If you're in IT and you're still employed, here's a tip on what you can do to improve your chances of keeping it that way: Make yourself indispensible by learning how to do as many different jobs as you possibly can.
10 Certifications That Get You Hired
This top 10 list reflects the number of times certs were mentioned in job openings posted at Dice.com as of April 1.
This morning I happened to be in an office building in Marlboro, Mass., that houses the local unemployment office. Standing in line well before the office even opened were four people who were chatting and who seemed to know each other from previous occasions standing in the same line. Of the four, two were in IT, and one was laid off from an operations job with an IT vendor.
A middle-aged man whose comments indicated he's a database administrator was the most vocal person in the group, and seemed to be the most frustrated.
The others nodded in agreement, including a woman who said she'd been laid off from Hewlett-Packard, where she had a job in operations supporting the marketing team. This woman mentioned the layoff announced on June 1 of another 9,000 people from HP. "They're mostly IT, she said," apparently referring to the fact that HP's announcement stressed that the company is moving to fully automate its data centers.
The database admin continued to voice his frustration. "What I'm finding is even with follow-ups, you don't get a hell of a lot of response," he said. "You have a good in-person interview, then it's almost like you dropped off a damn cliff."
The fourth person, who said he's not in IT, could still identify with what the database admin was saying. "Then you see the same ad a month or two later," he said. "You call them up and get a recording, but you never hear anything back."
The discussion underscored a point that was made by an IT director I interviewed earlier this year. In my post, "Is There an IT Skills Shortage in the U.S.? Well, Yes and No," I wrote about having posed the skills shortage question to David D'Agostino, IT director at Advanced Technology Systems Corp. in McLean, Va. D'Agostino said the shortage is in people with multiple skills:
I'm not sure there's a skills shortage, per se. In my position, running a relatively small department, and having a fairly sophisticated infrastructure-a Cisco phone system, EMC, VMware for all our machines-I think there's a shortage of combined skills. I've got one guy, my network manager, who has certifications in VMware and EMC storage; he knows enough about Cisco to get everything done that we need to get done. If he left, it would be hard for me to find somebody like that-it would be hard to replace him.
That fact would have been lost on no one in that early morning line. You can bet that many of them are taking training courses, trying to make themselves as versatile as possible. And they would no doubt advise anyone who still has his job to do the same thing. Great advice from the trenches on the front-the front of the unemployment line.