Further thoughts on the IT Job Market

24 06 2008

I found an interesting article today: “Fewer Pursing Tech Degrees” from Time. The first sentence made me think. It says, “ewer college students are pursuing computer-related degrees at a time when demand is increasing and thousands of baby boomers are retiring from technical jobs.” I only read this first sentence and I was already ready to write a blog.
The reason that I pursued a degree in tech was pretty much for that reason. Well, maybe I wasn’t thinking so much about the baby boomers retiring, but I did know that this was a skill that would always be required. Granted, much of the skills can be found in lower-wage job markets, and many large companies do choose to outsource.
So maybe that’s what fewer degrees are being pursued: there is a fear that after all the baby boomers retire companies will take a good look at where they stand financially and realize they could be saving themselves loads of money by outsourcing. This realization on the companies’ behalves is worrisome – will there even be any tech jobs left in 4 years after *insert college freshman’s name here* graduates with his degree in computer science or information systems.
That’s the predicament that I have found myself in. Everyone wants someone with YEARS of experience, which I don’t have (I stretch to say that I have more than I do, but in all reality the real experience I have is only one year). Everyone wants good all around support (they want you to support their phones, network, PCs, printers, and software), but they are only willing to pay $10-$15 per hour for you to do it. All of us techies know that our time is worth more than that; or at least I know my time is worth more than that, because someone was willing to pay more than that before. I don’t think that I should take a pay decrease AFTER I have earned my degree. I thought I went to college to better my chances to make more money and get a good job. But it doesn’t seem like that is the way that employers are thinking. Sure some are willing to offer a salary of what I want, but most are offering something that would make me feel undervalued: $30K a year (about $14/hr) and $10-$15/hour for a part time position.
Do I want to accept a job, that I’m not even really sure I want, if it is only going to pay me $30K a year? Or do I hold out for a job that I really want and count on unemployment until then?
I think that I have veered from the original point of my blog: Companies are worried that there are not going to be enough IT people out there to fill their openings. This is just not what I am seeing. I see a barren job market with little to select from. Maybe that is because everything out there is so highly specialized. Again though, this brings up the predicament of having experience. If companies are wanting highly specialized people, then new graduates aren’t really the answer. New graduates (or at least most of them) aren’t going to have this specialization yet. They will need to be in industry and have the time to learn what they excel at, what they prefer not to do, etc.
In my opinion, it comes down to giving these new grads a chance. So they don’t have 5-10 years of experience, a strong knowledge of *insert language or hardware here*, but here is what they do have: they are still in the learning mode (that is what they have been doing for the majority of their lives up to this point), they are “green” (meaning they are easily molded to complete tasks in the way that is best for your company, they aren’t stuck in their ways and refuse to change), and they will accept a lower pay (I know I said that some pay is too low for me, but someone who has been in the industry may demand $10K to $30K higher than I do). I applaud any company that is willing to take a chance on a new grad, that is willing to train and teach them skills necessary for this job and future jobs, and that understands you don’t know everything straight out of college.