Good (but very loooong ) article
This is definitely a good article to read. I'm at a major career crossroads,
and so is my wife. I've been with a major IT company for 12 years, and my
wife was with the same one six years before deciding to stay home with the
kids. She's been out for close to five years and is interested in returning
to an IT position. We're both in our early-to-mid 30's.
My situation is whether to change companies, stay at my current company and
remain in a technical capacity, or stay at my current company and go into
management. There's not a huge difference in salary between the good technical
folk and management - I've had many managers tell me that they pay people
more than they make themselves. So management would not be for the money,
although it would be better than I'm making now. I just have to determine
which path offers me, with my skills and potential, the best opportunity
to have a rewarding and lucrative career. Will I be a top-notch techie,
or will I advance high enough in management to match what the top techies
make? I gotta figure that out myself (with my management's advice and help).
There's pros and cons with each path. I really like my current employer
- large IT company with tons of opportunities, reasonable hours, short commute,
good salary and benefits. If I stay technical, then either I become one
of those who works on a couple of platforms long-term and becomes obsolete
(which I kind of did in the mid '90s), or I subject myself to the merry-go-round
of technology. And apparently, one needs to change jobs every few years
or so to really come out ahead. Mangement, well, groups always need good
managers who know what's going on and how to deal with people. I would not
be hands-on with technology, but I'd still be aware of it. I do believe
that I would be one of the "sincere" people the article mentions - one who
looks at people based on ability and not a concrete skillset or age. Of
course I'd have to do what my bosses tell me, but I DEFINITELY believe that
companies should hire good talent over knowledge with a certain language
/ tool anyday. My overall experience makes me more valuable than I was years
ago, regardless of the programming language I use.
Which leads me to my wife. She is sharp, a quick learner, and does have
a good six-plus years of experience. Part of the problem is that her experience
is not on one platform but rather several different languages and tools.
So she can't claim six years of C or COBOL - rather a couple years of this,
a couple of years of that. She's been looking about two weeks, now, but
not real hard. Before reading this article, I would have expected a lot
more interest - we put her resume on monster.com, and so far - nothing.
I also put mine on monster.com last year and got some interest, but nothing
like I would have expected with such a "hot" market. Granted, its early,
and we haven't done that much, but I am, or rather was, surprised at the
lack of interest.
I mentioned my (limited) job search last year. I didn't do a lot, either
- just mainly a "see what's out there" type of search - but I thought I'd
get a lot more interviews than I did. What I found out was that past experience
didn't amount for much - even though I was using Visual Basic and Visual
C++ and SQL Server, the fact that I had been using it for a short period
was not that impressive, and the years of COBOL were not a factor. Fortunately
my company is large enough and believes enough in training and education
that people are able to expand their skill sets on the job. But it did bug
me that someone with much less overall experience but with slightly more
with the specified skillset could get a job making more than me. And I'm
not "old", either. The one company that was most impressed with me had a
manager who used to work at my current company, so he had a better idea of
my abilities than most other places did.
I think there is a lot of truth in the article. I mainly focused on the
part that was relevant to me - that companies say they need people but they
turn down lots of people who would be a good fit. Maybe if I become a manager,
I can do my part to solve a tiny part of this problem.
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