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Can The IT Career Choice Be Saved?

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Can The IT Career Choice Be Saved?
2. Today's Top Story
    - Microsoft Plans 9 Patches This Week
    Related Stories:
    - CA Calls New Dangers In Its Software 'Very Limited'
    - New Sober Slams Users, Quickly Slumps
3. Breaking News
    - IT Services Employment Remains Strong...
    - ...As IBM User Group President Warns Of IT Personnel Shortage
    - Review: Microsoft Windows Vista's Next Beta
    - Firefox 1.5 Makes Progress
    - SuSE Linux 10 Releases, Downloads Hard To Get
    - Warner Reportedly Joining Blu-Ray DVD Backers
    - EU Names Briton To Monitor Microsoft Compliance
    - Robots Compete For $2 Million Darpa Prize
    - AOL Offers AIM License To Bloggers, Podcasters
    - Marconi Society Honors Gordon Moore, Claude Berrou
    - Researcher Eyes 'Ambient Intelligence'
4. In Depth: Health-Care IT
    - U.S. Awards Contracts To Spur Development And Use Of Interoperable And Secure Health IT
    - U.S. Wants To Make It Easier For Doctors To Adopt Health IT
    - Steve Case's 'Revolution' Acquires Health And Tech Companies To Flesh Out Consumer Offerings
    - Disaster Births A Network
5. Voice Of Authority
    - Google Plays Politics
6. White Papers
    - Storage Virtualization
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"It's the most unhappy people who most fear change." -- Mignon McLaughlin


1. Editor's Note: Can The IT Career Choice Be Saved?

InformationWeek writers have been getting a blogful of reader responses about why people are leaving the IT fold and why new talent is so slow in entering.

Readers are saying that, among other things, outsourcing, long hours, and bosses' unrealistic expectations have proven deadly to morale. And who wants to suggest a career path to young people--their own kids or others'--that they wish they themselves could escape from? You can read more about what readers have to say in the blog entry of my colleague, Mitch Wagner. He shares some of the E-mail he's gotten on the subject and points to a few other editors' blog entries on the topic that have received related feedback.

It's certainly enlightening to read why so many people are disaffected with a career choice that they presumably felt positively about at least at some point in their lives. It's also profoundly sad to me to see so many people so full of negativity about their life's work.

It's a fact, though, that the environment has certainly changed, that working in IT (and pretty much everywhere) is more stressful, and that fewer people are entering the field than before. So what to do?

Robert Rosen, president of the IBM Share user group and a longtime member of this industry, has some interesting ideas. He's on a mission to help retain existing IT professionals and help recruit new ones, and says he believes the field is still a "fun" place to be. One of his suggestions is for people at or near retirement age to return to their companies--or go to others--as consultants. Often they can get involved in more interesting projects than the ones they left. Companies don't have to pay full benefits to "consultants," so everyone wins.

Another idea: Given today's higher gas prices, the ability to work from home a few days each week can be a very real and powerful benefit. A couple of companies recently offered tips on how to make telecommuting successful for all involved.

At this point, we pretty much know why people are leaving or are unhappy in their IT careers. And so the question becomes, what can we do to get them to stay? I'm thinking that if bright, articulate, successful IT managers and staffers put their heads together, they can and will come up with different ways of retaining and attracting good people.

Let's try to advance the discussion. I invite you to take part by checking out my blog entry and letting us all know what you think.

Johanna Ambrosio
jambrosio@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Microsoft Plans 9 Patches This Week
At least one will be tagged "critical," the vendor's highest warning.

Related Stories:
CA Calls New Dangers In Its Software 'Very Limited'

An unknown number of Computer Associates' products are vulnerable to a zero-day buffer overflow bug, according to a researcher, but CA downplayed the matter.

New Sober Slams Users, Quickly Slumps
A new version of the 2-year-old Sober worm is storming the Internet, causing antivirus vendors to issue loud alerts.


3. Breaking News

IT Services Employment Remains Strong...
More than 30,000 more Americans worked for IT services firms in September than a year earlier, the Labor Department reports.

...As IBM User Group President Warns Of IT Personnel Shortage
The public sector will be particularly hard-hit, he says. One increasingly popular solution, he suggests, is for ITers to retire and then return as consultants to new posts that are more interesting and less stressful.

Review: Microsoft Windows Vista's Next Beta
The "Community Technology Preview" of Vista isn't Beta 2 yet, but speed is up, the Sidebar is back, and it has more new features like Live Thumbnails, Flip 3D, and peer-to-peer MeetingSpace.

Firefox 1.5 Makes Progress
Mozilla releases the second beta of its next browser, Firefox 1.5. It's expected to go final in November or December.

SuSE Linux 10 Releases, Downloads Hard To Get
Novell has quietly released a major update to its flagship SuSE Linux distribution.

Warner Reportedly Joining Blu-Ray DVD Backers
Hollywood studios appear to be hedging their bets in the increasingly perplexing next-generation video-format dispute.

EU Names Briton To Monitor Microsoft Compliance
The appointment of Neil Barrett ends two out of three points of dispute between EU regulators and the software maker. Still open is the question over Microsoft's providing rival software makers some cost-free, additional access to part of its code.

Robots Compete For $2 Million Darpa Prize
Twenty-three unmanned ground vehicles have qualified for the Defense Advanced Research Agency's Grand Challenge. The robots will race across 150 miles.

AOL Offers AIM License To Bloggers, Podcasters
Called AIM Presence, the new program includes a distribution license at no charge and the HTML code to paste AIM into a Web page to launch the instant-messaging service.

Marconi Society Honors Gordon Moore, Claude Berrou
Intel co-founder Moore will be the third recipient in 31 years of the Marconi Society's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Researcher Eyes 'Ambient Intelligence'
An executive at a European research group told conference attendees this week of his goal: "secure, trustworthy computers and communications that are in everything and everybody." This could include everything from smart homes and automobiles to personal assistants and insulin sensors.

All our latest news

Watch The News Show

John Soat with "Eye On I.T." in the current episode of "The News Show."

Also in Friday's episode:

Ivan Schneider with "Grid Is Good, Part 2"

Alex Wolfe with "Xbox Marks The Spot"

Brian Gillooly with "Life Vs. Sports"


----- The latest research, polls, and tools -----

SOA And Web Services
Share your company's plans for adopting a service-oriented architecture and Web services with the editors of InformationWeek by taking our short and confidential survey, available now online.

-----------------------------------------


4. In Depth: Heath-Care IT

U.S. Awards Contracts To Spur Development And Use Of Interoperable And Secure Health IT
The contracts were awarded to three private-public groups that will create and evaluate processes involved with advancing the adoption of standards for features in health-care IT products.

U.S. Wants To Make It Easier For Doctors To Adopt Health IT
Changes in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations would let doctors accept donations of health IT products from hospitals and other such entities.

Steve Case's 'Revolution' Acquires Health And Tech Companies To Flesh Out Consumer Offerings
Revolution Health Group has acquired several startup firms and has made equity investments in others as part of a plan to unleash a new consumer-oriented health portal and other services next year.

Disaster Births A Network
Long considered an IT laggard, the health-care industry is banding together to help Hurricane Katrina victims by creating a data network that facilitates secure Web access to evacuees' prescription-drug histories by authorized doctors and pharmacists nationwide.


5. Voice Of Authority

Google Plays Politics
The company has hired its first lobbyist. Thomas Claburn has a problem with that because, as he says in his blog entry, Google is engaging in hypocrisy--the firm advocates free speech here in the United States but knuckles under to censors abroad.


6. White Papers

Storage Virtualization
Like the Internet, virtualized storage aims for simplicity, transparency, flexibility, scalability, and resilience. But unlike the Internet, which is dispersed, storage virtualization is designed to allow for centralized control.


7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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