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

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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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.

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Your Story Sounds Famliar

by judger48193 In reply to Are we ignoring/disguisin ...

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.

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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.
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. :)

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

by HardKnocks In reply to Are we ignoring/disguisin ...

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

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Re: Left

by vltiii In reply to "by the extreme liberal l ...

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.

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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.

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Re: Mostly

by vltiii In reply to Mostly republicans & some ...

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.

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Agree with all but one thing.....

by Quiet_Type In reply to Are we ignoring/disguisin ...

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!

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by JamesG In reply to Are we ignoring/disguisin ...

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.

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Definately Better

by djc1309 In reply to things seems to be able t ...

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.

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