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The Next Generation


The Next Generation

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Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Next Generation

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Ondrej Suchanek
Ondrej Suchanek
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I am one of those started on system IBM360. I had an opportunity to get right training for my job. It worked well up to year 2000. Number of different systems started to grow and expenses also. My company started saving. Since then I (and my colleagues too) didn't have single hour of training.

When we are looking for new people, we chose only people who already have the proper skills. Our company doesn't provide any training.

When our director speaks about IT he speaks about how much is IT expensive and how much he want to save.

It is similar in almost every company. What should attract us on IT?
nitinbhojwani
nitinbhojwani
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I second your views Steve.

I did Engineering in Industrial and Production, but right in the first year realized that I have a passion for IT, especially designing data bases and warehouses. I started pursuing IT Skills from other institutes outside; and with in 6 months after University, got a break in IT.

I am now very happy about my decision and enjoy a great work-life balance. I love my work and don't mind the occasional extra hours or courses I have to put up with.

I also believe IT industry has a place for every type of person. For introvert geeks, there are Developer roles, for Business minded, there are Business Analyst roles; and for Extroverts and friendly guys, there are roles which involve Training and Presentation.

Having said that, I still advise every young student to follow their dreams and work in a field they love; and the sooner, the better.
eric.notheisen
eric.notheisen
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I agree with Steve on all his points. I believe we need to get elementary and high school level teachers and counselors to understand that most of what we do is not rocket science and that anyone who can add, subtract, multiply divide and write a clear English language sentence can succeed in this business. I have two real life stories to share in this regard. They occurred in 1998 when I was teaching basic operating systems and Microsoft Office at the Community College of Aurora in Aurora, Colorado. These two stories occurred in the same course and semester.

The first story is about a 55 year old black warehouse worker. He arrived to class in blue coveralls, angry and bitter. He was taking the class because the owners of the company he worked for put a computer on his desk and told him he would have to learn to use it. He assumed that this was a means for the company to have an excuse to fire him. He had been working there for 20 year. This man diligently studied the material and did every practice exercise. About six weeks into the course, he showed up in class in Khaki pants and a blue oxford shirt with a tie on. He also had a smile as wide as the Mississippi river. It seems the front office had a problem they needed to solve using Excel. They asked for his help and he solved their problem. He was then moved to the front office. I ran in to this student about a year later. He related to me that the company he was working for installed Solomon as an accounting package and he was selected to liaison with the VAR. He was so successful that the VAR hired him away from his company.

The second story is very similar. The student was a breweryman working for a famous brewery in Colorado. He had been there 17 years. They also put a computer on his desk and told him he would have to learn how to use it. He found the class fairly easy. About half way through the course, he mentioned the company had an opening for an entry level help desk consultant. He wondered if he should apply. I recommended he do so as the company was well known for hiring from within. I even told him he should say he would take a pay cut to get the job. He interviewed and got the position with a pay raise.

My point in telling these stories is that many of us have similar stories to tell about people we know in the business. We need to tell these stories to young people so they know there are many types of technology jobs and not all require knowledge of programming. School counselors do not have an understanding of what we do; so they do not encourage students with aptitudes aligned with technology to get into the business. We need to communicate with them as well.
Ed Wagner
Ed Wagner
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I think that ever-increasing skills is a benefit to both employer and employee. With competition, the increased compensation is better for the employee than it is the employer, but people want to be the best in that environment. The employer can then hire the best people...if they can find them.


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lshanahan
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There's an obvious parallel between this editorial and the "From Hairdresser to DBA" article. Though it deals with career changes, it is largely relevant to choosing a career as well. In particular:

Start small, think big! If you are planning a big career change, you have to be prepared to start on a lower rung of the ladder, possibly much lower, in order to gain experience that will lead to the role you do want. The cold, harsh reality is that just because you want to be a Network Administrator, have read the books and passed a couple of exams, an employer is not going to let you loose on their network without you having proven experience.

There is no substitute for knowledge gained “in the trenches”. When it all goes horribly wrong because some new virus is infecting networks all over the world, you won’t have time to get your books out trying to remember how to configure something you remember reading about whilst you were still a chef, hairdresser or milkman. The higher up the technical ladder you aspire to, the more that real-world experience will count.


These days there is a bit of a "microwave mentality" about careers in general, but IT seems to be particularly prone to it. Maybe it is due to the prevalence of certifications that in many cases seem to be achievable with not much more work than correctly spelling the acronym. Maybe not, I don't know.

IT certainly isn't for everyone, but from my obviously limited perspective over here in the cheap seats of the peanut gallery, I've heard more stories about people who started small, had early success and moved on to bigger and better as their skills and confidence grew (vis-a-vis eric's stories above) than those who got a degree or certification right out of school. Not that it can't happen that way, but on balance, I hear much more of the former than the latter.

So in my mind, providing safe, small ways people can try out IT and achieve some success early on seems to be a key factor in getting people into the pool. If we run out of room, we'll just have to make a bigger pool!

____________
Just my $0.02 from over here in the cheap seats of the peanut gallery - please adjust for inflation and/or your local currency.
OCTom
OCTom
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I.T. has been a great career for me. In my 30+ years I have noticed a change that may be deterring people from entering I.T. When I started, businesses were happy to have you and were willing to let you have a work-life balance. Sure, there were the 2:00AM calls when something broke. But, the company was willing to compensate you for that. Today, I hear horror stories of people working 70+ hours a week without additional compensation. There is no work-life balance. We used to be treated as people but, more and more, we are being treated as chattel.

I mentor students who choose I.T. careers. A couple of them have been working for about four years. They report back that there is more humane treatment of animals than of I.T. workers. That has me regeretting the mentoring.

I am fortunate to work in an organization that offers a good balance and does not treat me as chattel. As I get older, I have no tolerance for late night or early morning hours. I do not wish to receive a 2:00AM call when I'm 80. I am retiring next year. I may be willing to work part time in some support role but that's about it. I want to spend time pursuing jazz trumpet.

Tom
Alex Gay
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When I was at school Computer Programmer wasn't even an available career path, and we had no structured Programming course. I remember that we did write a programme to solve quadratic equations in BBC Basic as part of our Maths course.
Try as I might to get the "Careers advice software" to say Programmer the nearest I could get was Lab Technician. You would have thought that a piece of software written and tested by programmers would have at least included their own career choice!

I got into an entry level Deputy DBA job 13 years ago after learning how to use MS Access at my previous job. I have done software development and maintenance over the years, and you don't need a degree in Maths or Computer Science for it as was suggested at school, I did Chemistry. If you want to design microprocessors or write C compilers in assembler then I can see either of these being essential, let me know if I'm wrong.
skeleton567
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Ondrej Suchanek (8/15/2014)
I am one of those started on system IBM360. I had an opportunity to get right training for my job. It worked well up to year 2000.


I started also in the 1960's with IBM 360/50, 360/30, and 360/25. The lady is right. If you want to do well, it will take long hours, nights, weekends, and training. I don't really think employer training has changed all that much. I got my first job based on an aptitude test and one week of COBOL coding training, having only seen a computer once before in my life. From there on, I spent many nights and weekends reading the old black and white 8.5x11 IBM manuals in ring binders. Sure, there were a few training sessions over the next 42 years of my career, but my approach was to keep improving by taking night classes at local junior colleges on my own right up to the year I retired. My wife became a techie in her mid 30's, started, operated, and sold a graphic design company. It rubbed off on the kids, and three of the four are buried in technical jobs in IT. How do we get good technical folks? Exposure to the technology, mentoring, and yeah, a little training here and there. The demands will probably weed out those who can't make it, and I have known a few who should have been, and even were, encouraged to follow other pursuits.
NoDBA
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I'm thirty and I just started my second education in IT. My first degree is a university degree in the humanities (sth. like BA and MA combined). Although I was always keen on technology, my view was restricted to the one of a user. I never even considered "going" IT, since I thought that must be a mind devastating profession only the smartest can master. Up until I found out there's not one profession in IT. And then I was wondering what it would be like not be a user anymore. That was the point I started tinkering with computers and smartphones. But still I was afraid of maths since I never have been good at it. So from my perspective what keeps people from getting into IT is the way they are taught the basics in school. I never had any programming classes (though I passed the equivalent of the A-levels in the US in 2003), only some Excel classes supervised by a teacher who could have learned his share from some of my classmates, but never admitted to it.
Maths seemed useless for me when I was sixteen. When I am now confronted with a problem which can be solved with maths, I see the use of it, but back then it was way too abstract. So teach the kids practical approaches to maths and some more will consider a career in IT. And don't build up a math monster. That's just my personal opinion based on my experience.
btw I'm glad I made up my mind and "went" IT.
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