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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 wildcatsystems In reply to Globalization has somethi ...

Question: What is the truest definition of Globalization?

Answer: Princess Diana's death.

Question: How come?

Answer: An English princess with an Egyptian boyfriend crashes in a French tunnel, driving a German car with a Dutch engine, driven by a Belgian who was drunk on Scottish whisky, (check the bottle before you change the spelling)
followed closely by Italian Paparazzi, on Japanese motorcycles; treated by an American doctor, using Brazilian medicines. This is sent to you by an American, using Bill Gate's technology, and you're probably reading this on your computer, that uses Taiwanese chips, and a Korean monitor, assembled by Bangladeshi workers
in a Singapore plant, transported by Indian lorry-drivers, hijacked by Indonesians, unloaded by Sicilian longshoremen, and trucked to you by Mexican illegals.....

That, my friends, is Globalization

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No IT Careers

by jej13 In reply to IT Career... an oxymoron? ...

I have 25 years of experience that is broad and deep in many areas. I know both main frame and small system hardware and software. I have been a programmer, data base designer, systems programmer, systems architect, manager, etc. In short, I've jumped on the band wagon for every new thing that's come along until I've mastered it. My last job was involved with storage networking services, mananing 4 centers.

Besides the market drying up, the few places out there with jobs wouldn't hire anyone over 40. My husband was a director level capacity/peformance analyst and was pushed into early retirement. Why? They figured they could save a lot of money by outsourcing this to India.

The end result is that I'm now teaching high school mathematics in NYC for the union protection and stable salary and benefits. My husband found a temporary consulting job that pays half of what he made before, but at least they hire people over 50. We have to sell our house and move since our income is 40% of what it used to be and we have one child in college and another about to go.

To boot, I see d.p. related services I encounter to be poor at best, especially when outsourcing is involved. (I called tech services at Dell recently about pulling data off my old hard drive and the tech told me you can't access data written under a Windows Me system on a Windows XP system. My IP techies give wrong info 50% of the time. The guys wiring a school for the Internet at a place I interned in did a slop job both in the physical and software implementation.)

I am bitter and angry because I've always given 110% to any job I do. Fortunately, we have been very conservative with money, so we have substantial 401Ks. However, our pensions will be substantially less than we had anticipated due to the recently diminshed pension plans and forced retirements.

I don't know how people just starting out are going to survive. All I can tell you is squirrel away at least 10% of whatever you make because your outlook when you reach my age will be even worse. Also consider moving to a country for outsourced jobs.

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Age Discrimination?

by dafe2 In reply to No IT Careers

Your post kind of struck me in the sense that you seem to be a victim of age discrimination more than anything else.

That's unacceptable in this day and age. I'd urge you to read "pickleman" post above and you'll understand why I firmly believe people with your knowledgebase belong in IT, not the school system.

I'm thinking that post may help put a spin on your CV?

Age wise I'm not far behind you. Having said that, there are many 50+ people contributing positively in IT today. One (Lady) with a similar backround to yours is a CEO making about 150k.

Worth a 5 minute read and possibly a new spin?

Nevertheless if the IT industry is doing that in your area..........I sure don't want to live there. Read that post, actually, that thread.

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not just that area

by apotheon In reply to Age Discrimination?

Age discrimination is institutionalized in the IT industry. Employers want someone in early to mid thirties with around ten years' experience, or someone twenty-two with a degree and no experience. They pretty much don't want anyone else. It's a rare employers who will hire applicants outside those groups, nepotism notwithstanding.

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I think that's changed.....

by dafe2 In reply to not just that area

"Age discrimination is institutionalized in the IT industry"

I think (Or hope) that's gone now. Employers are starting to realize two, well maybe a few things:

1 - Succession planning (Baby boomer effect)
2 - Complex & sophisticated installations (Global Economy)
3 - Knowledge based economy

IT today is (starting) to get a seat within the executive suites. They finally realized that IT is important. For lack of a better analogy right now, people that pronounce system board "Mobo" and people that publish a web page and call themselves "webmaster" or "programmer are getting the LONG overdue boot.

What I'm trying to say is the core value of Information Technology is changing and so is it's meaning and value in business. If business, industry and commerce don't implement big picture IT "types" in this day and age,they'll find themselves in dire straits at some point soon I'm afraid. Usually, Big Picture=Experience=Life Experience=Yes....sometimes age

To put it another way. The perceived useful service life of an IT person used to be from an age of twenty to their "retirement" at 30. I believe that based on the core value changes in IT, an IT person today with the right skill set, will PEAK in their career at age 50 and ride out their retirement at somewhere between 55 & 65.

IMO your statement should read "Employers want someone in early to mid thirties with around ten years' experience as ENTRY LEVEL" With a preference towards someone that wears his pants at the waist, does not drink 4 gallons of coke before 9AM, has never used the word Extreme or Mobo and sat up strait during the interview.

A biento mon ami.......

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in my experience

by apotheon In reply to I think that's changed... ...

Age discrimination seems to be alive and well in the IT industry, from where I sit. Of course, considering 35 to be "entry level" is age discrimination as well. I happen to exist in an age range where my only likely options are A) already have a job where I'm viewed as an indispensable part of the organization for which I work and B) work for myself. Sure, there are some people out there that would consider hiring me, but they're few and far between. Most of them are looking at early to mid twenties or mid thirties, and nothing much between or later.

Even telephone tech support employers are looking for fresh college graduates, and don't want to hire someone with more experience, on the rare occasion they won't just outsource their tech support. The fresh college graduates get the low-level jobs, and the mid-thirties guys get the jobs that involve managing groups of fresh college graduates. Anyone between that is looking for a job is viewed as damaged goods, and anyone older is just considered to be an irrelevant dinosaur.

C'est la vie.

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C'est la vie......................

by dafe2 In reply to in my experience

Now if I could only get that rose tint off my lenses.........

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degree + certifications + experience = success?

by Lumbergh77 In reply to IT Career... an oxymoron? ...

Yeah, I know, degrees and certifications are called "worthless pieces of paper". But I see a lot of posts here from disgruntled IT people who want out or suggest getting out of this field. I'm wondering what your qualifications are. Do you have a degree, experience, and certifications? Or did you jump on the IT bandwagon in the 90s without bothering to get certified and/or a degree?

One would think that having a Bachelor's degree in computers, 5-10 of experience, and certifications would be enough to find a halfway decent job.

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Something that I havent heard mentioned

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

I see a lot of talk about poor job markets, outsourcing and "Paper" certs. I do not see any discussion on the extent and pervasiveness of technology and its future growth. Technology keeps on getting more complex and more pervasive in our societies and economies. As our dependence grows so will our need for IT professionals. People need to place themselves in a position to take advantage of this future need.

In the mean time many job functions will be outsourced and not be in-house (but by outsource some people think of India, I think of service companies such as IBM global services and its competitors.) These outsourcing companies will need IT professionals. There will be an increasing need for IT professionals in the future, but as specialists not generalists. What we are seeing now is the culling of the herd. The weak will be culled. Educated, experienced and certified IT professionals who are "business aware" will benefit from the culling. Do not forget that Dell brought their corp. tech support back to the US because of quality issues. Also do not forget that the US had a 1 month recession after 9/11 AND the corporate fraud scandals such as Enron. ONLY a 1-month recession! That is amazing to me that we still have an over a 3% growth in the US economy. This only proves the resilience of the US economy and it will continue to dominate the world markets well into the 21st century. I understand that if you are in manufacturing that you are in trouble, but that is good news for IT folks. It signifies the continuing change of the US economy from an industrial based economy into a service based Information Technology lead economy. The big labor unions are beginning to offer IT courses to their members, why you ask? Because there will be very few unspecialized manufacturing jobs in the future. The future is IT.

For the folks stating that the less than capable people in IT should leave the field. That may be wishful thinking; many of the "Paper" cert people have the capacity to become competent. I think that it is a bit self-serving to say that they should get out. Sure I would love it if there were 50,000 less people competing in the market of IT jobs. My salary would increase as companies fight over my skillset. This comes from a former "paper" cert person (got my CNE in 99 and didn?t know jack) Now I consider myself fairly competent (alright brilliant.. but my ego does get in the way sometimes) Get educated, get experienced, specialize and yes even get certified.

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Hard Times

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

It is very hard right now for everyone. I think the market is oversaturated thanks to all of the Tech Schools pumping out more and more people everyday. I know people who I went to school with who had to change careers because they could not find work. I wish you the best. Hang in there something will come along.

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