This week's book giveaways are in the Jython/Python and Object-Oriented programming forums.
We're giving away four copies each of Machine Learning for Business: Using Amazon SageMaker and Jupyter and Object Design Style Guide and have the authors on-line!
See this thread and this one for details.
Win a copy of Machine Learning for Business: Using Amazon SageMaker and JupyterE this week in the Jython/Python forum
or Object Design Style Guide in the Object-Oriented programming 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
  • Paul Clapham
  • Jeanne Boyarsky
  • Knute Snortum
Sheriffs:
  • Liutauras Vilda
  • Tim Cooke
  • Junilu Lacar
Saloon Keepers:
  • Ron McLeod
  • Stephan van Hulst
  • Tim Moores
  • Tim Holloway
  • Carey Brown
Bartenders:
  • Joe Ess
  • salvin francis
  • fred rosenberger

IT Skills shortage in UK

 
Bartender
Posts: 1049
19
Mac OS X IntelliJ IDE Oracle Spring VI Editor Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've often heard it said that employers cannot find employees with the required skills. In the UK this could be due to the following:

A) there is a serious lack of people with skills, coupled with candates that
have an ineptitude to learn.
B) employers are asking for too much for too little; ie XX years of Java
experience, also database, networking..... for a modest salary.
C) employers are relying on employment agencies. For financial reasons,
these agencies only forward candidates who they can ask high commissions
for. As they do not have the knowledge to differentiate skills they just
look for 'experience' of technology X.

Of course, I feel it is a mixture of the above. But, I'm starting to get the impression agencies are a barrier to new skills development. It seems that their exists a two tier system: highly experienced developers (they may be good or bad!) who are in demand, and unexperienced developers who cannot get any experience.

Maybe Douglas Adams was onto something:

Golgafrinchams.
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 287
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You know, that actually sounds a lot like the US job market about 2 years ago. I wonder if the UK is catching up perhaps?

That was pretty much the trend here in 2003 and even early 2004. Tons of experience across diversified, and often unlikely, skill sets and paying about $10k to $20k less than what you would expect even pre-dotcom days. Hell, I'd seen quite a few positions asking for experienced devs that were going for about $50k and they were being swamped!

Seems almost identical for what you are describing. The good news is, we grew out of it. Somewhat.
 
author
Posts: 23855
141
jQuery Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser VI Editor C++ Chrome Java Linux Windows
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Of course, I feel it is a mixture of the above. But, I'm starting to get the impression agencies are a barrier to new skills development. It seems that their exists a two tier system: highly experienced developers (they may be good or bad!) who are in demand, and unexperienced developers who cannot get any experience.



As you already pointed out, this is both good and bad. While it is true that many "freshers" has to change professions, or returns for more certifications or a masters degree, there has also been many developers, with mediocre skills, technical or social / networking, that has left the industry.

Henry
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 189
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I personally am quiting this industry, not because I cant get a job, but because I can do other forms of work that require less effort and skill for alot more money.
[ October 05, 2005: Message edited by: Shawn DeSarkar ]
 
Greenhorn
Posts: 20
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

.....other forms of work that require less effort and skill for alot more money.



Which other forms of work would that be? I could use a few ideas.
 
Henry Wong
author
Posts: 23855
141
jQuery Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser VI Editor C++ Chrome Java Linux Windows
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Shawn DeSarkar:
I personally am quiting this industry, not because I cant get a job, but because I can do other forms of work that require less effort and skill for alot more money.



I guess I may be one of the crazy ones... A few years ago, I took a big paycut in order to do development again. Project / Engagement management may pay more and require "less" effort, but I rather fix problems directly with a computer than indirectly with a phone.

Henry
 
Jason Cox
Ranch Hand
Posts: 287
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Funny, there aren't many places I could work with my level of experience and earn the amount of money that I do. There are some, but very few. Even though we're not in the dotcom days, compensation for IT professionals isn't all that bad. I have been surprised to find out how much I make in relation to other people I know who often have been in their professions longer than me.

That said though, technology is not a good place to be if you're only in it for the money. I like working in technology, I like the challenge. I want to move into management with my company but I have expressed a strong interest in staying in technology management rather than business management (We have two main practices that reflect these sides). Indeed, my supervisors support this because a lot of my seniors tend to move more in the architect direction than manager, making people like me relatively rare. The reason for me, personally, is because I love what technology brings to an enterprise. A lot of people don't understand it and treat people like me as some kind of magician. To those of us who have been immersed in it, there is nothing magical about it. However, it is a lot of effort and it is a constant challenge. Which is one of the reasons why I love it so, I love to be challenged. I am not thrilled with the aspect of the ever-changing skillset, but that is another reason I am making the slow transition into management. Not likely to happen for another year or two in my case. I still want to interact with the folks in the trenches though. Maybe we don't perform magic, but technology is where the magic happens.

In short, we make the world work. I'd rather be a part of that.

But nowhere in that whole diatribe to you see anything about money. If I was all about money there are other professions that I could have chosen. I could have gone into business administration in school and worked out a minor supervisor position right out of college. I might be the boss already if I had chosen that route. It wasn't for me though, regardless of the pay. I earn a good living, not great but enough that we have our luxuries.

Honestly though, I'm glad we shed a lot of the "paycheck players" from the dotcom days, because this is not a profession that comes naturally to people who don't have a passion for it.
 
Prem Khan
Ranch Hand
Posts: 189
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Which other forms of work would that be? I could use a few ideas.



The skilled trades such as carpenter, electrian, pipe fitter.
These guy make more money as a beginer aprintice with no exsperience than I do as a programmer.

I am going to be a carpenter aprintice. And do contracts at the same time.

When doing contracts as a carpenter, you can work for anyones house, like framing their basment.

But with IT just to land a contract, you must have serious connections and friends in high places no matter how good you are, and then you must deal with corporate burocracy and red tape.
 
Jason Cox
Ranch Hand
Posts: 287
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hmmm...funny. My Dad was an electrician and has stayed up on his skills. Even when he lost his job late last year he stuck with IT despite his primary skill being C. He's back to work and making good money again. Never occurred to him to switch back to being an electrician. I suspect the fact that the money was near as good had a lot to do with it.
 
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 21620
147
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'd have to say that the #1 problem is unrealistic expectations. IT is a profession where what you have experience in is grossly overrated. Everyone demands things like "10 years RUP" + "5 years Oracle" + "8 years Struts" + + + ...

And yet what does that really mean when the next project is just as likely to end up using JSF? The only really meaningful information you can get out of what someone has done is that they've done something. That's important in the sense that the more things you've worked with, the better you'll be at adopting new technology, but that's about it.

And, between obviously ludicrous expections stacked high and boolean-anded together, the first fatal mistake they usually make is filtering out the talented-but-honest from those willing to lie to get the job. Which works, albeit inefficiently, since many, though not all of those willing to lie can pick up these new skills just as well as their forsaken counterparts.

Now add to that an equally unrealistic approach to project management. The pressure is to get into production in minimal time and cost. To a certain degree, this is good. Shops that don't have a certain degree of urgency end up wasting 18 months creating use-case diagrams. However, the other extreme is when the expectations of time and effort are off by a factor of 2 or more. Often, alas, because they spent 18 months on use-case diagrams, then woke up one day realizing that only there were only 6 months left to do the actual coding, testing, etc.

Finally, there may actually be a shortage of real talent. It's long been recognized that there can be a tremendous difference in the efficiency of different programmers. That's one of the reasons why Fred Brooks proposed the Chief Programer Team concept way back in the '70s. The idea was to spread out the "grunt work" and free up the top talent to do the really tricky stuff.

CPT didn't take off. I don't know why. It may be because despite everything, companies persist in attempting to treat talent as plug-replaceable commodities despite all the data indicating that such isn't true. It may be because CPT simply doesn't work. I've not had the chance to observe it in operation.

As it stands, however, the bar for getting into IT is miserably low. It's almost as if anyone who could put together a model out of paper-mache' was considered equivalent to a skilled aircraft mechanic. Attempts to sift the good from the mediocre from the outstanding incompetent have consistently failed, in large part because neither diplomas nor certifications not anything other than actual proven results are any real indication, even it's almost impossible to demonstrate proven results when you're dealing with team efforts and most of the work isn't publicly visible.

I still maintain that if the public at large would revolt and refuse to have anything to do with websites where a chance double-click resulted in a duplicate order (my [i]boss[/b] got nailed by that one this morning), credit-card dates matched the way they're written on the card itself, long numbers permitted spaces or dashes, etc. etc. - in other words, people demanded a little more quality and a little less junk at "lower prices everyday" - well, perhaps it might be easier to see what the real state of the labor market was.

But Winston Smith expected the proles to get fed up and do something and you see where it got him.
 
Jason Cox
Ranch Hand
Posts: 287
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well, getting back more on topic.

I don't know if there is a shortage of talent or just a shortage of experience in demand. I've watched far too many companies insist on hiring people with 3+ years of experience or 5+ years of experience to do a job that they could easily train a kid right out of college for.

Which is going to lead to the real shortage. I predicted back in 2003 that we were going to end up with an experience gap, and it's starting to come true. I look at my own company and what we have is a lot of senior people and a handful of freshers. Where's the mid-level? Oh, that's right, we chased them off with talks of lay-offs and off-shoring. Every ninny with the ability to publish continually made it sound like all the jobs were going to India. It never happened, and it's not happening near as I can see. The lack of hiring and the move to off-shore was not as closely related as some of us were led to believe. Now that people are looking for IT professionals, were seeing a distinct lack of them. This is surprising?

I think they need to get HR out of the equation and use more interviews with technical people. You don't need everyone to write a functioning program on the spot, but the fakes can usually be seperated from the real thing within the course of just talking about their experience and understanding. I worked at a company that had an interview process that screened out potential frauds very well without making anyone write a single line of code. We had a great team in our heyday, but that was before HR had their hands in everything.

What I'd like to really see is a greater focus on functional skillsets. Things like "Must have Weblogic experience" is silly. If you've worked with any heavyweight application servers you're probably set. Yes there are fundamental differences between say Weblogic and Websphere, but any competent developer will learn how to deal with that in short order.

If companies would *gasp* invest in their people, especially freshers, I think they'd find a good value for their money. The laundry lists and unrealistic expectations doesn't just hurt the job-seekers, I'm pretty damn sure it hurts the industry. It discourages people from wanting to be in the profession and it keeps jobs open longer than it should.

Companies need to learn there is no perfect candidate.
 
Henry Wong
author
Posts: 23855
141
jQuery Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser VI Editor C++ Chrome Java Linux Windows
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

And, between obviously ludicrous expections stacked high and boolean-anded together, the first fatal mistake they usually make is filtering out the talented-but-honest from those willing to lie to get the job. Which works, albeit inefficiently, since many, though not all of those willing to lie can pick up these new skills just as well as their forsaken counterparts.



Just adding a minor anecdote...

Years ago, I went to an interview that required (found out during the interview)... Solaris Certication, with experience with high end cluster boxes, Oracle Database experience (adminstration and development), Cisco Experience (not at a level of a CCIE, but pretty darn close), and Java Certification.

I actually told them that such a person does not exist, and if this person did, why the heck would he/she want to work for them? ... Okay, I didn't get a second interview ...

Henry
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 538
Hibernate Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi all !

I've often heard it said that employers cannot find employees with the required skills. In the UK this could be due to the following: ...

Skills shortage in whole Europe remains a pure joke. On contrary there are mobs of readily available developers. This is particulary true of UK which outsources much (qualified as biggest outsourcer in whole Europe, very like USA).
The main issue is that many higher students, MS ou PHD, were trained in IT field despite it was net their field. This made the IT field after internet bubble collapse very crowdy.

Right now in Europe for whole IT field higher end pros are still in demand but for low wages as there are so many people available and low end beginners are in demand too as they are very cheap by definition (then they are trained to internal skills demand by companies, especially in financial field where no seasoned developer is available at all). But all seasoned IT pros at middle end suffer hard times for they are a huge mob, not enough specialised to claim a great salary, but too much skilled to be considered as cheap either.

In France these middle end jobless IT pros are about 50,000 in number. This seems to match recent US situation for as market share is proportionnaly about 10 times bigger, this makes for US about 500,000 IT pros jobless in a 5,000,000 people market, so about 10% unemployment in IT field while global unemployment for whole country is 5%. This seems to confirm that unemployment in IT field for developped countries, such as Europe and US, is twice the average nationwide unemployment.

In conclusion IMHO Skills shortage is a pure joke, there are plenty positions available for cheap specialists or very cheap beginners, while the bulk of jobless seasoned IT pros is ignored. This is confirmed by the discussions I have sometimes with recruiters from temporary jobs agencies who confirm user companies are offered many IT profiles for any available position, all qualified and cheap, so only the cheapest and most qualified "wins" (and along strong eagerness to go elsewhere as soon it goes better).

But overall this makes me think there will be within very few years a real shortage in IT field : as "average" IT pros are awfully common this profession has less and less market value, so wages are getting lower very quickly. Even right now one can consider IT profession is certainly financially not worth at all, while many other jobs which are far less demanding for studies pay much better. Carpenters, bakers, plumbers, are certainly happier and whealthier than IT pros, at least in France, all these pay better than IT. Many people are shifting to other professions and many students choose another field, which is totally justified, unless you have a passion for IT like me.

Best regards.
 
Prem Khan
Ranch Hand
Posts: 189
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a passion for programming, but not so much for IT. Programming has many applications. However it is IT that is the most common for employment.
I like comming up with code, not useing some framework to make something retativly uncreative.

And even at that, I still have somewhat a passion for IT since I was able to write an medical app front to back comming fresh out of school. But at some point money comes into the picture no matter how much you like something.

I really do enjoy writing software at the chip level for electronics, however i am not an engineer, only an engineering technologist so I cant do it outside a hobbyist level.

And In Canada as well, capernters and bakers make alot more money... thats where im headed.

IT will never benifit you like physical labour jobs can.
You can frame your own house, but you cant make a corporate information system for your own personal use.
[ October 07, 2005: Message edited by: Shawn DeSarkar ]
 
They worship nothing. They say it's because nothing is worth fighting for. Like this tiny ad:
Java file APIs (DOC, XLS, PDF, and many more)
https://products.aspose.com/total/java
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!