Is this why we can’t get kids to study computer science?

It goes without saying the DavidM blogs like a guy with an attitude waaay overdue for a consulting job: 7 Downsides to IT..... However, I think that he intended the post to be taken largely as humor. I like to joke that consulting has all the upsides of a staff job in IT, plus the benefit of knowing that the pain will be over soon and you can move on to the next gig... Heh. But in all honesty, I would've loved to have extended my stay at a lot of my clients' sites. They've all been great!

Humor aside, we in the IT industry have a problem. We are possibly the cause of, but most definitely part of the solution to "outsourcing" or "offshoring" or whatever you want to call it. Just like nursing and various other professions that have a dearth of fresh talent entering the field, WE are not recruiting enough. Sure, there are fewer barriers to outsourcing IT than medicine, but I believe it's incumbent upon us to help combat the shortage by getting more kids into technology tracks in college! Like Socrates always (should have) said, "Get off your butt and do something about it!"

When was the last time you stopped complaining about your job and sang the praises of your career to a high school student (or younger) who might be open to vocational advice?

It's related, so bear with me: I finally got around to watching the bonus DVD that came with Gears of War last night. I have to say that the guys @ Epic are inspirational. Especially the enthusiasm that CliffyB and boyz have for what they do. When it all comes down to it, THAT was why we all got into this business in the first place -- and I don't mean an assault rifle with a chainsaw bayonet, but that's pretty cool, too -- I mean the JOY of computing, solving puzzles and problems. I love writing software. I love solving real business problems with tools that most people refuse to understand. Regression analysis, time series and moving averages aren't all that hard after the first couple headaches! (How else am I going to afford a Lamborghini before I'm too old to drive it? It's not like I have a cool video game idea like Halo or GoW. If I did, I might already have one! Heh.) But, in all honesty, I'd move to North Carolina just to be the janitor @ Epic if the job was open! Heh.

I concur with Steve Jones' assessment over @ SQL Server Central, with this added caveat: If you're not having fun at your job, GET A NEW ONE!! Unemployment in the U.S. is at 4.5% (unemployment in the IT sector in Houston is 2.0%!). If you've got the talent, headhunters are calling all the time, desperate to fill orders for staff that currently work somewhere else. There're plenty of jobs out there. Get a new skill and go get one of 'em... It may not be "better" but it'll certainly be different! Because if you don't take that job, eventually they're going to have to go offshore looking for somebody who does want it.

I'll give you Dave's personal career advice for free: YOU own your career and your success, nobody else does, so start acting like you want to win. What's the worst that can happen? You interview for and don't get the job? So try again! Make a five-year career plan and start plugging away...

Also, please take some time this week and encourage a few kids that you know to quit whining how hard computer science might be and get them to DO THE MATH!! (I plan to retire someday and I'm pretty sure that lots of companies will still need help figuring out how to make more money with the money they've already got after I'm gone.)

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