Cocktail party. Polite conversation. National IT recruiter. Who has never heard of "virtualization."

Joe Hernick, IT Director

July 19, 2008

2 Min Read

Cocktail party. Polite conversation. National IT recruiter. Who has never heard of "virtualization."So I was dodging toddlers and dogs, eating good BBQ, making small talk, enjoying the usual weekend get-together when I struck up a conversation. Friend of a friend. Turns out she's an ex-corporate HR type, now working for an IT headhunter. National scope, lots of vertical market stuff; mainly Oracle and SAP placements. Her firm targets low six figure-ish, permanent employee gigs.

She wasn't familiar with virtualization, in name, theory or practice. She's never seen any virt-related requirements for a must-fill post. She places lots of senior Linux admin types. I go to my Vmware, Hyper-V, Xen monologue. Nothing. I move on to Windows and Linux server consolidation, DR/BCP pitch. Security? No bells ring. I pry. She tells me a couple of her big accounts on the sly. I happen to know two of them are big Linux shops with large investments in virtualization. This makes me sad.

At this point I realize I have overstepped the bounds of polite company. She takes pity on me and promises to do a little VM dowsing when she gets in to the office. She'll let me know if her firm is trying to fill any virt-specialist seats; I'm not holding my breath.

Fighting depression, I snuck into a side room and ran a quick look at Monster's VM listings. Basic search terms, limited to the United States:

Oracle -- 5,000+ positions.

SAP -- 5,000+ positions.

VMware -- 1,092 positions.

Xen -- 55 positions.

Hyper-v --- 16 positions.

Parallels -- 6 positions (4 at Parallels)

Virtual Iron -- 4 positions (3 at Virtual Iron, one errant result from a virtual office sales gig at Iron Mountain)

A generic search on virtualization only pulled 787 gigs; VMware is a more prevalent term than virtualization. Expanding beyond the U.Ss gave me 924 hits for virtualization, 2,024 for VMware.

So what does all this mean for a virtualization specialist? Brush up on your Oracle skills. Or brush up on your high school French. Roughly half the VMware-tagged posts are outside the U.S.; a national IT recruiter hasn't seen any must-fill virt-skill jobs cross her desk, and non-VMware virt openings approach zero on the curve.

I'm going to take a somewhat positive spin on this and assume that much of the virtualization workforce is growing from within; existing designers, sysadmins, ops folks, and security types are training up on VM specifics, evolving as their organizations evolve P2V. This approach makes me feel better and jibes with my experience. I'm going with it for now...

The overseas market demand? Perhaps positive fallout from VMware's international growth. And/or another symptom of the weak dollar.Cocktail party. Polite conversation. National IT recruiter. Who has never heard of "virtualization."

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About the Author(s)

Joe Hernick

IT Director

Joe Hernick is in his seventh year as director of academic technology at Suffield Academy, where he teaches, sits on the Academic Committee, provides faculty training and is a general proponent of information literacy. He was formerly the director of IT and computer studies chair at the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, CT, and spent 10 years in the insurance industry as a director and program manager at CIGNA.

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