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    Perl Archive : TLC : General Interest : A Bright But Turbulent Future for IT Professionals
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    Date Published: 2000-02-01

    by Marnie Pehrson, http://www.pwgroup.com


    We're In Demand…

    Problems ensuing from Y2K and the European monetary union have increased the demand for technology professionals. According to the Gartner Group who presented on this subject at the annual Symposium/ITxpo conference in Cannes France in early November, *Y2K spending was five percent of IT budgets in 1997, has risen to 21 percent in 1998, and will hit 44 percent in 1999. It's the number one item, ahead of everything else. It's the main issue of today and tomorrow.*

    Gartner's Sondergaard said, *Through 2003, the effective unemployment rate in the IT industry will be substantially negative globally; for every 10 full-time hires required, only 7.5 IT professionals will be available.*

    Sondergaard says there are tough times ahead in the IT industry -- working through the Y2K problem and the European monetary union, but if these difficulties can be overcome the future is bright for information technology companies. The Internet and its ability to help us reach untapped markets will continue to bolster the need for IT professionals.


    But We're Not Happy…

    Interestingly enough, IT professionals are the most likely to switch careers. Maybe we just don't like having the weight of the world's computer problems on our shoulders. A survey from George Mason University revealed that information technology workers are almost twice as likely as the general college-educated population to switch careers, with 33% anticipating doing so in the future.

    The survey polled 400 college graduates between the ages of 30 and 55 who are currently employed and have been out of school for at least 10 years. Fifty percent of the respondents said they had already made one career change since college, and 40% had made at least two. Forty percent of IT workers said if they were starting over, they would study something different as undergraduates, with most of them citing the liberal arts.

    *The results suggest that employees are more restless than in the past and that companies, especially in the critically short-staffed high-tech industries, may want to take a hard look at their retention efforts,* says Alan Merten, president of GMU.

    I suppose, what this boils down to is that IT professionals are not immune to downsizing, poor management, and corporate problems, but at least technical skills will help you find the next job. Manpower Technical, a firm that places technical and professional staff in contract positions, has grown 40 percent in the past two years - and IT is the fastest growing segment of its business.

    The old days of long-term job security may be gone, but something better has taken it's place for IT professionals -- that is marketability -- by always having the skills that are in demand, you insure yourself the ability to remain employable.


    © 2000, Marnie Pehrson, http://www.pwgroup.com.

     
     


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