Compared to the current job market, IT professionals should recall the collapse of the dot-com bubble with a fondness for the good ol' days. That's according to the latest bi-annual IT salary survey from management consultant Janco Associates, which has painted a dreary picture for tech workers. The firm called current …
Note the TLD
Please put warnings if you're going to be reporting about the American job market. I read two whole paragraphs before the $'s appeared.
Young people should only enter the IT field if they are prepared to move to India or China.
Not that all of them will have to, but they all should either be prepared to move at some point in their career, or choose another career.
The big money is in sales, marketing, law, and medicine.
The steady careers are in the major trades: carpentry, plumbing, electrician.
The paths to an executive positions are (in descending order) sales, marketing, law and accounting.
Merry xmas to you too.
Looks like those tap dancing lessons are going to come in handy after all..
"There is a surplus of IT talent "
Just because there are a lot of people looking for and working in IT, doesnt automatically mean that there is a lot of talent.
I see many people working in IT today, that would have been serving hamburgers or something, had they been born a few generations ago. Most of them work in new media as developers, and have worked hard to earn their pay cuts.
How much Fiscal Stimulus....
"IT professionals should recall the collapse of the dot-com bubble with a fondness for the good ol' days."
Ah the web bubble. How much Fiscal Stimulus would it take to make Lycos worth $12.5 billion again? How much fiscal stimulus is needed to quickly make a new real business worth $12.5 billion to replace just that bubble asset that popped? If it's so easy then why not do it INSTEAD of making the bubble in the first place?
If it's so difficult to create real value in normal times with fiscal policy when you're not rushed and the world is easier, then how much more difficult is it to make it in difficult times when you're rushed and panicking and throwing money around randomly in a myriad of untested schemes?
Now how much fiscal stimulus is needed to replace TRILLIONS in bad mortgages, credit derivatives, and these banking black holes Bernanke and Paulson are so busily patching over?
Still 2 weeks of this idiot President to suffer.
Just like the housing and credit markets, IT was due for a correction. IT workers generally get paid waaay too much money. Hopefully this will make it possible for smaller businesses to succeed and take some of the arrogance out of your average IT worker.
Damn it, I've signed up for a Cisco course, before I'm made redundant from Openreach/BT!
Where's the I.T. angle?
Even P.H. is asking.
As an IT worker in a good job i would echo the point that while IT may need a correction its only because of the amount of morons that are being paid to much not because there is a skills shortage.
Has everyone reading this not realised why jobs are rarely advertised? its because their are to many idiots with bit of paper and no real idea about IT, hence the industry revolves around recommendations rather that said bits of paper.
Body Lubricants Weren't Harmed In This Article
What you fail to show is how larger companies are either offering fat payouts to get people to quietly leave the biulding to not alarm shareholders NOR do you mention the large number of companies that have screwed workers in evaporating their OTE.
The OTE is the really bitter pill, if pundits are to be believed that IT (and most companies) will not offer pay rises this year, we're all going to see a rabid stagnation of many economies.
As my boss says "You should be glad you're employed" rings hollow but I doubt he's the only one saying that. So my OTE is gone, for the 1st 1/2 of FY 2009 even though I met 150% -> 250% of my objectives AND our company made a profit.
Sweet as.... NOT
@Jesus Puncher, Have to say 'yes' I agree, to an extent. I'm a new IT worker, I'm pretty sure that I'm good at my job and I love my job. I do though hold in the absolute highest regard those people started working in IT a couple of decades ago, in reality I'm actually pretty jealous of them since that's when all the really interesting things were going on. I doubt, however, that I would be flipping burgers today if I hadn't ever landed this job. There really are some prodigal kids out there (although I'm old and certainly not one of them!), so credit where credit's due!
@Solomon Grundy, I know you said 'generally' but I don't get paid a whole helluva lot. I actually took a pay cut to get my current job. Best move I ever made and if I never receive another pay rise I'll still go into work everyday with a damn great big smile on my face! (ok I'm know I'm probably an exception). I'm lucky I guess, I work in the hardware side of things so I can fulfil my manly needs everyday by building stuff and keeping other stuff running by fixing it (then downloading some porn by circumventing the companys' proxy server).
I also quite enjoy (for any UK readers) that advert that says the average wage in IT in about £36m a month. That may account for some of my arrogance, although it's more probably due to the fact I'm a demon in the sack!
And yes @ Andy ... I was recommended for the job since I have no qualifications except the usual!
Surplus of IT talent? What color is the sky in your world?
"There is a surplus of IT talent"
No. There isn't. At least not in my world. What there is is a surplus of folks with a so-called degree, often from a technical school, who hoped to get rich during the dotcom boom, most of whom I wouldn't hire to run a cable between a laptop and a router.
There has always been a shortage of real talent in the IT world. Probably always will be.
 Tech schools in the US teach kids to pass tests, not how stuff works.
Re:"There is a surplus of IT talent"
I agree with Jesus Puncher - there are a lot of people who proclaim to be qualified in I.T. because they fell for one of the many adverts which I STILL see on T.V. - you know the type...."Are you bored with your shit job? Well come and pay for our training course and YOU TOO can jump into the goldmine that is I.T.". Often you can almost hear them straining to hold back the laughter or expect them to actually add the "Muahahaha!" to the end of the sentence as they steal peoples money.
So suddenly, burger-flipper Dave is an I.T. "expert". Not based on actual ability or experience, but on the little piece of paper which proclaims him an I.T. god regardless of his true value to the industry. In realism, not many companies are going to consider taking on anyone who does not already have experience in the field so these training firms are really on the brink of false advertising.
I have little doubt that there are a minority of very able people who have entered I.T. through this route, but I am also certain that their number are swamped by the gorilla-fisted morons who signed up for the course with nothing but money symbols flashing in front of their eyes.
The reason that this causes problems though is that while John might be a talented I.T. professional, and command a fairly decent salary, Dave will do the same job for half the wage. So if a company doesn't understand the difference between one and the other (or doesn't care), then they will hire Dave, who can at least talk enough bullshit to make it sound like he knows what he is doing. And that is the reason why it is now becoming more difficult for people to find work.
English UK site..
... we don't really give a crap about the american market, they already think america = the world, stop giving them ammunition.
Seconding AC above, please update your headline to state that this is a US-based article.
After 20 years in IT I have to say that whenever I get involved in recruitment then its (1) recommendation and (2) gut feeling. As for overpaid, I don't think that applies in the UK. There is a surplus of IT skills in some areas and a shortage in others, despite the rush to offshore in recent years. I'm sure that the salaries on offer will go down where there is a surplus. I've seen contract rates fall even where there is a shortage, so I'm tempted to say "nothing new here, move along please..."
So I just need to change my job title from "Software Engineer" to "Systems Programmer" and I change my job prospects from dire to "Money Printing Press".
What a complete load of old bollocks that survey was!
"Young people should only enter the IT field if they are prepared to move to India or China."
Have you tried to get a work permit and then residency / nationalisation for India ? Virtually impossible (unlike the availability of HSMP visas issued in the UK).
Some people choose to work in IT because they enjoy it - not because of the money or the chance to be on the board...
Some jobs are "protected" from international competition by regulation - e.g. Law, Medicine/Dentistry, Civil Service. Safety may be found in a protected field.
You missed out "relatives" and "mates" as paths to success.
I'd love to move to India or China, what people often fail to realise is that it's not necessarily that easy to do. There are visa restrictions and unless you speak a local language it's very difficult to work anywhere, even if the working language is English.
There'll be loads of people thinking "oh so-and-so worked out there for a bit and had no problem" but these are often secondments to international companies. It's a different ball park doing it on your tod.
"The paths to an executive positions are (in descending order) sales, marketing, law"
Just goes to show that the least useful in society are simply parasites sucking the blood of the rest of us.
You also seem to assume that anybody would want to be an executive. No thanks. I'd hate to be despised that much.
you see so many comments about morons work in IT that aren`t worth the money...im sure this happens in other countries too ( perhaps even more so from my experience ) but lets not forget this happens across all industry and in all sectors of the job market.
As with any down turn, companies and staff who are "strong" will survive and the "below average" will walk or shut down ( woolies, mfi, posh plate factories and fancy tea bags...its hardly a blow to the average consumer )
I have one word for you
True it's UK only, but telling every idiot that he can take a 2 week course with them and get a job earning 45k has screwed the IT job market over by filling the bottom end with people who don't know a mouse from a chair and think a hard drive is the way they get to work
@Keith T - absolutely right
This trend is especially true in R&D departments (software and hardware). All the good jobs are gradually moving to Asia.
I graduated in the 1980s and although I've had a good career in engineering and mostly enjoyed the work, I wouldn't do it if I were starting out now. The prospects for the future are bleak in this country.
Thats it for me
This site depresses me *every* time i come here now.
I've had it, i'm off, just like i've given up BBC news recently.
I can't control what will happen, so i may as well enjoy whatever time i have with less stress from reading stuff like this.
Swings and roundabouts
There is way, way too much deadwood in IT. Over the last few years I saw people who had never programmed in their life picking up an IT book and commanding serious day rates as contractors.
Once they got found out, the contract was up and they simply moved on, companies can't give/ask for any real referral because of fear of prosecution so all that's necessary is to bluff a 20 minute interview.
After the dot-com bubble burst no new talent came into the IT field which caused a major shortage a couple of years later. The same will happen now. Companies will need to be more thorough when interviewing but the same shortages will be created when those not good enough move on and no-one takes their place.
It'll be great for those of us competent enough to ride this storm out but not great for the field as a whole.
Ahh, good ol' Computeach....
Bless 'em. They're so crap, it's not even funny.
I'm currently studying a MCSD (no, not with Computeach!), to complement my experience as a dev and some decade-old certifications. What I'm finding at the moment, is that many companies regard qualification > experience. So, by splashing out a couple grand on a course that I can fly through with my eyes shut, I'll have both, and will end up with better odds of being employed after getting laid off here sometime in 09-10, and that makes the course a decent ROI for my needs.
But the people I have met... oh dear. Most of them have no background in IT aside from downloading porn from Kazaa and running a blog on MySpace. This scares me...
I agree with the comments on here about the idiots who go on a course then think they are an expert. I have known many, and despise them. The only place they should be employed is on a helpdesk reading from a script.
I took a mock MCSE exam, and easily passed despite having only played with Win2K Server on an old PC for an afternoon, several months before, when I was bored. What counts is time spent doing the job. It's how I've learned.
I'm now in a great job as a Windows & Unix admin (Linux & Solaris). I'm only 27yo, but I have been Administering computers since my father got his first CAD box (I was about 11-12yo then). I know I am not the best, and regularly call on the expertise of my colleagues (who have been in the field for 20+ years), but you cannot learn this in 2 weeks.
Hopefully this'll cull the dross from IT, but I doubt it. They'll more likely get rid of the well paid real experts, keep the eejits, and rely on how well the experts have already set everything up. Its the way of the world...
What's an IT professional?
Because I'm a Software Engineer and as far as I can tell we're doing just fine, thanks.
There is no "talent" drought, only a surplus of people who were mis-sold the wrong courses...
A few years ago, I had a couple of months in between contracts, and to keep myself busy I volunteered at one of the (now defunct) UK Online centres. As a volunteer I taught basic maths, english and and IT skills to people who had generally either (a) failed at school (b) been failed by the education system and (c) mainly old people who wanted to learn how to use the internet.
What was interesting to me being an experienced IT professional was that the UK Online programme partnered themselves with the Learndirect organisation to provide the courses to these people who needed them.
Learndirect had at the time in their catalogue a whole raft of IT courses including Windows NT networks and adminstration and the like, which they were punting as "industry recognised". It used to make me really sad when people used to come in and want to spend their time and money (and many didn't have much of either) on trying to improve themselves by doing these courses with the hope that they would get "an average salary of £36k", and I'm sure many were lured in, but have since found out that their qualifications were worthless.
For my part, I took great enjoyment from constantly pi**ing all over the Learndirect sales representatives spiel at the centre by being completely honest with the public about what their career prospects would be with a poxy course completion certificate from Learndirect in the IT markets, and advising them on the actual courses and qualifications that they would need to achieve their aspirations.
Hopefully, most went away with a more realistic view that a career in IT is not simply a case of taking any old exam, leaving your job as a dustman on Friday, turning up at IT PLC on Monday morning and then and getting paid heaps; but that it takes hard work to succeed in and is demanding due to the rapid pace of change in systems and programs. But on the other hand, can be "goldmine" if you set yourself realistic goals and pursue them rigorously.
Does anyone know what $65,956 is in pints of beer? Or how many lap dances that would buy me?
Oh come on!
I WAS interested to read this article... Screw the American IT job market.
PH because she's better on the eyes than this article.
There are some problems with your comment:
$70000 oh my bleeding heart.
Yanks never had it so good
Take those dollar prices can cut them in half. Now at least double your cost of living. Add to that the cost of a home being (at least) 4 times your pre-tac take home. Oh, and add much higher taxation on everything.
Welcome to the world of the UK IT grunt (no doubt soon to be outsourced).
Americans - you have no idea how lucky you are.
"Young people should only enter the IT field if they are prepared to move to India or China."
This is bullshit.
First, you assume everyone is equal. Weaker people may well give up but determined and talented individuals can certainly carve a career out in many areas of IT within the UK.
You also assume that the future equals the past, only more so, which is *always* wrong. Just because we've seen outsourcing to India doesn't mean it will continue to grow and consume all other forms of IT work. There are countless reasons why not everything can be outsourced. If cost of workers was the only criteria then the British would *never* have had an IT industry. You also assume that Indian and Chinese salaries won't rise, but they obviously will.
Finally, you assume that there is something special about the *countries* of India and China. They compete on cost, not on location. Being in India is a huge disadvantage for them. Moving to India to compete would be the most stupid thing anyone could ever do. Compete on home ground if you must compete - be able to visit the client, for instance. But most of all, you shouldn't *ever* compete on price, that's rule #1 of business, but you assume that competing on price is all that matters.
Overall I don't trust that your outlook is particularly accurate, and sounds more like a knee-jerk reaction.
"The big money is in sales, marketing, law, and medicine."
No it isn't. The big money is in successful enterpreneurship, as everyone knows. Most billionaires on the planet got that way by owning a successful business.
There is risk-free money to be made in sales, marketing, law and medicine but (with the exception of law) you can eventually make as much money in IT if you work at it, especially through contracting.
"The steady careers are in the major trades: carpentry, plumbing, electrician."
Yes, you can make a steady income that way, but you are limited to the income of a carpenter, plumber or electrician, which is a dead end.
In any case, people in these trades do go bust; there are no guarantees.
Steady jobs don't exist.
"The paths to an executive positions are (in descending order) sales, marketing, law and accounting"
That's because executive positions are non-technical. So what? There are way fewer exec positions than there are salesmen, marketers, lawyers and accountants. Going into those careers won't guarantee anything. Meanwhile, IT people start up new companies all the time, and some of those go on to make millions.
Young people should consider what they love to do and decide what they want to achieve and aim for it. They should not listen to old people's advice if it gets any more specific than that. There is no "smart decision" to make. You always have to *work* at a career to advance, and no career has a glass ceiling that cannot be overcome - if money or position really is all you care about.
Most IT certifications are tosh!
I recently took my Oracle certs, after 10 years as a DBA. Well after spending a large some of money on books and ages reading the prep material cover to cover, I went looking for a few test questions and guidance. I basically came across some forums where people were uploading the those 250+ questions sets for all sorts of certs. I grabbed a few and skimmed over them hitting good scores on practice tests, felt good that I was obviously ready. I went for the exams worrying I would forget something stupid, to my horror found that about 95% of the questions on the actual tests were identical to the ones in the practice test from companies like TestKing! Took me about 10 mins to pass my Oracle certs!
Only later I actually went and read a few more of the posts on the forums, their were people on their with about 15-20 recognised certs boasting that they had been getting 95%+ on the tests in 10-15mins after simply memorizing the practise tests!
After nearly 30 years messing with computers and 12 years in Oracle, I am fairly confident I know my day-to-day stuff, but these people are being hired by gullible employers who cannot tell the wheat from the chaff, all because these certs are next to worthless, but you need them to get your foot in the door!
Let's not even start on 9 year old kids getting MSCE certs!!!
yes, another one annoyed at all the adverts for these IT courses and how IT is just what you need for a great salary ( where do they get that bull**** from ????? ) , i have been working in IT for 10 years and have never had a good wage, im on a wage now that would have been considered good for me about 8 years ago .
i really hope thse guys dont take a course and get £30 + for taking a test , it jobs have crap salaries even for very prosporus companies like mine, unless its director leve or up there
you would do better as a part time carpenter or plumber, i have mates that earn my weekly wage in a day and have only took a couple of month course
everyone stop traing and qit all your IT jobs especially the high paid ones - maybe i can get one of them then
Ah, but that's now yesterday's money making scam. RED driving school is the way to go. In a few years time the road will be full of clueless morons (even more than today if you can believe it) because they are being 'taught' by someone with only slightly more experience than them and the mature driving instructors of old, with years of experience behind them, have retired or been undercut out of the market.
computeach and those outfits....
I'm so glad other have the same opinion they are the worst thing to happen to IT in the UK for a long time, i actually get angry when i see those adverts.
Whilst I do feel quite fortunate with my current employment (IT monkey sincea young age, and securely employed as my boss knows I'm good at what I do), I have to agree that there are far too many people out there that really shouldn't be allowed near anything more technological than a TV showing soaps.
Case in point, after succeeding at interview and handing my notice in, I had to organise my own replacement (as I was the only one with a snowballs idea of what I did every day - worrying in itself!). Through an interesting twist of fate, I ended up interviewing the person I beat for my new job for my old position.
I was gobsmacked. The guy had spent his life in Public Sector and evidently because he could work out how to copy + paste with hotkeys he'd got the impression he had some IT skills. He even brought 'examples of his work', which for some reason included a clipping of a completely unrelated newspaper article he appeared in.
Luckily, the place I'm at is fairly forward-thinking and is still pushing further down the IT route, but we do have a hell of a time whenever we need to recruit more IT staff purely because of all the damn chaff that comes with the wheat. For every confident, capable techie you'll have two dozen wannabies, and it's getting to the stage where it's impossible to tell just through CVs, leading to a very bloated interview process.
Paris because she's probably snowballed.
Re: Most IT certifications are tosh!
Oh, how I agree ... but ...
Although I've never been a fan of what I call the 'IT Paper Chase' (who needs a PHP certification, FFS?) I've never been one to look a gift horse in the mouth so when my employer offered to pay for the SCJP and (eventually) SCJD Java exams I wasn't going to pass them up.
Granted, it's a bit of a mental gearchange after developing Perl and Python for over 10 years, and some of Sun's exam questions are positively devious, but it never hurts to keep up to date (and, despite initial misgivings, I quite like Java) and it's nice to have a mental workout now and again.
Salary-wise, if you believe the stats then I'm criminally underpaid for what I do but, on the other hand, the company I work for is consistently profitable (and has survived two recessions before this one), pleasant to work with and regular, modest, bonuses are, well, a bonus - it helps that I live within my means too. A previous job in the semiconductor industry proved beyond all doubt that being well-paid does not necessarily equate to being happy.
Looking at the state of the IT and R&D markets now (originally I was a research scientist) if I had my time again I'd just say 'fuck it' and train as a plumber or sparky.
... AND another thing...
While we're letting off New Year steam, all those self-taught "web developers" who class themselves as IT professionals as they know how to use a GUI to move panels and containers around a screen, type text in, upload via an FTP GUI, and leave the whole shebang open to cross scripting attacks and SQL injection!!!
BAH, humbug. Get orf my lawn.
As I read this, I had no idea which dollars you were talking about until well into the article. Australian? US? Canada? Hong Kong? Singapore? Bahamas? A little more rigour in defining your units would be helpful.
The American staff should also remember that the USA isn't the only country in the world, and it would be useful if they stated up front which country they are writing about.
@Yanks never had it so good by AC
Well, not anymore now that Obama is going to take office. All the nice tax cuts that Bush put through are going to expire in the next two years. Not to mention that he's very much a socialist. We'll end up like England and the rest of Europe
not sure if this is widespread
but in the company I work in, IT skills are considered secondary for an IT role. There seems to be this strange misconception that anyone with good people skills can be taught IT skills, read become a fully fledged professional developer, despite struggling to even turn on a PC, after a day course and a couple of weeks support.
conversely there seems to be a view that anyone with great IT skills, but less than perfect* people skills might as well be taken behind a barn and put out of their misery now, as they will never improve.
This leads to people in IT roles being hired/promoted because they talked themselves into the job, despite being utterly unsuitable for anything more technical than setting their alarm clock to get them up in a morning. The majority of people i come across can code, they've been on the 2 day course, but they have absolutely no idea about any underlying concepts such as design & structure, or any though that it might need to be maintained in future, leading to utter toss being produced.
*not necessarily bad, just not perfect.
"i have been working in IT for 10 years and have never had a good wage, im on a wage now that would have been considered good for me about 8 years ago"
Well clearly you're the "dead wood" that everyone else has been referring to, unless at some point in your past you walked under lots of ladders, and broke several mirrors. Here's a wake-up-call pal, if you've been languishing for 10 years you're almost certainly one or more of the below:
2. Shit at your job technically.
3. Shit at your job in terms of business sense.
4. Completely socially inept (interviews...).
5. Or you haven't had the balls to "go for it", to make the move to a better job, or to hold your current employer to ransom for a better salary.
Fair enough, now probably ain't the time to be doing number 5, but if you were good enough you'd have managed it in the last 10 years, surely? Take your own advice and learn to be a bloody plumber...
This is not America
US IT Job market please - not just 'The IT Job Market'.
There is a world outside the US you know Mr Modine...
IT is the first department that gets hit in a slow economy an gets hit the worst in a bad economy. The 1999 to 2004 slump proved that. That's why I have fallback skills in construction, mechanics, and security work.
However, in any economy a skilled, reliable, socially well adjusted, and honest worker will always be employed and reasonably well paid.
Re: the USA thing
As an american, I agree; I come here expecting that the defaults for everything are UK. US -specific stuff needs to be labelled
@ Re: the USA thing
Yes I agree it does need to be labelled with a health warning:
Caution ! America may seriously damage your infrastructure, reduce your population and force third rate software on you
Not just US IT
I worked as an Instrument engineer on Research ships for 15 years. Salary in 1991 - $350 per day. Salary in 2004 - $250 per day. If I were daft enough to take it now, they are offering $115 per day.
I currently work as a commissioning engineer on large industrial plant. My salary, in £ sterling, is exactly what I was being paid as a commissioning engineer in 1988. and, frankly, only around 25% more than I was getting in 1981
A friend who is an office temp was getting £12 an hour in 1989, and is getting £11 an hour now (both 'while you work' figures)
Could not agree more ... but unfortunately I rely on those Queen Burggy waiters for my daily meal. I'm called in to sort out the mess once it's way too late ... but it's much more $ rewarding even during these hard times, plus they are all ears, not in denial anymore and ready to act.
Once upon a time if you paid peanuts you had monkeys. And then monkeys wanted caviar and sports cars ... and now we are back. Good for some of us.