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Can this be real?

By mdigiuseppe ·
I've been getting a few contract jobs for freelance and technical writing as well as on-site service and support. The money isn't bad. I pick up these assignments just like the rest of you--by conducting relational searches on the job board search engine.

However, I was mildly disturbed when I began to investigatea number of advertisements on the job boards asking for writers who could write technical papers, essays, white papers, and reports. I linked up with a number of other consultants who have done this work and read one article in a magazine plus saw a short (really short) expose' on my local news channel about young people with jouranlist's or english degrees making a living writing term papers and dissertations for rich college kids so that they can graduate from college with their Bachelor's or higher degrees.

I found this disturbing guys. With all the crap the industry makes the rest of us do to keep up with their "so-called" developing technology (i.e. the endless adult education requirements, the costly certification programs that don't do a thing for your career, and the continual haggling over training expenses), I'm wondering now how these same university and commercial schools--who bitched so loud and long about the experiential evaluation degree scams just a few months ago--aren't doing a damned thing about shutting down these degree "escort services" popping up all over the internet.

As a hard-working member of a dying industry (American IT Professional...soon to be replaced by off-shore consulting shops), I was wondering how the rest of you feel about these yokels coming into our market sector with degrees and certifications that aren't worth the paper they're written on? And, what's more, how can you tell except to wait six months watching the person destroy the information system before you find out that they never learned anything.

I recall a program sponsored with three million dollars in taxpayer money by Albany County here in New York. They retrained a bunch of people who had lost their jobs (carpenters, plumbers, electrician...even a pilot!) in Novell and Microsoft Server. My boss hired a bunch of them and they all came with certifications up the wazoo!

As the months progressed my friend and I found ourselves working 80 hours a week cleaning up one mess after another only to eventually learn that these "certified" people couldn't negotiate their way out of an Introduction to Computing Science 101 Course!

Now I'm finding the same thing happening to me as an analyst. Thank God, I guess, that I'm cleaning up the messes left by previous "heavily-degreed" IT professionals. Who are these guys anyway. Not like the rest of you guys who post to this site, I'll say. You all seem to know what you're doing.

These people are making significant in-roads into this industry blurring the boundaries of professional utility by the very fact that many of them claim a college education or commercial training experience that was manufactured and not actually acquired through the diligent application of personal virtue.

And, by the looks of some of the disasters I've had to help clean up, they are gradually becoming in charge. I mean, these are real degrees from well-known Universities or authentic certifications from well-known, college-sponsored commercial schools.

What's going on here? Or am I just caught in a time warp?

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by gpastorelli In reply to Can this be real?

Unfortunately it seems to be a trend. Even in my short time in the field I've run into it. I have no college education (not at the moment, probably start classes next year) and have several certifications. I've run into PLENTY of IT pros that either have lots of certs or heavy college, and have had to clean up there messes.

Guys I know that have no business in the positions they're in, making double and triple what I make strictly b/c they have the BS in CS. One of my friends who even admitted to me that his college courses taught very little relevant material, doesn't even feel he deserves his position. This is a downturn in industry that despite what you know it's all about that piece of paper. Same went years ago when all those MCSE NT guys were demanding and getting 6 figures. Now it's just the guys with the BS degrees.

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by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Can this be real?

Seeing as having a cert or a degree doesn't mean you can do the job and that HR are utterly incapable of deciding whether you can do the job, why bother with all that expense and effort, just cheat. The thing I can't understand is why they would bother, there are a lot more lucrative careers after all. Just get your ugly but musical mate to sing on the record and become a pop star, the groupies are much better looking anyway.

This is not a new problem been happening since the boom, when IT became the career, with a bit of luck all these gold diggers will realise that them thar hills have been mined out and f'off soon. Probably just in time for the next boom when they'll come back armed with their past 'experience'.

Sort of like green beer even though it didn't taste nice the first time it just keeps coming back up.

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It's Sad Reality

by illilli In reply to Can this be real?

I recently (2001) earned my degree. I started college in 1983, but lack of motivation and the dislike of night school slowed my graduation down a bit. Anyway, the one thing that continually surprised me was the lack of basic skills in the majority of my classmates. They didn't write very well and didn't grasp basic IT concepts easily.

I took a C++ class with a co-worker. He could NEVER figure out how to do ANYTHING with a program. I continually helped him set programs up and walked him through them to try and help him out. That was a big mistake because he ended up passing the course with no significant gain in ability other than some basic syntax knowledge.

About a year later, he asked me if he could put my name down as a reference for a job as a C++ programmer. I told him that I didn't think that was a good idea as I didn't know enough to give him a good reference. Again, another mistake on my part. I should have said, "yes," so I could tell them how inept he was.

Sadly, that former co-worker got a job as a C++ programmer with a salary 10K higher than mine and I did nothing to stop him.

Hello. My name is Victor Sanchez and I am an eneptness-enabler-olic.

(NOTE: I am not really named Victor Sanchez.)

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Three fold problem

by faradhi In reply to Can this be real?

First, Colleges and Universities are not requiring internships to graduate. Therefore, individuals come out with no experience what so ever.

Second in the US, we are losing entry level positions. Help desks and desktop repair is going out of the country or being outsourced. Since, IT staffs are shrinking while the number of mission critical applications are increasing, outsourceing is likely to continue.

Finally, Many professions have come across this problem. They formed professional associations to govern their profession. I think that is where we need to go. There needs to be a computer professional association that governs certifications like the AMA, ACA, or ABA.

For example, to get to be a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) you have to work for 1 to 2 years, at least 10 hours a week, and be supervised by a LMHC. There are also certification organizations that answer to the ACA and provide accrediations for college programs. Why shouldn't computer professionals follow the same model?

I would elaborate further but I am running out of time right now.

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That sounds like a capital idea!

by mdigiuseppe In reply to Three fold problem

If we can get more of the guys on this board to pay attention, such a thing would be the power play the lot of us need. Establishing such an organization would mean that only citizens and residents of the US would need apply limiting the non-sense from over seas. Gee whiz! What's going to happen to us when the People's Republic of China comes on line in a decade or so?

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