Career Watch

Jim Lanzalotto, vice president of strategy and marketing at Yoh Services LLC
Jim Lanzalotto, vice president of strategy and marketing at Yoh Services LLC
  • Jim Lanzalotto

    Vice president of strategy and marketing

    Company: Yoh Services LLC, Philadelphia

    Demand for U.S. IT workers continues to show strength, with 41% of organizations planning to add to their IT staff head count this year, according to an exclusive survey of 338 IT executives recently conducted by Computerworld. In fact, some employers find themselves competing for workers who have specialized skills, says Lanzalotto. Computerworld's Thomas Hoffman spoke to Lanzalotto about some of the trends he's seeing in IT hiring.

    What are the key trends you're seeing in the IT labor market? Right now, the market as a whole is trending toward high-impact talent. The skill shortage on highly specialized jobs is more acute than at any time before. Customer requirements are becoming much more specific. The requirement used to be, "Give me a good CRM developer." The requirement now is, "Give me a good CRM developer with specific experience in the pharmaceutical industry."

    How is this affecting compensation? Tech wages were up 2.7% in July, 1.1% in August and down 0.4% in September. Why? I think it reflects a typical summer lull, and September was a pretty tumultuous month, with two major hurricanes and a major hike in gas prices. Employers and the whole market reacted in general to what was going on.

    What skills are in biggest demand right now? The highest demand is for Oracle DBAs, who are being paid $54.73 per hour. Database architects are commanding $60.53 an hour; clinical data managers, $43.79; and embedded developers, $57.67 per hour.

    What's driving this demand? Optimization of existing IT investments. Say a company implemented Oracle Financials. There are significant investment and people costs and time devoted to this. Companies want to make sure this is optimized as much as possible, and the need for data administrators to assist with this optimization and provide that value is more critical than ever.

    What types of positions do you expect to be in strong demand in the first half of 2006? A couple of things. Roles around Sarbanes-Oxley will continue to be in demand. ERP is going to be a very solid market through 2008 as companies look to develop and enhance relationships with existing customers. There will also be strong demand for folks with vertical industry expertise, like SAS data managers in the medical market.

  • Old Programmers Never Die; They Just Can't C as Well

    An interesting thread was spun on Slashdot last month, as various and sundry readers responded to a Dec. 16 query from "Cliff," who noted that at his large international company, nearly all of the programmers are under 40. "Those that are over 40," he wrote, "tend to be in either management or IT support! I was wondering, where do all the old programmers go? They can't all end up in management. I know we don't get paid enough to take early retirement. Is there some other career that tends to attract 40-plus-year-old programmers? If so, I'd like to know, because I'm not that far off from 40 myself!"

    While several people recalled 40-plus programmers who had been inspirational mentors for them, a few contributors contended that these programmers don't work for large companies. "By that point in your life," said "Kawika," "you've learned enough to know that big companies move slowly and make dumb decisions. By age 40, you've either moved into management to participate in the stupidity, or you've left for a small company or consultancy." Some said all over-40 programmers are in the public sector, and others pointed to themselves as examples of middle-aged programmers who have gone on to new careers in fields such as law.

    And what's a Slashdot thread without a few smart-alecky responses thrown in? According to the very first response in this thread, "They're all in sanitariums, driven insane by debugging assembler for countless hours." A few people seemed to have visions of Soylent Green in mind. Said one, "40-year-old programmers are recycled into yummy treats called cheetos and fed to proto-programmers. It's the circle of life." And from that same fellow who thought old programmers are in straitjackets: "You ever hear of Mountain Dew? It's old programmers, I tell you! Mountain Dew is old programmers!"

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    Application Outsourcing to Rise

    Gartner Inc. projects that the worldwide application outsourcing market will grow at a compound annual rate of 6.5% between 2004 and 2009, reaching nearly $50 billion.

    $36.4 billion

    $49.9 billion

    Source: "Gartner on Outsourcing, 2005," December 2005


    For the second year in a row, employees who have too little work were less satisfied with their jobs than those with too much or just the right amount of work, according to the latest workload satisfaction survey by Sirota Survey Intelligence in Purchase, N.Y.

    AVERAGE JOB SATISFACTION (out of 100 points)

    2005 SURVEY

    2004 SURVEY

    ABOUT RIGHT 68 73
    TOO MUCH WORK 60 57

    Source: Sirota survey of 203,000 employees

    Page compiled by Jamie Eckle.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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