IT Talent Shortage: Ugly Truths - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Comments
IT Talent Shortage: Ugly Truths
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 5   >   >>
Angelfuego
50%
50%
Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
11/13/2014 | 11:20:27 AM
Re: IT Talent: Ugly "Realities"
@Michael Endler,

Your point is well taken. We need to praise terrific CEOs. We are so quick to criticize lousy CEOs, but I think appreciation of a great CEO should be voiced. Our words have such power and impact that we need to be careful to not just use our words in a negative light. Negativity breeds negativity. Expressing gratitude or extending a compliment can go a long way to boost the morale and to encourage a continuation of great work and treatment. CEOs are human just like we are. We need to lift each other up, when an authentic opportunity presents itself.
Angelfuego
50%
50%
Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
11/13/2014 | 11:14:17 AM
Re: MS layoffs
You are so on-point. It is a sad truth. It seems like a growing trend in all industries, but especially prevalent in the world of IT.
MPRYCE
50%
50%
MPRYCE,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/12/2014 | 4:30:26 PM
IT Talent Shortage: Ugly Truths
Hi Laurianne,

You hit the nail right on the head! I hope everyone is taking notes.

-Maurice
TerryB
50%
50%
TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
11/11/2014 | 1:27:33 PM
Re: You cannot ignore the root cause
When you talk about jobs like mobile UI design, or heck, any UI design, tech skills have very little to do with success. That type of skill is far more artistic or pragmatic than anything technical. One of books I have on my shelf is Franklin Coveys Style Guide for Business and Technical Communcation.

Being an old timer that went thru school when punch cards changed over to green screen time sharing monitors. one of my biggest learning curves when I began writing browser applications was UI styling. What colors go with each other? How should you layout a page to make it intuitive for end user who has no user manual. Mobile/Touch, especially on small screen devices, raises that bar even higher. Nothing in a Comp Sci degree makes you good at that.

So I think I get where these leaders you are talking to are coming from. Being tech like I am, UI design was (is) a very difficult thing to grasp when writing for non tech people. What seems obvious to me is not so obvious to them. So why not put a "them" in the loop if you have a company big enough to afford it? I like the idea, more efficient than organizing user feedback groups all the time.
Laurianne
50%
50%
Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
11/11/2014 | 11:50:08 AM
Re: You cannot ignore the root cause
People like Padma get the need for a diverse team with various backgrounds. I am sure she knows many technology experts with a wide range of educational backgrounds. Recruiters on the front lines, however, are rewarded for one thing: quickly matching candidates that are the most likely to meet the hiring manager's needs. They are not rewarded for presenting a great but unusual candidate. This is true in many fields, not just IT. I empathize with the demands on the recruiters, but I am not a fan of this narrow-match style of hiring. Some of the smartest people I know are a lot more than the numbers and buzzwords on their resumes.
Laurianne
50%
50%
Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
11/11/2014 | 11:42:57 AM
Re: MS layoffs
MS has long been one of the loudest voices calling for H-1B program expansion.
Michael Endler
50%
50%
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
11/10/2014 | 8:00:33 PM
Re: You cannot ignore the root cause
"Get rid of the H-1B and you will have companies hiring even English majors to do IT work."

Even English majors?!?! Heaven forbid.

I'm joking, but man, as someone who actually has an English degree, I've experienced enormous condescension from some Silicon Valley folks who think that if you majored in the humanities, it must be because you're not smart enough to have majored in a "real" subject. I recognize that bbuff isn't saying this; in fact, he indicated the precise opposite—that an English major, with some employer support, is perfectly capable of handling a more technical job. But since that condescension is out there, I feel obligated to complain about it.

I'm not suggesting companies should hire English, Philosophy and Art students who have no coding skill—but I recently had a conversation with an exec from a pretty big company who actually winced when I told him I have an English degree, almost as though I'd told him I'd just been diagnosed with an illness or something. It's one thing for tech companies to invest more recruitment effort in applicants with technical degrees—that's just smart, since this group of people is, on average, going to produce more qualified employees. But it's another thing - a stupider and more insulting thing - for people to dismiss humanities majors as a general rule.

Where I went to school, for example, an English degree would constitute at most one-third of one's unit requirements, and most of us used our remaining course flexibility to develop at least some rudimentary tech skills. Are these skills enough for these English majors to become engineers after graduation? No, not often-- but the skills are certainly adequate for many of these people to contribute in meaningful ways to technical projects. An attitude that instinctively looks down on people with humanities degrees ignores:

a) that linguistic structures with which serious humanities students are acquainted will actually translate quite nicely into understandings of coding syntax;

b) that linguists and critical theory in general cultivate an understanding of abstraction that can actually be pretty useful for developing a working knowledge of how systems are built and how they interact;

c) that  humanities majors will often have unique insights into end user expectations and needs (not all end users are engineers, after all); 

d) that some of us who majored in the humanities are actually plenty capable with math and science but just happened to find other topics worth studying.

All that complaining side, I have met some tech execs who've told me (without my solicitation, no less) that they'd like to see a more diverse mixture of academic backgrounds working in the tech industry. Earlier this year, for example, Padma Warrior, Cisco's CTO, surprised me with this sort of sentiment; I was chatting with her about tech opportunities for women (an issue she is passionate about) and was surprised when she responded that the tech industry needs not only more female perspectives, but more perspectives from people who didn't necessarily major in tech fields.
Michael Endler
50%
50%
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
11/10/2014 | 7:20:28 PM
Re: IT Talent: Ugly "Realities"
"And while I did my best to put that short sighted CEO in his place, a terrific CEO/leader his worth his weight in gold to the overall company."

That's good to hear, Terry-- it sounds like you're working with someone who doesn't elevate his own interests above those of the company and its employees. And it's important to praise great executives, just as it is to criticize lousy/ overly greedy ones. Polarization, one way or the other, is almost never helpful.

 
Michael Endler
50%
50%
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
11/10/2014 | 7:02:09 PM
Re: MS layoffs
No doubt, the visa issue is an important hot button topic, and not just for Microsoft.
Michael Endler
50%
50%
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
11/10/2014 | 6:58:04 PM
Re: You cannot ignore the root cause
"Actually, they outsource the entry levels. And import the senior levels. Entry level jobs here are hard to find. So there is a shortage in senior levels."

This is definitely a story I hear from friends and acquaintances around Silicon Valley. It's not a huge problem for, say, someone who has a degree in CS or MS&E from Stanford. But for people (even young people) who are trying to switch careers, the problem is quite pronounced. Some Silicon Valley companies talk as though all you need to get a tech job is a bit of gumption and some long hours with Code Academy in order to gain the skills for basic tech jobs. In a sense, these companies are telling the truth, but they're exaggerating the situation in order to score PR points. When these companies outsource so many jobs, where are these Code Academy graduates (at least the domestic ones) supposed to enter the industry? I've heard from several people who basically re-invented themselves by learning a bunch of new skills but who can't get the time of day in Silicon Valley because a) even if they know Java, they might also have a psych or history degree, which seems to be a black mark against their tech credentials, or b) even if their skills are acknowledged, the entry-level jobs for which they're suited simply aren't available.

That said, I know many people who have successfully managed to switch careers into tech, or who have found good jobs, despite the impacts of outsourcing. I've also met people who are amazing engineers who began their careers as foreign employees working on outsourced work, and who earned their spots at big Silicon Valley companies. So it's important not to generalize too much, one way or the other. But outsourcing is definitely a hot button issue, from what I've perceived.
Page 1 / 5   >   >>


State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Commentary
Augmented Analytics Drives Next Wave of AI, Machine Learning, BI
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  3/19/2020
Slideshows
How Startup Innovation Can Help Enterprises Face COVID-19
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  3/24/2020
Commentary
Enterprise Guide to Robotic Process Automation
Cathleen Gagne, Managing Editor, InformationWeek,  3/23/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
IT Careers: Tech Drives Constant Change
Advances in information technology and management concepts mean that IT professionals must update their skill sets, even their career goals on an almost yearly basis. In this IT Trend Report, experts share advice on how IT pros can keep up with this every-changing job market. Read it today!
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll