What IT Needs



  • So in years of thinking about this and discussions going on, there are a few high level things that I feel that IT, as an industry, needs to deal with many of the problems that it regularly faces and to keep the industry from devolving into a mess of disparate pay, unreliable career paths (leading people to leave the field prematurely) and to make IT more valuable to the outside.

    1. An industry association that supplies educational information to both customers and to IT professionals. Basically an international "IT industry association". Independent of any vendors. This organization would basically be a large "best practices" research firm. It would supply colleges and universities with guidance on training, define curricula and maybe even certify programs. It would define job and role titles. It would provide rough guidance as to "level" descriptions such as "Helpdesk L1" and "Senior Admin" and what those entail. It would be completely vendor neutral. It would provide salary guides both generically and regionally. It would work to collect information on the industry from student to retiree.

    2. A serious IT certification process neutral from any vendors that is more complete and more rigorous than would is available today. In some ways picking up where CompTIA leaves off and doing what Brainbench somewhat tries to do. But rather than focusing on entry level or pre-Pro certs like CompTIA or on niche certs like BB it would strive for large scale certs like "Network A&E", "System A&E", "Relational Database Management", "Storage", "Virtualization" and other far reaching concepts and deal with best practices and important concepts like backup techniques, architecting solutions, working with vendors, etc. Things to make people qualified in the field, not just qualified on which buttons to push on a specific product.

    3. Perhaps also what is needed is a job and skills market place. A place that collects specifically IT/software resumes, collects details on those people including large scale skills database that allows the "keyword searching" that companies desire without needing the resume/CV itself to become bloated and allows tie ins with social media (like ML, SW, etc.) and then provides a job listing service (maybe focused first on the SMB) and builds a match making system to short circuit the existing recruiter system that is out there today. Something that helps people and jobs really meet while allowing for more feedback. Something way more robust that exists today.



  • So, in a nut shell, standardisation and regulation?



  • @nadnerB said:

    So, in a nut shell, standardisation and regulation?

    Yes, very much so. But it needs it without government intervention, without unions (people need to remain free to work and professionals) and internationally. It's one of the most global professions and any national oversight would be bad.



  • I would like to help.



  • The issue I see with this is that the organization may start with good intentions, but Microsoft, or VMware, or any other vendor you want to name, will realize, if it gained traction, that they needed to ensure they were "well represented" and use the almighty dollar to "sponsor" or do whatever they had to so they could influence things. It's the same thing that happens in politics. Doing this would take a massive amount of money and organization, and without a lot of private funding with no idea how they would make money, or without accepting "donations" from major vendors, the only group I could see being able to do something like this would be a government.



  • I don't disagree that the IT field needs this. I'm just not sure how this would be doable.



  • And if a government was the group responsible for making it, there goes any chance of it being neutral yet again. We almost need someone or a group of IT Pros who are independently wealthy to start this up.



  • @thanksaj said:

    The issue I see with this is that the organization may start with good intentions, but Microsoft, or VMware, or any other vendor you want to name, will realize, if it gained traction, that they needed to ensure they were "well represented" and use the almighty dollar to "sponsor" or do whatever they had to so they could influence things. It's the same thing that happens in politics. Doing this would take a massive amount of money and organization, and without a lot of private funding with no idea how they would make money, or without accepting "donations" from major vendors, the only group I could see being able to do something like this would be a government.

    Counterpoint..it was done in the Auto Industry and the big players were Ford, GM and major parts chains and not to mention major repair shops like Firestone. I believe it can be done, and should be done. It will take a bit of moderating and it can't hurt our industry, it can only help it.



  • @thanksaj No wealthy people are needed to start a grass roots non-profit program.



  • @technobabble said:

    @thanksaj said:

    The issue I see with this is that the organization may start with good intentions, but Microsoft, or VMware, or any other vendor you want to name, will realize, if it gained traction, that they needed to ensure they were "well represented" and use the almighty dollar to "sponsor" or do whatever they had to so they could influence things. It's the same thing that happens in politics. Doing this would take a massive amount of money and organization, and without a lot of private funding with no idea how they would make money, or without accepting "donations" from major vendors, the only group I could see being able to do something like this would be a government.

    Counterpoint..it was done in the Auto Industry and the big players were Ford, GM and major parts chains and not to mention major repair shops like Firestone. I believe it can be done, and should be done. It will take a bit of moderating and it can't hurt our industry, it can only help it.

    I agree, again, it's needed. But as Scott said, IT is HUGE! People can get by without cars. They can't get by without something that falls under the realm of "IT". Not in today's world. And there is so much money on the line in regards to something like this...



  • @technobabble said:

    @thanksaj No wealthy people are needed to start a grass roots non-profit program.

    And without money, how do you gain traction in the industry and push for standardization? Money is what makes things happen. People talk about movements and all that, but in the end, it all takes money in one form or another.



  • @thanksaj said:

    @technobabble said:

    @thanksaj No wealthy people are needed to start a grass roots non-profit program.

    And without money, how do you gain traction in the industry and push for standardization? Money is what makes things happen. People talk about movements and all that, but in the end, it all takes money in one form or another.

    To start we have a minimum of 5 platforms available that some use weekly: Mangolassi, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and that other IT forum we don't talk about.

    Then there are the tons of reputable IT website owners that are used by millions to get answers to computer questions. We invite them to the table as well.



  • @thanksaj said:

    ... the only group I could see being able to do something like this would be a government.

    That would be worse than vendors. The government is just the arm of vendors. They look to promote non-industry things. Any government certification program always turns to selling the industry out to a private certification group or monopoly or to promote the failing university system by making it a requirement.



  • @technobabble said:

    @thanksaj No wealthy people are needed to start a grass roots non-profit program.

    Actually they are. Non-profits are the most expensive option and the least flexible and hardest to control.





  • @technobabble said:

    @thanksaj said:

    @technobabble said:

    @thanksaj No wealthy people are needed to start a grass roots non-profit program.

    And without money, how do you gain traction in the industry and push for standardization? Money is what makes things happen. People talk about movements and all that, but in the end, it all takes money in one form or another.

    To start we have a minimum of 5 platforms available that some use weekly: Mangolassi, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and that other IT forum we don't talk about.

    Then there are the tons of reputable IT website owners that are used by millions to get answers to computer questions. We invite them to the table as well.

    LOL You do realize that all those people are in various peoples' pockets, right? ML is the only exception to that. It might be in the form of ads, or money spent on the site. Or, maybe it's in terms of the company gets a REALLY good deal from Dell or HP or whoever in exchange for good <insert perk here>. As far as all those websites that you love, most of those have strong biases too. Ask Trevor Pott sometime about some of the sites he writes for and how they request articles.



  • There was another group called SAGE too, and they were horrible. They did all kinds of things to undermine the industry like making impossible and illogical definitions of jobs (they claimed that systems admins should be developers first and foremost and that the most senior developers would be junior to mid-line system admins and that the system admin would be paid half what a developer would, etc.) They were awful and certainly did not promote the field.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Some existing groups...

    http://www.tsia.com/

    http://www.comptia.org/

    https://www.ccianet.org/

    http://www.siia.net/

    https://www.ccianet.org/

    What seems to me to be the most efficient thing would be to unite all these existing organizations under one banner and move forward from there.



  • I think a lot of them have different goals. Many of those are lobby groups, which is a good thing but not what IT really needs. IT needs to do a good job before lobbying for something it doesn't deserve because it is doing a bad job.

    None of these work to set industry job terms, AFAIK, for example. And none work with universities to provide training of the universities themselves.



  • Here is one that Trevor pointed me to, but looking at their goals and definition, I see them as attempting to undermine IT as a profession and take it from a performance-based profession like engineering to a government regulated "union" style like doctors.

    http://www.cips.ca/DefiningITProfession

    Honestly, I think that the term professional should be removed. Professional has way too many negative connotations. The most common professionals that people think of are doctors and lawyers which are completely different than IT and we don't want that type of association. Part of the goal here is to "fix" things at an industry level so that the government doesn't feel obligated to come in and ruin things.



  • Wow, and to be "certified" by that group they charge up to $350 per year!! That's a racket. If anything, certification needs to be free or very low cost from an organization that we need. It shouldn't be about gouging workers like unions do or trying to make only the affluent really able to consider the field. IT has always been open to those who are smart and willing, that's part of what makes IT great. It isn't like medical where there is a massive cost involved and only those with existing wealth, an incredible willingness to take on crippling debt or those lucky enough to qualify for sponsorship of some sort qualify. It should be open to everyone that knows the material - we shouldn't care about their age or income when showing that they can do the work.



  • You need licensing and bonding - even your plumber is licensed. Until we have that, wages in IT are going to be depressed. In SMB IT you probably make less than a plumber.



  • @Nic said:

    You need licensing and bonding - even your plumber is licensed. Until we have that, wages in IT are going to be depressed. In SMB IT you probably make less than a plumber.

    Bonding only makes sense for plumbers if they are "consultants" in IT terms. Plumbers don't really exist in great quantity "in house." Those that are full time employees working solely on their own employer's plumbing would not be bonded. That's an MSP type thing. Sadly bonding is pretty much impossible for IT because the bonding agencies can't handle it.

    Licensing is tough because you need a licensing agency but IT isn't like other licensed professions and you would not likely want to pay top dollars to the ones that are licensed. Licensing might be good for entry level but at the cost of the rest of the field.



  • Yeah, you wouldn't need bonding for in-house IT. But I still think licensing is needed to keep people who don't know what they are doing out of the profession. Even your hair dresser is licensed.



  • All of this seems like a real longshot for SMB. They just care about getting the cheapest guy in the door. Like Scott mentioned in another thread, there are plenty of people who will work System Admin jobs for $14 an hour. Its really hard to fix that when SMB can employ a System Admin for $12-16 an hour.



  • @Nic said:

    Even your hair dresser is licensed.

    Yes, they are. But is there any field like IT that has licensing? Something that is business oriented and is creative, not structured?

    Account, Legal and Medical are licensed for safety or legal reasons.

    Hairdressers because it is a super low end field that is consumer facing.

    I could see GeekSquad needing to be licensed because it is a consumer, non-business service. But I could see that as being a means of making Microsoft a legal requirement because it is the only thing that consumer people are allowed to support because that is what they are licensed for.

    Because IT is so "product" oriented, it is very hard to license without making a single vendor or group of vendors a government mandate.



  • @IRJ said:

    All of this seems like a real longshot for SMB. They just care about getting the cheapest guy in the door. Like Scott mentioned in another thread, there are plenty of people who will work System Admin jobs for $14 an hour. Its really hard to fix that when SMB can employ a System Admin for $12-16 an hour.

    I think that the goal is to keep people from working at $16/hr.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @IRJ said:

    All of this seems like a real longshot for SMB. They just care about getting the cheapest guy in the door. Like Scott mentioned in another thread, there are plenty of people who will work System Admin jobs for $14 an hour. Its really hard to fix that when SMB can employ a System Admin for $12-16 an hour.

    I think that the goal is to keep people from working at $16/hr.

    SMB doesn't care about credentials if they see experience.



  • @IRJ said:

    SMB doesn't care about credentials if they see experience.

    It's the professionals that we have to change, not the companies. We need to remove the availability of workers at $16/hr, not make companies not try to hire them.

    That's the real problem, why are SO MANY IT people willing to work at such a low wage when there are so many jobs available out there.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Wow, and to be "certified" by that group they charge up to $350 per year!! That's a racket. If anything, certification needs to be free or very low cost from an organization that we need. It shouldn't be about gouging workers like unions do or trying to make only the affluent really able to consider the field. IT has always been open to those who are smart and willing, that's part of what makes IT great. It isn't like medical where there is a massive cost involved and only those with existing wealth, an incredible willingness to take on crippling debt or those lucky enough to qualify for sponsorship of some sort qualify. It should be open to everyone that knows the material - we shouldn't care about their age or income when showing that they can do the work.

    Agreed 100% - while this isn't a small undertaking it should never be funded by those you want to build it for. I was chewing on this (funding) lastnight and I think it can be done easily without a penny from those who it is designed for.


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