Certified IT folks... have some questions.

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by galaxee, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. Rae Vynn

    Rae Vynn Artist In Residence

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    Yesterday, my company laid off all of IT/IS except for one person to work as "Help desk"... and, they laid off the entire Data Warehouse, as well.
    These positions will be outsourced.
    They also laid off two of my peers, and 1/2 of Quality Control (so, now I'm helping the lead of QA learn how to publish articles).

    I'd suggest your DH focus on the hands-on, fixing the actual PC/Mac/Server stuff, and if going back to college, get A+ certification.
    They will always need people on the ground to manually fix stuff, but anything that can be done remotely, like programming, coding, configuring scripts, etc., can be outsourced.
     
  2. scargi01

    scargi01 Active Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Rae Vynn @ Sep 5 2007, 11:57 AM) [snapback]507364[/snapback]</div>
    If it like every other mass outsourcing it will take about 2 days before people will realize it is a giant mistake
     
  3. Darwood

    Darwood Senior Member

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    I'm in EDI and it's a good field. They try, but it's tough to outsource EDI. There's too much communication involved in the testing process and with setting up the interface to the ERP systems, for some guy in India to do it. We're a busy company with growing demand for our EDI consulting, since good communication between the parties involved is half the battle.
    EDI is more management/maintenance and troubleshooting than raw programming.

    I would not recommend database management. PC repair would be a good fit for DH, though the pay is dropping for general PC repair. Try to get skilled in 1 particular up and coming software package (whatever you have access to) and market that. When hiring an IT person, people usually are looking for one particular skill they need, wether that be SAP, BizTalk, Oracle, etc. Take a lower pay to get your foot in at a company working on that package, and expand your skills from there.
     
  4. eagle33199

    eagle33199 Platinum Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Rae Vynn @ Sep 5 2007, 11:57 AM) [snapback]507364[/snapback]</div>
    I would actually disagree with that. It was huge a while back to outsource programming, but most companies are moving back towards having very little outsourcing in this area. The problem you face when outsourcing programming is two-fold. First, you lose the ability to ensure that you're retaining the knowledge to work on your product. Outsourcing looks attractive at first, but then they jack up the price and you realize you're stuck with them - once they know your product better than you do, it's a very tricky situation. Second, the quality of the product is highly questionable when outsourcing to places like India. Generally speaking, someone here with 2 years of experience is worth way more than someone over there with 6 years. In fact, we're still trying to fix the mess we received when we outsourced the beginnings of my current project... and it's been 2 years since we stopped outsourcing! The big problem over there is that 2 years of experience = reading a few books and a class or two. Here, i "officially" have 4 years of experience - 2 years as a webmaster for a startup, and 2 years in my current job. Oh yeah, and i also have 4 years of college (BS computer engineering), 3 years of computer classes in high school, and have been programming for fun since the 80's.

    Most of the fortune 500 companies have figured this out, and it's starting to trickle down into everything else in the country. It'll take places like India another 15 years to be able to match our expertise in programming.
     
  5. tleonhar

    tleonhar Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(eagle33199 @ Sep 5 2007, 02:23 PM) [snapback]507453[/snapback]</div>
    Good point Eagle, interestingly, my employer has brought most of its software development back in-house after an extended stint of correcting outsourced "bugware".
     
  6. priusenvy

    priusenvy Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(eagle33199 @ Sep 5 2007, 12:23 PM) [snapback]507453[/snapback]</div>
    I'm a senior manager at a multi-billion dollar software company and I strongly disagree with your statement. As much as I can't stand her, Carly Fiorina was correct when she said that the USA doesn't have a monopoly on smart people. Perhaps you've had a poor experience with offshoring of programming jobs, but we've done it successfully for many years. I'm also aware that other companies have been much less successful, and that we have been able to recruit much better talent in India than some of our competitors. Your statement is very arrogant and arrogance has been the downfall of a lot of companies. Staying hungry, constantly striving for improvement, and not resting on your laurels is what you have to do to stay competitive for a sustained period.

    Grossly simplified, I look at a software development team much like a football team. There are skill positions, like quarterback and wide receiver, where you want to hire the best people regardless of where they are, or how much they cost. Then there are at least 75% of the positions where anyone can do the work and you do it wherever it is the most cost effective, once you figure in the cost of coordinating and managing a global development team.

    For smaller companies there is good reason to keep the workforce local, but for a large company like ours, it's possible to offshore a lot of development positions to countries with lower labor costs, and continue to effectively develop software.
     
  7. eagle33199

    eagle33199 Platinum Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(priusenvy @ Sep 5 2007, 03:56 PM) [snapback]507501[/snapback]</div>
    I'm afraid it's not arrogance. Many people have noticed this trend and written about it. While i agree there are smart people all over the world, a vast majority of the population in places like India simply haven't had access to computers for as long as we have here in the US. That gives us a very distinct advantage in experience when compared to a majority of people overseas. There are some low level programming jobs that can be outsourced, but you're really asking for some hurt if you outsource 75% like you said... at that point, how much of your domain knowledge is in the position of the company you're outsourcing to?

    For what it's worth, i work in a multi-billion dollar world-wide company too. We don't outsource our development anymore. And on top of that, our products are cutting edge and, for the most part, leading our specific industry.
     
  8. priusenvy

    priusenvy Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(eagle33199 @ Sep 5 2007, 02:10 PM) [snapback]507504[/snapback]</div>
    We don't outsource, we offshore. The teams in India, China, Eastern Europe, former Soviet Union, etc. are all employees of our company. And we are very selective in who we hire. I was at one of our India development sites recently and spoke to an Indian engineer who had been with the company for over ten years. There isn't any difference between him and a 10-year veteran of our company located in the USA.

    I will stand behind my statement that 75% of development and QA positions can be done anywhere. There are such huge differences in intellectual capacity between a 99th percentile developer and a 50th percentile developer that 95%+ of the domain knowledge is contained in the top 15-20% of the developers. Those are the core members of the team that are critical to developing a quality product.

    Like I said, we never outsourced development. We offshored it to our sites in other countries with lower labor costs.

    So are ours, and we're also in the top-10 most desirable places to work as listed by Fortune magazine.
     
  9. Jonnycat26

    Jonnycat26 New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(galaxee @ Sep 4 2007, 11:51 PM) [snapback]507137[/snapback]</div>
    I have a bit of odd advice, but I think it's relevant. Look towards schools... not so much for education, but employment.

    Schools are seriously hurting for qualified technical people. Most people just won't work in a public school because the pay isn't as good, but educational tech jobs can be seriously rewarding. Further, they're incredibly good (at least, in my opinion) about helping people build skill sets. You could start off as a workstation technician, and if they think you've got the ability, you could end up taking care of servers and networks.

    I would start by looking at the local BoE websites and local school websites for schools in your area. I'd put whatever you can on your resume that's truthful, but frame it properly (ie, windows workstation experience, windows configuration experience), send it off and go from there.

    I know a handful of people who have transitioned from corporate to education, in both the support and teaching role, and if you can live with a pay cut, it's tremendously rewarding.
     
  10. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    thanks for the continued replies and suggestions (and to those who have sent PMs as well!). this is incredibly helpful because, again, changing careers is scary stuff. it really is nice to be able to see this "discussion panel" from folks who are already in the business. i'm taking notes!

    as far as pay goes, we understand that to start with, the pay will be on the low end. and we accept that. but coming from the income of a 100% honest, injured, 100% commission-paid mechanic... well... we have low standards. :mellow:

    tonight we're hitting the bookstore, he wants to make sure he's caught up on his basics even if he doesn't take the certification exams right away. he's used to the certification-is-everything mindset like with his ASEs. he's going to take a little while to read up and make sure he's up on all the current stuff, then start up looking for jobs in some of the places mentioned here. we're very near a major airport (even hear the occasional plane coming down for landing overhead) and there are also a lot of public schools in the area. of course, there are also 4 universities in the immediate area, multiple big hospitals and medical offices (though he's very wary of them since they stuck 3 8-inch needles in his back last month) and plenty of other places to look.

    and again, more suggestions always welcome :) we really do appreciate it.
     
  11. FL Buckeye

    FL Buckeye Member

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    This is OT, but I agree with priusenvy. While there is a lot of press about customers being unhappy with the outsourcing to places like India, most of it has been about positions like help desks. IBM has used Indians for years to help write their microcode, first by bringing the engineers here to the US, and now by having them both here and in India. Some facts about Indians: India invented the Number System. Algebra, trigonometry and calculus came from India. The place value system, the decimal system was developed in India in100 BC. India has one of the largest pools of scientists and engineers in the world. Rajiv Gupta, an Indian, was co-inventor and general manager of HP's E-speak project, and founded Confluent Software (now owned by Oracle Corporation). Vinod Khosla, an Indian, was the co-founder of Sun Microsystems. Vinod Dahm, an Indian, is often referred to as the father of the Intel Pentium processor. No, I'm not Indian. And, yes, I hate outsourcing. But, unfortunely, many of them have a higher work ethic, both in learning and doing, than many of us.



    galaxee has received a lot of good advice, and opinions, to her question. The IT field is huge, everything from a data entry clerk or machine operator all the way to CEO, help desk to network administrator, hardware to software. Her DH has to recognize his education, work experience and natural talents to narrow the list. They live in a great area to check out both the medical and educational employers. Like Jonnycat26 said, school district employment could be where to look. Working for a large company would require experience, certification, or a BS if software.



    I worked with hardware before it was called hardware. I disagree that you have to get into software for it not to be boring. Also, sometimes, in a small shop you get the whole onion patch, as you will not only install and maintain the hardware, you also will install software and maintain it, train the users, etc., etc.
     
  12. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    While you've got the opportunity to decide what you want to do with the rest of <strike>your</strike> his life, maybe spend more time exploring options. I know, the sooner the paycheque the better, but I'm surprised DH is looking at such an unrelated field so soon. What about something like an aircraft or helicopter mechanic? Most of the same skills are required, and his experience should count for something.
    Have either of you read What Colour is Your Parachute? I can highly recommend it for career-changers and choosers.
     
  13. priusenvy

    priusenvy Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(FL Buckeye @ Sep 5 2007, 04:08 PM) [snapback]507566[/snapback]</div>
    I was really just in disagreement about one sentence, which was that Indians would take fifteen years to "match our expertise in programming". My response to that is "not everything is hard". It's sometimes said of our India-based development teams that the best thing about them is that they give you exactly what you ask for. It's also said that the worst thing about them is that they give you exactly what you ask for. That should make perfect sense to most people in high-tech.

    There was less disagreement about outsourcing and offshoring which to me are two different things. Outsourcing for us would mean something like turning our development over to a third-party like WiPro or Infosys. That would be market suicide for us. On the other hand, building a global development team, recruiting the best people available wherever they happen to be, and taking advantage of lower costs when available does make sense.

    My information may be a little out of date, but my understanding is that Intel has two teams working on x86 microarchitecture implementations at any one time, currently one team in Oregon, and one team in Israel. The Israel-based team did the Pentium M, then Hillsboro did the NetBurst microarchitecture, and then Israel did the Core microarchitecture.
     
  14. hobbit

    hobbit Senior Member

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    I will give the outsourcing aficionados that those jobs have likely
    landed on the desks of smarter people than you find domestically, but
    how they view the u.s. should also be kept firmly in mind and I would
    simply ask you how often you AUDIT that work product.
    .
    As far as hybrid tech-training -- heh. It's looking a lot like the
    little guys, myself and auto-careers included, are rapidly being
    squashed out by the "big boyz" that have the large-scale resources
    to offer training courses, even if they get a bunch of stuff wrong
    in the process. As unjust as that sounds, it's the same reason
    microsoft took over the desktop -- sheer marketing muscle.
    .
    _H*
     
  15. Godiva

    Godiva AmeriKan Citizen

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    Going the school district route may not pay as well but it is steadier in general and he'll have regular pay, sick leave, vacation days and retirement. He'll need to check with the schools to see what they use. We have a network administrator on our site and he must be familiar with both PC and Mac. His troubleshooting has to determine if it is a hardware problem (can he fix it or must it go in to repair) or a software issue (can he fix it or must it go into repair.) He also does our CCTV and maintains our server and webpages. (I'm actually teaching him Webpages but he is a quick study.) He was out today so I did some of the troubleshooting. Plenty comes down to "user error".
     
  16. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    why is he jumping into a completely different field? despite the fact that he flat-out salivates at the idea of fixing aircraft? the prognosis for his back condition isn't good. feasible treatments are nonexistent. his doctor prescribed a new career. no, really. he said something along the lines of find something where you don't have to do more than light lifting.

    he feels the need to fix things. and he's a total computer geek at heart. why do ya think he was so enthralled with the prius? :p
     
  17. hampdenwireless

    hampdenwireless Active Member

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    I am in charge of hiring at Little Shop of Hardware in Baltimore. We have been in business for 18 years and won numerous awards. We in general DO NOT use certified employees. While I would not a certification against an employee it is generally in my mind a bad sign. We hire people who LOVE playing with and fixing computers and most of them have learned on their own. We have in the past tried two employees with Aplus certifications and they were my two least knowledgeable employees.

    They could rattle of specs and knew technical details but had little working knowledge of real world software problems. Today these are most of the problems we see, a power supply or video card failure is now rare <unless its an emachine!>

    The best techs are self learners who get a kick out of fixing something that is broken.

    The only certs I value are the high end ones like Cisco router certs and Windows Server which in general seem to get you a pretty high paying job.

    PS- we tried an intern with an aplus and he mounted a motherboard directly to the backplane without spacers. Book knowledge with no real world knowledge. Anyone who knows about electricity would know the whole thing is going to short out if you do that.
     
  18. geologyrox

    geologyrox New Member

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    If I were someone with only basic geek skills that would be happy with low pay to start, I'd get an organization going that uses old computer equipment to build multiseat linux boxes for schools, libraries, and the like. The work would end up being vaguely boring and repetitive, I think (though you probably have a nearly unlimited supply of cheap labor from the schools for the gruntwork) but DANG is there a lot of waste (in some cases, dangerous waste) in outdated technology.

    Actually, if he happens to read that and thinks it sounds like something he'd really want to do, PM me - I've done some research that might be useful.
     
  19. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(galaxee @ Sep 5 2007, 10:01 PM) [snapback]507701[/snapback]</div>
    I've been out of the field for quite some time but unless things have drastically changed one can't just walk up and start fixing aircraft--FAA certification is required and wouldn't that work be as strenuous as fixing cars? For what it's worth, I recommend staying in the field. Wouldn't he be a great service writer or service manager? Also, those who can "do". Those who can't "teach". He'd need a degree & teaching certificate to teach in a public school but may be able to get an auto class teaching job in a private school or community college.

    There may always be a need for the "IT" people to install stuff in the office but that doesn't mean those people have to be Americans or employees. Almost all of those employees were terminated and replaced by a subcontractor who imports Indians.

    Good luck & keep the ASE certification current.
     
  20. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(galaxee @ Sep 5 2007, 10:01 PM) [snapback]507701[/snapback]</div>
    I've been out of the field for quite some time but unless things have drastically changed one can't just walk up and start fixing aircraft--FAA certification is required and wouldn't that work be as strenuous as fixing cars? For what it's worth, I recommend staying in the field. Wouldn't he be a great service writer or service manager? Also, those who can "do". Those who can't "teach". He'd need a degree & teaching certificate to teach in a public school but may be able to get an auto class teaching job in a private school or community college.

    There may always be a need for the "IT" people to install stuff in the office but that doesn't mean those people have to be Americans or employees. Almost all of those employees were terminated and replaced by a subcontractor who imports Indians.

    Good luck & keep the ASE certification current.
     
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