Troubled Times Ahead For IT?

IT staffers vent about disturbing employment trends.

Naomi Grossman, Contributor

October 11, 2007

3 Min Read

But Byron M. had some really telling -– and heartbreaking -– points that portend a bleak future for those involved in IT. He writes: "I've got over 20 years experience in technical support and IT and can't get and keep a job. At age 55, it's near impossible to be considered for IT work now, as it's perceived to be a 'young man's' field. (Women have a tough time breaking into the boy's club, too.) Companies are REALLY missing the boat here. College teaches the basics, but YEARS in the trenches make you good."

Three trends have him considering abandoning IT altogether:

"Trend 1: Offshore outsourcing. This is epidemic right now. My old job at 3Com went to Oregon first (an outsourcing company), then to India, and shortly after that 3Com tanked and has been in a downward spin for years.

Trend 2: Contract to hire with no benefits. Bring me in, let me do the hard stuff (set up, configuration, monitoring setup and infrastructure, and backup strategies), and when I've got it all under control, and usually somewhat automated, I'm fired or laid off or worse still, extended month after month never knowing whether it's your last month or not. This has happened to me twice in the last two years.

Trend 3: Perception -- IT people are just washing machine repair people in ties. Pay them a lot less than they've been getting, and new grads will take the lower pay jobs from the bloated 'fat cats' of the past, and be thankful that they have the work. This is shortsighted on so many levels it's not funny. In a couple of recent job postings, I've seen a plethora of skills required, in awful shifts, and pay? $10 per hour. Where's this $50,000 a year the author spoke of? Not here in Texas for most of us. Over 40, this is what you can expect here."

Lastly, another commenter seals the deal: "As an IT manager, I can easily see why college graduates don't want to join IT. Corporate expectations that IT will always deliver on time, regardless of how many scope changes occur... mean work/life balance is always skewed toward work. The general corporate attitude is that IT should be a commodity and not an integral part of the business. There's limited opportunity to advance once the employee has gone beyond the first several years of technical promotions.

These problems (and more) that currently afflict the IT community appear to be rampant and cut across all sectors. College kids aren't blind. Nearly every family knows someone who's in IT, and the job pressures and problems are apparent.

My job experience in IT has been better than many others', and still my college-age daughter wouldn't touch an IT job."

Is this really what it's like out there? Between offshoring and treating IT workers poorly, is the industry, at least in the United States, writing its own death certificate? What do you think needs to happen for real change to be effected? We want to hear from you.

Naomi Grossman, Assistant Editor.

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