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Thread: Is there really an IT skills shortage?

  1. #1

    Cool Is there really an IT skills shortage?

    Hi, read this article off my blog - my view on the perceived skills shortage we have in S.A!

    http://www.mydigitallife.co.za/index...IKEN&Itemid=29


  2. #2

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    As a person who sits on interviews when hiring, there are a few holes in your argument. If a company needs a person, it's to fulfill a role/position now, not a year down the line. Most SME's cannot afford to have the whole junior/skilled/senior hierarchy as it is unsustainable to their business model.

    My personal view and what I look for when sitting in is the following:

    1. Skill Sets
    2. Experience
    3. Attitude
    4. Aptitude
    5. Learning ability


    and not necessarily in that order. I would take someone who is more experienced with many skills but say maybe doesn't have a specific skill eg: A forms developer vs a asp developer, or someone with high database experience but low dev experience. Skill sets are important but for a person looking for work, especially someone fresh out of training, the chances are your skill sets are not fully going to conform to the companies requirements anyway.

    Attitude: Someone who does not want to actually do the type of work , is a definite no no. I've had candidates come in, only to have them in the interview say that they are "just doing it in the meanwhile". Sorry, not looking for a part-timer but preferably someone who has a passion and enjoys what they are meant to be doing.

    Aptitude and Learning Ability go hand in hand. If a person has a natural aptitude to problem solving, that innate skill of tackling issues and problems, whether they be code, database or hardware related, is extremely important. Without it, the chances of someone succeeding in IT are unlikely. Learning Ability is the means by which you apply that aptitude to whatever technology you are working with. Just because you don't know something, doesn't mean you can't do it. Learn, investigate, never stagnate.

    So sadly yes, there is a IT skill shortage, on all plains be it skill or aptitude. The good ones are snapped up or held onto, the young have to survive to learn and try and find a home that can afford and take the time to train them. Skill shortage in business is not just skill sets, it is the position and all it encompasses that is not readily available. Business cannot afford to educate skilled individuals. That is why a lot of programs are springing up where business and the tertiary institutions are working together, to give young people that chance. And if you can't find it, never stop looking and don't be afraid to start your own.

    Me 2c :P
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  3. #3

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    Honestly I agree. I know many guys with IT skills who sit at home. ( I mean running a business from home due to the low salaries paid. )

    Sure there may be specific shortages but like you said the requirements the companys put out there are sometimes just crazy.

    I seem to remember seeing an ad a week ago, the company wanted a bachleors D starting salary 8k..... , Or others that offer 4k for mcse. Are you kidding me? If the companys would just be realistic im sure they would find there are actually skills out there. Dont be surprised if your underpaying job ad didnt get any replies by the people with real skills.

    Its not that difficult for someone with real skills to make 4-8k from home, thats seriously easy.
    Last edited by fonoi; 10-03-2010 at 02:54 PM. Reason: Clarity

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kosmik View Post

    So sadly yes, there is a IT skill shortage, on all plains be it skill or aptitude. The good ones are snapped up or held onto, the young have to survive to learn and try and find a home that can afford and take the time to train them. Skill shortage in business is not just skill sets, it is the position and all it encompasses that is not readily available. Business cannot afford to educate skilled individuals. That is why a lot of programs are springing up where business and the tertiary institutions are working together, to give young people that chance. And if you can't find it, never stop looking and don't be afraid to start your own.

    Me 2c :P
    Like I said its less of a skills shortage and more of the employers who lack general flexability. Most companys who advertise in the media seem to want a complete skillset that requires years of intense study and pay peanuts for this. Of course you are going to fail.

  5. #5

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    I agree with the OP in some ways. If, as an IT company, you cant find a candidate with specific skills, dont you think you should start looking for someone with the right aptitude/attitude/mindset and train them up? Obviously there are cases where the budget just does not allow for this, in which case, you had better be prepared to spend top dollar to get someone good (but at least they wont need 1-2 years of training). You dont have much choice - either pay the money for the right candidate, or take the longer route.

    Small companies, however, can definitely not afford to hire graduates. Larger ones can cushion the blow.

    I also think that, quite often, recruitment agents themselves act as a barrier to helping good IT candidates get jobs. They lack knowledge of the industry that we work on, but make decisions that affect whether you get a job. I've had agents turn me down because I havent been doing the exact same thing for the past 3 years (ie, I have worked in ASP, ASP.Net, sql server, C++ etc in the past 3 years), but when another agent puts me through to the company, most of the time I get offered. When I was looking for a job in January, agents either did not bother to respond or said they didnt think I had the experience, then one agent pulls his finger out of his butt, gets me 7 interviews in 2 weeks, 3 of which offered me a job (1 on the spot). That was one of the few agents that understood the industry.

    Here are two very good articles on recruitment in IT:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/ericlippert/ar...ng-talent.aspx
    and
    http://blogs.msdn.com/ericlippert/ar...ummarized.aspx

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kosmik View Post
    Attitude: Someone who does not want to actually do the type of work , is a definite no no. I've had candidates come in, only to have them in the interview say that they are "just doing it in the meanwhile". Sorry, not looking for a part-timer but preferably someone who has a passion and enjoys what they are meant to be doing.
    From the other side of the fence, I've been to a few interviews for a particular position and they seem extremely perturbed that I don't see myself doing exactly the same thing in 10 years time. I get "bored" easily so prefer things to always be changing etc. My knowledge-base is also very broad so I can do a lot of things. I enjoy the work I do now because it's project based and while there are quite a few common aspects, generally each project/client is very different so it keeps me somewhat amused...

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by fonoi View Post
    Like I said its less of a skills shortage and more of the employers who lack general flexability. Most companys who advertise in the media seem to want a complete skillset that requires years of intense study and pay peanuts for this. Of course you are going to fail.
    Understand that is what their business model requires. They either will have to adjust the model, which to SME's is not that easy or keep going and wait for someone desperate enough for the role. By the same token , that is also what fuels the drain of skill in the country as why work here when you can get paid better elsewhere especially when your young and unattached. If business has to train people, then yes we have a skills shortage. Whether its skills learnt or skills gained from experience is just semantics.
    Last edited by Kosmik; 10-03-2010 at 03:04 PM.
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  8. #8

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    I totally agree with Kosmik +1

    You will see that the highly skilled IT ppl, which there are not many of, are picked up by big companies and are held there, even should those skilled ppl move, they will find work easy 1..2..3..

    Yes you have small companies saying 5k per month you need MCSE,VCP,APS,N+ CCNA...bla bla bla,

    but they need an all rounder.

    Lets say you are like me a VMWARE Expert, you have a specific skill and you get paid a big salary for, because your skill is scarce, whereas the all rounders don't specialize in a specific skill set so they are available by the thousands.

    So what they mean is that IT ppl with a specific skill set and years of expertise behind their name, is scarce.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ancalagon View Post
    I also think that, quite often, recruitment agents themselves act as a barrier to helping good IT candidates get jobs. They lack knowledge of the industry that we work on, but make decisions that affect whether you get a job. I've had agents turn me down because I havent been doing the exact same thing for the past 3 years (ie, I have worked in ASP, ASP.Net, sql server, C++ etc in the past 3 years), but when another agent puts me through to the company, most of the time I get offered. When I was looking for a job in January, agents either did not bother to respond or said they didnt think I had the experience, then one agent pulls his finger out of his butt, gets me 7 interviews in 2 weeks, 3 of which offered me a job (1 on the spot). That was one of the few agents that understood the industry.
    Agree. Most recruiters suck...

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by rorz0r View Post
    From the other side of the fence, I've been to a few interviews for a particular position and they seem extremely perturbed that I don't see myself doing exactly the same thing in 10 years time. I get "bored" easily so prefer things to always be changing etc. My knowledge-base is also very broad so I can do a lot of things. I enjoy the work I do now because it's project based and while there are quite a few common aspects, generally each project/client is very different so it keeps me somewhat amused...
    Normally in a interview we pop the standard question, "So where do you see yourself 5/10 years from now". I wouldn't expect someone to be in the same position at all. I'd expect that person to have gained and moved forward in position and financially while remaining in the field, not necessarily doing the same thing ( God forbid , I've heard of companies where they stick you doing something and say,"right, thats your job for as long as you work here") but generally in the same field and what you would perceive as the milestones in achieving this goal.
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCause View Post
    Lets say you are like me a VMWARE Expert, you have a specific skill and you get paid a big salary for, because your skill is scarce, whereas the all rounders don't specialize in a specific skill set so they are available by the thousands.

    So what they mean is that IT ppl with a specific skill set and years of expertise behind their name, is scarce.

    True, I am an "all rounder". As you say places are looking for a "VMWARE expert", and when I tell them in 10 years time I don't want to be doing vmware they say "ok bye". I could probably just lie and saying "vmware is the bestest! im going to configure virtual servers forever!!!" but couldn't bring myself to even say that...

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by rorz0r View Post
    Agree. Most recruiters suck...
    Yeah I have had major issues with recruiters lately just rejecting my CV without any explanation of why I wasn't suited for the role.

    I have been in IT since 98, worked as a Cisco Engineer for 4 years, then did firewalls and desktop/server security and now I'm on the Microsoft track because after the Cisco stint I struggled to find work in that particular field. I work for myself doing various odd jobs and contracts. I still would like to work for one of the top 10 corporates at some point. There are good companies out there who will pay well and invest in you, and then there are tons of crappy companies who will pay you as little as possible and refuse to train you up because they are scared you will go somewhere else.

    I will give myself until the end of the year to find something good in Cape Town, after that it's KZN/JHB or the UK.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by rorz0r View Post
    From the other side of the fence, I've been to a few interviews for a particular position and they seem extremely perturbed that I don't see myself doing exactly the same thing in 10 years time. I get "bored" easily so prefer things to always be changing etc. My knowledge-base is also very broad so I can do a lot of things. I enjoy the work I do now because it's project based and while there are quite a few common aspects, generally each project/client is very different so it keeps me somewhat amused...

    I had an interview a few months back for a really interesting company, but the reason for not hiring me was because I didn't ooze some kind of superficial happy slappy BS. It actually made me sick that they wanted someone who would lick their balls and love it.

    I also get bored , as do most I'm sure.... so I would prefer to work for a company that is involved in outsourcing or contracting... keeps the work interesting and varied.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by rorz0r View Post
    but couldn't bring myself to even say that...
    heh - glad there are still some people out there with principles.
    Think twice, speak once.
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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cube3 View Post
    I didn't ooze some kind of superficial happy slappy BS. It actually made me sick that they wanted someone who would lick their balls and love it
    Hahaha. Most of my coworkers actually bitch and moan a lot about our company but I'm actually not unhappy. However recently it seems that maybe I could be a lot happier elsewhere... (mainly looking at those "top 10" sort of companies).

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