Thursday, June 26, 2008

CIO's should be willing to train new hires again

Patrick Gray has an interesting perspective today June 26 on the Tech Republic blogs on how IT hiring managers and CIO’s should look for talent.

He says they should stop “certification surfing” and again look for people “willing to learn,” the way people hired back in the 1970s during the mainframe expansion into in-house commercial and financial applications.

In 1999 and 2000 (in the later days of the dot-com "war for talent"), he says, it was very easy for relative amateurs to get jobs. After the dot-com bubble burst, there were enormous layoffs and companies quickly became picky about long lists of specific skills. This was partly because they could afford to, and partly because the legal climate (and discrimination law) actually encourages them to do so.

The nature of today’s skill sets, with their rapid evolution, often makes it difficult for many programmers to get to a needed level of expertise, especially to work as a consultant sent to many clients on W-2 or similar contracts. One of the best ways to get to needed skill levels is to get in on a project at the beginning, and stick with it through QA, implementation, and production support. Had I made the switch to a Unix-java world in 1999 at the beginning of a data access midtier project (rather than continuing to work on COBOL legacy replications) I might have been much better off.

Gray apparently believes that the rapidly changing paradigms for business, especially given global challenges like going green, could set off a new "war for talent" soon, even in a currently troubled economy where many financial institutions are laying people off.

One irony is that some certifications are common. High school students working in computer stores sometimes get hardware repair certifications even before high school graduation.

The link for the blog entry ("The IT talent crunch and why it’s the CIO’s fault") is here.

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