How to Not Get an IT Job: 10 Tips: Page 3

Posted September 16, 2008

James Maguire

James Maguire

(Page 3 of 3)

7) Make a whole lot of noise about all your certifications.

IT certifications are often a valuable way to boost your attractiveness in the marketplace. Plenty of tech pros have a heaping handful of certs.

But going into an interview and loudly trumpeting your certs can send a red flag to a hiring rep.

“What that tells the manager is that you’re tying to impress him with all the certifications – and you really don’t have the skills,” Corcodilos says.

“What I find is that managers distinguish candidates one of two ways. One is the person how can really walk the walk – and they may or may not have certifications. But then there are the ones who lean so hard on the certifications, they’re compensating for the fact that they really don’t know how to use the technology.”

So yes, mention your certs. But making them the centerpiece of your sales pitch might help someone else get hired.

8) Don’t learn new skills – especially in the growing areas.

There are as many opinions about the future shape of the IT industry as there are players. Given the massive changes riling the market – as cloud computing emerges, as outsourcing continues – who’s to say exactly what the ideal IT career strategy is?

But a common belief among IT futurists is that tech professionals will need to wear a variety of hats. Versatility is essential. The highly specialized niche expert, of course, will likely never fade. But for many IT workers, having a broad basket of skills is probably the best way to avoid outsourced replacement.

As noted in How to Survive the Outsourcing Boom, the IT generalist is on the rise. An individual who knows not only technology but also business (again, business – it just won’t go away) will be in demand.

Also, keep on eye on emerging new technologies; here’s a guide to growing job areas, focusing on virtualization. And while you’re researching, take a glimpse at this list of current hot IT jobs, which notes that application developer, data modeler and IT auditor are desired skills.

9) Don’t live (or consider moving to) the best cities for IT job growth.

Which begs the question: what are the best cities for IT job growth? Well, that depends on how you define it.

If you’re talking of jobs, the leaders (in this order) are: 1) New York/New Jersey, 2) Washington DC/Baltimore, 3) Silicon Valley, 4) Boston, 5) Chicago, 6) Los Angeles, 7) Dallas, 8) Philadelphia, 9) Atlanta, 10) Seattle.

(Yes, there are more tech jobs in Washington/Baltimore than Silicon Valley – by a wide margin. And you thought you were cool because you pay $3,000 for a one-bedroom apartment in the Valley.)

But if you’re talking growth in jobs, the order is as follows (the accompanying number states year-to-date job growth vs. same period in 2007): 1) Hartford, CT (30%), 2) Cincinnati (28%), 3) Miami (23%), 4) Pittsburgh (22%), 5) Charlotte (21%), 6) Cleveland (14%), 7) Detroit (12%), 8) Minneapolis (12%), 9) Denver (9%), 10) Seattle (9%).

Of course some of these smaller locales are seeing high percentage growth because the base of IT jobs is small, so any increase gives a major percentage boost.

Note that Seattle is on both lists.

10) Bonus point for older workers: focus on age discrimination to the exclusion of all else.

In a tech landscape that changes faster than you can say Twitter, older workers need to make sure their outlook is as fresh as that perky 31-year-old’s. Or they at least need to fake it.

“If you go into an interview and you’re worried about being discriminated against because of your age, most managers can smell it,” Corcodilos says.

“They can tell you’re worried about being discriminated against. There are bigots out there who are going to discriminate against you, and you have to decide if you want to sue them or just walk away.

On the other hand, “there are managers who don’t have a problem with age – unless they can smell your concern about it. Then what they’re worried about it is, they’re going to hire somebody with attitude who’s always looking for age discrimination, and it’s going to distract them from their work.”

Bottom line: In the interview, focus on the company’s bottom line instead of your age, and it’ll help you as much as anything.

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Tags: programming, IT, servers, technology, jobs

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