Win a copy of Testing JavaScript Applications this week in the HTML Pages with CSS and JavaScript forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
programming forums Java Mobile Certification Databases Caching Books Engineering Micro Controllers OS Languages Paradigms IDEs Build Tools Frameworks Application Servers Open Source This Site Careers Other all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
Marshals:
  • Campbell Ritchie
  • Bear Bibeault
  • Ron McLeod
  • Jeanne Boyarsky
  • Paul Clapham
Sheriffs:
  • Tim Cooke
  • Liutauras Vilda
  • Junilu Lacar
Saloon Keepers:
  • Tim Moores
  • Stephan van Hulst
  • Tim Holloway
  • fred rosenberger
  • salvin francis
Bartenders:
  • Piet Souris
  • Frits Walraven
  • Carey Brown

A Job Boom is Coming - Business 2.0 article

 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 117
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just read this article and found it to be a refreshingly positive message in a forum of negativity. It seems especially positive for a relatively new IT employee, such as myself.
I'd like to see what kind of analysis everyone has for such an article. This article is in the September 2003 issue of Business 2.0 (a US magazine, I believe) and can be found here: http://www.business2.com/articles/mag/0,1640,51816,00.html
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There may be jobs, but what makes them think the jobs will be in the US?
(I'm assuming that B 2.0 is primarily addressing a US audience).
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 716
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Jonathan Hendry:
There may be jobs, but what makes them think the jobs will be in the US?
(I'm assuming that B 2.0 is primarily addressing a US audience).


Jonathan, enough of the po-mouthedness. Please!
The why has been explained (at length) by a number of people including myself. What we've been going through is a well-documented part of the business cycle. I personally have experienced it twice. Once in 1982 while beginning my career and again during the early 90's. 1982 was every bit as bad as today is, the early 90's downturn was somewhat milder but the recovery also took a longer time.
Why a sharp upturn? There are several reasons why long and sharp downturns seem to be followed by sharp recoveries. First, the cuts necessary to survive this recession were savage. My (ex) Big-Five consultantcy cut at least 50% of payroll and one of our rivals cut 70%. Many firms largely shut down operations and went into starvation mode.
This means that existing staff is hopelessly inadequate to meet any uptick in demand. To give an example, my new employer (an IT consultantcy specializing in J2EE) went through the last year with 30-40 developers. At my interview they said they had plans to hire 30 more over six months, and that right now they could hire 25 and not have a bench! That means that they have paying work for 25 people whom they had not hired. They plan to increase developer staff by 80-100% over 6 months!
Once hired I saw a chart showing quarterly revenue of 2-3 units the past three quarters, forecast as jumping to 8 units the third quarter of this year.
That tell you anything? What it tells me is that if this trend is anything other than local to my specific area (the London financial district) a LOT of people are going to be hired over the next six months. Tim Holloway and myself are going to be the rule not the exception. The folks around here who are trying to break in may have to wait a little longer, but pretty soon the pool of experienced talent will begin to dry up, and employers will begin to look around for other talent. And Billy Tsai will get his first job.
I think it's going to be a reprise of 1983, not of 1993. It's not that far off.....
Why will it happen in the US? As opposed to India, say? A million experienced computer geeks will be required. Think you're going to find them in India? Think again, Indian labor markets are showing signs of being overstretched (15-20% annual raises).
Oh no, they'll be hiring. In the US, Canada, UK, and Ireland. Thats where the available people are....
[ August 28, 2003: Message edited by: Alfred Neumann ]
 
Mark Ju
Ranch Hand
Posts: 117
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It might be helpful to also read the article. It says (based on several quotes ranging from Harvard Prof to VP's of HR) that the primary reason for the upturn is the aging work force. The Baby Boom generation is entering retirement age, and as they leave the workforce, they also leave a huge gap in the demand and supply of available workers that cannot be filled by simple outsourcing.
I am not sure if the Baby Boom phenomenon is purely a US thing, but I'd guess that a worker shortage in the US will benefit workers in other countries as well.
 
Al Newman
Ranch Hand
Posts: 716
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Chris G Lee:
It might be helpful to also read the article. It says (based on several quotes ranging from Harvard Prof to VP's of HR) that the primary reason for the upturn is the aging work force. The Baby Boom generation is entering retirement age, and as they leave the workforce, they also leave a huge gap in the demand and supply of available workers that cannot be filled by simple outsourcing.
I am not sure if the Baby Boom phenomenon is purely a US thing, but I'd guess that a worker shortage in the US will benefit workers in other countries as well.


Chris, I couldn't get the article. They wanted to sell a 6-month subscription for $4.99 to me, but won't deliver to London for that price. I'm not going to cough up $4.99 to read a single piece on a website I will rarely visit.
I find the aging thesis (which I have read elsewhere) rather specious. Another thing to factor in is the drop in demand as the Boomers retire. Fewer clothes. fewer expensive vacations, less driving, older cars, fewer trips to restaurants, etc. I've watched my aunts and uncles and that's what happens.
 
sanitation engineer
Posts: 135
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't know about the aging factor either, specially since people might stay in the job much longer now both for necessity (social security drying up, bubble burst) and due to better health in general.
However, we must argue both sides. The ones who do retire soon, and eventually they all will leave the job market, might indeed spend less. However, isn't the new generation coming up bigger then the current one? Have you noticed how many teen movies there are this Summer? Another novel characteristic of this new generation, I think, is that they will demand the very best technology has to offer, not only in the consumer products they buy but also in the way they use services (bank, school, Gap, etc).
 
Mark Ju
Ranch Hand
Posts: 117
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
No, the upcoming workforce generation is substantially smaller than the retiring Baby Boomers - that's one of the main points of the article.
As much as I appreciate the personal stories and viewpoints, I really want people to read this article and provide feedback to the evidence provided in it.
I've bought the magazine and am tempted to summarize it here....maybe I'll do that on my flight...
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 36
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

As much as I appreciate the personal stories and viewpoints, I really want people to read this article and provide feedback to the evidence provided in it.


The data about the 10 Hottest Jobs on page 101 of the Business 2.0 article is two years old ( the dates have been curiously omitted, but if you go to the bls.gov site you’ll see the same data for the timespan 2001-2010). We won’t get an update until February 2004.
Otherwise, I was somewhat encouraged by the article, though I do wonder how the statistics would very if the leaving the work force age was pegged a little higher or lower (say 52 or 56 years of age) to see what effect that would have on employment figures.
 
Nathan Thurm
Ranch Hand
Posts: 36
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I think it's going to be a reprise of 1983, not of 1993. It's not that far off.....


I don't mean to stray from the article,but I thought it would be relevant to discuss business cycles and labor shortages/surpluses we've been through, especially as they relate to what we're going into. I think this needs to be weighed along with the demographic evidence they present.
1983 - tax cuts weren't enough to turn the economy around, abandoning Friedman's monetary policy also was necessary to start the Reagan boom years
http://www.wanniski.com/searchbase/les9.html
1993 - Internet boom?
2003 - tax cuts + outsourcing + (0 * governmental policies to address free trade and immigration issues (including our border with Mexico, L-1 etc.) = ??
[ August 28, 2003: Message edited by: Nathan Thurm ]
 
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 22284
151
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
At one time, IT was actually more important during downturns, as it was seen as a way of reducing costs. Not this latest cycle, though.
A number of places around the world have a significant younger population. Unfortunately, many of those countries aren't (yet) big IT consumers.
The US went through a "baby bust", so there's not a steady upwards climb. Movies and ads aren't a really reliable indicator, since younger people have more disposable income (no mortgage, probably cheaper car, no kids to support).
There are both positive and negative indicators, and some indicators whose optimism depends on how the various lines on the chart intercept. When you get right down to it, we're all guessing and hoping for the best.
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 3404
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

A number of places around the world have a significant younger population


Developed nations like Japan, S Korea are expecting a huge drop in the younger age group workforce over the next couple of decades. As much as 20%.
On the other hand, the US younger age group count is expected to stabilise. In periods of recession, deep winters the baby count goes inexplicably up. So expect a Baby Boom too.
regards
[ August 28, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 715
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello,
Yes, job boom may coming but the technology controlling the number of jobs needed.
http://www.msnbc.com/news/946725.asp
Regards,
MCao
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 321
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Has anyone seen 65 year computer geek? As far as I know people retire or are forced to retire from programming around the age of 40. Impact of the Baby Boom generation retirement is as big on IT population as it is on the population of fertile females (and horny studs I should add).
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 83
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by stara szkapa:
Impact of the Baby Boom generation retirement is as big on IT population as it is on the population of fertile females (and horny studs I should add).


Ha ha ha! I'm not sure what the last part meant, but it did make me laugh!
Richard
 
Al Newman
Ranch Hand
Posts: 716
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by stara szkapa:
Has anyone seen 65 year computer geek? As far as I know people retire or are forced to retire from programming around the age of 40. Impact of the Baby Boom generation retirement is as big on IT population as it is on the population of fertile females (and horny studs I should add).


Stara, there are several working professionals posting on this board who are over the age of 40, myself included. I am aware of several in their 50's.
Two things tend to weed out the over-40's. When people stop learning the natural migration of the industry will inexoriably make them less employable until a recession comes along and puts them out. The second factor is being drawn upward into management.
You will also tend to see older programmers move into freelance work.
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 82
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by stara szkapa:
Has anyone seen 65 year computer geek? As far as I know people retire or are forced to retire from programming around the age of 40. Impact of the Baby Boom generation retirement is as big on IT population as it is on the population of fertile females (and horny studs I should add).


I'm 49 and plan on spending another 20 years in IT. I have no intention of going into management now or ever. I learned C/UNIX when it was all Mainframe and PowerBuilder when it went 2-tier and Siebel after that. I am having no problem learning Java so far, thank you. Y'all will just have to find some other boomer's jobs.
[ August 29, 2003: Message edited by: Greg Neef ]
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by HS Thomas:

Developed nations like Japan, S Korea are expecting a huge drop in the younger age group workforce over the next couple of decades. As much as 20%.

[ August 28, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]


The ones to watch will be India, Phillipines, China, and Russia since that's where the IT competition is and will be coming from. I think India, China, and the Phillipines will not have any drop in the younger age group, instead probably an increase. Its also possible that those countries will increase their production of IT services and workers to meet or exceed any increase in US demand to offset any dempgraphic trends mentioned in the Business 2.0 article.
I was also temporarily encouraged by the Business 2.0 article, but how hard is it to set up technical schools to churn an increasing supply of IT workers in India and other countries? The govt of those countries have a huge incentive and return on investment on encouraging the development of their IT services, so why wont they do just that?
IT workers in the US will be like workers in manufacturing industries, all the jobs will not disappear, but most will be permantly outsourced for cost reasons.
 
Al Newman
Ranch Hand
Posts: 716
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Greg Neef:

I'm 49 and plan on spending another 20 years in IT. I have no intention of going into management now or ever. <...> I am having no problem learning Java so far, thank you. Y'all will just have to find some other boomer's jobs.
[ August 29, 2003: Message edited by: Greg Neef ]


Bravo, Greg! Me also. I started as a C/Unix hacker and moved into C++. The last 4 years I've been getting into Java. The difficulty isn't that Java/J2EE and all things J are brain surgery. The difficulty lies in convincing people that an old fart can handle new tools.
[ August 29, 2003: Message edited by: Alfred Neumann ]
 
HS Thomas
Ranch Hand
Posts: 3404
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

The difficulty lies in convincing people that an old fart can handle new tools.


Well , I saw one old fart at work like I've never seen before. On a project in trouble the first ones to run are the baby boomers "because they can". This old fart pulled it together in a matter of months by plugging away. He also taught himself Java on the job. For those baby boomers still working on that project, they have that old fart to thank.
Niceties and know-it-alls only get you so far.
But that old fart had some other skills like Project Management, SSADM(extra tools in his kit). Pity the old fart didn't have UML because that would have made one hell of a difference to the project but at least they got a working database at the end of it. Personally I wouldn't trust an unfledged baby boomer with responsibility until they can show that they can handle it. Baby Boomer or old fart, a willingness to try many things and be accountable for it is priceless.
regards
[ August 29, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
Al Newman
Ranch Hand
Posts: 716
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by HS Thomas:

Well , I saw one old fart at work like I've never seen before. On a project in trouble the first ones to run are the baby boomers "because they can". This old fart pulled it together in a matter of months by plugging away. He also taught himself Java on the job. For those baby boomers still working on that project, they have that old fart to thank.
Niceties and know-it-alls only get you so far.
But that old fart had some other skills like Project Management, SSADM(extra tools in his kit). Pity the old fart didn't have UML because that would have made one hell of a difference to the project but at least they got a working database at the end of it.
Personally I wouldn't trust an unfledged baby boomer with responsibility until they can show that they can handle it. Baby Boomer or old fart, a willingness to try many things and be accountable for it is priceless.


HS, I *AM* that old fart! On a project last year we had a feckless architect who entirely missed a whole family of requirements concerning network monitoring until very late. The first guy in bailed out through a transfer and they turned to me. I started with no knowledge of the product (Concord Nethealth), of the programming language (Perl), or of the technology (SNMP). My 'designer' was a girl 6 months out of college with no previous software development experience, bright but clueless. My tester constantly had to have his tests fixed so they would work (requirements and data formats shifting at the speed of light). And the Concord Professional Service team pulled out of the project after 4 weeks so there was no backup from anyone who knew something. The Project From Hell.
I pulled the sucker together in 3 months then got downchecked by the feckless architect because I'd gone over his schedule. I did it in the same time as the Concord Professional Services people had estimated (and they actually knew what they were doing)! Three months of working till midnight and the shaft at the end. Sometimes it doesn't pay to get up.
Oh well, that's over. But I refuse to work with Perl any more.
Project Management? Not Gannt and Pert charts, but the kind of project management which identifies the risks right away and works them out as soon as possible? I do it all the time. As I'm sure you do.
On my current job I'm currently doing the specification for the entire Reports, Queries, and extracts subsystem on an enormous mainframe-replacement project (migrating to an App Server architecture). It's an enormous and visible area. I'm doing it despite being a mere Developer (as opposed to a Senior or Principal). At review time we're going to have a talk about that.....
But try selling that experience (and flexibility and committment) to employers these days. They're mesmerized by young faces, by potential rather than track record.
[ August 29, 2003: Message edited by: Alfred Neumann ]
 
HS Thomas
Ranch Hand
Posts: 3404
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

HS, I *AM* that old fart!


I am glad you saw a parallel.

But I refuse to work with Perl any more


Please forgive her. I am sure she has seen the error of her ways.
Having said all that (some in humour) , the best architect I have worked for so far has been a young 'un straight out of college some three years , had some experience under his belt doing Web Apps for big clients , and now on his first enterprise application buckled under the pressure of delivering something sensible because he was also a married man with ideas of starting a family. Boy, did he take some abuse from the client , mercenaries out to make a fast buck with a good idea. Old farts don't take that kind of abuse.
I am sure if I met up with the old fart again he'd have achieved architect status by now. Very fast learner. Said young 'un is probably trying to juggle home life with even younger 'uns with work whereas the old fart only had a wife to worry about on weekends. Madame had a career of her own during the week.
regards
[ August 29, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
Al Newman
Ranch Hand
Posts: 716
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't know about good architects, HS, but there was a pair of shit-hot data architects I worked with last job who were maybe 3 years out of school. One a dark young Portugesa and the other a milk-white English schoolboy. Both of them smarter than hell and as good as anyone I've worked with in their sphere.
 
HS Thomas
Ranch Hand
Posts: 3404
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Alfred,

My young architect was an Indian, born and bred in the UK but married to a hot looking Polish woman. (Trust me to remember that).
Live to Learn to Live yet again!

Actually, I just coined that. Has a certain pzazz.
I wonder if women old farts have a harder time of it?
In one organisation I had to give the PM a verbal bollocking because I felt he wasn't controlling the internet abuse his staff were exchanging.
It had a negative effect on the quality of the work and the younger women trying to get a foot on the ladder. Once you let down one standard others follow. That was one company that won't breed any kind of manager let alone a woman manager (actually,I remember now the overall manager for the dept was a woman, pretty high up just not hands on). I think that particular Project manager let it happen because he felt the ground was caving under him anyway.
So are women old farts finding a harder time of it ?
regards
[ August 29, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 65
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I wonder if women old farts have a harder time of it?


Yes They Do!
Most (not all) guys look at them like the mother they hated once.
[ August 29, 2003: Message edited by: Sam Walker ]
 
HS Thomas
Ranch Hand
Posts: 3404
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I feel sorry for those guys. They must have missed out on a lot in life and will continue to do so. Any surrogate woman old fart be any help ?
Most women start what they expect to be a career in IT. They have successful precedents in Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper without whom there may not have been IT.
Ada Byron , Countess of Lovelace :Analyst, Metaphysician, and Founder of Scientific Computing
"Babbage enlisted Ada as translator for the memoir, and during a nine-month period in 1842-43, she worked feverishly on the article and a set of Notes she appended to it. These are the source of her enduring fame.
Ada called herself "an Analyst (& Metaphysician)," and the combination was put to use in the Notes. She understood the plans for the device as well as Babbage but was better at articulating its promise. She rightly saw it as what we would call a general-purpose computer. It was suited for "developping [sic] and tabulating any function whatever. . . the engine [is] the material expression of any indefinite function of any degree of generality and complexity." Her Notes anticipate future developments, including computer-generated music."

Grace Hopper inventor of the first computer compiler in 1952.She helped develop the Flow-Matic programming language (1957) and the Common Business-Oriented Language (COBOL; 1959-61) for the UNIVAC, the first commercial electronic computer. Hopper retired from the navy in 1986 and served as a senior consultant with Digital Equipment Corporation.( Aged 80).
Anyway , here's a link for upwardly mobile women in IT to follow: Women in technology
regards
[ August 30, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 22284
151
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Most of the "old farts" I knew were back when I was a young upstart. I'm using the term "old fart" as in "just does the same old thing day in and day out". Joe X. handles the COBOL General Ledger or some such thing.
Although aging myself might have changed my perspective, I'm inclined to believe the real reason I don't see any of those types anymore is that the whole nature of software development is so volatile these days that "same old thing" can't cut it anymore and probably hasn't since at least the mid/late '80s.
The more likely issue to me has to do with the fact that many of the same people who like to brag about how young their workforce is are also bragging about how you can get them to work hours that experienced workers who have families won't tolerate and punctuate those brags with comments that they have bought into the hours worked = lines-of-code = amount of functional product myth.
After all these years in the business, I've pretty much decided that the managerial view of programming as monkeys turning the cranks on meat grinders is going to be around until there are no more Elvis sightings.
It's the flying saucer people, y'know. They rejuventated him.
 
Al Newman
Ranch Hand
Posts: 716
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Tim Holloway:
Most of the "old farts" I knew were back when I was a young upstart. I'm using the term "old fart" as in "just does the same old thing day in and day out". Joe X. handles the COBOL General Ledger or some such thing.


I didn't mean it in that sense, Tim. Only in the 'over 40' sense. Indeed it's been my observation that the only people I see working in that manner are younger people who have learned to do only the one thing. Young farts?

Originally posted by Tim Holloway:
Although aging myself might have changed my perspective, I'm inclined to believe the real reason I don't see any of those types anymore is that the whole nature of software development is so volatile these days that "same old thing" can't cut it anymore and probably hasn't since at least the mid/late '80s.


Absolutely. #1 lesson from my early years in the profession was that single-company skillsets are a deathtrap.

Originally posted by Tim Holloway:
The more likely issue to me has to do with the fact that many of the same people who like to brag about how young their workforce is are also bragging about how you can get them to work hours that experienced workers who have families won't tolerate and punctuate those brags with comments that they have bought into the hours worked = lines-of-code = amount of functional product myth.
After all these years in the business, I've pretty much decided that the managerial view of programming as monkeys turning the cranks on meat grinders is going to be around until there are no more Elvis sightings.


My observation is that about 25% of management are intensely like this, 20-25% tend more toward the Peopleware pov and the remainder are shades of gray. At crunchtime the muddy-middle tend to turn into autocrats.
 
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand
Posts: 715
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi,
The points are already taken previously from many internet clubs including Java Ranch. But still some diehard techies out there still do not believe that you need more than just IT knowledge to survive in the present and future labor market. BTW, I like the words he used "technology mutate".
Regards,
MCao
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 33
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, good grammer and english helps too
 
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand
Posts: 715
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi,
Not really, if your chain of command is not english speaking and you have one and half secretary as personal assistant.
Regards,
MCao
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 121
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Jim Baiter:
I think this is a very good Q & A with Jim Clark who has always demonstrated superb insight.


I know of a couple of people who have done the same thing (i.e., got out of the IT biz altogether). Just recently, a co-worker of mine quit and is now going to medical school. I heard Patent Lawyers and IT lawyers in general are going to be a "good" field.
 
What could go wrong in a swell place like "The Evil Eye"? Or with this tiny ad?
Building a Better World in your Backyard by Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop
https://coderanch.com/wiki/718759/books/Building-World-Backyard-Paul-Wheaton
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic