… (sniff)

    • #3304692

      Not better off

      by jpcalka ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 years ago, I was working for a large company
      supporting applications on Windows and Unix
      boxes. I got laid off 2 years ago and since than the
      only work that I can find in IT is project work making less money then I did before.

    • #3304690

      I took a hard hit – recovery? … jury’s still out on that one!

      by rallcorn ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      In 2000 I was a full-time independent Computer Consultant. I worked through other agencies a lot as well and worked for various Fortune Companies like IBM, Motorola, Tivoli, FirstUSA BankONE, Origin, Polycom, etc. and was paid very, very well! I had no real certifications (sorry guys, had to spell it out), mainly because I didn’t have the time to get them – I was toooooo busy working!

      After 2000, especially with 9-1-1, the bottom dropped out. Since I’ve worked as a Realtor (very BAD time to do THAT!), selling Nextel, and various other things along the side … I even got to do some computer stuff (rarely) on occasion … but it never was the same again!!

      Now, having just ended 2004, I feel the computer industry “appears” to be picking up, but as of yet I’m NOT getting responses to my resume’s! Used to , they were CALLING ME! Now it appears that I’d have to PAY THEM just to return my call. There is hope! I interviewed for HOME DEPOT who is opening up a CALL CENTER here in the Austin Texas area. They promised to call me back in 7-10days … just like the others, I’ve yet to hear anything.

      So you ask me, is it better? NO! But then, we’re starting 2005 … the jury’s still out on this one! But I BELIEVE … (and THAT keeps me going … for now)

    • #3304689

      Much better

      by tjd ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 years ago I was a process engineer in a large manufacturing facility for a larger corporation. Great pay and benefits, horrible hour, worse working conditions, horrible location, not so great co-workers. I was getting certs in hopes of a career change. A few months later I took a 35% pay cut and took a sys admin/help desk job at a dot com in a city I wanted to live in (my wife’s hometown). Even with the big pay cut it was a great move for our psychological and marrital well being.
      Of course the dot com only last so long… I last two years to the day there, when I walked out, they shut the doors for good. Month and a half (and the birth of a second child) later I landed a back in manufacturing, only this time with a small local company and on the IT side rather than engineering. My pay was back where it was when I was an engineer (an has gone up each year since), benefits are decent too.
      I’m a one man shop, doing everything. ERP, CRM, manufacturing system (think computer run machines/robotic machines), planning, budgeting, implementation, contracting and everything else even remoting IT related. My days are full, my tasks are varied, my work is challenging and fulfilling.
      Just this morning the Pres referred to me a the VP of System Admin. Funny cause I’m gonna hit him up (for the second time) for a better title in a week when we have a lunch scheduled.
      The company is doing great, I’m eligible for quarterly management bonuses, which have been good because were experiencing double digit growth.
      I’d say thing are a heckuva lot better.
      Big thing for me right now is looking to the future. Though thing are good where I’m at, there is no room for vertical growth at this company unless we have some major aquisitions. I’ve been here 2.5 years and need to move to a bigger company with more management resposibility in the next 2-5 years. That’s the big challenge: how do you position yourself to stand out against others for that next job? I beat out 500 other applicants for this job, I need to build on the assets I have that got me here and aquire new ones that will move me further.
      TjD

    • #3304687

      Wide variations in responses

      by ericw ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I’m interested to see the wide variations to responses to this thread. Some people are much better, some are about the same (which to me is bad), and others are going great. I wonder how this would compare to other professional fields.

      For myself, in 2000, I was a senior level consultant for a small firm in D.C. The firm was doing very well and my bonuses made my total compensation quite high. That company was bought by a very large consulting firm, where I became a mid-level consultant (with no bonus). I was designated to be laid off in 2002, but took a horrible assignment and a pay cut to keep my job.

      Then I proposed a supply chain solution to a large client that won, I led the team that delivered it successfully, which led to a very large amount of business for the firm. While there was still no bonus and hardly any recognition from my consulting firm, I WAS noticed by others. I was quite surprised when I got a call from an executive head hunter.

      I am now the CIO of a medium sized company in the logistics business. I enjoy my work every day, and my compensation is considerably more then it was in 2000.

      So, the question is, what’s the difference between a good story and a all the bad ones that are in this discussion. I think the difference isn’t just how hard you work, but recognizing how the field is moving and positioning yourself ahead of time. Not just with training, but forcing your way into positions where you can establish a track record with “the new thing”.

    • #3304685

      Neutral Position vs. 5 years ago

      by cswearingen ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I guess I’m neutral vs. 5 years ago.

      I too got hired in my first IT job with just an A.S. from the local Tech College. Actually I got hired before I graduated. That was seven years ago and I’m still at the same place. My job is stable and I make decent money (gotta love government jobs ;-).

      However there were trade-offs. There is no tuition reimbursement, no 401k investments, no stock options, I don’t have the funds or time to complete my BS, etc.

      However my boss does send me to training courses to upgrade and/or hone my skills. Since coming here I’ve gone from a COBOL Y2K patch programmer to learning SQL Server Administration, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, ASP/VBScript, VBA, VB and next month will be VB.Net.

      So the pros outweigh the cons in my case and I’m still here. I know it doesn’t help answer your question but maybe it’ll give you hope for a brighter future?

      • #3304551

        Me too….kind of

        by larry.johnson25 ·

        In reply to Neutral Position vs. 5 years ago

        Your technical past is VERY much like my own.

        But, in my case I took a great job in 2000 doing software implementations, customizations, design, training, etc., and my career was moving up. Problem was, the company couldn’t sell enough software to keep everyone around. I got laid-off in 2002.

        Back then, I found that my development skills had deteriorated and that what skills I did have were a dime a dozen, regardless of how good I thought I was.

        Getting back into strict development was a step back for me, but again, I’m gaining experience in a new business, and having an impact on future architecture.

        Next, I have decided to go get a Master’s, because I don’t see any other way to move my career beyond strict developing. I’m trapped without some background other than developing, and taking a chance that it will help me to learn more and move on.

        And if it doesn’t work that way, I’ll look into buying “some” kind of a franchise and move on by getting out. Either way, the education should come in handy.

    • #3304680

      More qualified = less chance of being hired

      by hebe5775 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I was laid off from an 11.5 year IT support position with a plant last spring. What I have learned where I am living (Baton Rouge) the more qualified you are, certifications, experience, etc., the less of a chance you have to be hired for the available IT jobs here. Unless you are applying for IT management positions (which I am not qualified for), an experienced tech is overqualified. Most of the businesses here are hiring newer & younger entries to the field; they are more inexpensive to pay, regardless of how effective they are professionally. Certification/Training sales people I have talked to over the last 4 months are stopped cold in their sales pitch when I tell them that the more certifications I could attain, the less attractive I become to a company’s bottom line. On the other side of the issue, many of the newer hires are padding a resume on their way to another job somewhere else, leaving the company with the reality of hiring several, “inexpensive” tech’s for the same position over a period of time. I may have to leave the state or get into another profession. As of late, I have been lucky to get involved in contract system upgrade projects in the area while searching for permanent work.

      • #3299276

        It’s a hard road.

        by burger_alan ·

        In reply to More qualified = less chance of being hired

        I have been working in the Tech. industry for many years and have had little success since the .com crash in 01. I have years of hands on desktop and server support but no degree or certs. I am at cross roads in my life one direction is be patient and live a meager existence till something goes my way, the other is start new and find a new line of work. Both seem to be a long haul. If I could go back and do it all over again I wouldn’t have gone this way. The easy road would have been to get involved in Real-estate in California. But you know what they say about hindsight.

    • #3304679

      no

      by connelld ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      No, much worse off. Have been unemployed for almost a year.

    • #3304676

      Same education, different results

      by theisey ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I also went from an associate’s to a bachelor’s degree during the last five years. I had been offered an IT director position with one of the colleges at the university, but state rules require a 4-year degree for that title. While earning the degree, they did promote me to manager and held the position open, but we also saw a total change in management. Once I earned the degree, they had neither the will nor the funds to promote me.

      Luckily, I had built a good reputation and found a new home. While the title is lower (Coordinator), I’m now in a univeristy-level position supporting academic computing across campus. (Big fish in a little pond to a medium fish in a big pond.)

      I’m very happy with the results, though it was a struggle to get this far.

    • #3304671

      Status Quo

      by cfaust ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Having a MS in Engineering since 1987 and working in IT since 1990 it is hard to judge about being better off. Five years ago I made 15K less than I do now, but I changed jobs for a pay increase. Every year I get a three percent COLA, but what is the rate of inflation these days? Housing costs have almost doubled in the last five years in my area. Fortunately, I own a house that has appreciated also. Gas is over 2 bucks a gallon and food costs have increased. Add two children to the mix and I’d say that I am earning less than five years ago. IMHO, even though I am making more, I feel like it is about the same as five years ago for costs versus pay. I do believe that employers could shell out a little more for raises/promotions so that you can tell a difference in your life. The bottom line is that the largest raise you will ever get is the one you negotiate on the way into the building.

    • #3304667

      Better Off

      by artimus ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      To truly answer the question “am I better off” has been a real soul search over the last 5 yrs. 5 yrs ago I was with a State Gov’t entity in the town and state I enjoyed, working tech/network support with freedom to learn and get hands dirty in many IT areas making just enough to stay above water. I decided to leave to the corporate world, doubled my pay to move to the LA Calf. area to become “better off”. Quite a learning experience. Technical growth became limited as the organization was compartmentalized and I was restricted to Local Area Networking only. Finances were far better allowing us to live comfortable (in my eyes) finally but, I was absolutely miserable. I felt I was a cog in the wheel of the for-profit machine. One year later, I went back home to another state agency with a small raise from my previous employment there. Once again, I am free to get involved in many aspects of IT. Reading through this forum has once again made me realize that we all go through this career depression cycle(for lack of a better term) every few years. I am once again on the up cycle and am excited and see potential. Would I do IT again?? Today, yes Tomorrow ???

    • #3304664

      Much Worse

      by super_it_mom ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Five years ago I was a systems admin for a manufacturing making 50K. The company I worked for was bought out by a company from Finland and closed the plant I was working at. I found another job, but it only pays 38K, I have not had a raise in two years and there are no benefits.

      I too am a “jill of all trades” working on a bachelors in IT, but am seriously considering changing it to Business Accounting (which I have considerable experience as well).

      All the forecasts show that things are going to pick up for us in 2005. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens.

    • #3304660

      For Sure Better

      by jeff.stern ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Layed off in 2001 as an IT Manager, rehired in 2002 as a project Manager and now an IT Manager and at a 30% increase. More work, more pay though.

    • #3304657

      Still Searching

      by coreypi ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I will have to agree with you that a B.S. is not worth as much as an A.S. degree. Now they want you to get a certified in a MCSE,MCSA,CCNP and the list goes on so that you can be more marketable out there. To keep in real, Sometimes, I do regret choosing the career path for information technology and currently working outside my major of study for 13 years and seeing the current economy now, I do not see any changes yet because people are still getting laid off, still unemployement or can’t find a job due to outsourcing overseas, and company are still downsizing to save money, “Do more, with Less” If I have to do it over again, I would have to say is “yes” Why? Because this is what I’ve always dream and desire to do to become the best at my craft. I am now currently doing my own private business for Helpdesk Support within my community charging affordable services. Hopefully when I get that dream job that I have been longing for years now, I can truly say that I have made it. Never give up on your dreams and desire. Oh yeah, I will never give up my own business, hey? Someone has got to pay the bills to maintain a high level of service.

    • #3304648

      Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      by februarie02 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      At your question I have to say this;
      All that IT time was just fashion, today is still the same. Everybody is going after those “Certifications” more than for a degree.
      No wander our jobs are going oversees, people don’t get degrees anymore, just certifications, easy way out and gold mine for corporations.

    • #3304642

      5, yes, 4, no.

      by art66 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Yes, in 97 I doubled my Retail salary by going to NT School. In 2000 I doubled it again by getting Promoted to Manager. But, since then, I have laid off 4 of my staff(down to 1) and quadrupled my own work load. Benefits have gone down, Insurance has gone up, pay has stayed the same. BUT, I have a job, and the checks don’t bounce. I do NOT regret my choise, I would DEFINATELY do it over again, but I would get more Certs…. just in case.

    • #3304632

      No way Am I better Off

      by oisleach9 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      My salary has done nothing but slide slide as I try to find jobs that deal with database or imaging. First I have to travel farther and then I am offered only $40 – $45/hour as a contract software engineers. Secondly because of the market clients/companies often expect me to work harder longer hours in order to compress the time frame of the project since they waited until the last possible day before hiring.
      This market is just plain stress stress stress

    • #3304623

      much worse off financially

      by tdrsubs ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      As someone mentioned, five years ago was around 2000 and that was the end of a “spike” in IT jobs at least partially caused by the Y2K brouhaha. For the general IT jobs picture that is an important point.

      My personal IT job history didn’t depend on the Y2K spike, though. Had been doing database and middleware development work (e.g., around 2000 I was working on an MDX parser for a data warehousing middleware project and didn’t do any Y2K work at all) for several years.

      True, after the company I worked for in 2002 went belly-up I started out a bit selectively: I only sent a resume if it looked like the job listing was written by someone who had just read my resume. Complete silence (e.g., nobody even acknowledged having received the resume) ensued. I have limited my geographic purview to the United States.

      In one case I had over a decade of experience in the major specific area the employer sought, including development work on the product itself, but the latest experience was more than six months old. The headhunter advised me to lie on the resume and claim that my latest experience was within the past six months at the time, but I didn’t do that.

      Now, my gross income is a little less than 1/10 of what it was in 2000, with no benefits at all — about 1/3 to 1/4 of what a one-bedroom apartment rents for in the seedy parts of town around here. Have been out of a “real job” for a little more than two years. Fortunately, have had generous friends who have let me stay with them, so am not literally without a roof over my head.

      I might be in the wrong spot on the current “fitness landscape” of the IT world — I can choose just about any arbitrary IT job listing in the English speaking world and demonstrate experience in about 2/3 of the skills listed, but not the remaining 1/3. It seems that there is enough of a glut of refugees from 2001/2002 downsizing that employers can easily hold out for 3/3 of what they want and get it.

      No, I don’t regret my career choice. It might be behind me now, but it was rewarding while it lasted — full of interesting projects and interesting people to work on those projects with.

    • #3304622

      So Many Changes

      by allyinfo ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Yes, I have been self-employed in the IT industry with networking training, and ended up doing mostly technical writing as a business analysis, manual/training writer, software integration and hardware technical upkeep, and doing web development and design, a with a BA behind me the whole time. I do not have any MS Certifications, but have been able to stay alive. My salary started at a lower rate than what I receive now, but there is not as much work.

      I decided to totally change by work world to being a mobile Notary Signing Agent. Having been a Notary for over 20 years previously, I have found there is a great need out there curretnly. I have already gotten certified as a Notary, and setup bonding requirements, and am about to finish my training as a NSA, and am about to take the certification test for it.

      I do not regret my changes. You have to make choices to survive financially in this world, and if you have other skills, take advantage of having them and go use them. If you are able to integrate your skills that is even better.

      Here is the interesting part that is happening for me. I am also signed up with Careerbuilder.Com and Dice.Com, and as of yesterday, I have received five emails about IT work from all over the US. So, was it a good idea for my to switch my industries, I am not sure just yet, but I am not going to stop doing this new trade, but I will look at the emails and see if there is anything I can do inbetween.

    • #3304621

      Kind of stalled

      by james schroer ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      In the past 5 years I’ve gone up in $$ but down in benifits. I started doing PC support at a factory that had great benifits back in 2000 then in 2002 I moved to a different company and became Systems Engineer. The first year was great $$ wise but then it started to slip. Benifits aren’t very good but they pay is enough for the bills. I’ve looked at a few other places in the past few months and they were okay but the $$ was just a little less then where I am. So I think the market is leveled out and the pay is back in check and not out of whack. I would do it all again as far as the technology side but not sure I would make that move in 2002.

    • #3304616

      Promotion

      by humphnor ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      In 2000 I was layed off and unable to get work for several months.

      Over the last 3 years I have been working as a Technical support rep. In october I was promotted to Senior Field Systems Engineer. This has been a happy transition. My current position requires more thinking and is a much higher rate of pay.

    • #3304606

      I am better off

      by kel_stevens ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Let me start with a statement: I am opposed to outsourcing as it turns humans into disposable tissue paper to bean counters.

      I am better off today than 2000. I started with Bank of American and I was given the worst job assignments in my work group. We were out-sourced to HP/Compaq within a year and the work changed completely for everyone and I was given tasks and leadership that I was not getting at BofA. I also now work for an IT company and have recieved better training, promotion, pay and bonuses. Is it perfect? No. Am I better off?
      Yes

    • #3304605

      Anyone believe this?

      by colotech ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Found this on http://www.thecareernews.com and wonder if it’s accurate. I would like to think so and it’s about time we got a little power back!

      “2005: The market belongs to job candidates
      Abridged: The Mercury News

      DALLAS, TX — It may not look like it now but the job market is moving from the employer’s to the employee’s favor. Baby boomers are starting to retire, leaving not only fewer workers to replace them but workers with less education and training. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a shortage of 10 million skilled workers by 2008.”

      • #3294255

        Um, No

        by 33prism33 ·

        In reply to Anyone believe this?

        Why the hell should I believe this stuff from those asshats now? Every month they lie about so called “job creation” and it’s my belief that unemployment. Feh. May Pakistan and India nuke each other.

    • #3304596

      It will never be the same

      by epikservice ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Having experienced the full DOT com explosion and implosion, I’m convinced that overall, it will never be quite the same. The period took not only a financial toll on business, but destroyed once and for all the commitment of employers and the loyalty of employees.
      The number of high profile technical positions was reduced by more than 50% leaving the displaced in the search pool vying for the leftovers. Personally residing in a techno center, reasonable opportunities were almost non-existent. Temporary/contract work was bid down to minimum wage.
      Things are improving, but the salaries and benefits offered are less than half of what you could expect 5 years ago. Certifications and advanced degrees can certainly position you for a secure future. The insanity of the Dot com era will not be repeated any time soon. It would be foolish to rely on any employer as the vehicle success.

    • #3304592

      Goals & Objectives

      by mbrunner@customerselects.com ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      back in 2000 I assessed where I expected to be in 5 years. The picture I painted sure didn’t include a post-911 landscape.

      I was the IT Manager for a large software company. My employer had a 5 year plan to “right-size”. We discussed it openly, and were working on tranisition plans when those horrific events in NY changed everything. That 5 year plan became a 5 month plan, and I was one of the first to go.

      The dot-com bubble had just finished making its last sucking noise as it popped. There were too many hungry IT folks and just not enough jobs. I searched and networked, picking up short, poor-paying contracts or teaching here and there, but was unemployed for 18 months. Finally I settled for a field tech job that took me back 10 years in my career, paid half of what I needed to get by, and left me stressed to the max with the boss from hell.

      After a year of that, I had drained my RRSP, taken out a second mortgage, and the economy finally showed signs of recovery. I am back in Management via contract engagement. My salary has started to recvoer as well, but is nowhere near 5 years ago. As a contractor, it is difficult to sell the benefits of training to an employer, so I worry about my future relevance.

      No, I’m not better off than I was 5 years ago. But I expect that 5 years from now I will be.

    • #3304590

      Your value is economics based. Good times will roll again.

      by mjost ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      The last few (five maybe)years have been effected by the down turn in the economy and business’ goal of making a profit. Value is derived from people is what they can produce based on supply and demand. Either reduce supply or make more demand.

    • #3304571

      RE:Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      by mdaskam1 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      A Bachelor’s Degree in my opinion is still considered very good. I disagree with you in regards to your view of Education in a sense that it’s not really education that determines your salary range. A lot of factors come in to play such as the general status of the economy such as tons of layoffs in Technology, also availablility of jobs in a tight job market. One big factor in regards to wages is the area where your job is located. For example, if your job is located in an area where the standard of living is high then the salaries are much higher then compared to an area that is less cheaper. Also, the termination of salaries is a big difference compared to an employer who’s employs thousands compared to an employer who employs a few hundred. A small company will pay less compared to a larger company. I can tell you from what I’ve seen and been thru that experience means more to a company then how many certifications a person has. We are now in a new century where can not demand high salaries like we used too. Survival is the main goal of for us. If it means that you have to take a pay cut for a job with a smaller company then so be it. The employer knows that they can get away with it only because to them, they have hundreds and thousands of other candidates that would take the job just to pay the bills. Change is very hard for any of us to except, but as technologist we must change with the job market.

      • #3299188

        Short term memory!

        by itmsdg ·

        In reply to RE:Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

        This is the most depressing thing I have read in a long time. Now I know things must be getting better since everyone is stating how bad it is out there. That?s right? I remember a time when everyone was saying, ?I just got another big raise, a big time management job, and it this will go on forever?, well nothing lasts forever. We had a high point (good times) and now a downturn (bad times), but overall IT jobs will still be needed.

        Two points:

        – I can not believe that people are waiting 1 or 2 years to get a job in IT. If I were in the same position as some of the listings above I would do anything to get by until I found a job I wanted. And yes? that would include blue collar work (construction, electrical, plumbing, bartender, Burger King and the list goes on and on) IT is not the only place you can make a living and get by.

        – Five years is not a career path; it is only the beginning of the road. If you really want to reach a goal you will do whatever it takes, no matter how long it takes. By giving up every time something was hard you will never get anywhere.

    • #3304563

      Looking to jump ship

      by m_harden ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 years ago I was riding high in IT with a salary of 50+k a year PLUS bonuses. Now, after the bottom fell out in 2001 (before 9-11 for me), I am stuck in a dead end job, making < 47k a year, and wondering how long I will be "fortunate." to have this job. My company is reorganizing (read: downsizing and outsourcing) the IT department this year. Having seen it coming, I have looked for a new job for over a year now. There is nothing out there (at least in southern-central Michigan) that I am qualified for. This month I start back in school to earn a second Bachelors degree in a different career field. With any luck, I will be out of IT forever by the age of 45. IT is a young man's game. Best of luck to you.

    • #3304561

      The Evolution of IT for a Baby Boomer

      by bospgmr ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      http://techrepublic.com.com/5218-6230-0.html?forumID=6&threadID=161127&messageID=1660566

      Hello,

      With all due respect, this is going to sound like an addiction admission at an AA meeting. My story, and I?ll try to make it brief, is very typical of millions of second-generation computer programmers in my age group in America.

      I?m Bill from Boston, I?m 48 years old with 26 years of IT experience. It use to be called EDP Electronic Data Processing then MIS, IS and now IT. Anyway, I started my career at the ripe young age of 22 after completing a six month computer programming training course at CPI (Computer Processing Institute) in East Harford CT. These schools were common then because most large companies were automating, mostly on IBM 360/370 mainframes, at a furious pace and most colleges did not yet have computer curriculums or programming courses. Hartford CT?s claim to business fame was/is insurance, it was once known as the ?insurance capital? of America. American business desperately needed programmers and mostly COBOL.

      So there I was, like most of us I had a job offer from a large company even before graduating from the program. $11, 000 per year, wow, I thought it was a fortune, and it nearly was for a bright eye 22 year old from CT moving to the big city of Boston. Larry Bird and I were born in the same year, 1956, and we each moved to Bean Town the same year, 1979. IT/programming shot off like a rocket in the 80?s and 90?s in Boston and around the US, similar to the Celtics. It certainly was a ?heyday?, and 90% of the work was development, all new, all creative all large and expensive projects and systems.

      Again my career progressed similarly to most. In the 80?s as a computer programmer you were constantly learning. Yes, companies would constantly TRAIN you either in-house or they would send you away, it was vital for them to have skilled computer professionals. At most companies the computer geeks and EDP were like the unwanted stepchild. We were resented by those who normally ran the show prior to us and ?the? computer arriving on the scene. The computer was a ?culture shock? to most companies. These people were mostly finance workers, accountants the A/P & A/R departments etc. Companies then would actually post computer related job opening and allow employees from other departments to get trained and switch careers, as opposed to the current trends. Have a skilled need? Hire somebody in India.

      Along with the company training many programmers would take evening course at local colleges to stay current and get ahead. I hung in for 5 tough years of night school obtaining a BS in Computer Science from Boston University in 1985. Mine was the first graduating class from BU to include Computer Science as a degree major, prior to that they were Math degrees with a concentration in computers. I made it, I was ?all set?. The federal bureau of labor statistics annually stated the need for computer professionals would far outweigh the supply past the year 2020, we were sitting pretty.

      Again the 80?s were hot for computer programmers and for the Celtics. If you became disappointed with your employer or job you could quit and quickly be hired somewhere else with a sizeable increase in pay. Most programmers would job-hop, 2 to 3 years was a normal length of stay. Recruiters would call you, at home or at work, constantly telling you of new and better opportunities for even more money. Again, in 1979 I started at an $11k salary by 1985 I was making $48k plus bonus.

      Another trend for computer programmers in the 80s & 90s was to obtain several years of experience and some expertise and become a contractor. You would find a client by marketing yourself and your skills either directly or via an agency, a headhunter or ?pimp? as we affectionately called them. They are the scourge of the earth. I took the leap in 1988, $40 per hour. I gave up the security of a full time job and salary for a temporary assignment. The hiring manager cautioned me that it would only last 3 months, it turned out to be a 2+ year gig. And that?s how it normally went on average for me for the next 14 years with my net billing rate continually increasing from $40 per hour in 1988 to $62 in 2001. The year 1999 (what a surprise) was my best to date, $129,000 gross. A good thing about being a contractor is there is NO overhead. Compared to a doctor or some other profession, they may gross more but they have overhead; expenses, offices, supplies, employees etc.

      Then came 2001;

      I have a few key words that I attribute the dismantling of this profession and even worse the US economy, as we KNEW it;

      Head Hunters
      Illegal Immigration
      H1B?s (NAFTS, Free Trade)
      World Economy
      NAFTA
      Out-sourcing/Off Shoring

      As most of us know 2001 brought everything to a screeching halt, especially high-tech and IT. The anticipated long-term assignment I was working on was cancelled along with my contract. I was out of work for several weeks before I found another assignment, this time only netting me $50 per hour. That lasted for about 10 weeks, into September 2001, when as we all know, stuff really hit the fan. A declining economy went into a tail spin and again even more so for High-tech/IT. By that time many IT professionals had already been out of work for long periods of time. I sought another contract position but quickly realized that the trough was near empty. I changed my strategy to seek safe harbor from the storm and found a full-time job. I luckily found a job at a VERY large national bank, in Mass., within their Treasury Services department. For the next 2.5 years I was the last IT (legacy, mainframe, development programmer) hired. I found the job to be extremely boring but I was glad to be working even at $75k, $54k less than what I made in 2000, $129k.

      My strong opinion as to why SO many IT workers were (and still are) out of work for so long is a direct result of 1) HB1?s & NAFTA etc. visa statues, foreign workers with temporary visa?s taking American ?citizen? labor from them and 2) IT work being sent (off-shored) to foreign countries.

      Out-Sourcing is nothing new. What?s different about it now is the ?off shore? element of it. In 70s, 80s and early 90s out-sourcing meant a company was contracting a portion of their business to a service bureau or software vendor. This meant that lost jobs in company ?A? would end up in company ?B?, maybe within the same state or possibly another but most likely remain within the US and its economy.

      Anyone who tries to sell and defend Off-Shoring and the ?open? and ?world? economies is talking techno-babble and MBA-speak. The ONLY person who benefit from Off-Shoring are the corporate Sr. executives and financers who get huge bonuses for improving their bottom lines. This improvement of the bottom line comes at the price of a job for their neighbors, brothers, cousins and fellow American?s. In my opinion it is treasoness and unethical.

      The reality of what ?world economy? means; USA has long enjoyed being the richest nation in the world which included the highest per-capata income the least percentage of poverty etc. A world economy, to America, simply means that the US is going to voluntarily allow our standards of living, income and the power that goes along with wealth to be diminished, homogenized and sacrificed so that other countries can approach or attain our watered-down wealth.

      Do I sound ?selfish?? This is simply another step towards socialism being pushed by the extreme liberal left. First the US belongs to its citizens to have and protect. In the US it has always been O.K. to make a buck, compete, win and be on-top etc. Now we are being conditioned to believe that ?purposely being less competitive to allow the rest of the world to catch up to us economically? is a good thing. All it means it that their economies will improve and ours will decline along with our lifestyles.

      IT is going the way of many other lost (given away) American professions and industries (steel, tires, leather, garment, automobile, ship building, manufacturing in general, electronics, farming, etc. etc. ..) Soon it will be more of the financial sector up to and including the MBA?s themselves. Maybe it?ll reach the executive level, it already has for those foreign companies that have replaced ours.

      Off Shoring, Out-Sourcing, NAFTA, H-1B?s etc are all bad for the US its people and its economy.

      Bill

      http://www.murthy.com/nflash/nf_112204.html

      http://www.indiadaily.com/breaking_news/14090.asp

      Software firms eager to cash in on H1Bs
      Nov. 24, 2004
      For the Indian software industry, the law passed by the US Congress last week to issue 20,000 more H1B visas for foreign students pursuing higher studies in that country seems a sign of “more to come”. This has also set the tenor for them to recruit more post-graduates from US Universities. “This is a positive signal from the US government and is expected to pave way for more relaxations”, said Deepak Khosla, general manager, marketing, of Patni Computer Systems. The company sees this as access to a larger talent pool. It has over 2,000 software professionals working in the US, a large number of whom have studied there. “Already, around 3-4% of our 4,000-odd employees have American degrees. We see that number doubling in the next year,” said Deepak Ghaisas, CEO of iFlex. However, while this law enables mobilisation of more people for onsite work, it restricts the choice of employees, he said.
      http://www.sulekha.com/classifieds/clad.aspx?cid=308589

      http://www.zazona.com/ShameH1B

    • #3304557

      Senior Member

      by razzy11 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I am the senior member of my team. GREAT work record. 8 years carry the most software packages and have the most overall knowledge. The boss says great things about me. However when she is selling folks to higher ups, I am not at the top of the list. She holds my scores down but I get “comments” that are a perception of the best. We were peers prior to working for the boss. I always get the carrot effect. Do this and this will happens..it always changes. I have been in IT for 18 years and am respected in and out of my organization. She values image and perception over tangible goods. I am a fun person when we are not on a project and that is the image she is sticking me with. She knows on a project I am the stuff. Why am I being help back. Also, my title was changed without my knowledge and given to a squeeky wheel. She has a answer for everything that boxes you in with accepting. HELP!!

      Posted by: getmet Date: 08/30/04

    • #3304548

      Healthcare/Nursing and IT

      by ex healthcare it ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      First of all, am I better off than 5 years ago? NOT EVEN CLOSE. I have 14 yrs of exp. in IT. I am an MCSE, MCSD, and MCDBA. 5 yrs ago I was living in Seattle in a big house making a little under $100K. The wife stayed home with the kids and shopped. I consulted in healthcare IT flying all over the country (1st class), stayed in upgraded hotel suites, rented the best cars that AVIS offered, and ate at the best restaurants the client cities had.

      Then… Y2K… Then… dot.gone… Then… 9/11… Then… Recession… Then… Layoff… Unemployment… Many of you know this cycle…

      We were forced to sell the house or lose it. We moved to Vegas and I worked security for $8/hr. I worked at McDonald’s 15 yrs ago in high school for $6/hr. Who knew that if I had stayed there, I would probably have been making more 15 yrs later!

      I now work as a “Do-It-All” guy for a small company. I maintain the website, troubleshoot anything that plugs into an outlet, answer the phones, even make coffee in the morning. I make around $25K. In Vegas, there are few IT jobs and a lot of ex IT. You will run into many people working security, parking cars, clearing tables, etc. who came from somewhere else in the country and are former IT. That is now the life I live and share with many others.

      Onto healthcare… As I’ve said, I used to consult in healthcare and worked in the IT dept of a hospital for 7 yrs. CURRENTLY, there IS a shortage of nurses and they are in high demand. I don’t know if anyone remembers though, there was a time in the early 90s when there were a glut of nurses and they were being laid off and had to move around the country to find work (saw it 1st hand at the hospital I worked at). This very much parallels the IT workforce of the late 90s.

      Just as everyone was rushing into IT in the late 90s because of demand, the same is now true for nursing. I don’t know when the supply will outgrow the demand but it will eventually. It did for nursing in the early 90s, it did for IT in the late 90s, the cycle should repeat itself.

      Will the upswing return for IT? Those with IT jobs now will have to retire someday. Are those getting out of high school or currently in college going into IT? No! Will there be an IT shortage in the future? Probably.

      Will those former IT 30, 40, 50+ years of age get back into IT when demand returns. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t expect to and have settled on the fact that I have not had a true IT job for the past 5 yrs and the near future doesn’t look good.

      Signed,

      No IT career or future
      75% worse than 5 yrs ago
      Will tech for food 😉

    • #3304540

      Am I better off now than 5 years ago?

      by miller-zauner ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Wish my answer would be YES.
      Sorry to say that from a very bad buyout situation I am part of a 517 team of players that has not worked since June of 2002 due to a WARN ACT closure.
      Try each day to survive on just over $10. per hour not the six figure income that was there in 2002 is unbelieveable.
      But hey, I’m 57, have been doing this work since 1967 and just a little too expensive to folks who really don’t understand service level agreement management.
      Think if I ever give up trying to find that next job, I would like to go back to school and get my certification needed to teach in hopes of teaching others what to watch out for.
      If any of you reading this know through networking folks that can help me, please let me know.

      miller-zauner@charter.net

    • #3304536

      IT may not be the future

      by andymac05 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I too started in IT straight from completing a BA in IT. I started at an ISP as web/db developer and after 5 years was made redundant.
      I then got another job doing the same type of thing for a mining company only to find that the same problems with IT existed here.
      I’m on less pay than before and putting up with the same problems. ie not enough staff, management with no IT direction, and users who think IT will be all things to all people.
      I’m seriously thinking of changing career paths at this point in my life, as IT has left a bad taste in my mouth.

    • #3299343

      Am I better off?

      by vinnymiller1701 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      While I do not work in the computer field at this time, I am actively looking for employment in that field. I still have the same job I had 5 years ago, and am still at the same company. I have an A.S. in PC Support, a B.S. in IT, and am working on an MBA. The (very) few interviews I have had make me wonder if sometimes the hiring managers forget that they did not know everything and maybe had little experience when they got their first IT job. The reasons for not hiring me have been along the line of lack of experience with . I do have experience with break/fix. I have done it for nearly 8 years for a private trucking company that is no longer doing business but the owner still calls me from time to time for assistance. There was no networking involved but I am not unfamiliar with networking. This makes my job humting very frustrating and it also makes me wonder whether my education (and the cost of it) is actually worth the time invested.

    • #3299342

      Better off now than in 2000

      by dragon_lady ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I’ve been working in State Government for almost thirty years. I don’t have a degree or certifications of any kind and mostly obtained my knowledge and skills from Microsoft Certified Training, lots of reading and studying on my own time, and over 15 years experience in software support, Microsoft & Unix networking, and network/systems/security administration. I’ve been promoted three times in the last 5 years and am promised another one (to I.S. management), hopefully before I retire within the next 5 years. I am currently juggling about 12 simultaneous projects that include Frame Relay and WiFi implementations at various remote sites throughout my state, with only an increased workload in sight. We have only seven employees in our I.S. section that support over 1200 users statewide. We could definitely use more people, but the budget strings have tightened department wide due to a new administration that took over in January 2004. Though it took me a long time to get to where I am today, I consider myself very fortunate and blessed. My success has hopefully been an inspiration to other non-professional women who want to break through the “glass ceiling” into a professional, technical career. My 25 year-old son, on the other hand, a computer/audio technician who has been unemployed for about 6 months, is having no success at this time finding a job in our home city (even with State Government). He is studying and getting certifications in the meantime. 5 years ago, he was a part-time cook. 5 years ago, most people I knew didn’t have a computer at home. Today, they have multiple computers and laptops for individual family members. Just like TVs blossomed in MY parents’ day. If you’re young, time is on your side. And, I am confident that the job market will get better.

      • #3313913

        Private vs. Public Service

        by bucky kaufman (mcsd) ·

        In reply to Better off now than in 2000

        I’ve noticed that a LOT of the folks who replied that things are going well are the ones who work for the government.

        One reason government jobs are good, while private ones suck, are because the government is spending outlandish sums that they simply do not have. Another reason they’re good is that it’s almost impossible to get fired or layed off.

        Business workers, on the other hand, have to actually produce – and produce well – lest they lose their jobs. For us, the job market has gotten much worse.

        The reason is because nobody wants to buy American labor. It’s expensive, inefficient and spoiled.

        Pesonally, I’m doing well – but that’s a quality of life thing, not based on quantities of cash.

        I *used* to work endless hours for customers that only partially payed their bills. Now, I work fewer hours – but the folks I work for DO pay their bills. It’s a nice change.

        • #3317025

          Public Sector Myths

          by givemeabreak ·

          In reply to Private vs. Public Service

          I work for a governmental body. They never have layoffs and it is hard to get fired. What we do is make crap up to get people to resign when we have too many people. Our HR department is the Secret Police for management. I have seen it happen to two good people and heard about it happening to scores of others. The first was accused of having porn on his PC. The purported porn was a picture of a hopeful girlfriend in a sheer shirt that he received in an email and a humorous picture that didn’t really show anything. He was allowed to resign but not without a stern warning not to discuss the matter with anyone.
          The second guy was accused of slacking off. His job involved doing work that others in his area were incapable of doing. He was very good. They built a huge file on this guy that would never have held up in court. Most of it was built on estimates of how long it should have taken him to do the work by people who did’nt know how to do the work or what was involved. They also accused him of staying gone too long on lunch (they had pictures of him coming and going, we don’t use time clocks) on at least 3 occasions. He also was allowed to resign, but given a strong warning not to discuss the matter with anyone.

          None of these positions have ever been filled.

          Did I also mention that for 5 years we were and continue to be under a wage and hiring freeze? Yet the head of our division got a great BIG fat Bonus and RAISE every one of those 5 years. His bonus was more than I make and I’m a middle manager!

          Stable? Secure? Not really.

        • #3316885

          My previous full time employment

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Public Sector Myths

          Was a government agency.

          They laid off 25% of the IT department. I had done some layoffs of some of my staff the previous year. Oh and firings were not uncommon – for cause.

          In Canada in the 90s, there were massive layoffs in the Federal Public Service. It was reduced by about 15%.

          So its not so simple.

          James

    • #3299311

      Married to my career for better or worse

      by Anonymous ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Is IT “stuck in the mud”? In a computer illiterate state like West Virginia, IT never climbed that high.
      I married into this career with an Associates Degree and the honeymoon goes on. I have a multitude of certificates but they never seem to be the right combination for the advertised job. And don’t get me started on HRs asking a twenty year veteran if he has an A+ certificate!
      Am I better off now self-employed without benefits and with sporatic income? Mentally, I am ecstatic. I rarely enjoyed the accomplishments as much as I do now, when I can get it. If we could all shed the heavy rustic chains of corporate America, this field would once again show pride and honor.
      To do over again, I would make one change… I would teach my dog to bite the intestinal fortitudes that ruined the business with their work-for-big-bucks attitude. Personally, I still work for the enjoyment as I always have.

      • #3346247

        I couldn’t agree more…

        by magic-g ·

        In reply to Married to my career for better or worse

        Yep, you got it right. I just got done reading all this whining about big salaries lost. if you look at history, the steel workers, the rubber workers, some auto workers, shoemakers, TV manufacturers, etc., and the list goes on all went through this job pain and/or loss. IT workers were taking businesses to the cleaners in many areas and now things are finding their proper levels… It’s called life. Get over it..

    • #3299307

      tactial IT position to strategic IT position is not bad

      by rkannan ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      However, if one continues to be tactical in delivering IT solutions, surely there is a problem.

      But the entering as IT engineer is a good move..
      to learn the intricacies of the business.
      One should seek ways to become biz analyst or
      project management.
      Should not remain tech jockie riding every new
      technical tool that comes around.

    • #3299305

      Nope

      by mek804 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      22 years in I.T. … Was a Help Desk Operations Group Leader,
      then DBA… But since 9/11, I’ve been laid-off twice and treated
      like so much dirt. I have had to take a demotion to help desk
      and a big pay cut. There just isn’t anything else out there that
      pays like the old days.

      Time to branch out, kids. Try something else.

      You will not get anywhere in I.T. in a country where the gov’t
      gives big tax breaks to companies that ship your job overseas.

    • #3299299

      Better off than 5 years ago – I doubt it

      by david ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Five years ago, as we kicked over the Y2K, I, like many, was actively involved as a practice manager for a major vendor.

      Within 6 months, the steam had gone out of their market and non-core personnel were “dumped”. The IT industry has been in massive decline since then.

      Whilst my risk management and BCP expertise is still in great demand, the ‘packages’ incl real benefits are no longer there.

      I may be getting more in terms of raw fees, but the company vehicle, health benefits, and fully funded pension are long gone – I now fund all of these myself. And the bonus schemes for over achievement are a misty memory. So in real terms I’m probably 10 – 15% worse off.

      Add to this that the Australian economy has been booming, and the growth [read CPI] significant, then that 15% in adjusted terms is probably closer to 20%.

      I am not alone in this – many of my peers have suffered significantly in the same period. Some have suffered extended unemployment or limited opportunities because of their skill sets. In the worst cases I have seen marriages fail.

      Add to all this that 5 years older in IT terms can make you less employable, notwithstanding additional study and qualifications. For those that have entered the “pre retirement zone – 45 plus”, the problems are worse. Too old = unemployable.

      But there are solutions – I have broadened my IT consulting skills into business consulting, and this creates more opportunities at least.

      My suggestion – don’t necessarily get better qualified at what you’ve always done. Branch out into new or related areas, new technologies/solutions and focus on small organisations with a growth model that has the hallmarks of success – then get in their for the ride of your life.

    • #3299293

      Keep techs jobs in the US and grow US jobs!!!

      by m_cg ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      No. Currently, each President needs to create 6 to 7 million jobs per term. Bush has just a little more than 6 to 7 million jobs to go for term one and term two looks no better. When we are not creating jobs, we have no business exporting ANY jobs. And especially not tech jobs, because less than 5 years ago they were a critical part of growing the economy.

      • #3299213

        Presidents do not create jobs

        by lumbergh77 ·

        In reply to Keep techs jobs in the US and grow US jobs!!!

        Entrepreneurs create jobs.

        Bill Gates has created more jobs than every US President combined. The only jobs a President creates are government jobs…and because those are taxpayer funded jobs, they are created at the expense of the private sector.

        • #3299119

          Unamerican perspective

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Presidents do not create jobs

          He can certainly facillitate job creation. Any goverment that can’t provide an environment where it’s subjects can earn a living is a total waste of space.
          As for whether a job is private or public, who cares if you get enough money to put food on the table.
          Given the way western politics work now, it’s much more likely that business is controlling the government than the other way round. Altruism has no place in their thinking, if Subjraj in Bombay can do the required work for 10% of the cost compared to Bill of New Jersey, Bill’s on food stamps. Based on experience of the UK, only failing business’s try the nationalistic stuff.
          Aside from trade tariff’s and wars of conquest both tried in his last term and counter productive in my opinion, George ‘ll (well his successor) have to become a ‘commie’ to give you what you want. He’d best start saving as well, because his contributors may not reach as deeply in to their pockets.

        • #3291831

          Taxes chase business off-shore

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Unamerican perspective

          When you have a government that is taxing companies heavily, you have a government that is chasing away jobs.

          Look at Virginia, high tech is booming because the state isn’t leaching them dry, compaired to other states.

          When a company does half it’s business overseas but is based in the US, it pays taxes on ALL earnings. If that same business sets up a small office off shore and calls it the home office they only pay taxes on the revenue made in the US.

          Some people will whine that they aren’t paying their fair share if they aren’t paying taxes on every dollar earned. They pay wages to people who live in towns. They need to buy stuff to live so the town thrives because there is someone with a job spending their money there.

          When other countries aren’t paying as high a wage and don’t have to meet the same eco standards (not talking about you Canada) they can produce for much less.

        • #3291786

          Eco standards ?

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Taxes chase business off-shore


          When other countries aren’t paying as high a wage and don’t have to meet the same eco standards they can produce for much less.

          Are you saying as soon as America signs up to some world eco standards things are going to be even worse. ? Or has some massive reversal in US policy skipped my attention.

          Last I heard the policy on this was “You can keep the environment clean if you want, we are going to make a bigger profit when you do.”. Saw Dick Chaney say that on CNN so it must be true.

          The argument against global warming was even better. “If there is such a thing it would cost us a lot of money, so there isn’t”.

          I’ll admit the chap who provided the paraphrase of the argument against global warming was firmly in the other camp, but he was there at the time.

          I have some vague memory of the anti camp’s presentation, but their position is stupid.

          If there isn’t such a thing and everybody acts as though there is we get a cleaner world and no warming if we happen to be wrong.

          If there is such a thing and we act as if there isn’t, we exacerbate the problem, end up with a world wide ecological disaster that will cost billions. And we still haven’t stopped adding to the problem, unless of course this industry is now under water.

          Right risk asessment time.

    • #3299290

      Twenty years in IT was enough….

      by mleugene ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Five years ago I was a highflying consultant on a mainframe based HR package making $200K+ per year. I knew the gravy train wouldn’t last forever and saw the tar pit on the horizon for dinosaurs like me. I saved some of my money for the rainy days to come. They came at the end of 2003 and the choices were to try and find something in IT with a 20 year old CS degree or get out and try something different. Being a consultant for 17 of my 20 IT years the thought of working as an employee anywhere made me wretch. Bought a home inspection franchise and struck out on my own. Now I crawl under houses instead of debugging antique assembler code! Getting started is tough but I’m happy and working on building something for my three sons and myself. Am I better off than 5 years ago? Financially, not a chance. Mentally, by far! Good luck to all and remember, life is too short to be unhappy in your work!

      • #3316948

        I agree

        by bospgmr ·

        In reply to Twenty years in IT was enough….

        While laid-off for 6 months last year I took the severance education $ and prepaired for and obtained My USCG 50GT Masters/Captain license. If I eventually start driving a tug boat or cummuter ferry around Boston harbor I’ll have a few less bucks to spend but I’ll have a smile on my face. I’m much more proud of being called “Captain” than “Systems Analyst” or “Sr. P/A” ..

        Happy Sailing !!

    • #3299277

      Better off because…

      by scott.hawley ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 yearss ago I was a manager/sys admin of an NT 4.0 shop. I decided to go get some heavy networking (LAN/Wan) experience. It cost me three years and some money, but I have found that my expanded knowledge base has put me in a much better position than 5 years ago. My recomendation is to grow your bredth of knowledge and consider an MBA. There seems to be a pretty tight ceiling on sys admins now. That might be the same in your area.

    • #3299259

      No way…

      by wred ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I’ve been programming for the net since 1992 (pre-HTML). In 2000, I was making anywhere between 150$-300$ an hour as a freelance senior consultant in NYC for some of the largest websites on the net – and that was pretty standard.

      Today, I run my own company but can barely make 35$ an hour. Same with most of my colleagues who have as much experience as me. I think we got hit the hardest. The mix of too many programmers and not enough work made finding anything decent for us nearly impossible. That’s why most of us changed careers entirely or tried to start companies.

      If you were just coming out of school in 2000, I really don’t think you were in a position to truely feel the effects of the IT fallout.

    • #3299252

      Better off now?

      by jendunn23 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I was employed in my current position as IT manager of a site of a large organisation about 2 and a half years ago. I had a BS degree but was employed on my skills and ability rather than qualifications. I find that you need both now. Before that, I was employed in a small company dealing with network and IT solutions for small to medium businesses.

      It depends on the area you want to get into, but developing specialised skills can work for you. I find that the CCNA is more sought after than MCSE for example.

      I don’t regret my career choice. I love what I do and I love the variety of my position.

      In the organisation that I work for now, the conditions are excellent and the pay is good too. There are plenty of opportunities for training and advancement into other areas if I choose to do so.

    • #3299216

      Dion sings – here’s my story, it’s sad but true

      by gclefboogie ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      At the end of ’99 I was CIO/CTO of a information corporation with a thousand employees. Revenues were near 100 million, had 20 good people in the IT group. We had UNIX, Windows & Linux, CISCO networks and HP Iron. We had over a hundred projects in the mill and in the wings. We were rewriting and migrating apps from OS400 and Primos. Our Y2K projects were completly tested and we were ready. Everybody loved our work – we had a very successful department. Life was great. I was with them for 14 years – when the head count was 15. At the end of 1999 the company that I helped go public was sold and I was out.

      Just last week I left the employ of a hotel. I was taking room service orders for 400 bucks a week.

      My problem was that I was managing and not putting my hands on. I was a hands on guy for quite some time but I decided to let the real techies do what they do best and I’ll do what I do best and it work marvilously.

      Now I’m approaching retirement age, I can’t retire, I have to work and I don’t have the skills – it’s all hands-on out there. So I gotta upgrade my network cert, get an MCSE and start over again. All in progress by-the-way.

      No, I’m not better off now than I was 5 years ago.

    • #3299199

      Reply To: Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      by desmodeus ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 years ago I had just commenced with my current employer as a level 3 helpdesk/sys admin support. I’m now a level 4 Telecommunications Administrator so I’d say things are definitley on the up for me (not that this necessarily reflects an improvement in the industry just my particular situation)

    • #3299191

      Much better for me

      by jgmclees ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Over the past 5 years I floated from contract job to contract job. Each one had a slight increase in pay. I am now a full time employee in an IT department with enough of an increase in pay to be able to purchase a new home. This is all with only an A+ certification and 5+ years experience in the field.

    • #3299177

      Yes & No

      by logos-systems ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I was better off 5 years ago. But that was on the tail end of a contact that I already knew was ending in the next couple of months.

      But I’m am better off then I was 4 years ago, and the number of jobs and rates are on the rise here in the Midwest.

    • #3299170

      Things are going to get worse, here’s why

      by jeff@customerselects.com ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Every technology, cars, railroads, steamships, airplanes, typewriters, FAX machines, antibiotics, whatever, goes through several stages.
      1) A couple of guys working in the garage figure out something, and a technology is born
      2) Some more people figure out how to make it work better.
      3) Some different people figure out how to make money on it.
      4) EVERYBODY wants in for everything. The technology is hyped as the cure for everything.
      5) Reality filters in. The hairbrained ideas die quickly, the poorly executed ideas die slow and horrible deaths, the good ideas survive. The technology shrinks.
      6) The technology becomes a commodity with emphasis on cutting costs.

      Sometimes, a technology gets a significant midlife kicker. For railroads, it was diesel-electric locomotives. For airplanes, it was Jet Engines. For computers, the jury is still out – A.I. that works might do it.

      Computers are in stage 5. The technology has been oversold and there is retrenchment, careful attention to costs and ROI, and a shrinking market for practioners.

      I’ve been in this business for 25 years and I am trying to figure out an exit strategy that works.
      However, I wouldn’t have missed those 25 years for the world. I got started on a Wang 2200 with 8 Kbytes of RAM, and graduated to a DECsystem-10 with 256K words of core. I’ve been laid off 4 times, and that matters, it really matters.

      Computing is going to become like art: people will do it for the fun of it, but it won’t pay the bills. There is a glut of artists, there is a glut of computer people. If you really like computers, then by all means, stay with it. But if it is just a job and you have some other possibilities, then take one of the other possibilities.

      jeff at commercialventvac dot com

    • #3299122

      10 years ago + 5

      by roslanha ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      10 years ago i worked with computers most of the time, with very few human interaction. armed with my it knowledge and experience, 5 years ago i moved into the sales & marketing area, with lots of human interaction. loved the people, the environment and the perk. and now, 15 years later, they moved me back to it world to head the it division with different kind of interaction. the political kind.

    • #3299114

      Money’s there but no the work is not.

      by mduprey ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Since 2000, I have increased my salary worth 100% but that has come in the form of me losing my job 4 times within the last 4 years. I didn’t leave those jobs, however for some reason or another I had to be “let go”. Ask anyone, when you lose your job it is the toughest thing. To explain to potential employers, why it looks like you are a job hopper when you are not. I know I am not the only one going through this but it seems like it. So have things got better that depends how you look at it. For me personally, I don’t think so. With a field saturated with kids coming out of college, professionals out of work and anyone taking a certification course it is becoming difficult to find employment let alone stability.

    • #3299104

      Better due to soft skills / internacional experience

      by denis.bicok ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I have been working for IT since 15 years but I started pretty young in Brazil (I am 31 y.o. now).

      I always maintained the 3 main educational areas in parallel (School/university, technical skills, soft skills).

      My carrer was always progressing, slowly but progressing. When I finished Universtiy, post-graduation, etc I decided to invest stronger in the soft skills and acquire international experience and that’s what relly made a difference in money and life experience!

      Since then I have worked in different countries and South America and USA. I am now working in Switzerland in Special projects for the CIO in a Chemical Company and I can tell what brought me here weren’t the degree’s or the technical skills (they were only pre-requisities). They call me because of the international experience, languages (I learned 5 languages in this period), and the abilitiy to communicate, write, learn, present, sell, negotiate, etc, etc.

      I love the IT area but I recognize the market is much more difficul now. If would give someone advise I would say, go for it, stay aware of all new techwave but invest in soft skills to diferentiate yourself.

      All the best, Denis.

    • #3299015

      Stagnant but Steady

      by majorhelpdesk ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I had become used to yearly salary growth of 8-10%, great benefits etc. prior to 2000. Over the past 5 years I have remained in IT management, although I changed employers, my work has remained steady and secure but my salary growth has been rather stagnant with increases of 3-4% per year.

    • #3299009

      Better off Now!

      by tejones ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Five years ago (January 2000) I had just returned from my second six month tour in South America. While in South America I was doing analytical work for DEA and taking care to two NT networks in the American Embassy in Peru. At this time I was a member of the Armed Forces making about $3k per month. October 2001 I got a job as the LAN administrator at an Air Force base library. I started at $16 something per hour. Three years later I am at $23 something per hour (I guess). I also maintain computers at serveral local businesses in town. I don’t know how my salary compares with others but since I only have an A.S. degree and no certifications I don’t complain. Please note I have vast amounts of computer experience and have been called on many times to deploy to solve computer issues that were unsolveable. This year I will get the certs to go along with the experience. Given my primary job and all the side work done in 2004, cleared $80K for the first time ever. So I will say: $36K in 2000; $80K in 2004. Where is my bigger house?

      Out

    • #3313924

      Depends on were you live !

      by rvj ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Since I live in the smallest state in the US, the IT field is non-existent. I was an IT instructor for 8 years until the school I was teaching at changed their urriculum to the medial field. I have been out of work for over 8 months due to the lack of jobs in RI. I have professional certs, but that doesn’t matter in this state. Thanks

    • #3313876

      Much better

      by itaintnothang ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      In 2000 I had been in Network consulting for about 1 year. I was partner with a company we were trying to build. Many of my ideas were being shot down because I was the new guy in the field. Mid 2003 the company all but folded, and I was basically laid off.

      About 50% of the clients followed me, and I started at it alone. The job marked was not looking good, and the offers I did get were about the same as working at McD’s as a burger nuker. So I started my own thing, and within a few months I was making more cash than I had with my old partners. I built partnerships with other IT companies, and am now making around 4x the income, and have a partnership in a $10mil corp. (estimated for 20-25mil for 1005), with offices in LA, Chicago, Boston, and opening Tampa, Seattle, and possibly Dallas with in the next year. We have 4 global clients, 50 large US clients, and numerous Ma&Pa style clients (Never forget the little guys that got us here), employing 25 IT personnel, including myself as I still work in the field because I like it.

      I must say though I have watched so many, IT persons find new careers. Every person who had problems just didn?t have the drive to make it through and improve themselves and the world around them. IT is just a job to pay the bills. Not a career to be truly proud of. I have hired one person like this, a friend who has been with me since I got into computers, but he lost the career attitude and desire to improve. I have regretted this decision. I will not hire someone who just sat on unemployment for the last year, and just complained about the market.

      Yes it has been hard, but it didn?t have to be.

      But I must thank those that didn?t try. If it wasn?t for their lack of drive, I would have had more competition, and the IT market would still be flooded with incompetence.

    • #3313840

      better off now

      by kennysr ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Sorry so long. I love this topic.
      In the past 5 years I have doubled my salary. I’m now at a job that I have been at for almost 3 1/2 years. In the IT world that is long! In the last year I have started consulting. That has helped mostly because I don’t get overtime. Nice to be able to make some extra money wile building your skill set.
      my raises over the past 5 years are as follows
      1999 15%
      2000 18% left job 6 months after raise. company was letting too many people go.
      2001 13%
      2002 missed raise
      2003 10%
      2004 8% (recently but I have a new manager.) We have talked about next year and if it is less then %8 I will need to start looking.

      What really sucks is the lack of the old time benifits pacakges. Pention, medical, retirement etc…
      The days of working for one company until you retire is over. If you don’t get at least 5% start looking.

      I use salaries.com as a baseline for what I expect. find out what is expected to get a raise.

      raises can come in many different forms. After they agree to a raise add in one of the following also. Cell phone, Internet access, Home pc, Training, car, even just changing your title. The new term for IT manager is CIO. pays better and sounds cool. easier to get a new CIO job when you are already a CIO.

      Most of all Network. Know all the companies and IT guys at all local companies.

    • #3313728

      Better

      by salamander ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I would say better. Financially, I am doing better than five years ago, and that has given me a degree of freedom. There are negatives and tradeoffs, to be sure. I just wish I had learned how to mentally partition the negative stuff off years earlier.

      Fortunately, I have been blessed with a supportive boss, decent income, and a great deal of latitude in the performance of my duties. So, I can’t but smile when I come home at the end of the day and enjoy the roof over my head.

      I have some good friends who have been unemployed for more than a year. I know that the market’s tough out there, and I’m very grateful to have what I have. I hope that things pick up again soon for those who are searching.

    • #3313679

      Much better off here..

      by markguer9 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 years ago (with 3 years of experience then) I was a sole admin of a network. 5 years later After layoff 2 years I’ve moved to larger shop, with more responsibility and a 45% pay increase.

      I’d say times are better.

    • #3317184

      Yes and No

      by f22 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I worked for a small software company for six years as desktop support. Have a BS degree and got my cert MCSA/MCSE 2000 and it made no difference. Realizing that I was going nowhere in the company, I started seriously looking for a new job for over 2 years more in the system administrator position.

      Through a recruiter I was able to land a job within a large company but doing 3rd shift system operations.

      This has provided me a large pay raise and benefits, it has caused havoc within my family life and not to mention my sleep schedule.

      Although, I went into this thing with my eyes wide open, I have found that working nights is not what it’s cracked up to be (at least for me).

      However, I have been told that the company wants to do 24 X 7 schedule and I have been offered 2nd shift, but as of yet it has been well over 3 months, and the company has yet to interview any replacements. Something always comes up with them having no time to do the interviews.

      Although I am greatful for the opportunity, my desire is to increase my skill set by getting my hands dirty doing real admin work rather than the “same thing” different day.

      Bottom line is, continue to study, prove yourself where you can and either go for it, or move on.

    • #3317153

      Definitively worse

      by (nor) it-consultant ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 years ago I worked as an IT-Supervisor up in the north of my country, making my pupils pass MCSE. I had about $40k then (higher expenses, higher salaries).
      Quitted the job and moved to the Capitol and worked as an IT-Consultant and earned $50k (even higher expenses). This was just after Y2k and most companies didn’t need so much IT-services as before Y2k, so I moved within a year. Now I’m working in a hospital as an IT-Consultant, we’re 2 workers which replace and move computer equipment, maintain network and servers and helps user in a helpdesk. We have 400 computers and approx 1000 users. And now I earn $43k again. It’s twice the amount of work as when I earned $50k. And the salaries have in general raised with $4k since 1999. With all the work and responsibility in this work, making systems go 24/7, I rather be a janitor and earn $34k

      • #3317008

        re: Definitively worse

        by robdew ·

        In reply to Definitively worse

        Maybe if you learned how to speak/spell in a professional manner things would go easier for you.

        I see way to many people in the IT business with this lack of “basic” skills.

        Or

        Is English your second language?

    • #3317003

      How old are you?

      by robdew ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      If it’s not too late for you to go back to school get out of IT. It’s a losing proposition. The promise is gone. Unless you live in India.

      Find a job you love doing or that you would do (for free) in your spare time and you’ll never work a day in your life. It may not pay the best (or it might) but you’ll always be happy. What are your hobbies?

      • #3316942

        job to love

        by bospgmr ·

        In reply to How old are you?

        While laid-off for 6 months last year I took the severance education $ and prepaired for and obtained My USCG 50GT Masters/Captain license. If I eventually start driving a tug boat or cummuter ferry around Boston harbor I’ll have a few less bucks to spend but I’ll have a smile on my face. I’m much more proud of being called “Captain” than “Systems Analyst” or “Sr. P/A” ..

        Happy Sailing !!

    • #3294280

      worse, but getting (slightly) better

      by worm22 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I went from about $60k/year (no degree) to broke. now I can (barely) make ends meet most of the time with independant contracts. I happen to have more certs than most ppl in their right mind would even try for (at least 12 field related).

      better than 2000? only slightly.

    • #3294277

      Better off? Never had the chance!!!

      by sabbie ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      You ask if I am better off? In 2000 I graduated with my BS in IT and could not find an IT job and decided to do MSc in 2001. In 2002 I landed my first IT job, Technology Director. I was brought in to technically enable two catholic schools that were up for re-accreditation and needed to have the schools wired. In 18 months, I built two computer labs with wireless technology, and Ethernet cabling (of course), wired classrooms with four to five computers, researched and wrote for grants, participated in government programs that gave away old computers on which I installed windows 2000, through another government program I got a Dell Advantage server and installed windows server 2000. Also, I built two libraries; catalogued the old books (using Microsoft Access and Excel), discarded the really old books, participated in government programs to acquire books, coordinated a small network of librarians who donated books, worked with the oblates missionaries to received books nationwide from other catholic schools and created vendor relationships with Follet (who finally gave me a 40% discount on its automated circulation system for the school) and installed computers in both libraries. By the time January 2004 came around, both schools were ready and passed its re-accreditation visits receiving high marks for its technology and libraries. This I did for two middle schools. (All this was accomplished because I had three fulltime workers and a eight student workers from the local Catholic University).

      February 2004, the school laid off my technician, said they were having budget problems, believe me, the only costs the schools incurred were the salaries of myself and the three workers.

      [All of the software came from various vendors like, Microsoft?s fresh start program, and other government programs. Hardware came from government programs and other private sources.]

      Mid February 2004, while checking an email sent to me from my undergrad school regarding their upcoming job fair, I found the schools I worked for had posted my job. When I asked why, I was told that they could not continue to pay my salary. Having completed my MSc in IT in 2003, they felt that I would want more money than they could pay Also, since, now that the labs and library is set up they would only need someone part time to maintain the network. I said okay and left the next month on a contract job.

      So now I am looking and no one is hiring me. I made a decision to go back and get a second Masters, this time in Accounting. I know that I will always have a job and I think that my IT experience would compliment the Accounting degree.

      Am I better off? I don?t know?I never had a chance?..

      • #3294250

        Don’t Look Now

        by 33prism33 ·

        In reply to Better off? Never had the chance!!!

        They’re offshoring accounting jobs, too. Rajji will work for about 10% that you will and has a MBA.

        • #3294244

          Specialize is the answer

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Don’t Look Now

          In offshoring as a major and onshoring as a minor just in case

    • #3291644

      Not Better

      by momhodge ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I am currently working at a job that I enjoy. So I consider myself fortunate in that respect.
      But I am doing so at 25% less pay than I was making during the boom years.
      The job opportunities of the past are gone and with them so has the $.

    • #3298272

      DIFFERENT

      by g.m.bakker (cne, self employed) ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 years ago I was helpdesk guy and network admin for Dutch government full time. I started working part time and started my own IT company. I fill in the gap that the box movers leave, doing support on various computer configs for companies and privately owned systems. Dell sells computers, but caters crappy support, so that’s my field. I also sell computers built to customer specs and also do turn key projects. It’s a niche market that can go everywhere, and currently it’s climbing. Thanks to all the box movers. Selling hardware is profitless, selling support, that’s something thats going somewhere!
      So to be more on the subject side, a change in trade keeps you humming and in business!

    • #3297986

      Not Better Off

      by rocky5689 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I dont think that we are better of then 5 years ago. salaries are dropping for It JOBS . In my case I am going backwards , used to to be network admin and now I am doing help desk.

    • #3301477

      Much worse

      by j-lepore ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 years ago I was laid off as IT Manager for a small manufacturing company. After 18 months of unemployment I took a retail sales job with a nationwide electronic retailer. I’m still there earning min. wage plus commission. My earnings have dropped more than 85% and I see little hope of ever getting back to IT unless I return for an advanced degree or move to Bangalore. Past age 55 I see no payback to more schooling.

    • #3301476

      Much worse

      by j-lepore ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      5 years ago I was laid off as IT Manager for a small manufacturing company. After 18 months of unemployment I took a retail sales job with a nationwide electronic retailer. I’m still there earning min. wage plus commission. My earnings have dropped more than 85% and I see little hope of ever getting back to IT unless I return for an advanced degree or move to Bangalore. Past age 55 I see no payback to more schooling. Had I to do it all over again, I’d have selected a different career than IT.

      • #3324813

        IT is dieing

        by yelesom ·

        In reply to Much worse

        I share the view of most of you in that IT isn’t lucrative as it once was. 5 yrs ago I was now finishing my BSc, blinded by the hope of a successfully career in IT I pursued a graduate degree in the same field. Now I find my self in a Jack of all job (which is a good thing as that is prob how you will have to be if you are to succeed in IT now) but making a rather lousey salary. So yes if i had to do it again I would choose another career.

    • #3301442

      Experience

      by mph@ew ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Let’s see… about a 68% increase in the past 5 years, to answer you question. I’ve scanned through this discussion, and found it similar to many others on this topic in the past; it sounds like a lot of people expect too much in very little time and think book-learning in itself qualifies them for great things.

      I have been in IT for about 18 years, after receiving a PC repair cert at 30, which was fairly worthless. I took the A+ cert exam and passed with 98% in the late 90’s, then I went back to school and earned an AA (Business Admin) in my mid-40’s. I have no other certifications, but what I do have is hands-on experience, superior troubleshooting skills, and common sense. These things you cannot learn in school.

      That is why I have been with the same company nearly 10 years, enjoy a position as a global Windows network administrator, and earn a salary in the upper 60’s.

      One should never stop learning, but concentrate on things that will actually be of benefit, rather than simply chasing after certifications, half of which you may never use. I struggled early on, just like many of you, but intelligence and persistence will lead to the real experience necessary to succeed.

      • #3318299

        But mph@ew…

        by cloudedyoda ·

        In reply to Experience

        I would rate you situation as one of the success stories. There are many other areas of IT that cannot offer the same success that you get, in terms of money and promotion posibilities. Some, like development is oversaturated and we can’t deny that the software development scene move faster than any other areas. Before one can respond, there are new programming languages around and certification is the only way to re-skill.

    • #3346124

      Can’t get much worse and I gave up IT

      by wendyb_09 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I lost my IT job as in desktop support/training over three years ago. I’m battling rampent overseas outsourcing and the cert requirements. If you don’t have a cert, very few are willing to sponsor you, although one scam offered to find me financing for $12K of training in certs I’d never heard of.

      I’ve run through most of my financial resources and have been working as a paralegal or admin assistant part time trying to string together enough to keep a roof over my head. One of the admin jobs offered full time last week a fraction of what I had hoped to get. But at least I have a job. Probably will not be able to afford to get back into IT this late in life, and will never be able to recoup my lost savings.

      good luck to everyone out there!

    • #3344309

      My situation

      by vanight ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      Highschool degree, MCP 2000 and A+, about 10 years in the industry experience. Was laid off for about a year and now working for a much smaller company for 10K less a year (mid 40s) than I was 5 years ago. Money is tight but I am by no means any less “happy” because money has NOTHING to do with happiness. That I have tested, retested, seen by example and am convinced of.

      Later!

      David

    • #3338669

      New to I.T.

      by sysengineer ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I am relativly new to the I.T. field (only about 4 months) and more than once I have found myself already re-thinking my career decision. But then I can not think of anything else that I would rather be doing then working with computers, networks and electronics. I think the place we work has alot to do with the impact on our attitude about the career choice we have chosen. I have friends in different fields that are sometimes equally unhappy, not with their skill set but where they work wether it be Architecture, Accounting or Finance. Everyones situation is different but in the end, our work and what we love to do is what really matters. Hopefully I still feel like this in 5 years.

      • #3135347

        advice

        by zyphlar ·

        In reply to New to I.T.

        You’re a 4 month old IT Consultant? Wow, I wish I was that good.

        I’ve been in IT-related jobs for the past 3 years, and I recommend that you keep your options open for at least 2-4 years. Actually, keep your options open for ever. IT isn’t for everyone, especially in this global marketplace. Formal experience and training helps. Don’t settle for anything less than a bachelor’s degree, or you’ll be on your ass in a few years.

        Also, good luck.

    • #3135371

      Can’t be more worse! Sucks big time…

      by frehen ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I am not going to spend more than a few words on this one. At the end of 2001 I suffered some shoulder injury for which I had to have surgery.
      The damn IT boss at that time wanted to fire me with a no-good reason, just because he was afraid it would cost him too much. As mentioned by roybrew in this discussion, the dollar (or euro) is more important than the people in this line of business.
      So, had surgery in march 2002 and in april i was unemployed. Still am unemployed. With 46 one is to old for this they assume. Still, experience is more valuable than the fresh recrutes they get from high-school nowadays, for they cannot do a simple task… which is not meant to judge the young recrutes, for they have learned more theory than I ever will, but when it comes to practical matters, I think experience is more in place.
      From what I’ve heard IT-compangnies are getting that picture too now. Still I don’t believe I ever will be working for a boss in the IT again.
      So, as a last resort I am going to start my own business now and hope that that will work out.
      Good luck to all!

    • #3135321

      100% BETTER!

      by trav62 ·

      In reply to Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

      I’m 43, have no college, and have been in IT since 1999; started part-time as a computer tech building new personal pc systems. (Took about 6k hit to change careers from food-service to IT.) By end of ’99 was full-time, in charge of sales, and had A+. 2 years later, changed employers and got about 8k raise (to low 30’s) still doing tech work. Obtained network+ earlier this year. This spring got promoted to a network admin with same company and got over $5/hour raise. Now I’m in the process of buying a new house and I can’t imagine that things could look much better.

    • #3135308

      Well