I agree with the earlier post that IT is now more of a trade - just like plumbers, mechanics, etc. At the end of the day computers are a tool so IT workers are just glorified tool makers or people who know how to use that tool or repair it. I even knew plumbers back in the Y2K boom days who picked up some IT knowledge and ended up as Sys Admins or DBAs, and then went back plumbing after the crash - shows how easy it is for fellow trade workers to join IT if need be. It would be difficult for them to do the same in a medical or legal profession. In the old days - 70s, 80s - computer techs were seen more as scientists or engineers - remember the images of guys in white coats hovering over an IBM mainframe, but now we're seen more as experts on now to use and implement tools. Knowledge on a product/tool is king today, and experience sometimes has no depth if you come up against someone who knows a new product better than you do. I've seen techs promoted to senior tech posts - and they tend to slack off a little and can't keep up with the latest technology and managers have even less of a clue of the products being worked on by their team members. My philosophy is therefore to keep ahead of the game and constantly update your knowledge in your niche areas, and you will get respect and hopefully be rewarded and recognized for that.