Thursday, January 12, 2012

Capitalism's "creative destruction" (by Mitt Romney) and the changes in the IT job market

Jia Lynn Yang has a major story and video about the GOP candidates’ – especially Mitt Romney – record in creating and destroying jobs in their own histories today.

Everyone knows that corporate raiders merge companies and eliminate jobs to “eliminate redundancies of function”.

What I found in my own career is that companies would try to give incentives to stay to key employees to keep a ship running based on older technology, which would not be helpful to them in finding new work later.  That was especially the case at Chilton, which was bought by TRW in 1989.  I left and didn’t stretch my luck, since the background was all Datacomm DB/DC, which died by the wayside.

It was interesting to see how companies wanted specific technologies for short times.  In the early 90s, mini computers were the rage (Vax/VMS, AS400, Silverlake, etc), but soon the Internet took over the job market.   Then the Internet itself cycled over – the dot-com boom going bust and settling into a few companies (like Google, Apple and Facebook) that demand a culture of super-talent and constantly test people to see who is “hottest”.   (That’s great for 20-year-olds who grew up on computers.)  The mainframe market grew with Y2K, but then became fragmented into rotating professionals how knew specific packages (Vantage, MMIS) or databases (DB2 or iMS internals).  

Conventional wisdom is that mergers get rid of jobs already being done inefficiently – and that’s true – but they also force established professionals to retrench into arcane areas of expertise and troll the country looking for contracts.   

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