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IT Jobs Chill
Computerworld ^ | September 13, 2004 | Frank Hayes

Posted on 09/15/2004 10:00:28 AM PDT by Mini-14

SEPTEMBER 13, 2004 - The annual IT workforce study is out from the Information Technology Association of America. And for once, it's genuinely useful. Gone is the rah-rah boosterism of years past. Gone are the million-new-jobs estimates that never came true and the predictions that most new IT jobs would go wanting because there just weren't enough U.S. IT people to fill them.

Instead, it's a sober assessment stuffed with information of value to anyone hiring or looking for work in corporate IT. Much of that information is clearly presented in the report, which you can get at www.itaa.org/workforce/studies/04wfstudy.pdf.

And then there's the stuff that's hidden between the lines.

Officially, the report's executive summary says the U.S. IT workforce grew about 2% between March 2003 and March 2004 -- from 10.3 million to 10.5 million IT workers. Another 230,000 IT jobs should be created by next spring. Technical support, networking and programming are the areas that account for the most new jobs, and the biggest increases were in the Northeast.

But digging deeper -- and then slicing and dicing the numbers -- yields a somewhat different story for corporate IT people. Add in some information the ITAA isn't anxious to admit, and the picture isn't pretty.

How many new IT jobs? According to the hiring managers surveyed, 230,000 by spring 2005. But historically, the people the ITAA polls are, to put it kindly, optimistic. Each year, they typically predict they'll hire twice to four times as many people as the following year's survey indicates they actually did hire. So a prediction of 230,000 new IT jobs suggests there will really be 100,000 new IT jobs -- maybe less.

Where? The highest IT job growth by percentage was in the Northeast, sure enough. But the largest number of new IT jobs last year was actually in the South, the region that now leads the nation, with more than 3 million IT jobs. The West actually lost 20,000 IT jobs from 2003 to 2004.

What kind of employers? A whopping 77% of corporate IT jobs are at companies with fewer than 100 employees. Those companies also say they value employee loyalty far more than larger companies.

What kinds of jobs? Security jobs in networking and databases will be hot. Tech support will be the largest category of new jobs, about 30% of the total; last year, it represented nearly half of all new IT jobs. Web development and the "digital media" category -- the people who create graphics, text, sound and animation for software -- are growing slowly.

But here's where it gets ugly for corporate IT workers. Programmers are in trouble: 28,000 jobs lost last year, with only 29,000 new jobs expected next year by the most optimistic estimates. Tech writing is flat. Enterprise systems integration is barely showing a pulse.

In other words, if you're in operations, bone up on security and you may find a job. But if you're looking for work developing traditional corporate IT systems, you're toast.

What qualifications? Forget certifications -- for a new job, you need four years of college and at least a year of experience, all directly related to the job. Certification and on-the-job training are good for promotions, though.

What else? Interpersonal skills are what roughly half of all companies of all sizes rate as most important among "soft" skills -- more than project management, team building, or oral and written communications.

All this may not be comforting. No rah-rah, no pipe dreams, just chilly reality. That's not what we expect from the industry cheerleaders at the ITAA. But for delivering the cold, hard goods, they deserve our thanks -- just this once.

Frank Hayes, Computerworld's senior news columnist, has covered IT for more than 20 years. Contact him at frank_hayes@computerworld.com.



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: employment; h1b; jobs; l1; unemployment

1 posted on 09/15/2004 10:00:29 AM PDT by Mini-14
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To: Mini-14
Enterprise systems integration is barely showing a pulse.

Not surprising, companies have been getting burned on promises for years.

2 posted on 09/15/2004 10:07:49 AM PDT by glorgau
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To: glorgau

How much of this is due to the technology itself, and not globalization?


3 posted on 09/15/2004 10:08:40 AM PDT by dfwgator (It's sad that the news media treats Michael Jackson better than our military.)
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To: Mini-14

I still have a great IT job, but I know if I ever lose it I'll never get another (over 40; fairly specialized industry knowledge; small number of potential future employers). It's been a good run, but I'm already looking for alternative career paths when it ends.


4 posted on 09/15/2004 10:12:19 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves
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To: Mr. Jeeves
(over 40; fairly specialized industry knowledge; small number of potential future employers)

Do what I did - transition to being a business analyst or a quality assurnace analyst. Any knucklehead can program a computer, anywhere in the world. But business knowledge is very specific and also tends to be culturally isolated from country to country - you conduct business differently in Japan than you do here - and someone from India who doesn't live here and isn't familiar with American business would have a hard time being an analyst.

5 posted on 09/15/2004 10:16:39 AM PDT by dirtboy (Kerry could have left 'Nam within a week if Purple Hearts were awarded for shots to the foot.)
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To: dirtboy

I already have done that to a certain extent - my job is about 50% business analysis/design - 50% programming/database. I'm in no danger of losing my job (yet) but I would probably have to take a huge salary hit to stay in the game if I do.


6 posted on 09/15/2004 10:22:36 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves
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To: Mr. Jeeves
but I'm already looking for alternative career paths when it ends.

Raw curiosity - what kind of things are you looking into? It seems like career-transitioning will be a hot area soon (if not now).

7 posted on 09/15/2004 10:24:20 AM PDT by searchandrecovery (Socialist America - diseased and dysfunctional.)
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To: dfwgator

Alot. This same article keeps getting written in different media every 2 or 3 months.


8 posted on 09/15/2004 10:34:24 AM PDT by SoDak
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To: dirtboy
Do what I did - transition to being a business analyst or a quality assurnace analyst

Hmmm, I should have thought of that. Got laid off from my Job last November. So what did I do? Changed to a totally new field - construction management.

Gets me out from behind a desk for a change.

9 posted on 09/15/2004 10:43:48 AM PDT by AFreeBird (your mileage may vary)
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To: dirtboy
business analyst

Good idea, but what exactly do you do as a business analyst? For example, what's a typical day like?

10 posted on 09/15/2004 10:47:20 AM PDT by nsc68 (If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...)
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bump


11 posted on 09/15/2004 10:47:55 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Jefferson Davis - the first 'selected, not elected' president.)
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To: searchandrecovery
Raw curiosity - what kind of things are you looking into?

Health-related fields are positioned for the strongest growth due to the aging of the baby boomers.

12 posted on 09/15/2004 10:50:13 AM PDT by bankwalker (Katie's legs are the reason God created the mute button.)
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To: nsc68; dirtboy

"What would you say ya do here?"

"Well look, I already told you! I deal with the [gosh darn] customers so the engineers don't have to! I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people! Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?"


13 posted on 09/15/2004 10:54:23 AM PDT by Betis70
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To: nsc68
Good idea, but what exactly do you do as a business analyst? For example, what's a typical day like?

"Look, I already told you! I deal with the customers so the engineers don't have to! I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people! Can't you understand that? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!"

14 posted on 09/15/2004 10:56:03 AM PDT by dfwgator (It's sad that the news media treats Michael Jackson better than our military.)
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To: Betis70

Great minds!


15 posted on 09/15/2004 10:56:50 AM PDT by dfwgator (It's sad that the news media treats Michael Jackson better than our military.)
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To: dfwgator

LOL!

I wanted to find the first part of that exchange, but couldn't find it on google.


16 posted on 09/15/2004 11:00:01 AM PDT by Betis70
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To: Betis70

:)

1st Bob: What you do at Initech is you take the specifications from the customer and bring them down to the software engineers?

Tom: Yes, yes that's right.

2nd Bob: Well then I just have to ask why can't the customers take them directly to the software people?

Tom: Well, I'll tell you why... because... engineers are not good at dealing with customers....

1st Bob: So you physically take the specs from the customer?

Tom: Well.. No. My secretary does that... or they're faxed.

2nd Bob: So then you must physically bring them to the software people?

Tom: Well.. No. ah sometimes.

1st Bob: What would you say you do here?

Tom: Look I already told you, I deal with the @#$% customers so the engineers don't have to. I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people, can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?!


17 posted on 09/15/2004 11:03:32 AM PDT by nsc68
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To: nsc68

That's it! Oh I may have to watch that tonight.


18 posted on 09/15/2004 11:10:05 AM PDT by Betis70
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To: nsc68
Good idea, but what exactly do you do as a business analyst? For example, what's a typical day like?

Brain-numbing confernence calls. Writing of change requests and functional specs. Meetings with developers to explain to them how things are supposed to work. Coordination with QA. Ad hoc data requests. Monitoring of operations. Complaints to the clients about all the invoices that are 90 days past due.

Fun stuff like that.

19 posted on 09/15/2004 11:18:20 AM PDT by dirtboy (Kerry could have left 'Nam within a week if Purple Hearts were awarded for shots to the foot.)
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To: dirtboy
(over 40; fairly specialized industry knowledge; small number of potential future employers)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - Do what I did - transition to being a business analyst or a quality assurnace analyst. Any knucklehead can program a computer, anywhere in the world. But business knowledge is very specific and also tends to be culturally isolated from country to country - you conduct business differently in Japan than you do here - and someone from India who doesn't live here and isn't familiar with American business would have a hard time being an analyst.

Did the same. Was a programmer in 1986. Now I do business analysis and requirements analysis. In my area a BA can do $60-90K; six figures if you have a big security clearance or are willing to go independent on a 1099.

20 posted on 09/15/2004 11:19:46 AM PDT by jimfree (If your product nolonger sells, change your product.)
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To: dirtboy
And as a project manager I want to thank you for taking all those mind-numbing calls, writing all those requests and specs, and doing all those requests so I don't have to.

Sincerely,
Non-Sequitur, PMP

21 posted on 09/15/2004 11:24:41 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Jefferson Davis - the first 'selected, not elected' president.)
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To: dirtboy

Cool. Thanks.

A couple of follow-up questions...

1. Do the developers not communicate directly with the clients? You seem to be the go-between.
2. What do you mean by "monitoring of operations"?
3. What's the relationship between you and the project manager when working on a project?
4. Do you include QA requirements in the functional spec?
5. What do you mean by "ad hoc data requests"?


22 posted on 09/15/2004 11:29:16 AM PDT by nsc68
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To: nsc68
1. Do the developers not communicate directly with the clients?

Most of the times, no, unless you can find one with a clean shirt and no food in his teeth.

You seem to be the go-between.

I gather requirements and go over them with the development lead and the programmer.

2. What do you mean by "monitoring of operations"?

Making sure that the systems are operated properly and adhere to Service Level Agreements, and raise some whup-ass when they don't. I also can act as a backup for operations and do troubleshooting.

3. What's the relationship between you and the project manager when working on a project?

I yell "I need more power, Scotty!" and he yells "You cannot change the laws of physics, Captain!"

4. Do you include QA requirements in the functional spec?

Not typically. I've also been a QA Lead, and generally the QA person is tasked with tracing requirements through the spec and into the testing methodology.

5. What do you mean by "ad hoc data requests"?

Typically these are counts queried off the database that are not part of the standard report set.

23 posted on 09/15/2004 11:34:24 AM PDT by dirtboy (Kerry could have left 'Nam within a week if Purple Hearts were awarded for shots to the foot.)
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To: Non-Sequitur
And as a project manager I want to thank you for taking all those mind-numbing calls, writing all those requests and specs, and doing all those requests so I don't have to.

Just for that, I'm gonna quit pushing back against the client when they want to move up the deadlines...

24 posted on 09/15/2004 11:36:03 AM PDT by dirtboy (Kerry could have left 'Nam within a week if Purple Hearts were awarded for shots to the foot.)
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To: nsc68
What's the relationship between you and the project manager when working on a project?

Kind of like that between Cain and Master Po.

25 posted on 09/15/2004 11:42:27 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Jefferson Davis - the first 'selected, not elected' president.)
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To: dirtboy
Just for that, I'm gonna quit pushing back against the client when they want to move up the deadlines...

No you won't. We're the big picture people. We need the input. And while we're at it, have you completed that documentation yet?

26 posted on 09/15/2004 11:43:34 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Jefferson Davis - the first 'selected, not elected' president.)
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To: nsc68
Do the developers not communicate directly with the clients? You seem to be the go-between.

Language difficulties aside, I have yet to meet a developer who wants to have any client contact whatsoever. And it isn't their job to do so. They are there to turn the user requirements, which dirtboy has so efficiently collected, into a solution. It is not their job to answer stupid questions from idiot customers, that is my job as project manager. I can best sum up a big part of my job as I eat sh*t so that the developers don't have to. That's probably the part that they appreciate most.

27 posted on 09/15/2004 11:47:56 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Jefferson Davis - the first 'selected, not elected' president.)
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To: Non-Sequitur
No you won't. We're the big picture people. We need the input.

Yeah, right, if it isn't in a Gantt Chart, you can't visualize it.

And while we're at it, have you completed that documentation yet?

I emailed it to you last week. Since we've now moved into the development phase, I guess I won't be incorporating your comments into the final draft.

28 posted on 09/15/2004 11:58:33 AM PDT by dirtboy (Kerry could have left 'Nam within a week if Purple Hearts were awarded for shots to the foot.)
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To: dirtboy
Yeah, right, if it isn't in a Gantt Chart, you can't visualize it.

Not entirely true. We also deal with those calendar bar thingies in Powerpoint where we note milestones for management.

I emailed it to you last week. Since we've now moved into the development phase, I guess I won't be incorporating your comments into the final draft.

I was offsite at a training seminar in Cabo San Lucas. Hold up on that final draft, though. The customer is going to make some changes.

29 posted on 09/15/2004 12:10:27 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Jefferson Davis - the first 'selected, not elected' president.)
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To: Mr. Jeeves
My husband is a SAS programmer and I HATE the IT industry with a bloody passion. He has been laid off 5 times in 10 years. I wish he would get out of it. We lost everything in the last lay off. I don't want to go through that ever again. I thank God every single day that he still has a job.

He took a salary cut (about 40%) to take the job he has now. Beggars can't be choosers, so I just try to be careful with our money and hope for the best.

30 posted on 09/15/2004 12:17:19 PM PDT by SpookBrat
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To: Non-Sequitur
I was offsite at a training seminar in Cabo San Lucas.

Too bad Hurricane Javier didn't hit while you were there.

Hold up on that final draft, though. The customer is going to make some changes.

That's OK, I already blamed the delay on the fact that you were down in Cabo San Lucas.

31 posted on 09/15/2004 12:22:23 PM PDT by dirtboy (Kerry could have left 'Nam within a week if Purple Hearts were awarded for shots to the foot.)
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To: Non-Sequitur
I was offsite at a training seminar in Cabo San Lucas.

Too bad Hurricane Javier didn't hit while you were there.

Hold up on that final draft, though. The customer is going to make some changes.

That's OK, I already blamed the delay on the fact that you were down in Cabo San Lucas.

32 posted on 09/15/2004 12:22:28 PM PDT by dirtboy (Kerry could have left 'Nam within a week if Purple Hearts were awarded for shots to the foot.)
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To: dirtboy

Thanks again.

I've seen development teams where your role was performed by a senior developer, who also worked on implementing the solution.

What are your thoughts on having a senior developer also perform a "business analyst" function, versus having a person dedicated to that role?


33 posted on 09/15/2004 12:35:50 PM PDT by nsc68
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To: dirtboy

Thanks again.

I've seen development teams where your role was performed by a senior developer, who also worked on implementing the solution.

What are your thoughts on having a senior developer also perform a "business analyst" function, versus having a person dedicated to that role?


34 posted on 09/15/2004 12:35:57 PM PDT by nsc68
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To: nsc68
What are your thoughts on having a senior developer also perform a "business analyst" function, versus having a person dedicated to that role?

Depends upon whether you want him designing or having his neurons dying by the millions during endless conference calls. Plus, the job does require writing skills, in which a lot of development people are weak.

35 posted on 09/15/2004 12:47:12 PM PDT by dirtboy (Kerry could have left 'Nam within a week if Purple Hearts were awarded for shots to the foot.)
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To: searchandrecovery
I used to be a consultant - my first choice would simply be to return to that role with more of a managment/business process focus than a programming focus.

If that doesn't work I'll give the whole thing up and open a guitar store. ;)

36 posted on 09/15/2004 12:47:47 PM PDT by Mr. Jeeves
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To: dirtboy

Thanks. When I think of a development team's demographics, I think of several American males in their 30s at least, with a minimum of 10 years of experience in the field.

I get the feeling that's not the type of development team you usually deal with.


37 posted on 09/15/2004 12:50:27 PM PDT by nsc68
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To: nsc68
I get the feeling that's not the type of development team you usually deal with.

We have a mix of Americans and Russians. But the development leads fit your profile.

38 posted on 09/15/2004 12:52:50 PM PDT by dirtboy (Kerry could have left 'Nam within a week if Purple Hearts were awarded for shots to the foot.)
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To: SpookBrat
I used to be a SAS programmer, too - back in the early-to-mid 90's. I loved working with SAS, but once I moved away from a mainframe environment I switched to PERL, Visual Basic, Visual C++ and Transact-SQL.

As I said, I've had a great run, so I don't really hate the "IT industry"...it's just that there really isn't an IT industry any more. Computing is being absorbed back into the disciplines that use it as just another one of the tools that professionals like accountants and investment analysts need to be successful. It's just that when you've spent 20 years doing something, it's awfully hard to go back and transform yourself into something else (and to get hired to do that something else when there are so many 24-year-olds willing to work cheap.)

39 posted on 09/15/2004 12:58:31 PM PDT by Mr. Jeeves
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To: Mr. Jeeves
I hear ya. Two layoffs ago, he was let go only to be replaced by a 20 something year old a week later. :(

He is 41 and loves computers. I wish he could get a job as a game tester. LOL

40 posted on 09/15/2004 3:06:52 PM PDT by SpookBrat
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To: dirtboy
How did you convince your bosses to let you transfer to businessanalyst? I'm a developer, though I ran projects in the military worth more then most of the companies I've worked for. Unfortunetly they all look down their ignorant noses at military experience when I try applying for project management roles.

While I'm a good developer, I would much rather do project management. Since I haven't been able to get into it presently, I'm working on my MBA.

Any advice?

41 posted on 09/16/2004 10:43:41 AM PDT by jb6 (Truth = Christ)
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To: jb6
How did you convince your bosses to let you transfer to businessanalyst?

I didn't. I got laid off from my job of 7 years in 2002, spent 8 months unemployed, and then worked a series of 3 contract positions to position myself more on the business side of things, and now I'm back in a full-time position as a business analyst.

A lot of it comes down to re-emphasizing your business skills over your technical skills, but also demonstrating that, as a business analyst, you wouldn't be committing the technical staff to absurd specifications because you understand how they work. Look at your background, figure out what business knowledge you have acquired, and work on enhancing that knowledge - mine happens to be in marketing databases and direct response. After developing them for years, I realized I understood the business side as well as any analyst.

42 posted on 09/16/2004 10:48:57 AM PDT by dirtboy (Kerry could have left 'Nam within a week if Purple Hearts were awarded for shots to the foot.)
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To: dirtboy

Oh, I understand the business side pretty well. I have an undergraduate in business and one in comp science, but all my experience is military (outside of programming) and even though the military employs a customer concept on all its internal and external projects, no one in IT wants to hear it. I spent over half a year unemployeed and finally got another IT developer job...but this still doesn't get me towards project management, never mind by 5 years of background experience in it. I've been told plenty of times that though I might have more experience the other guy has 'corporate' experience. URG!


43 posted on 09/16/2004 11:11:13 AM PDT by jb6 (Truth = Christ)
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To: jb6
I've been told plenty of times that though I might have more experience the other guy has 'corporate' experience.

That was another aspect of my contracting - prior to being a contractor, I worked for small businesses. I had extensive responsibilities but no pedigree, so to speak. Then, over the course of nearly two years, I contracted with three Fortune 200 companies, and that gave me 'corporate experience.' I really don't have any new practical knowledge, but now know how to talk the lingo and how they think (or don't think).

You might want to see if you can transition by taking a contract position or two.

44 posted on 09/16/2004 11:18:01 AM PDT by dirtboy (Kerry could have left 'Nam within a week if Purple Hearts were awarded for shots to the foot.)
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To: dirtboy

I'm attempting to find a stable environment, more or less, until I can finish my MBA. I am way to far in to transfer universities without loosing a year of study. But I want to head towards what I enjoy...running things.


45 posted on 09/16/2004 11:56:44 AM PDT by jb6 (Truth = Christ)
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To: dirtboy

You said, “Any knucklehead can program a computer”.

I have heard this phrase several times from people who were not “knuckleheads” (Because they couldn’t program a computer).

FWIW, I have been in the computer field for 20+ years, and have always had to turn down job offers, even after 911, I have always made more at my new job than the one I left, and I just turned down a six figure job to start my own company. Doing, guess what programming and fixing things the “knuckleheads” who are hired overseas mess up. The attitude of “Well, they are just ones and zero’s, I wean really, how hard could it be?” is like saying” Its just paint and canvas, how hard could it be?”

“Find what you love, and do that and you will never work another day in your life.”


46 posted on 09/16/2004 2:13:54 PM PDT by DelphiUser (The only good thing about Kerry is he comes with his own Ketchup)
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To: DelphiUser
You said, “Any knucklehead can program a computer”. I have heard this phrase several times from people who were not “knuckleheads” (Because they couldn’t program a computer).

Uh, dude, I was paraphrasing Charles Barkley. The point is, you can write code anywhere in the world. But business knowledge is more likely to be country-specific.

And, FWIW, I worked many years in a developer/analyst position and just this year did a brief contract as a developer.

47 posted on 09/16/2004 2:15:39 PM PDT by dirtboy (Kerry could have left 'Nam within a week if Purple Hearts were awarded for shots to the foot.)
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