Finding an IT job
IT jobs are geographically diverse. You can find them just about anywhere you can find people and electrical power. Unless you have some very specific requirements, such as "I want to live in Dallas and work for the Department of Defense" then you can find employment just about anywhere.
And the Race is On…
What are we going to see in 2016? More companies (and more recruiters) fighting for fewer and fewer highly-skilled people in IT. That doesn't mean just in the conventional technology sector; it also includes the healthcare sector, the finance sector, and everything else. It means manufacturing, marketing, produce farming, cattle breeding, chicken ranching, import/export, and anything that is touched in any way by a computer.
Back in the olden days (11 years ago) of businesses seriously beginning to use Information Services (IT) Services, the Harvard Business Review had this to say:
Despite the fact that corporate information assets can account for more than 50% of capital spending, most boards [of Directors] fall into the default mode of applying a set of tacit or explicit rules cobbled together from the best practices of other firms. Few understand the full degree of their operational dependence on computer systems or the extent to which IT plays a role in shaping their firms’ strategies.
Because there has been no comparable body of knowledge and best practice, IT governance doesn’t exist per se. Indeed, board members frequently lack the fundamental knowledge needed to ask intelligent questions about not only IT risk and expense but also competitive risk. (Oct /2005)
Since then IT staffing decision makers embraced the concept of delegating tasks outside of our organizations to people who are better equipped to deal with them. Aside from secure customer information, the whole concept of keeping everything "safely within the company" has pretty well disappeared.
Are you the "IT-girl" or "IT-boy"?
Typical salaries in the IT-related professions range from $24,000 per year to $160,000 per year, as long as we stay out of the C-suite. Of course there is no practical upper limit, since that is entirely dependent on skill, insight, leadership qualities, and personal brilliance.
Whereas someone is likely to ask you "What interests you about this position?" and the answer may be highly technical, I think we can safely disregard that because that question is asked in virtually every interview, irrespective of occupation.
More importantly, I can't give you the answers to most of the questions. The answers are going to be highly dependent on the situation and different for every single person. Some will be highly relevant and others, not so much. There are some guidelines however…
You're preparing for a performance review. Step one is...
Trust me—they are not as bad as you have built them up to be in your head. It's not about your manager trying to figure out some way to not give you more money, or approve some additional outside training, or allowing you to telecommute.
In truth, it's all about discovering how you have progressed. If it is your very first review there should be no big surprises. After all, in any intelligent, well-managed company the review process begins the day you were hired.
It is quite likely that you interact with your reviewer on a daily basis. Every time you speak with him he is giving you feedback, suggesting tactics or methodologies to improve your results. He has even probably told you about areas where you have exceeded his expectations.
Don't give an IT?
Your IT department is probably a very diverse team, with a broad array of skills. You may have rack-guys (or gals), and within that group probably some sub-genres that specialize in application servers, fax & print servers, file servers, game servers, mail servers, web servers, or even proxy servers.
Your team will certainly have some people that are focused exclusively on security. And, of course, you probably have a team running your help desk, whether for internal or external.
Depending on your business model, you may even have IT sales people. They might even be further divided into software and hardware.
How are you supposed to bring such a heterogeneous and motley crew together and inspire them to work as an effective unit?
Don't you find it amazing that we spend so much time and effort and money to locate great individuals for our teams, and then somehow, over half of us manage to not have a Retention Policy in place? Are we crazy?
Even those that believe that they do have a retention policy in place often confuse it with monetary rewards, incentives, or a golden ball-and-chain. The latter usually consists of stock issuance, or options that are only valid if they stay with the company for "X" number of years. Sometimes they are tied up in a huge potential tax burden that would become payable if they had to cash-out when changing jobs.
That's not retention; that's imprisoning; and it breeds contempt and resentment.
If you needed a reminder to go and clean up your social accounts then this is it. We recently had a potential employee for a client lined up. Everything looked good with his profile and he seemed like a good match. That was, until we checked his Facebook. This guy was going to get an offer from our client, but not now. A recent Facebook post of his provided some illuminating insight into his character. Not only was the post incredibly belligerent but also used foul language and a threat of vandalism towards another individual. This is not the kind of person that our client wants on their team. Keep in mind that social accounts are public information. If you want to work with a reputable company then you need to ensure that your public persona is also respectable.
Those of you entering the IT workforce this year are probably (and justifiably) optimistic. With only a few minor pullbacks, we've been growing steadily since early in 2011. Many of you may not have started your careers by 2008 when a very large number of IT professionals suddenly found themselves without a job. It took until mid-2012 before IT employment figures recovered to the point we had reached in 2008.