Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Who Wants to be a Techie?

Remember the days when the computer technician worked almost around the clock to keep the system up and running, or develop that new program that would save the company? It would appear that the classic techie image is not what one might imagine. Several studies have been conducted recently and the world of IT employees has changed dramatically over the last decade.

     Recent industry figures indicate that 420,000 Canadians are employed in technology, nearly half of them in Ontario. The tech personnel divide into two basic categories – development and support. The development professionals, who comprise a small percentage of the field, do work incredibly long hours in order to perfect their products and get them out in the market as soon as possible. Product competition is fierce and time is of the essence. Most techies, though, work in support positions and the vast majority is employed at non-tech companies. Studies show that most of these techies work, at most, a 40 hour work week and barely 10% of them work overtime hours. No more is required. A company's IT department is no longer the mysterious room hidden in the sub-basement of the building. It is a regular functioning department of most companies, solving problems and providing services, as do other departments.

     As companies continually seek the youngest and brightest stars of the IT world, the question arises as to aging employees. A young employee may be computer savvy but lacks the management skills to run a department or complex system. Most IT managers come from within the ranks of the tech staff. In fact, most overtime hours are logged by older IT management staff. Generally, they help out on the technical side by day and complete their administrative tasks after hours. The higher you go, the harder you work. A far cry from days gone by when everyone went home after dark.

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