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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 mdaskam1 In reply to NO

Finally someone who agrees with me. Ben, what I said before your not looking in the right place in Arizona. Nowadays employers prefer to go thru IT Recruiters. So, you acn send your resume to tons of employers yourself, but what's happening is that all your resumes are landing in a pile in the closet.

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by Benjamin In reply to NO

Hi Ron. Are you in Phoenix? I'm in Tucson and there are no jobs. I consider myself to be a good IT person. I applied for several jobs I am more than qualified for and I don't even get a call back. Please do share with me these companies in need of GOOD IT people. I'd love to talk with them.

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IT Career... IT Career... an oxymoron???

by mdaskam1 In reply to IT Career... an oxymoron? ...

The only Oxymoron in the IT world is you. Apparently you haven't been looking in the right area. My advice is that you either go thru a IT recruiter or an IT consulting company. The IT Market for better or worse is chnaging. Alot of us fellow TECHIES have learned to adapt to our changing environment. The biggest problem with the IT job market is that there are alot of umemployed IT people who should never have been in the Technology field in the first place. I have worked and ran into many wannabe Techies who think they know what they are doing. There's too many people who ran into the IT field because, back in the early 90's during the so-called Dot.coms era. IT was the field to be in. So, what we have are alot of people who took a computer class called networking 101 and got a certificate making them think they are IT knowledgeable. Basically what we are seeing is a job market that is not like it used to be. So, what's happening is that all these unemployed wannabe Techie guys are competing for the same jobs as are some very knowledgeable guys such as yourself. Be patient, the right job will come around, but for now continue doing phone support for now. A Techie job is better than not having one. So don't complain.

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In my defense...

by Benjamin In reply to IT Career... IT Career... ...

Okay, first let me say how flattered I am that so many people have replied, took part in and offered suggestions to what I originally considered to be a way to start an intelligent discussion on current IT trends in this country. I am not complaining nor asking for advice. I wanted to learn from and exchange IDs with other tech professionals. It seems that some people are in great IT positions while others are having trouble getting work. Regardless, one thing holds true: The market is saturated and the bubble has burst. IT professionals need to adapt or change direction. I know all that and I am adapting. Well, trying to any way. It is getting increasingly more difficult to stay in the field. That was basically what I was trying to convey. That along with the lack of longevity of what was once considered a solid career move.

I would also like to say that phone support is not a "Techie job". It is basic and repetitive but at least I am assisting people. With this post I have learned a lot. I have thought of different avenues I may not have considered. I have learned that other people are experiencing the same types of problems. Smart, intelligent, capable people. When viewing this with a positive outlook I gain a sense of community. With this, we can all work together to create a vehicle to get ideas flowing and helping each other with whatever we want to achieve.

I agree with you. When IT was the flavor of the month/year everyone went into it. A lot of people with the wrong motivations. Getting those people weeded out of the system will be a great thing. Until my day comes where I am back doing what I love I will do what I can where I can. I am confident in my capabilities and given the chance I will be able to prove that.

Thank you for your comments and let's keep the positive ideas flowing.

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You'll definitely have to move

by jedimastr1 In reply to IT Career... an oxymoron? ...

"Knock on wood", but I have survived 4 rounds of layoffs from my company. As a matter of fact, my company had to re-classify my position so it wouldn't fall under "IT" in order to keep me. All of my co-workers who got laid off couldn't find any IT related jobs. They all had to change their careers. Of the ones that got laid off and are working in IT now, they all had to move out of California to find IT jobs. Think about it..."having to move out of California", home of Silicon Valley. I have a friend who is working in the St. Louis,Missouri area. He said that is one place where there are more IT jobs than people to fill them. You might want to try there. Good luck.

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

I agree. IT is a tool. In order to become marketable in today's economy, we are required to know another aspect of the buisness/institution for which we work or apply.

Having excellent customer service is expected in phone support (and, with little patience to maintain this, these positions will not be difficult to find). Knowing psychology, on the other hand, is indispensible in that it allows us to identify the needs of our employers AND our customer in order to [ideally] meet both or position ourselves to best facilitate the meeting of both.

Consider which department other than IT should be approached for a position. Imagine how much handier it would be for your direct supervisor to have someone on hand who actually *knows* what machinery is needed for the department, can fix small problems without waiting for support, assist in training new employees on the system/software, and can best coordinate with outside services to meet the requirements within a reasonable budget.

Yes, this is admittadely broad. The point I'm trying to make here is that (at least for me) we identify additional intersts and strengths in order to put them to use as well. For me, I like psychology, problem solving, interaction with people, and tinkering. As a support person, this has been very beneficial because I work with customers in their offices and can keep a steady conversation to find out what they really need to accomplish then get it done. In the end, everything that I do is about people.

Thanks for reading this ramble.

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IT Career... an oxymoron???

by februarie02 In reply to IT Career... an oxymoron? ...

My dear compadre, just a short answer, be patient.
The payback time is coming, sooner or later all those computers will need to be worked on. With all the IT jobs vanishing for one reason or another everybody will have a hard time to deal with it.
Employers are treating us like dirt for now, but when the time comes they will be the one to pay the price.
Remember the Y2K, all those years the problem was neglected, and all of a sudden BOOM, year 2000 is here.
What we are going to do? Asked them selves our dear employers.
That time will come again, and in top of that all the technologies that are outsourced for now will turn and bait us all in the ***.
Do you think that the terrorists are not aware of this?
I guarantee you that the next big attack will be on the computer field, no more airlines.
To costly and to dangerous to get a plain now, it?s a lot easier to attack a network, no more suicide people to look for, can be done from far away, anonymous, etc. you know what I mean.
GREED is the mother of all bad things that happening to US of A.
We train them and they turn back and kick us with our own tools, look at Afghanistan, Iraq and all others that got help, France, Germany, etc.
I think that you sense my frustration from my words, I?m in your position too, and for two years I can?t get a job. Not even as a low-level pc technician, I found Network Engineer position or $18.00/ho, somebody must be crazy to take it, not me.
I will rather use my savings and wait then to work for free so that big CEO?s to make millions.
Just look at the increase rate for high rank executives, all this years it went up and up and up.
That is enough, ?to much of a good thing is not good for our health?.
Good luck my friend, and Happy Holydays to all of you that are in this situation!

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

> My dear compadre, just a short answer, be
> patient. The payback time is coming, sooner or
> later all those computers will need to be worked
> on.

Don't be so sure.
I'm in the process of composing a new message in this thread. Look for it.
The title will be "Think it'll get better?"

>I guarantee you that the next big attack will be
> on the computer field, no more airlines.

You've been watching way too much "24".

> it’s a lot easier to attack a network, no more
> suicide people to look for, can be done from far
> away, anonymous, etc.

Again, way too much TV.
Which do you think is easier to accomplish?

1) get some uneducated religious fanatic dumbass to **** himself up or...

2) get that same uneducated religious fanatic dumbass to execute a perfectly orchestrated electronic attack on some vital infrastructure from thousands of miles away, that will cause more damage than could be caused using high-yield explosives?

> I found Network Engineer position or $18.00/ho,
> somebody must be crazy to take it, not me.
> I will rather use my savings and wait then to
> work for free

With all due respect, working for $18/hour is not the same as working for free. It may not be the $50/hour you may be hoping for, but based on what I gathered from your posting, I doubt very much that you'll have employers lining up to pay you that kind of money.

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Consulting revisted

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

I wan an IT manager for food distribution firm that went under in April 2002. I went right into consulting without hesitation. I'm still at today doing quite well. If you're serious about this you have to willing to learn alot about this business all the time. I read CRN and VAR magazine constanly to keep myself up on what the business is doing. Also you should get every book you can find on computer consulting ("The IT Consultant" by Rick Freedman is a must read.) Also learn project management. I'm constantly advising novices that you can't succeed as a "consultant" without project management skills. Last thing, talk to other sucessful solo consultants, pick their brains on what makes them successful. Good Luck!

P.S. Learn about the local business community around you (chambers of commmerce, clubs, civic organizations, etc.) Get to know "Who's Who".

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Try the Non-profit world

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

The money stinks, but you'll get to do and learn more than in a "real" job. Most non-profit organizations have made the transition to computers, but almost all need help. I work for a medium sized company and got my start when they switched from the old wang 2200 to NT4 about 5 years ago. I was working in marketing(I have an MBA), but because I had opened a computer and added memory, I was given the task of overseeing the conversion. I took a MCSE course (didn't take the cert test because I knew it didn't matter to this employer) and they paid me for going to school if I promised to stay at least 2 years. I now manage a network of 4 servers, Exchange, 50 workstations 60 users and related switches, routers, Wan connections and other fun stuff. There is never enough money for hardware, and I also get to do data base development as well as tech support for staff, volunteers, and executives with little computer experience. All this for about $26K a year! If you're not in it for the money, it can be a great life. I'm sitting here watching the eagles fly over Puget Sound as I'm typing this during a break in converting 25 AMD K62-400 from win98 to XP. I have more responsibility, variety of task, and experience than many who make 3X what I do, but I won't trade with them.

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