A Season of Reflection

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  • A career in information technology (IT) now is like chasing the wind.  A career in medicine, accounting, engineering, or the skilled trades is far more stable.

    Millions of firms and organizations across the United States and around the world have invested or want to invest in their own unique combinations of technology without first considering the availability of talent. Artificial intelligence (AI) is another factor. It has yet to be determined how far AI will take over many aspects of information technology.

    You will never be able to be an expert in all the unique combinations of technologies companies invest in and would have to study all the time to keep up. While being technology savvy is important in all career fields now, IT will offer you nothing but heartache. Once you decide to have a family, you will find yourself glued to a computer and little or no family time. One works all the time in IT. You may get lucky and for the first ten years the education and skills you have gained will be in demand. After that all you will have to look forward to is contract (temporary) jobs through agencies or other third-party middle people. Such are unscrupulous in their recruiting behaviors.

    Agencies and other third-party middle people live off the IT professional where the IT professional does all the work and the middle people sit back and collect. They will charge a remarkably high rate for the IT professionals’ work and give them a fractional percentage. Believe me when I tell you this. I worked 24/7 for thirty-one years in IT.   By the grace of Almighty God, our daughter got through college and medical school and she is now an M.D.

    Lastly, millions of people everywhere on planet Earth have hung out their shingle as a third-party employment recruiter. This has fragmented many career fields into temporary jobs with no future as companies seek, on an ala carte basis, to hire one temporary specialist after another for every need in their business. Many positions posted now seek perfect professional people that may not yet exist or are now in severe short supply. A good example of that is data analytics. These temporary IT positions rarely have benefits.

    Please note there are exceptions where the third party will offer not only an hourly wage but also major benefits.  These are rare and will contract with the United States government.  The project lengths are long-term going over a year or more.

    You must also be extremely careful where a third-party staffing agency has a permanent position open.  These roles carry a high risk to you and your career. Recruiters often contact the company where you have been placed asking for more business, to see how you are doing and then offer the latest candidate with cutting-edge skills the company may have been looking for previously. This means you are just one new placement away from a pink slip. Third-party agencies must make money off repeat business.  Companies that use these agencies may not be worth your time and it may fracture your career.  Again, I have avoided such permanent ads like the plague.

    Yes, IT is a high demand career field. It depends on how much of one's life you are willing to sacrifice and for how long to work in a high pressure, high stress position where everything is due yesterday, and you may have to live as a road warrior away from home and family for long periods of time. The extended stay hotels are expensive. Long-term leases for places to live are not recommended.

    Lastly, data analytics is a career field where demand far exceeds supply.  Millions of recruiters spend countless hours seeking data analysts, data engineers, and data scientists, yet the perfect professional does not exist in today's tight labor market.  It is like playing the lottery.  Millions of people spend millions of dollars gambling on the lottery every year.  Most people do not win.

    Information technology is a fickle career field where the technology in demand can change overnight.  All companies now want data analytics professionals because it is thought these professionals can analyze data and prescribe a course of actions that will positively impact and predict a company's future.  Some estimates say over 300,000 data analytics jobs are open now.

    Retired IT Veteran

    • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by  Chandler Miller. Reason: Minor correction

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