Re: Finnancial Planning

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Mon Feb 18 2002 - 22:11:14 MST

Robert Coyote wrote:

> Ok so what does a guy like me do, that has been on unemployment and
> looking for werk in I.T. since march 2001, with only 4 interviews in all
> that time after hundreds of contacts made, and is now working for $9.00
> when I was pulling in $55k in Y2000?
> Is I.T. EVER going to come back?
> (yes this is a serious question)
> Software Entomologist, .Net development certified, connoisseur of top
> ramen(tm)

Will I.T. come back? Yes.

Will it be as easy and cushy and eccentricity-tolerant as it was before?
No, IMO.

No offense, but I cite your signature here as an example of what won't
come back (much): "hip" titles, and certifications that are perceived to
mean more than achievements and professionalism. (Though the tastes in
food probably won't matter.) It's more than just trying to justify an
"entymologist" to a CFO of a software corporation vs. justifying an
"engineer". You have to be willing to expand (mentally, not put on
weight, though that may happen too) as part of your job description. Be
able to talk to the customers to understand their requirements, do *all*
the implementation work yourself if need be (including learning how to
do X if you don't already know - there's certainly plenty of Web
tutorials and references for most I.T. tasks these days, though you have
to know how to find them), test, document (legendary least favorite task
among engineers), and deliver. Coding is only one of the necessary

People who can build good, reliable software are out there; they're
rather less common than people who can build good, reliable buildings,
but it's the same ballpark. When applying for a job, remember that the
employer will be asking, "Why should I hire *you* instead of these other

I speak as one who was riding at over $100k plus stock options (now
worthless) before the dotcom crash, and had to "settle" for a $90k
no-stock-option salaried gig with, in practice, little overtime (they
simply can't come up with enough projects to keep me that busy, at least
on average - though there are a few days when many things come up at
once, and I have to work 9 or even 10 hours).

That of the places I keep hearing about how I.T. has already
picked up is in biotech. If you remember college biology (what's an
amino acid, and what do DNA, RNA, and proteins have to do with each
other?) and know Perl (a language that does well at munging the ASCII
text flatfiles that many biologists use instead of databases), I'm told
it shouldn't be too hard to find a job if you check the local biotech
companies (assuming, of course, that you live near some). If you
don't...basic bio can be self-taught (check out what your local college
reccomends for a bio textbook, or maybe check out MIT's online bio
class reference material), as can basic Perl (assuming you already know
how to program - and if you don't know Perl, then teaching yourself Perl
as a means towards an end, in this case convincing potential employers
that you know it, is a good example of the type of job responsibilities
I'm talking about).

BTW, since we're on the topic anyway - I know someone who has an opening
for a systems administrator. It's in Mountain View, CA, and I suspect
there are a few here whose resumes might match. Warning, though: my
interests in this matter lie squarely with them; if I don't like what I
see, I'll discard it, possibly even mostly unread. If you're not a
Solaris and Linux guru - especially if you're one of the many MSCEs
who've applied to them and thought that said cert was better than actual
Unix experience to administer Unix machines - don't bother.

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