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Archive for the ‘Career Development’ Category

We’ll All Work for a Tech Vendor One Day

Posted by imateski on April 12, 2010

We’ll All Work for a Tech Vendor One Day | CIO – Blogs and Discussion

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There’s a new-ish adage making the rounds in tech journalism that’s unfortunately becoming more accurate with each passing day. It goes something like this: “We’re all going to be working for a high-tech vendor some day.”

Some of my fellow journalists here at IDG (’s parent company) have left the fourth estate and are now receiving their paychecks from the same vendors they used to cover. Those jobs are in marketing, public relations or social media strategy. Several I’ve spoken with seem not unhappy with their move—the pay is certainly better.

Some have said they occasionally miss the daily excitement and objectivity of their previous roles. That sinking feeling enveloping the media? Yeah, they don’t miss that.

Taking a gaze at today’s tea leaves, it would not be reckless to hypothesize that more corporate IT workers might be making the same career move in the near future.

As I reported in Why the New Normal Could Kill IT, Gartner is predicting that cloud computing will become so pervasive by 2012 that 20 percent of businesses will own no IT assets at all.

In a recent blog post, Michael Krupa, technical director for HR Technology and a former IT consultant, compares the IT support requirements of traditional, on-premise software versus SaaS. His verdict? “SaaS applications do not require as much IT support as on-premise solutions,” Krupa offers. “My experience with SaaS applications show that you no longer need IT datacenter support, database administration support, application infrastructure support and application development support (with the exception of interfaces).”

“Poof. Gone. No longer needed,” he adds, rather dramatically.

Other technologies such as virtualization will reduce IT hardware and, presumably, the headcount needed to manage the hardware.

Vendors of today are transforming into the “Supervendors” of tomorrow. A recent Wall Street Journal article examines the “handful of cash-rich companies that are consolidating power in the technology industry, using their wealth to expand into new businesses and making it harder for small and midsize competitors to break through.”

Those companies? Apple, Oracle, Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Dell, IBM. They are stockpiling cash, acquiring assets and tech innovation, and fortifying their power. They’ll likely need more techies, who won’t be needed as much inside enterprise IT departments.

Paradoxically, IT is reaping all that it has sewn over the years. I covered this in an article last fall, More Jobs Vanish: IT’s Gains Are Real People’s Losses. In sum: The painful, perhaps unintended consequence of realizing technology’s aspirations and capabilities is that many people will go without jobs or will have to radically alter their skills and professions, because there is simply no need for their old skills anymore. This owes to technology’s relentless march toward cheaper, faster, better.

These developments aren’t all necessarily cataclysmic occurrences, though. Many of the hard-core techies once relegated to fixing loathsome PEBKAC issues will now be able to strut their stuff at software vendors, coding their little hearts out on the next new cloud app or creating the next software-delivery mechanism.

Or their jobs will change dramatically (just as journalists have witnessed), as columnist Bernard Golden writes in Cloud and The Death of the Sysadmin: “As software becomes more complex, and demands the scalability of the cloud, IT’s auto mechanic of today, the sysadmin, will disappear. Tomorrow’s sysadmin will be more like a physician.”

Hey, it could be much worse. Believe me, I know.

By Thomas Wailgum


Posted in Career Development, News Releases | 1 Comment »

What’s Your Certification Worth?

Posted by imateski on February 12, 2010

By Linda Leung

In terms of salary, it appears that certified IT professionals didn’t suffer too badly during last year’s economic malaise. According to the IT certification holders who responded to the 2010 Global Knowledge/TechRepublic Salary Survey, salaries for the Microsoft certifications held by this year’s respondents actually went up. Other winners were holders of the Project Management Professional (PMP) and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certifications. Meanwhile, the VMware Certified Professional certification made its debut in this year’s survey.

Let’s dive in deeper into some of the certifications and their corresponding salaries, as reported by our survey respondents.

PMP – $104,253; ITIL v2 Foundation – $102,128; ITIL v3 Foundation – $101,185

Salaries for these business improvement and project management certifications increased from 2009. The average salary of this year’s survey respondents who hold the PMP certification increased to $104,253 from the $103,100 reported by our 2009 survey respondents. Salaries for ITIL folks also increased. In 2008, the average ITIL v3 Master earned $86,600; in 2010 v3 Foundation certification holders reported an average salary of $101,185.

Six Sigma, another business process improvement certification, made its debut in our survey for 2010, with respondents reporting an average salary of $111,908. The appearance of that certification underscores the belief that employers are willing to pay top dollar for folks with good business and technology skills.

Some employers are requiring a mix of Six Sigma and other business improvement skills. One recent job ad for a Process Improvement Consultant at California HMO Kaiser Permanente called for the individual to have seven years of experience with one or more of the following methodologies: Six Sigma, ITIL, and Total Quality Management (a set of management practices that ensure organizations consistently meet or exceed customer requirements).

Hank Marquis, practice leader of business service management at Global Knowledge holds both the ITIL and Six Sigma certifications. He notes that only 30% of process improvement projects are successful because practitioners didn’t have the knowledge that Six Sigma provides. The addition of Six Sigma to a professional who already holds the ITIL and/or PMP certifications (and vice-versa) will turn that individual into a huge catch.

VMware Certified Professional – $91,271

Since 2008, the VMware Certified Professional certified has made its first appearance in the salary survey. You’ve probably have heard a lot about cloud computing. The benefits to cloud customers include data center operational cost savings, the flexibility to configure servers on the fly, and the automation of routine maintenance tasks. VMware owns the majority of the virtualization market, a technology that’s the basis for cloud computing. Organizations use VMware products to build private clouds or a hybrid public/private cloud.

VCP demonstrates an individual’s expertise in virtual infrastructure based on VMware’s vSphere 4 platform. Certified individuals understand vSphere installation, configuration, management, and troubleshooting.

Cisco Certifications

Salaries for the Cisco certifications held by respondents to this year’s survey decreased from 2009, but they were still higher than the average salaries for Cisco-certified folks in 2008. The average salary of $93,953 for a Cisco Certified Design Associate was the sixth highest salary listed in this year’s survey, and is still a 25% increase from a CCDA’s average salary of $75,000 in 2008.

The second highest Cisco certification salary in this year’s survey ($89,864) was for the Cisco Certified Network Professional designation. Cisco this month announced a major overhaul of this certification by replacing the required exams with those that better reflect a network professional’s job tasks. After July 31, candidates are required to take exams that cover implementing Cisco IP routing, implementing Cisco switched networks, and troubleshooting and maintaining Cisco IP networks. (More information about the changes is available at Cisco’s CCNP site).

Microsoft certifications

While salaries for the Cisco certifications held by this year’s survey respondents went down compared to 2009, the salaries for Microsoft certifications went up. We received responses from Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers (2010 salary of $86,454), Microsoft Certified IT Professionals ($82,044), Microsoft Certified System Administrators ($76,337), Microsoft Certified Professionals ($74,438), Microsoft Certified Technology Specialists – Windows Vista Configure ($71,786), and Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician ($70,197).

The Microsoft certification that saw the highest jump in salary was MCDST. (This is according to the salaries that were reported by Microsoft certification holders responding to the 2010 and 2009 surveys.). Desktop support consistently appears as one of the top three IT skills in demand by CIOs polled by Robert Half Technology in its quarterly surveys, which helps to explain the increase.

Microsoft encourages MCSA and MCSE certified folks to consider pursuing the MCDST certification if their current technical-support responsibilities include troubleshooting, customer service, hardware and software installation, or configuration and upgrades for Windows XP and Microsoft Office. “Adding the MCSDT certification to an MCSA or MCSE certification will broaden your support capabilities and enhance your employability,” according to Microsoft on its MCSDT Web site.

Microsoft is expected to release new certification over the next few months. According to a post on Microsoft’s Born to Learn blog, Microsoft is working on certifications for the following products: Small Business Server; Essential Business Server; Systems Center; SharePoint (both developer and ITPro); Communications Server; Visual Studios; Team Foundation Server; Forefront; Office; Project.

Where the Jobs Are

So what are the job prospects for certification holders? As we’ve discussed in previous newsletters, organizations want IT pros with a mix of business and technical skills. The soft economy has forced organizations to a step back and really examine their processes and question where and how they can be improved.

For experienced folks who want to fill niches and be able to command top dollar, getting certified with Six Sigma, ITIL, PMP and other business process improvement methodologies will help a greatdeal. If you are willing to travel the country as a consultant, that could be lucrative as long as there are few pros who can bridge the gap between Six Sigma and the other methodologies, says Matt Colarusso, branch manager of national at Sapphire Technologies. He adds that the healthcare and banking and finance industries are seeking folks with business analysis and projectmanagement skills.

For newbies wanting to enter IT via technical support, getting any of the Microsoft support certifications is worthwhile, notes Colarusso. For deeper dives into networking protocols, Cisco’s entry-level certifications are good career paths for newbies.

This article is taken from

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Get certified, get F.A.T

Posted by imateski on February 4, 2010

I have over a decade of freelance experience, worked also as a network admin’s assistant while taking my theology degree (yes, theology), and am now a IT production team leader. Yet I have no BS, no certs. HOWEVER I value both the university degree and the cert on anyone’s CV… but I nevertheless fired two electrical engineers who were tech writers for certification training materials because they behaved unprofessionally and had poor work ethics. The CompTIA A+ cert in this manner at least gives the ABCs of professional ethics. The bottom line (in my experience): you may be certified, and have your PhD in IT, HOWEVER… employers want to see that you’re not all certs and degrees, but you have some substance to your character.

All this to say that today, even if you do have all the credentials for a job, you may still not get it if you haven’t acquired the ABCs of team work and ethical behavior. Campus Crusade has a good acronym that describes good people: FAT (Faithful, available, teachable). With slight modifications of terms, and turning its focus from personal growth to a more tech oriented mindset, here’s what the acronym stands for:

– Make sure you come across as Faithful to the company (know the business benefits you bring to the company, think in ROI terms and competitive advantage),

– Convey a clear message that you’re Available for hire or trial period (if looking for a job). Be ready to throw in a challenge at the interview, something like “I am confident your company will greatly benefit from hiring me. You can have me work here for a few weeks at no charge, and see my qualities. I am sure you will want to keep me.” If you’re already employed, be the first to volunteer for a new project even if that may mean overtime and some studying. Companies hire by promoting from within. So when that job post you desire becomes vacant, make yourself the obvious choice.

– And lastly, be Teachable. Show a mindset of a lifetime learner. Show a clear understanding of teamwork and of corporate culture. And stress that you have your qualities, but you are there to strengthen the team, and learn to play according to their rules. Nobody wants a loose cannon, but everybody wants to work with people ready to step up, take a challenge, get the latest cert, or simply be an apprentice to your supervisor.

The guys I fired loved technology, but they werent FAT. They thought that as long as they get the job done they’ll be fine… well, today it’s all about teamwork, and if you’re not a team player somebody out there who is will get your spot.

Definitely get a degree, and get certified. But make sure you’re FAT: know the business benefits you bring, offer to work extra hours if need be for the new project, show a team spirit.

Being only tech savvy won’t cut it any more. We all need to be people savvy also. Get certified, get FAT.

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