A few hundred readers responded to last week's column about the profound global changes rocking the IT job market and the need for business-technology professionals to continue to focus their energies on becoming more engaged in areas of greater value to their employers and customers. As always, your letters were insightful, probing, and varied, and they deserve to be shared.
"I'm a retired supervisor from Fisher Body Div. of General Motors. Have been all around the world for the Corp. & visited auto plants all thru Europe & Asia. ... What you said is exactly true. We in this country must get off our duff & move ahead." --Jerry Green
"I couldn't agree with you more. The only position tougher to place than a laid-off steelworker or a laid-off IT manager is a laid-off IT manager from the steel industry. This I can say from some personal experience. Your article should be a wake-up call for the complacent to continue their education and certifications, and broaden their fields of view." --John Bodnark
"You have captured the real deal. ... Not only do we need to have business-technology workers become businesspeople with indispensable technical prowess, we need to have companies that will develop these skills and keep these workers, even if in the very short term the cost exceeds a particular budget. Until we have company goals that are unwavering, many of these technology workers will soon find that the service industry may be their only way to pay their bills." --Ed Wade
Around 150 children spilled out of the jail in northeast Baghdad after the gates were opened as a U.S. military Humvee vehicle approached, Lt. Col. Fred Padilla told an AFP correspondent travelling with the Marines 5th Regiment. "Hundreds of kids were swarming us and kissing us," Padilla said. "Their parents were running up, so happy to have their kids back. ... The children had been imprisoned because they had not joined the youth branch of the Baath party," he alleged. "Some of these kids had been in there for five years."
-- Agence France-Presse, April 8
"In the last few months, my mind has been fixated on what's next for my career. I could attempt to stay in IT, but even with the economic recovery that has been promised, I think the medium-term future for the American IT worker will begin to parallel the American steelworker of the past. I think we have time to prepare for this shift--if we begin preparing now. ... I probably have three to four years before it's a major threat to my livelihood. I expect a much more competitive job market here in the U.S. with lower pay. ... Because of all this, I've been thinking about getting out of the IT industry completely. My current thought? Sandwiches! People will always want a good sandwich." --Reid Bolander
"I find that we're already faced with the prospects of fierce overseas competition, especially at the low end of the market. We have a different mindset, however, than many of the steel mills and zinc smelters of Beaver Valley. Although headquartered in Silicon Valley and with only about 140 employees, we view ourselves as a global company. We already have a software development facility in India, and we outsource our chip fabrication, packaging, and warehousing to companies in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. In the short-term and microeconomic sense, exporting jobs doesn't seem to be in America's best interest. However, it is in the longer-term macroeconomic best interest for U.S.-based companies to remain competitive. This globalization of U.S.-based companies will ensure that the jobs that can be done competitively in the U.S. remain here. It will also ensure that American consumers get the best products at the best prices." --Rich Redelfs
And while there were only a handful of screechers, they, too, deserve to air their views, and this is probably the "best" representative of that bunch: "and how bout you? why haven't they shipped your job to india and when they do how will you feel about it? wake up, you are really an idiot." --Joanne
The Business of Going DigitalDigital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.