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Plenty of new jobs for tech experts

Good news everyone! You heard the economy is at last turning around? Well it's true! Plenty of tech folks are finding employment nowadays:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=711&e=16&u=/usatoday/11917747

"Two years ago, John Van Ness earned six figures and supervised employees. Now, the laid-off Sun Microsystems manager sells plumbing supplies at Home Depot."

Dennis Atkins
Thursday, October 23, 2003

♠Then there's the guy that was a senior product manager for adobe that's now working as an usher.  Can't claim these guys were overpaid web-boys that the boom flushed out, can we?

still odd
Thursday, October 23, 2003

I worked for 2 large telecom companies that have been gutted to less than half of their max size and may in fact reach 0 employees before the teleconomy improves.

I have run into several former engineering coworkers at Home Depot, the Disney Store in the mall, a 7-11 convenience store, and a CompUSA. In all cases, they are not happy with their new profession.

I would like to think that this is just temporary and that these people are just facing a historic bust that they must somehow weather. Then, when I look at how corporate America continues to operate, what our elected leaders are [not] doing, and where the trends are going in pay and opportunity (hint: negative slope), I think I know better than to have hope any longer.

StickyWicket
Thursday, October 23, 2003

Low level codework is moving to india until legislation brings it back. People in our industry need to focus on bringing new technologies and sciences to the table more aggressively.

Dustin Alexander
Thursday, October 23, 2003

"Low level codework is moving to india until legislation brings it back."

Not going to happen until either:
1.  Programmers organize.
2.  Big business decides it wants the legislation.

Not holding my breath for either.

"People in our industry need to focus on bringing new technologies and sciences to the table more aggressively. "

I have no idea what that means.  Do you mean venture capitalists should grow some balls?  Uni/Gov. research labs should launch businesses?


Thursday, October 23, 2003

"Low level codework is moving to india until legislation brings it back."

High level codework is moving too.

Jim Rankin
Thursday, October 23, 2003

Some of the slowdown in the technology sector is certainly cyclical, and an economic rebound will bring more hiring. However, I don't think we're going to see the spending levels of a few years ago.

At one point during the boom, I remember reading in The Economist that 25% of the capital expenditures of US businesses were going to technology. Those levels seem unlikely to return. When I talk to non-technology business owners who bought a lot of computer equipment, software (custom and packaged), and communications gear during the boom, they did not view this as a permanent level of expenditure. They viewed the purchases as transient capital costs that would last them many years. They have held to that.

This pattern of expenditures is not surprising. It has happened with most technologies. For example, in the United States it seems that most companies have the computers they want for their employees, and they are unlikely to do more in the future than simply replace systems periodically as they get old. In terms of communications, people are unlikely to spend much more money on communications, instead, they hope to get more bandwidth in the future for what they now pay.

The technology business depends to a great extent on capital expenditures. This inherently makes for a boom and bust cycle. It is the same for constructing buildings and selling cars.

A lot of computer and telecommunications spending has been driven by improvements in technology. However, technology seems to have reached a point where most people don't see a need to buy more computer and communications infrastructure. Much of the spending in the future will be replacement business, and this is at a much lower level than initial purchases. This is the same as for railroads and power plants. Almost all the railroad lines in the US and Western Europe was laid before 1900, and since then the track laying business has never been the same. Electric power plant construction in the US and Western Europe has never been the same since electrification was completed, say in the 1960s. Remember the power plant builders who were surprised to find out that people were done building new electric power plants on a large scale.

The high growth that remains in the computer and communications technology world is in less-developed countries. It will be interesting to see how computer and communications companies in the US and Western Europe compete in developing countries.

The situation could change if new products are introduced that provide major new markets. After all, the telephone business was about as boring as a business could be, until wireless telephones came along.

An interesting aspect of mature industries is that customers are often very price-sensitive. I wonder how technology companies used to high margins will deal with a transition to a low-margin market. Essentially none of the traditional computer manufacturers survived the transition, with the exception of IBM.

Dan Brown
Thursday, October 23, 2003

I second the motion on the need to organize. I propose we name ourselves FWGA - The Future WalMart Greeters of America! I think our logo should be a smiley face with a 1920's Soviet poster style raised fist.

"Would you like a papadum with that, sir?"
Thursday, October 23, 2003

---"Low level codework is moving to india until legislation brings it back."-----

Even if what you're saying about coding moving to India is true, do you seriously think that legislation would have the power to bring it back?

At the cost of immense fines from the WTO you might be able to get the textile jobs back, but the coding jobs? Which part of the Internet are you going to put your Customs Booth on?

Stephen Jones
Thursday, October 23, 2003

We're screwed, there is no doubt in my mind.  I feel my only hope is start my own software company and hope for the best.  I am currently gainfully employeed, but competition is creeping.  I wonder how much longer the gravey train is going to produce. 

Right now I am hunkering down, and preparing for the worst.  Saving, and planning.  There is now way this industry is going to support me another 30 years until I am 60.  No freakin' way.

would you like some fries with that big mac?
Thursday, October 23, 2003

Anyone ex-programmer who chooses to work at Home Depot is a total jack*ss.  ZERO career mgmt skills.  Invest  in your old career, or invest in a new career.  Shortsighed idiots.  After tax, $10/hr doesn't cover gas, lunch, and laundry.  These people are idiots, and always have been.  Good riddance. 

Bella
Thursday, October 23, 2003

Give me an example type of investment you'd make... 

would you like some fries with that big mac?
Thursday, October 23, 2003

Bella, 20-30% of Americans have to live on $10 an hour, or less.

And there are three or four billion people in the world who would jump at the chance.

Also these guys are in their 50's. If they spend three or four years retraining it sure ain't going to leave them much time with their new career.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, October 23, 2003

Get in on ANY segment of healthcare...(nursing, Phys.Therapy, etc...)

Cash in on "yuppie" expenses....(Dog walking, personal trainer, personal chef, housecleaning, dog therapist, etc..)

Or get certified in some segment of the real estate bubble (mortgage broker, realtor, title searcher, closigs, appraisals, etc)

Or speculate on the real estate boom.  buy/rehab/sell  houses, co-ops, condos..  Buy 10 acres.  Zone it, subdivide it,  &  sell ten 1 acre plots. 

Learn to code VB in 21 days.  ;-))))

Become a barber.

Go to law school. 

Become a therpaist...

Get an MBA.

Get into service tradework.  Plumber, handman, painter, small moving company...

Every single thing I mentiod, glamorous or not, can pay you $50-$200/hr++.

Take out loans to finance all of this, if you must.

But working for $10/hr at McDonalds is just re-f*cking-tarded.  A dead end waste of time.

Bella
Thursday, October 23, 2003

> And there are three or four billion people in the world who would jump at the chance.  (at $10/hr)

Yes, and they also have apartments that cost $4/mo, and a week of food that costs $3/week.  It's all relative.  Prices are dictated by local salaries.  Not a vacuum.    Isolated inconsistent cost of living comparisions such as yours are a sure sign of an financial neophyte. 

Why are houses in Alabama only $10k?  B/c there are no $180k lawyers around.  Why do 3BR apartments in NYC run $750k?  B/c there are $180k lawyer couples running amock.  Get it?

Bella
Thursday, October 23, 2003

Food is not much more expensive in the States than in most Third World countries; in fact for some things it is cheaper.

You can live with a 3$ a week food bill in the States; you won't have much more than lentils or rice, but that is what you would get for $3 in third world countries.

I'd like to know where these apartments at $4 a month are, unless you're talking about apartments where the rent hasn't changed for forty years because of rent controls. In Sri Lanka outside of Colombo standard rent for a house without running water but with a well in the garden is about $30-$40 a month. I have a friend who is a part-time security guard and whose wife works in a garment factory. They pay $20 a month for a 120 square foot bare concrete room with a tin roof. It's exorbitant for what it is, but there is a severe shortage of accomodation near the garment factories.

As for the houses that are only $10K in Alabama that is because they are being sold at a whopping great big loss. I challenge you to build a house anywhere in the States for $10K even if they give you the land free. In fact I challenge you to build what would be considered a minimally habitable house by Western Standards anywhere for much under $6-7K, independent of land prices.

In Third World countries the cost of land and labour is generally much less than in the developed world. But the cost of food is not proportionally less than in the States, and the cost of manufactured goods and technical services like telephones or TV's is often higher.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, October 23, 2003

Bella, don't use yesteryear's figures:

>> Why do 3BR apartments in NYC run $750k?

Ahem, "average" price of a condo in NYC is $1 meg as reported in the news last week.

It just reinforces your point, though.

PS: I agree with the rap against IT people going into low end service jobs. But on the other hand, most of our peers spend, spend, spend in the good times and save nothing back to finance any of the activities you're describing. We're financially "retarded" as an occupation...

Bored Bystander
Thursday, October 23, 2003

$50-$200 an hour for dog walking, or looking after people with Alzheimers? Get real.

If the guys got a degree and the right personality he could try getting teacher certification, but whether he would be able to put up with the stresses of high school is another matter. And both these guys appear to be in their late 50's

As for buying ten acres of real estate and partitioning it in the hope you'll eventually be able to sell the lots and make a profit, that is just a plain irresponsible suggestion; it might be fine for you or Sgt. Sausage who have no liquidity problems and can afford to wait out the long term, but as advice to a guy with no income it's criminally irresponsible..

Being a handyman is a more sensible idea, but surely working part time at home depot while you're building up your contacts is a perfectly intelligent decision.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, October 23, 2003

I recall reading an article in a NY magazine in which a dog walker did indeed make over $100K a year. If you walk Ivana Trump's dog, and her friend's dog, and her other friend's dog (dog walkers in manhattan walk about 20 dogs at a time) and you charge $20 per dog, that seems feasible. And, you can also make up to $75 an hour as a home health care nurse in any urban area in the US.

rz
Friday, October 24, 2003

Sure, pet lovers wouldn't entrust their pets to just anyone off the street, reputation is a strong selling point.

I know of someone who runs a dog walking place in San Francisco, started with very little, and now has offices, vans, and a couple dozen employees.

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, October 24, 2003

i vaguely recall a fun line from a "kids in the hall" episode from yesteryear:

"america: where people don't matter, but people's pets do"

rz
Friday, October 24, 2003

>'We're financially "retarded" as an occupation...'

We're financially retarded as a nation (USA), period.  Consumer debt is at ridiculous levels and is way too high for people's income, especially when that income could become zero in a flash.

People just love to jump and buy cars that are too expensive, houses that are unnecessarily big for their income and family size or in too-fancy areas, have children before they have any solid financial footing, and spend every dollar of their paycheck before they've earned it ... and if they lose their job, before long they have to take a $10/hour job because they don't have the financial cushion to pursue new qualifications or set up a business or just hold out for a better job.

T. Norman
Friday, October 24, 2003

T. Norman, I agree with you, except about the children part.  If you wait until you can afford to have children, you'll no longer be able to keep up with them physically.

Not that I'm against family planning, just against unrealistic family planning.  I think most American children would be better off if their parents worried less about making enough money to give them everything they "need" and worried more about being around and available.

Steve Barbour
Friday, October 24, 2003

Amen, Steve.

There is no "right" time to have kids. If you're waiting to be in the perfect financial/career/whatever situation before having kids...don't have kids. They're just gonna mess up your "perfect" situation.

Rob VH
Friday, October 24, 2003

--
But working for $10/hr at McDonalds is just re-f*cking-tarded.  A dead end waste of time.
--

I would agree that McDonalds is not that great.

I disagree that the original example of Home Depot is bad.

If Home Depot offers health benefits and an employee discount on construction materials that could be worth it. Especially if you are only working 10-20 hours a week and don't really need the money - just something to do.

I know several people who work a second job at the local Target for one or two nights a week due to the employee discounts at their various stores.

NathanJ
Friday, October 24, 2003

>"T. Norman, I agree with you, except about the children part.  If you wait until you can afford to have children, you'll no longer be able to keep up with them physically."

I've heard that one over and over.  That is just an excuse for financial irresponsibility, especially if both people have middle-class jobs. When you have two decent incomes in one household without kids, that is prime time to be saving $$$.  I've seen people who were able to build a financial cushion by waiting 5-6 years after the wedding before having children.  Like this guy at work who waited until 30 to have his first kid, living in a one bedroom apartment with his wife for years until the kid came along.

If you don't believe in being financially ready before having children, don't be surprised if you have to take a McDonald's job shortly after you're unemployed.

T. Norman
Friday, October 24, 2003

I don't know about other parts of the country but an average dog walking company owner can do very well. New yorkers love their pets and spend lavishly on them <a href="http://www.petaholics.com"> NYC Dog walking </a>

jk
Friday, February 27, 2004

www.petaholics.com

jk
Friday, February 27, 2004

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