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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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Yes, it is bad, but....

by gdellacroce@grnroselle In reply to It's the sad reality...

I have to toss my two pennies in here. I have almost 30 years in IT, developer, design, manager, consultant, and now .... Search Consultant. Yes I am a >recruiter< for IT.

What you said about that recruiter is true. They think they (I) have a great match of person and client. And then one (or the other) backs out, slows down, stops returning calls, what ever. Poof! Personnally I still keep looking for my candidates because there are great jobs out there, and I want to put them into those jobs.

One point about the IT market now - IT is still in the budget press. There are three types of shops out there. Huge, Normal, and Mom&Pop. If you want to work in Huge or Mom&Pop >>Do Not Use A Recruiter<< We can rarely help with full time positions. If you want towork for the Normal shop, work with a recruiter.

I will help anyone (even if I can't place you) with their job search. But I can not find everyone the "great" position, paying 6 figures to starting grad's. Those days where the abnormal that will not soon return.

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Parallel Thinking

by robertmi In reply to Yes, it is bad, but....

Have you thought of doing the forensic analysis side of computing work? OK you know systems inside and out, you can find your way around all sorts of software and the tracks that a user leaves behind. What you might not have are the skills needed to preserve data integrity and the software/hardware to do it, but those skills and kit are relatively easily acquired. IT is the underpinning of business world wide, but only IT people really understand its complexities. That knowledge can be marketed in a business environment where people are crying out for investigators who can tell who did what where and to whom using a computer. Current practitioners are often retired cops (like me) but any reasonably intelligent person with an enquiring mind can examine and reconstruct the activities of a computer user. Don't be put off by the thought that you lack investigative skills. Instead of focusing on the nuts and bolts of IT take a look at some spin off activities and build your own empire.

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Well with your experience

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to IT Career... an oxymoron? ...

You could always start your own consulting firm. I believe that there are Government Grants available for this and you could make a nice living out of it as well.

But when it comes to working for a Boss I think your up the creek without a paddle as we say over here. When I escaped Uni in the 70's I had a friend who was top of his class in Civil Engineering and he never got a job in that area of work. He now collects garbage in the morning and makes sails during the rest of the day. Talk about a wasted education but at least he got on with his life and didn't sit around waiting for something to drop in his lap.


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Very Positive!

by Benjamin In reply to Well with your experience

Thank you Col for your input. Actually thank everyone who has contributed to this discussion. Starting my own consulting firm will most likely be the best answer. As far as there being government grants available for this, I shall have to investigate.

I know there are the odd company here and there that need training, networks set up and/or maintained, software/hardware upgrades, etc. Perhaps I should look into it seriously.

My main objective was to get a feel for the land so to speak and find it interesting this "problem" is universal. I am actually in the process now of creating a web site to assist people like me and from what I can tell from the posts, all of you, with avenues to achieve all they want to do in the world of Information Services / Technology. We'll see how that goes. I am in the process of brainstorming with Mind Manager and surprisingly have come up with some good ideas.

But this post Col was a great idea. Thanks again!

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Strike out on your own

by Hescominsoon In reply to Very Positive!

I was in your boat as well. I finally got fed up with it and started my own consulting firm with my wife. She works another job as well. Right now web design is bringing in most of the business. Word is starting to get out(some through advertising and some through word of mouth) about my technical side. We are looking at breaking even this year(paying back taxes and startup costs). We are hoping for at least 10k or more in profits next year.

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Ya, start your own thing

by manasmitra In reply to Strike out on your own

I'm a bit late entry in this discussion - but it's not always too late. I left my last job on 31st Dec. '98 and started my own firm within 3 months - had only a few contacts at that time, now it's more than 200 loyal clients in hardware support in six years. With all the experience, sincerety does matter.

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You have no choice...

by rcsteinbach In reply to Strike out on your own

You have no choice, you MUST strike out on your own. I did and the pay is horrible, but at least I'm working. I have a few steady clients and I hope to get more as the year goes on. PC repair, virus and malware elimination, and support for secured wired and wireless networks are difficult and dangerous to outsource or leave in charge of temp tech workers so I focused in on those areas. Hopefully my gamble will pan out in a few years or so.

We don't have much of a choice except to roll with the punches, no matter how crooked the game has become. Simply play your cards with the same mercy corporate America gave us. If we can take down a few enemies of American tech workers in the 2006 elections, all the better :) (Evil laugh)

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by dallen In reply to Well with your experience

That really is the problem now a days, people with very little business and IT exp becoming "Consultants". I can't tell you how many times I have been called in by a client to fix a "Consultants" mess.

90% of the time this person hangs a shingle, does a couple odd jobs, then closes shop becuase it was harder than anticipated. These people have little more than a couple years doing basic networking and hardware repair and then have the audacity to call themselves a "Consultant". This is not being fair to them, nor the client.

You can be the best tech in the world, but a poor business person. Please look at your skills before you claim to be a "Consultant" or go into business.

In the end it is always the client that gets hurt, and it is hard to gain that trust back.

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by tlcompany In reply to Noooo!

If you would have read Ben's story instead of just glancing over it, you would have seen that he is well qualified to strike out on his own. It's the guys coming out of these schools with the degrees and no practical experience that should NOT be consultants. I strongly think that Ben would do well. Like I stated in my reply if he does quality work, he'll get many referreals. I had a client that had thier own IT professionals and they had to call me in to fix their professional messes. They had all the little letters behind their names that they got from school, but had never even seen the inside of a PC. Now that's sad. Giving out titles to someone that has only done the theory in school.

Terry Lewis
TL Company

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by lcave In reply to Noooo!

I am still bleeding from the last consultant.

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