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IT Skills Shortage?

By tom_housden2k8 ·
Let me start by listing my professional IT qualifications:

NVQ in IT Levels 1 and 2
NVQ in Installing and Supporting IT Systems Level 3

Now, this may not seem a lot, but together with the 6 years experience working with the IT Technicians in the IT department of West Kent College, and years of supporting private clients doing computer maintenance, this makes up for doing an MCSE or an MCP, and, this is bold, but I believe I know more than some people who have done MCSE's know.

I am also disabled, which restricts me in a minor way (on the fitting hardware side) but am fine in other aspects of the job.

So I am fed up with the stories in the media about an 'IT Skills Shortage', when I believe I have got the skills and experience to do the job as well, if not better, than some of the people with higher qualifications.

When it comes down to doing an IT job, if you haven't done it 'hands-on' yet, or if you haven't learnt about it in an MCSE, you're probably going to get blamed for maybe doing it wrongly.

So, having an MCSE or an MCP maybe means that you've got more knowledge than others, but nothing can beat experience, and at the end of the day, thats what employers (supposedly) look for.

So, if there really is an IT skills shortage, why arent I employed?

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Depends on what you mean by skills shortage

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to IT Skills Shortage?

Shortage of skilled people
Shortage of people with an acceptable qualification saying they are skilled.
Shortage of either of the above who'll accept a salary as crap as what's on offer.

Some things to take into account.
The people who initially judge your skill level ie recruiters and HR can only go on bits of paper, which is why anyone with a degree in IT (or flower arranging at some places) is going to look better than you. These people have no idea what your experience means and many of them operate under the nonsensical idea that it's much less important than your qualifications.
They'll nearly always choose a degree before a certificate, mind you so would I, if that was the only basis on which to judge your potential ability.
In short, unless you can get in through a goverment program for the disabled or some other backdoor , you need to get a degree. I'd be shocked if there isn't some program to get you 'qualified' given your status.

Just in case you think I'm some sort of academic nazi, I haven't got a degree or a certificate. Nearly twenty years of commercial experience gets me by. I've been knocked back for jobs as 'unskilled' just because of the lack of paper as well. Personally if any firm does that to me I don't feel they are worth working for anyway, got to be incompetent, by any measure.
The thing that has always stood me in good stead when getting a job is my ego being bigger than my head. I always walk in with the attitude that I'm doing an employer a favour by giving them an opportunity to employ me.
Some employers don't like it, but f'em, the truth can hurt.

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lack of paper

by Shellbot In reply to Depends on what you mean ...

i also suffer from lack of paper, but i accept that unless i get paper qualifications, it will take years to make the big money.
Now, when your looking at newbies just out of the starting gates, paper is sometimes all they have to judge you by, fair enough, but once you get a bit of expereince..

then i'm with you on that Tony, i take the attitude that if my ability does not matter to the prospective company then f'em as well. maybe its the attitude that helps give the air of "qualified" ?

"I always walk in with the attitude that I'm doing an employer a favour by giving them an opportunity to employ me." ....I take a similar attitude.. i'm a hard worker and i make it a point to learn to do a job perfectly, if you want me, make an offer, if not, quit wasting both our time. As i said last week to a co-worker "i do not grovel". I don't care 1 iota what some guy thinks of my lack of papers.

But..we all have bills to pay, i realise that some of us are not so lucky to be able to take that attitude.

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I wasn't knocking anyone

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to lack of paper

It's an attitude that works for me, and probably would for any highly experienced professional in their own field. A newbie would be mad to try it. Six years, though says experienced, unfortunately he has a lot of competition though as I understand the US market and lot's of them will have degrees. Short of getting in through a back door, I feel academia is his best chance.

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How the 'degree required' thing started.

by gardoglee In reply to Depends on what you mean ...

Several years ago and old, old IT guy explained to me some things which happened way back when he was a young programmer on HR systems for a large multi-national company whose name is irrelevant in this post. We were talking about how HR departments look for candidates, what they are supposed to do for hiring managers, and how that related to certification (CCP, CDP and CSP...and if you know what those are, you'll know how long ago this was). It explained everything in a wonderful cause and effect way.

First, HR personnel are not suppopsed to find the best candidate for a job. They are supposed to screen out the candidates who might not be qualified. Not screen out the unqualified, but screen out the possibly unqualified. Anyone who gets by them is supposed to be at least minimally adequate to do the job. This saves hiring managers' valuable time, since they never have to talk to someone unqualified.

Second, HR personnel are supposed to set pay scales so that the company doesn't waste money by paying more than they absolutely have to.

Third, HR people really cannot know everything about every job for which they are hiring. If they knew that much they wouldn't have to work in HR, now would they.

And lastly, HR people are supposed to hire in such a way that everything looks objective, so the company doesn't get sued for discriminating against a protected group of people.

What do they do? First, they aren't supposed to ask you anything which might be 'personal'. They cannot ask you about your interests, hobbies, or so forth. All of that has become forbidden. At many companies they cannot ask you your name, gender, marital status or the like unless they have already offered you a job, lest you claim you didn't get a job offer because of one of the above protected factors. They can, however, ask you whether you ahve a degree. That is one of the things which has been ruled by the Federal government as a Bonafide Occupational Qualification (BOQ, for short). It has a very objective answer, is not too 'personal', and has relevance to many jobs. Not to all, just to many.

When HR is trying to figure out how much to offer a new employee in pay, they have the same restrictions on what they can use to decide. They don't know what your performance will be, and they are not supposed to ask other companies exactly what they pay for a similar job. Exchanging pay rates for specific jobs is a part of anti-competetive practices. However, exchanging some general guidelines about pay rates, based on surveys and such, at a confernec or something...well, that is legal and OK. And how much high or low you pay for a job qhich does or does not require a degree? Well, that is OK.

Now, all HR people know that paying someone more than some other manager in the company can get them in serious trouble. But, they also know that technical people are very expensive, compared with some of the line level managers they ahve. It takes more specialized skills to do good IT than to manage some things, but they cannot really say that to the low paid managers in question.

So, you need to have something legal to ask which will help to weed out the possibly unqualified, justify paying the qualified ones more than some other 'important' people, all while not really having much information to go on as to what the job actually requires.

In this situation, being able to automatically throw out anyone who doesn't have a degreee, while justifying the perceived to be high pay for the IT guy because they have a magical sheepskin talisman is a no brainer. Sure they know there are qualified candidates without a degree or a certification. Are they going to be fired for missing a diamond in the rough? Who will ever know? But, can they be fired for sending a brilliant non-degreed network engineer up to interview with a business application programming manager who is looking for Crystal Reports experience, but neglected to put that on the hiring request, and instead said something like 'experience with large scale systems for multiple locations'? Well, this isn't a hypothetical example, which pretty much answers the question, doesn't it.

So, do you deserve a job? Yes. Are you more deserving than many of the people who will be interviewed? Quite possibly. Can the HR clerk weeding through resumes take the risk of sending you along without an iron-clad, yes-no-answer, obejective, non-personal criteria, which might get them fired? ****, no.

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You are having a laugh aren't you ?

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to How the 'degree required' ...

When did anyone get a degree in crystal reports ?
Talk sense man if he missed the requirement how could anyone satisfy him, short of outright luck. I've done crystal reports as well, would n't even apply for a job that required it, unless it was to get rid of it.

I've been out of work for a grand total of three months since 1981, so I don't need to pander to academic nazis, incompetent HR and in my personal opinion ,management types who couldn't find their arse with a rear view mirror. If authority allows someone they know is incompetent to perform a task critical to the operation they are supposed to be managing, they are not doing their job.

Must try it some time.
Finished that design Tony ?
Got someone in HR doing it, I was busy.

Guesses on the response
Fairs fair do you think ?

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Well lets look at the IT field

by zlitocook In reply to IT Skills Shortage?

I went to a tech school in 1997 and graduated in 1999, there were TV and radio spots then saying that the IT field would need over 250,000 people to fill these openings. The adds are still there but the jobs are not, if you look at the IT industry yes there are jobs but only in a few fields. I have no problem with the H1 people coming over here to learn and build a career. But you need to provide jobs to people who live in your country first! Not people who take a job at a much lower rate and send our technology away from us.
Look at who built the Internet and the technology and what we have done with it. Now other countries want to control it and we just train our kids to be fast food workers and factory workers.
Well Mr. W says the country is doing great and there are jobs being made every day!
If you want a minimum wage jobs that goes no where, well that?s what he is talking about.

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by Andrew06 In reply to Well lets look at the IT ...

Personally I would say that their are very few shortages for jobs such as IT Technicians, that just work on General Hardware. I mean such as, PC Repairs, Hardware installation, etc.

But I would say that there will never be a shortage for specialist areas such as LAN/WAN Administration, Communications, Security analysists, Hardware Engineers and Server Engineers.

What do you think?

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I agree but...

by Cheesel In reply to Specialist

I think it depends on where you are, too. I live near Boston, so it is harder here to make a living in IT. There are all ready lots of IT people here. However, I manage...

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certificates for specialists needed

by rickky In reply to Specialist

The problem is that the HR people find it easier to qualify people for jobs by certificates because it is easier for them to understand. I am currently unemployed and looking. I have been rejected for consideration for some because I don't have an up to date MCSE or MCSA (I'm working on it) even though I have been doing the work and know I can do the job. It is also a problem that HR people may not even know what the certificate means.

It seems most employers are looking for specialists as opposed to well rounded experience.

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Wait a minute, you are not considering several things...

by Cheesel In reply to Well lets look at the IT ...

Presidents don't have control over everything. Would you prefer the government to be able to tell private industries that they CAN'T go overseas? I would not.

Look at healthcare--There are lots of jobs for healthcare workers. There were even when the economy was soft.

Even in the best of times, the unemployment rate is always going to be at around 4-5% because there are people who get fired, people who are in between jobs for some other reason and those that just can't work for some reason or other; then, too, the employment population itself varies from month to month as well. People go back to work; other people get laid off. It is not static; it is dynamic. The jobless rate is about 4.9% now, just slightly higher than it was in 99 (4.5%).

I prefer the economy now than the economy 6 years ago, that's for sure. Give me brick and mortars anyday.

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