[Chugalug] Is there really a high tech shortage in the US?

kitepilot at kitepilot.com kitepilot at kitepilot.com
Wed Oct 3 19:14:33 UTC 2012

Now from the other end...
I sell myself as a 'Software Developer'.
And I am good developing software and writing solid code.
Mostly in C++, but I can do C, bash, perl, php, java, and I've done some C#. 

I can navigate any windoze or *nix environment, write a GUI, server code, I 
can analyze a tcpdump trace, I can build a network from the hardware up 
(although my few brushes with 'Cisco' haven't been exactly pleasant) and I 
have in the past configured devices to do things that the manufacturer said 
could not be done. 

I also speak fluent Spanish, I am an excellent teacher, I have successfully 
and consistently trained people to snowboard, fly airplanes, gliders, 
hangliders, write code, do system administration, even *THINK!*. 

I have designed and written solid code that I have been able to cleanly 
expand on a moment's notice (management forgot to implement some 
requirements 2 weeks before delivery), I have taken on me to implement 
separate networks for developers to test functions without risking collision 
with production, and on and on and on and on... 

What has all that bought me?

Well, not really true, the company that I saved the ass with the 'sudden 
implementation of forgotten features' bought me a trip around Miami, the 
Caribbean and NY, but refused to cover my immigration layers (yes, I was a 
F#$%ING H1-B immigrant, but now I am a formal member of 'The Club') which 
led me to find another job eventually... 

Never mind that *I KNOW* that I have scared people off because I can answer 
with a 'yes, I can do that' to just about anything they ask me to do.
I have even had hostile co-workers because I fixed issues that 
it-was-not-my-job-to-fix and guess what: they were better friends to the 
managers than I was...
I'll leave the outcome to your imagination... 

In short, being able to wear any hat (and having worn just about every hat) 
hasn't really bought me a big deal in 'Corporate America', and sometimes has 
even worked against me.
What gives?   :)


David Snyder writes: 

> From my perspective as a local employer I can tell you that it IS difficult to find good employees.  My company is small - 6 employees, so what we have need of is people with a broad I.T. experience and competence.  That is very hard to find anymore.  What I'm finding is people that have been working in the same task oriented I.T. job and never grew beyond that.  For example, I may get a resume for a "SAN engineer".   I realize that being that specialized is probably appropriate for a large corporation, but for a smaller company - like 95% of companies are, that kind of specialization is not very useful. 
> Another example are candidates whose only experience level is something like "Windows Desktop Support".  Typically that person will be really good with Microsoft end-user issues but anything beyond that... not so much.  For example, I once interviewed a candidate (We are an ISP and ITSP) and asked them how they handle a networking issue and their answer was "call the ISP".    Really?  That is your answer in a job interview at an ISP?  NEXT.  Don't get me wrong, everyone starts somewhere.  What I find aggravating is someone who has been doing an entry-level tech job for more than 5 years and has never bothered to upgrade their skill set.  I guess there are just too many good TV shows on to bother learning a new skill. 
> Also, for you younger set, it is NOT "I.T." skills if you are a power USER of technology.  I don't care if you know what app to download on your IPAD; I care if you know the networking and infrastructure to make it work. Knowing how to use an app  isn't a particular valuable skill to have - most 6 year olds do the same. 
> Where are the candidates that know a little bit of everything?  Where are the guys from the "good old days" that could work with Linux in a shell environment, work on windows servers, jump to cisco routers and properly design and implement a maintenance schedule.  Where are the RESPONSIBLE and ambitious people that, rather than complain about their compensation, are ambitious and constantly learning and getting better at their skills?  Where is the person that can realistically go to their boss and say "You know, I've been able to improve this company by implementing the following...." And follow up with "I think that has helped you and the company become more profitable...".  After that is established, after you case is made and proven, than ask for the increase in compensation. 
> Look, I'm happy to pay what someone is worth.... But sometimes I think they are delusional.  You just aren't worth a high salary with benefits if the only thing you can do is drag a file across a folder set over and over again.  You are not worth a high salary if you only work with DELL SANs.  (Unless you find a large company that only uses Dell SANs).    You are not worth a high salary if you know how to use an IPHONE with exchange server... increase your skills and you will increase your pay.  You are not worth a high salary if you are not willing to take on responsibility for your job.  In I.T. that means being on call 24 hours and responding  in a timely way to network emergencies.  That means treating your co-workers and customers with respect, it means being someone that can be depended on to get the job done. 
> Finally, you have to be a good and dependable person.  I recall the other day I got what I considered to be the "perfect" candidate on paper.  I scheduled and confirmed the interview.  I was ready to offer this person a job unless they bombed in the interview.  They never showed up.  OOOPS.  They called the next day to reschedule and had some lame excuse.  NO THANK YOU.  If you can't make it to your interview please don't waste my time.  Basic "skills" like  courtesy, showing up on time, a work ethic, and a true desire to help the company succeed will go a long way in getting higher pay and a better job. 
> End of rant... back to work. 
> David 
> From: chugalug-bounces at chugalug.org [mailto:chugalug-bounces at chugalug.org] On Behalf Of Eric Wolf
> Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2012 4:51 PM
> To: Chattanooga Unix Gnu Android Linux Users Group
> Subject: Re: [Chugalug] Is there really a high tech shortage in the US? 
> In 2000 I saw this at play at Blue Cross in Chattanooga. Not only was Blue Cross able to pay programmers from India a significantly reduced rate (about 1/2), but they also locked people in for multiple years by sponsoring their visa. The other bit at play is IT management tries to actually manage the software process. So the employees are just cogs. IT management has also enjoyed being able to hire for specific skills. In other corporate, jobs are more broadly defined. 
> If you get into regions of the country where there are economics at play beyond of saving 50% in salary and locking someone in for multiple years, selection is tougher in established firms but pay is higher. Selection can be easier in startups because they are looking more at personality and how what you bring fits in the mix. 
> That said, there is steadily increasing demand for corporate IT flunkies. No one going to school for CompSci wants those jobs. So there's definitely a lack of candidates. 
> -Eric 
> -=--=---=----=----=---=--=-=--=---=----=---=--=-=-
> Eric B. Wolf                           720-334-7734 
> On Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 2:32 PM, Rod-Lists <rod-lists at epbfi.com<mailto:rod-lists at epbfi.com>> wrote:
> There been a slurry of articles about the tech crunch or the lack of qualified candidates.
> This op-ed disagrees.
> http://www.globalaffairs.org/forum/threads/is-there-really-a-high-tech-shortage-in-the-us.68941/
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