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

> I think It Is sick when we sit here and complain
> that our kids have no where to go and smoke
> crack and other drugs all day but can you really
> blame them?

Yes, you most certainly CAN blame them.
Not having a job is no excuse to become a junkie.
Grow up.

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I to was there

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

A few years back I walked away from a Sr. Network Admin position, 75,000 a year. I thought it would be easy finding another position until reality set in. I was off a year looking for something in the IT field. What I found was competition was fierce, there was lots of other people just like me...Now I am the IT Manager for a company with unlimited growth and a huge upside..I actually like my job again and the people I work with..What I did....I got mad, there is no Indian, Russian, Chinese I have to play second fiddle to...American IT Employers are cutting their own throats and good times will once again come back for IT people and the IT Employers will pay a high price when it does..Advice, don't forget what got you to the point you are, dedication,team work, hard work are hard values that you can not put a value on..America is in a big state of decline and the people to blame are our elected officials..

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Dear Slackers and Trained Monkeys

by UpL8 In reply to IT Career... an oxymoron? ...

The problem is the IT job market is full of unqualified people. An experienced technical person is going to demand a high salary and needs to have the same professional appearance, work ethic, intelligence, and courtesy as a similarly paid employee in any other field. IT was the hot job market a few years ago and it paid really well, so it attracted people and now there is fierce competition for the best jobs. Maybe you need to make some personal changes or consider a lower paying position in the IT field if you aren't getting hired.

I have tried to hire a field tech (read Network Engineer) recently and I have been bombarded with resumes from and interviews with:

1) Stubborn IT Pro. Usually from government or a big company who has seen it all, but still got fired or quit his last job because there were too many changes or he had to do it someone else's way. Here's a candidate with the experience I need who just told me he is going to do it his way and I can get bent. These guys are great with clients! Clients love to hear the word "no" and "can't"! Their tendancy to always think inside THEIR box makes them especially ineffective in finding answers to new problems and working with new technology.

2) Raggedy Andy. This guy can be smart and experienced, old or young, but his appearance or behavior makes him tech bench material only. Whether its the coffee and cigarrette rumpled look, the sandals and greasy hair look, or just a mumbling problem, these guys are the best for impressing your next client. Critical data and expensive systems should be worked on by people who are so absorbed by technology that they can't address their poor grooming habits and quirky personalities, right?

3) The Trained Monkey. This person is highly qualified to follow directions from a checklist. The experience gained from doing 1000 workstation migrations from GroupWise to Exchange makes this candidate worthy to run wild on all of your servers. I mean, they have like, 1 whole year of Exchange and GroupWise experience, and oh yeah, like since they changed the backup tapes too, they know Windows 2000 Server and BackupExec.

4) The Jumper! Nothing says wasted training and productivity like the resume with 5 jobs in the past 5 years. This person is great for leaving you in a bind and maybe taking a client or two with him when he decides to start his own business. Even cuter is a combo of 3 and 4 - the Jumping Trained Monkey!

5) The Negative Creep. Looks good on paper but has nothing good to say about anything. This is the guy who types M$ for Microsoft. He hates particular brands of hardware and software. He hates it when this and he hates it when that. He probably hates you too.

6) Tech Skool Guy. I used to throw these away. Now I consider them. No joke. Alot of these people have serious interest in improving themselves, learning, and they are willing to work and even pay for the opportunity. Most of these schools are ripoffs, and some graduates are looking for what they thought was easy money, but some are smart and professional. And sometimes its easier to take a person with all of the qualities you are looking for and teach them technology than it is to deal with the negatives of an experienced IT person.

I had some fun writing this, but I know that many of you are out of work and this isn't a laughing matter. IT is still a hot market, but the high pay and slack requirements for employees is gone now. You will find a job if you really work at it and you have the necessary qualifications - not just experience - the whole package! If you are expecting it to be as easy as 5-10 years ago, forget it! To make $60k a year you are going to have to look, act, and produce like people making that same money in other fields - and that can be tough! Be realistic when considering your experience. Find and work on your problem areas. If you are doing NOTHING but looking for a job, volunteer as an intern at a COUPLE of local companies. If you are worth a darn you will probably intern yourself into a position.

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RE: Dear Slackers and Trained Monkeys

by worm22 In reply to Dear Slackers and Trained ...

I agree that there is a lot of this out there. ****, depending on when you catch me, I can look like #2 myself at times, but for interviews or anything on-site, I go in wearing slacks, dress shirt, and tie, clean shaven, with my hair clean and pulled back.

The biggest problem is that employers see the resume, and ask "why is this guy asking so little?" or, if I ask for a salary commensurate with my skills and experiance, someone with less experiance gets hired.

I've heard both of these situations from prospective employers and friends who handle hiring for tech companies.

So what's the solution? I can't get hired by asking for less money, and if I don't ask for less, then someone who isn't 1/2 as qualified gets hired.


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by redstone In reply to Dear Slackers and Trained ...

Your categoiztion of employees along some "parts bin" framework reminds me of the mistakes I see alot of managers make. I hope no employee suffers from such questionable appraisal skills. Disparaging people's ability during various stages of their career development will show up in your interactions with them and ultimately hurt you and/or your organization . Did the it pro say "no" to be stuborn or maybe it is from experience that certain changes will disrupt the organization too much which may cost the organization in the aggregate? Maybe you will be glad someday you have #2 guy when he fixes some critical problem .. etc.

Point of thread is the market has changed and not for the better. Maybe people were overpaid for services they were providing a few years back, however we now see the market in such a freefall (from an employee's point of view) that it will do little to attract people into the field and will entice many qualified people to leave it.

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Get your foot in the door

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

Find a good agency and go contracting - the money can vary from average to very good, but the main thing is the chance for a permanent position.
The majority of contracting jobs I have done eventually led to an offer of a permanent position - it makes sense for a company to employ someone who they know and who knows their systems.
My current job - I moved to Edinburgh for a 3 month contract replenishing desktop hardware, was kept on for 12 months contracting doing systems admin and was then offered my current full-time job as Systems admin - best thing is that they offered me well over the current market salary just to make sure my knowledge stayed with them.
I've now been here for 2 years.

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some advise

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

You sound just like me. I feel your pain. I have been around since 1990. In all those years, this (2001 - now) has been the worst time for our field to find work.

My only advise (this being the most successful), is talk to everyone and anyone that you are out of work and need a job. Do not be ashamed. It truely is not what you know but who you know. All the jobs I have had is through people I know. In some instances, I knocked on doors with my tail between my legs. Those types of "searches" yield the best results. Monster, <local newspaper>.com, hotjobs, local head hunters (they can be good), direct company websites, etc are mostly useless.

If, however, you have tried friends, neighbors, strangers at parties, the mailman, etc, and have had no luck, don't be afraid to persue another career. I know a lot of people in our field that have done this and have done better.

I wish you luck, and you are definitely not alone.

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Windows 2K

by kel_stevens In reply to some advise

I work for Bank of America and when we attended our first conversion from NT to Windows 2K courses, I announced to the LAN Admins in my class that we would all be laid off. They all thought I was grand standing. I was right. Windows 2K is really so much easier to make builds and maintain that much less skilled workers can maintain PCs. How many people can remember getting TCP/IP stacks loaded on Windows 3.1 machines or editing net.cfg files for Novell clients? How many new people even understand the files required to boot? Do they really need to know anymore? You can reimage workstations or servers in minutes, rather than troubleshooting the fix.

Bank of America has since laid off most of the IT force or outsourced entire groups and let HP or EDS do the lay-offs. It is hard to find a job when you have a great deal of experiance. Many 24 year olds are getting certified and will work for 20K less than I require. I am happy to be out-sourced to HP at this time. Will I be out-out-sourced? Probably next year! Am I thinking of a career change? Yes!

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by TmanA37 In reply to Windows 2K

I work for HP and they own the majority share of Citel and outsourcing company in Canada and India. HP is trying to outsource as much as possible. They are even outsourcing critical engineering work to India and China. HP is a Global company that only care about the bottom line and how much money they can make for the share holder.
I've decided on changing career paths all together.
Good luck!

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by TmanA37 In reply to Windows 2K

I work for HP and they own the majority share of Citel and outsourcing company in Canada and India. HP is trying to outsource as much as possible. They are even outsourcing critical engineering work to India and China. HP is a Global company that only care about the bottom line and how much money they can make for the share holder.
I've decided on changing career paths all together.
Good luck!

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