Career Watch

Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader

Andrew C. Armishaw

Title: Group executive, CIO

Company: HSBC Technology & Services, Prospect Heights, Ill.

Armishaw is this month's guest Premier 100 IT Leader, answering readers' questions about landing a job in the network security field and combining business and IT skills. If you have a question you'd like to ask one of our Premier 100 IT Leaders, send it to and watch for this column each month.

I financed my own CISSP certificate for career advancement during a layoff period, but I don't have much pure security management experience, and my current career is wasting away my other network skills. How do I find a job in network security while working full time and without having 10-plus years of experience? Sometimes the best place to look is within your current company. An employee who is willing to learn new skills to improve himself and his organization is invaluable.

Arrange an informational interview with key managers in the network security department of your company. Discuss the opportunities they have, and market the skills you can bring to the group. Remember, your knowledge of the organization, culture and people is an advantage you have over an external candidate.

Andrew C. Armishaw, group executive and CIO at HSBC Technology & Services
Andrew C. Armishaw, group executive and CIO at HSBC Technology & Services

I'm pursuing a degree course in business IT. The course encompasses both business units and IT units. Which are the most viable career lines to opt for? Both business and IT career paths are viable. The business must understand how technology can provide business solutions, and technology must understand the business to provide those solutions. The employee who incorporates both disciplines is an asset to the company.

Outsourcing: The Other Indians

The Associated Press reported that outsourcing has come to American Indian reservations. According to a recent AP story, an Indian-owned marketing and Web design start-up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota called Lakota Express can thank sloppy handwriting for its outsourcing fortunes. Eight Lakota Express employees vet the accuracy of electronic documents that are transcribed in China by workers who, although they understand English, often have difficulty deciphering Americans' handwriting. The work amounts to reverse outsourcing (work performed for a foreign company that is itself in the employ of a U.S. business). And experts expect plenty more of such work to become available.

Where Women Are Gaining

Even as the number of women in IT is declining in the U.S., it's on the rise in India, according to, an Indian Web portal. The Information Technology Association of America has found the number of women in IT to be on the decline in the U.S., falling 18.5% since 1996. Today, 32.4% of U.S. IT workers are women, the ITAA says. India can't match that, since only 24% of its IT workers are women, says India's National Association of Software and Services Companies. But the proportion of women in IT is growing in India, even as it's shrinking in the U.S. Nasscom says that women will account for 35% of Indian IT workers by 2007. And Madhumita Raghavan, an IT consultant in Bangalore, won't rule out the possibility of a 50-50 male-female ratio within a few years.

Interest in CS Wanes

Analyzing survey results from the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, Jay Vegso wrote in the May issue of Computing Research News that the popularity of computer science as a major among incoming freshmen at all undergraduate institutions has dropped significantly in the past four years and that the proportion of women who reported that they might major in computer science fell to levels unseen since the early 1970s. The percentage of incoming undergraduates indicating that they would major in computer science declined by more than 60% between 2000 and 2004 and is now 70% lower than at its peak in the early 1980s.

Computer science listed as probable major among
incoming freshmen

Computer science listed as probable major among incoming freshmen


Gauging IT Workers’ Confidence

IT workers are a bit less confident than U.S. workers overall that they will hold on to their jobs throughout the next 12 months. (Seventy-seven percent of workers overall said it is unlikely that they will lose their job or see it eliminated.) But IT workers are more likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months. (For U.S. workers overall, 39% were likely to be looking and 50% were unlikely.)

Likelihood of losing job or job elimination in next 12 months Likelihood of looking for new job in next 12 months
Likelihood of losing job or job elimination in next 12 months
Likelihood of looking for new job in next 12 months

BASE: A U.S. sample of 2,789 employed adults, aged 18 years and older, of whom 151 are employed in IT positions; they were interviewed in a series of two polls conducted in May 2005.

Source: Spherion IT Employment Report, based on data from an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Spherion Corp.

Page compiled by Jamie Eckle.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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