Dallas IT Staffing & Career Blog

Blog for the Dallas IT and technical job markets. News, advice and tips for job searching, resume writing, interviewing and IT career growth in 2016.

The answer to the question in the title is a very clear cut "it depends,” which means we're going to have to look at it a little more closely.  Let's discover why…

Directive 8570, issued by the Department of Defense (DoD), states that any person, entity, contractor, or business which desires to have business dealings with the DoD (or most branches of government), or wishes to be employed by same and conduct information assurance services, must have training & certification in the field of information security. That's quite a mouthful.

What is HR thinking about?

We really like a B.A, B.Sc., or Ph.D., not because of their intrinsic value, which is demonstrating knowledge or accomplishment. When we see a doctorate or associate degree we know that you have learned "how to learn".

That makes you particularly valuable to us. Over the course of one year we can spend as much as 150% of your salary training you, providing you with training materials, and diverting the time and resources of your mentors (and others) that must help get you up to speed.

Your degree means that we will spend far less time and consequently less money teaching you because, with dedicated learners, teaching something once is often enough. You might pick up in just three months the same information that would take up to a year to train in a neophyte. Your degree makes you a better deal.

There are a number of reasons to choose one of these two options over the other. Much of it depends on your personal predilections such as variety vs. consistency; high temporary-income vs. lower consistent-income; stability vs. flexibility.

Although there are no absolutes, it's not hard to extrapolate that the contract consulting option might attract more "Type A" personalities, and the permanent positions might attract more "Type B.” But this is just a generalization, of course. Let's look at these two items in more detail.

Blundering Through

There are so many ways to be effective in your job search. There are some things you just don't want to do. If you're stuck in the sand, snow, or mud, the last thing you want to do is spin your tires. If it's sand or mud, it simply sprays, and if it is snow, it melts. In any case you're just digging yourself in deeper and getting nowhere.

TLDR; For those holding or working towards a bachelor's or associate's degree, or a postsecondary vocational award, historical totals and logical extrapolations are shown for the decade between 2008 and 2018. These are the careers with the most openings for technical disciplines.

  • Computer Software Engineers, Systems Software… 153,000 openings
  • Network Systems & Data Communications Analysts… 208,000
  • Computer Software Engineers, Applications… 218,000
  • Computer Systems Analysts… 223,000
  • Computer Support Specialists… 235,000

It will only become easier…

Whether you're coming from another field, or IT has been your dream ever since you were five years old, people new to this industry start at the bottom and work their way up.  There are very few exceptions.

If you're an autodidact that has been writing code since age 10, and have programmed an artificial intelligence program that can pass the Turing Test, you might be able to start at $150,000 per year or more.  The reality, however, is that you ought to be prepared to start well under $50,000 and maybe as little as $20,000 per year on the Help Desk.  

You may be familiar with the popular expression "If you could do it on your own, you would have done it already!" Whether it applies to debt repayment, weight loss, or smoking cessation, the whole idea of getting help with a demanding task is something that a good team player would embrace.

The top people in business, let alone IT, recognize that two people working together produce more than three people working individually. Synergy is a vitally important instrument in the IT toolbox, and people that are afraid to integrate with others are often a liability rather than an asset.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Reskilling vs. Upskilling in IT

What's the difference?

The words sound similar but they possess significantly different meanings. Confusing one word for the other can make you look silly, or throw your boss into a panic, if you say you want to reskill instead of upskill.

"What? Do you want to change departments, or are you quitting?"
"No, nothing like that! I just want to take a night course in Network Management so you can promote me."
"Oh! You want to upskill, not leave and start a completely different career... That's a relief!"

Hopefully your boss isn't that literal-minded, and just thought you were a bit dimwitted, rather than that you were abandoning the department.

The Dallas market demands more IT people every day

The demand is quickly outstripping the supply of talented IT people to fill all the available positions currently available in the Dallas employment market. Dallas started as a manufacturing center back in the 19th century, hosting and maintaining the country's largest farmer's market in the late 1800s. Its state fair has been around since 1886 and hosting the Red River Rivalry since 1900 when Oklahoma was still just a territory.

Since then it has become a major center for commerce, energy, medical research, corporate headquarters of all descriptions, and computers. Without Dallas, the integrated circuit (later to become the modern microchip) might have been a much later development. It's the home of the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) and Texas Instruments, the people who made my very first electronic calculator.

Is it a good idea or just a legal requirement?

In these modern times it is not only a good idea; it's a great idea! And no, this isn't some left-leaning, libertarian agenda issue. If you are so backward in your thinking that you believe only a small, rigidly defined segment of society can fit in your company then I can't help you. That is well beyond the scope of this article.