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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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different world

by Joe.Canuck@beer .ca In reply to may be calous but it's tr ...

My father worked 35 years for the same corporation. We live in a different world now and most people will have 5 careers before retiring. I would say most IT grey beards got into IT later in life as a second or third career in the 80s-90s when things were hot. For those who have been through reinvention already it's fairly easy, just find another skill market and learn in that direction, add it to IT and mechanics or whatever else you already have. I feel for the pure IT folks who came right out of college into IT. This may be the first tiem you have had to reinvent yourselves.

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Different world, litterally

by llauren In reply to different world

OK, so i'm not the greybeard (greyback?) IT manager/sysadmin, i've been sysadmin for less than five years. But my job as IT manager now is litterally in another world. I am now working for the United Nations' Development Programme (UNDP) as IT Advisor in Timor Leste (that's East Timor for the rest of you). It's just a 6 month contract and i've just only started, but it's rewarding to put your skills into something that *really* matters.

~rL

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Positionate?!?

by jchristopher In reply to Learn Psychology (or prac ...

Were you being funny?

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Re: Learn Psychology

by Kaldanzia In reply to Learn Psychology (or prac ...

I absolutely agree with your post. One of my main job functions as a Technician/Trainer is to translate what the high level techs say and to into a form that is more understandable by non-IT employees. People skills are critical, because IT staff persons usually speak a completely different language than other employees.

Being a female tech is a big help too, as I think that generally makes me seem more approachable (being a former preschool teacher probably helps too!). I was hired by an organization that is really big on diversity, and being one of the few women in the applicant pool, plus my training credentials got me the job over other techs. The network engineer doesn't like dealing with people, and loves having someone else to do the "face" stuff, so he can focus on the network and what he does best.

The nice thing about having training credentials is that training can't be effectively done by overseas employees. Because of my training background, we instituted a formal computer training program in our office. It has significantly reduced calls for help, and a lot of our people are working more efficiently. This kind of thing just can't be done with outsourcing. It also makes my job easier as a tech, because employees aren't afraid to try simple solutions to their problems before they call me, and when they do call I get much better information from them.

Another tip on ensuring people see your value is to do complex procedures (especially if it involves disassembling computer hardware) right in front of non-IT employees so they can see what you do. I inevitably get an audience when I do this, and the other employees think I'm a brain surgeon or something. As much as I hate it, playing the political game is an important part of the job. I even work on employees' home computers when I have a little extra time, because those relationship are everything. The more I can do to enlighten the non-IT employees about what I do, the more valuable I become in their eyes.

Anyway, that's just my 2 cents and random musings on the topic...

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good rendering

by apotheon In reply to Re: Learn Psychology

That's a good synopsis, explanation, and explication of the sort of "people skills" you can use to stay in a job without compromising your integrity.

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get into users heads..

by bruces9354 In reply to Learn Psychology (or prac ...

I think you may have something there Bart.

I have a BA degree in Psychology from 30 years ago and even went so far as to follow it into a Masters program - which was left undone. After getting married and raising a family, I found I really needed a job.

I have been in the IT field now for almost 11 years starting as a phone monkey supporting all kinds of junk. I am now the manager of a small IT dept. supporting about 100 workstations, database, network,,, the whole enchildada, with little formal training.

I found the biggest part of the IT job is keeping my customers happy. While I try to figure out, on the spot, what the H* is going on with their system, I often engage in conversation explaining what I am doing,,, educating them along the way. This helps me immensely and takes a lot of stress off the immediacy of troubleshooting

It's easy enough to take a problem to the back room and analyze it on the work bench,,, but the real trick is to keep your customers' work flow flowing.

I found the interpersonal skills I learned way back when have served me well. The machines are just there to serve the people. In servicing the machines, we should remember, it is the user that is our real customer.

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The Way of the World

by edpannell In reply to It's the sad reality...

I understand what you are going through. I was laid off here in the Chicagoland area since September. Everyone that I know of has a copy of my resume and it is still difficult to get a position. I have visited IT recruiters who have never called back. I have over ten years support experience, and would LOVE to have a phone support position right now. I went from making over 65000 a year to living (struggling) on unemployment.

I continue to be hopeful about the future, study while I have the time (and income), and know that it will get better.

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You may have to move

by langstonha In reply to It's the sad reality...

I'm in the same situation but I'm working on my own to have some income. You may want to try the military or try searching in another state. Some companies will move you. I live in Florida and there are not many IT jobs in my area but I did get a part time IT job making $7.50 an hour. It was a start.
Later,
Henry

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Move for $7.50 an hour?

by data1959 In reply to You may have to move

A start for WHAT??? You can cashier for that wage.

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nope

by apotheon In reply to Move for $7.50 an hour?

I don't think he said he moved for $7.50 an hour, or even that you should. I think he was just talking about having a job, as an indication that jobs exist, even in areas where the market is pretty bad.

Of course, I could be mistaken.

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