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IT Career... an oxymoron???

By Benjamin ·
Hello everyone. I have returned to the US after being in the UK for 8 years. While there, I was able to successfully join the world of IT and progress my career quite nicely. I was fortunate to get started in 1999, the year Y2K mania struck fear into most corporations everywhere. As such, I was able to work for several consultancies as we prepared major corporations for the "devastating" effects of January 1st 2000. Because of this I was able to obtain invaluable experience as I worked with and upgraded computer systems.

We all know what happened AFTER the cities of the world welcomed the new millennium so I won't talk about that. Fortunately for me, I was still able to obtain consulting work for other IT projects with some of these companies because I actually ended up saving them a LOT of money. I would take directors aside, go to the time and date settings of their PC, change them to a date in the year 2000 and ask them to work as they normally do. When asked why I did this, I commented that this is all you need to know about how your systems will be affected when January 1st rolls around. Because of this, I was called back to do legitimate projects. And I did this until last year when I finally decided it was time to return home.

Now, that I am home I have come to realize that IT work has all but dried up in my part of the country (Arizona) and the prospects don't look any better in other parts of the US. So, here I am providing phone tech support for a shipping company. Hmmmm. This can't be right. I keep hearing horror stories about how recent college graduates with a degree in IT can't even find a job! I'm sure a lot of you out there can remember the days when there were actually more jobs available than there were people to fill them. Not any more!

So, here I stand, (well sit actually) with 5 years of job related experience in everything from front end software and hardware support to running things and administrating from the back end. I can configure and troubleshoot just about anything out there and I can't even find a job in my field of expertise. The market is saturated with guys like me. Granted I don't have any letters after my name and have not actually taken the time to pursue such things as MCSE, CNA, etc. because I have the hands on experience. Now I am beginning to wonder where I go from here.

I am not asking for advice or anything. I would however be interested to know how many of you (and I am sure there are a lot of you) who have similar stories to tell and what you are doing about it. Supposedly with all the outsourcing that is happening, there "SHOULD" be more opportunities opening up for more technical jobs. Yeah, right! I'm thinking that if one of my friends who is an awesome software developer can't find a job, what chance in **** do I have?
I look forward to any and all posts to this discussion. Thanks for reading and all the best to all of you!
Ben

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Un or under qualified best buddies.

by technicallyright In reply to who is doing all the IT w ...

The same happened to me, with 12 years of experience I was laid of 2 months ago.

Who is doing all the work now, a secretary (that's right) who was eager to please and didn't mind stepping on people while overstating her abilities. A computer tech who is best buds with the boss, again not qualified, but sure can B.S.

Whatever they are finding they can't actually do is now falling on the other net admin who is just sucking it up for fear of the same happening to him.

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It's Called Offshore

by 33prism33 In reply to who is doing all the IT w ...

Our buddies in Bangalore, soon to be in China. Those a-holes work for nothing and John Snow claims it's one of America's best exports. Good luck finding jobs, everyone. I don't mean just IT because I mean anything in manufacturing, too.

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Absolutely correct!

by swjslj In reply to It's Called Offshore

Finally someone hit the nail on the head. Outsourcing is what is killing working America. Microsoft, Linksys, Intuit, Gateway, etc. have all moved all or part of their phone tech support overseas, and undoubtedly there are plenty of other companies that have done the same. I know that a huge number of programming jobs have gone to India. I have to deal with foreign tech support occasionally, my boss insists that I try to get help from them, but I never actually get any real assistance. I usually can't understand their thick accents, and they can't understand me.

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good point

by apotheon In reply to Absolutely correct!

While I've dealt with offshore tech support that I could understand, somewhat, I have yet to talk to a telephone support person from India or Pakistan that actually provided any real help at all. Often, despite the protestations by outsourcing corporations and their defenders, the people doing tech support from overseas basically just don't know what I'm talking about. If I have some reason to call tech support, and I get overseas call centers answering, I always end up getting transferred to someone that knows what he or she is doing ? here in the States ? or giving up and trying other avenues to solve the problem.

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Sucking it up sucks

by colotech In reply to who is doing all the IT w ...

Right! All of us existing IT workers are ?sucking it up when people get fired.? The IT dept I belong once had 18 people, and now there are 6. Granted, the number of employees we support has decreased, the amount of work has increased; especially since 9/11. smiths007 makes a great point. Tens of thousands of our jobs are going to foreigners holding H-1B & L-1's and I think when their visas expire, they then return to their homelands to perform our work remotely. It sucks sucking it up, especially when you know that your job is always hanging by a thread and that any day the boot will drop in favor of cheap labor thousands of miles away.

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Who Speaks Up

by gsquared In reply to who is doing all the IT w ...

Part of what you're seeing is probably that the people whos careers are all roses and sunshine aren't as vocal (typal? writal?) as those who have something to complain about.

It's the same thing as in tech support - it's easy to arrive at the conclusion everything is horrible because of all the calls about problems with the product you are supporting, because nobody ever calls tech support and says, "Hey, just wanted to call and tell you my computer is working perfectly and everything is great here!"

So, yes, there are people who are still employed in IT. Just not as many as there were a few years ago.

And as far as the training vs experience debate, I don't have either. I started in sales, built my own database of customers and sales, and now I spend all day every day building and maintaining a SQL database for everyone else in the company to use. Been doing that for 3 years now. Pay is good, by the standards I'm accustomed to, and the owners of the business say more raises are in order as income increases (we're up 75% over last year, which was up nearly 100% over the year before, which was triple the year before that).

If you want into a big business IT shop, you might have a long ways to go. If you can hook up small businesses with ways to make their sales and production/services more efficient, you probably have a huge opportunity. At least, that's my take on it.

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Where is all the work?

by Tazabe In reply to who is doing all the IT w ...

Currently I think the majority of IT work is outsourced to domestic temporary workers on an as needed basis. I've worked for about 4 years as an employee of IT consultant firms billing clients between $125 to $175 per hour for project work.

I recently relocated to another state and briefly looked for new employment and didn't find many opportunities as a full-time employee.

I did several short-term contract jobs for national IT recruiters who pay between $15 and $20 an hour and offer maybe 6 hours a week of work! Not enough to live on.

My solution is this: start my own IT consultant firm and bill the client between $125 and $175 an hour - so far Iv'e landed a few short-term contract jobs but I'm making 5X the hourly rate so I don't need to scramble to work 40+ hours a week to get by.

Many people posting here claim they're well qualified. If that's the case, then go directly to the company and offer your expertise at the market rate for your area.

Everyone knows there's plenty of work out there to get done and everyone knows that most of the needed work doesn't get done properly.

Don't blame the companies if they decide not the hire several full-time IT employees at $60,000 a year plus benefits. It's cheaper for them to hire consultants on an as-needed basis.

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Remaining Employees Are Doing It

Every company is "trimming the fat" and making the remaining employees do more work for the same pay. For example, I feel lucky to have my job. But I am really doing the work of at least 3 full-time employees. My job title is "Senior Systems Engineer" but I do everything from Helpdesk work to DBA and Programming.

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on-shoring anyone

by rbosgood In reply to who is doing all the IT w ...

In my shop, there are 7 of us, I am the only native born American. In this building I would say its about 2/3 non-American's. I dont know if thats common now, but in California thats the way it is, and so that puts downard pressure on the wages as most of the new guys coming in will work ungodly hours for low pay.
I wish I had the answer, what to do and where to do it, but I am sure thinking about getting out of the IT bussiness and finding something else.

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lazy people are working

by catfish182 In reply to who is doing all the IT w ...

the current consulting gig im doing. i have been there 4 weeks. and all the people do that i support is praise me for my effort. whats bad is i feel i havnt done anything over the top or above and beyond. but the support that was there did nothing. they tell me horror stories of they would call with email issues and they wouldnt get a reply back for a month. if they got a reply. i was asked to add a email to the database. i told them ok. they replied with the question of "will it be done by friday?" and it was monday that they asked this on. but will all this work get me a full time job? no. companies are afraid to let the lazy ones go for whatever reason. maybe a lawsuit or something. and they will settle for subpar support. my tour with them ends in 2 weeks. and for all my hard work all i will get is a wait and see period with all the recruiters that i have to deal with to get a job. its so annoying but what can you do. and dont give me the thing of "start your own business" there is a shot but with having a family to feed (they like to eat) what choices do you have? its time the companies pay people for thier effort nad work.

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