Thursday 28 May 2009

Great. Another 850 IT talents on the local market then.

As if the Central Belt of Scotland region needs another 850 IT people on the streets, driving ever more taxis. When I get in a taxi to the airport up here, one of the first things a driver will ask is "on business or pleasure?" and then they will ask "so what is it you do?". Clearly, I am usually flying for business (flying is no pleasure!) and "I am an IT consultant". The next thing they say is some variant of "Oh. Every second person I pick up is an IT Consultant." And sadly, its probably true!

I.T. -- could it be the Noughties version of 70's/80's ship building and general heavy industry? Everyone and his dog "got into computers" over the last decade or so, because this was where the money was. You could pay a couple of grand to a training company, go to a "boot camp" for a couple of weeks, and come out with a shiny certificate, stating that you are now a "Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer" (MCSE). You are now free to go out and inflict your complete lack of experience on any willing employer, who has to assume that all IT people are as useless as you are.

At first the techiques and tools and just plain cost of capital to get setup in the IT industry were high, so only in "rich" countries like the UK can such an industry take off.

Then, over time, the capital costs come down and the skills become generally available and commoditised. New companies spring up in cheaper locations, with workers prepared to perform the same functions for half the price, or less.

This process necessarily leaves a trail of destruction in its wake.

I wonder what the next decade's must-join industry will be; so this time I can make sure I am far enough away from it to miss the fallout.

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