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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!

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work is work, pay is pay

by apotheon In reply to

"when you have 30 years of expertise in a given field, that's an ASSET, not a liability."

The problem is in finding an employer that realizes that. I'm not saying it can't be done, just that it's not as easy as you make it sound.

"So the thought of working at a pizza joint after 30 years in a given field is just ridiculous and there's no possible excuse anyone could use to justify such a thing."

I don't know why you feel it needs to be justified. It doesn't. It can be good money, as a way to fill the months between jobs with some income-generating activity. Do you expect him to turn up his nose at less glamorous work like making or delivering pizza when he needs the money, just because he used to have an office all his own?

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Its Called .....

by rfinley In reply to

GOTTA PAY THE BILLS ... I have 15 years experience and in my late 40's. Granted I am not tossing pizza, but you gotta do what you gotta do to survive. If that means slapping burgers or tossing pizza then so be it. He didn't say he wasn't looking for FTE, just stating a fact. Go easy us 'older' people with good experience ARE getting overlooked for the up and coming 25 or less generation with minimum years of experience. I have had numerous interviews over the past 4 years and then never hear anything. I call or stop by and sure enoug the person they hired is half my age, have little on hands experience and get about 2/3rds the salary with someone with my experience might expect. I am doing independant consulting, another couple of years and I will be able to be self sustaining, that is if my grants and backers will stick with me for that long, which I am hearing grumblings that they won't and the grants were non-renewable.

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Get a clearence

by Reimage In reply to IT Career... an oxymoron? ...

The catch 22 is that you can not get a clearence without the sponsorship of the company, and you can not get the job without the clearence. It took me 8 months before I landed a job that would sponsor me for a clearence.

Go to your local Police station get finger printed then send it to the State Police.
Once you receives the paper work back, you can submit that to a perspective employer along with your resume. it basically will inform your employer that you are clearable!


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Security Clearances

by wdoliver In reply to Get a clearence

I know many people who are experiencing the same frustrations as you. The IT arena is tight IRT jobs; however, sensitive government work is the exception.

There are more positions vacant then people to fill them. One of the reason is many people are not willing to go through a complete background check and take a polygraph. The other reason is many people are not eligible due to their background or problems with the polygraph.

Not familar with opportunities in your current state, but in Virginia and California there are numerious opennings for cleared people. As previsouly stated the first step is the hardest and that is obtaining a sponsor to obtain a clearance.

I would suggest following the advice provided by '' and sending resumes out to the top technology firm's government (public) sector departments with a cover letter stating your willingness to obtain a clearance. Occassionally a company will obtain a sponsor for you and IF YOU obtain a clearance they will hire you.

Keep in mind many of the government organizations have IT shops and they would also be good candidates to send your resume.

Last, do not just rely on posting your resume and sending them to employers. Burn some shoe leather and hand deliver your resume to HR department. If asked, HR might event provide you with a POC in the organization entity that uses your skill set.

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here's a question

by apotheon In reply to Security Clearances

Where exactly would you go to find that lineup of employers, anyway? It's my experience that finding a job asking for people that can pass a security check is a matter of blind luck, because they don't advertise.

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Actually they do advertise

by countrytechie In reply to here's a question

At least around here. The Washington Post is full of ads that say thing like must be able to get and maintain a secret clearence. Must have Top Secret Clearence. They even have job fairs for cleared personell only.

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by justin In reply to IT Career... an oxymoron? ...

I can tell you from my experience in IT that the lack of decent jobs comes from the lack of qualified management! To be qualified to lead a technical department you NEED to be technical as well as a manager. People who are hiding that fact will tell you otherwise. (Look at Micro$oft - can some lowly IT guy working there bull$hit Bill Gates about something technical? Is there anyone in the world that knows more about brand and product licensing?)
I have met few managers that have had any technical or true business management expertise what so ever. These people tend to initially over do things which causes the, "IT is too expensive" speech from the business that they are serving to surface. These unqualified managers then begin the lay-off or outsourcing as a result. They accept no accountability for anything that has gone wrong and are just buying themselves some time.
I worked at a company where the new IT management came from busted dot coms in the 90's. They had ZERO technical ability and obviously ZERO business sense. I watched them fumble with the technical aspects and the business aspects of running a banking IT department for 2 years. The result was they were conned and robbed by a small consulting firm and were fired. The consultant company managed to get away with $12 million dollars of the companies money. Had the managers had ANY technical sense they would have known that the projects he was preaching were unsuitable and unnecessary for this small bank. If they and any business sense they would have been able to manage him and put his projects through proper auditing and testing procedures before accepting.
I became one of the VP?s of IT at this bank.
The moral of the story is:
When you are on an interview, you need to interview the guy talking to you! Ask questions about their work background. If it is what it is supposed to be, they will be proud tell you. What is the worst that can happen? You don?t get hired for a bad job that is run by a weak manager that will end in a lay-off in 6 months!

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Very well put...

by MikeFromCO In reply to BAD MANAGEMENT

Great answer! It seems that when IT became a major budget item, many employers went to management types with little or not IT experience which has put a black mark on the IT departments; making them natural targets for budget cuts.

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#1 Criteria

by Mr. Jeff In reply to BAD MANAGEMENT

So what is your #1 requirement for selecting a top notch "Manager"? What would your top 3 be?

Say I'm applying to be a IT manager in YOUR company. What skills are most important to YOU.

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by justin In reply to #1 Criteria

1. Common Sense - not so common if you know how to look for it.
2. A history of IT technicalsupport in both large and small shops.
3. A progression of IT career from help desk to support to network admin to manager.
From here we could work on the business skills if the common sense is strong enough.
4. A non-it related job - weather it was car sales or waiter. You need to know people skills and how to view people as clients.

Very simple, you ask it like it is a challenge.

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