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Jr. Member
Apr 20, 2011
101 posts
11 upvotes
Toronto

Career in IT

I just noticed that there is a general dislike regarding IT. I have seen comments like that its not reliable due to out-sourcing and it hits income-ceiling quiet quickly. As someone who is working in IT for quiet sometime, it was a shocking news for me. I wanted to discuss it here that why do you guys think like this. Compared to other careers options, what are their income-ceiling.

I agree their is a huge possibility of outsourcing a lot of stuff to 3rd world countries. But there are certain fields which would never do so. Healthcare & banks are couple of those examples.

So what do you guys say about it.
25 replies
Sr. Member
Jul 21, 2005
932 posts
200 upvotes
I have been in IT for a while myself, and while I don't think it's for everyone, I think it's a great field. Things that suck about IT is the fact that everything changes so fast so you got to constantly keep up and keep learning. I think that if you are ambitious, and like to learn, then IT is a good field. Obviously it sucks having to go out on a Sunday if stuff hits the fan, but that's pretty rare, or work evening outside of work hours sometimes to make changes, but like anything else, depends where you work, it either sucks a lot, or it's not so bad and you are given time off sometime else.

I like IT, been doing it for 11 years or so. I am on my 3rd IT job, and it's been pretty good in terms of compensation, can't really complain. If you are good, you get paid like you are good, if you suck, well then that's really your problem, that's my view of it.
Jr. Member
Jul 26, 2016
105 posts
33 upvotes
IT is a board field. Speaking only programming, it is absolutely true that things change fast and you need to keep up. The compensation is good, but most jobs are contract/project based now you need to keep looking for work. It is a sad life if you don't enjoy it.

I think if you can be an IT manager with the government or government funded organizations, that's another story. You pretty much look after an outdated system without the need to upgrade for 5 years, and most people at the office suck at IT and will ask you things like how to permanently delete an email or add a signature. Then that's good life.

Trust me I know because the non-profit I volunteered for had exactly a person like that, all I saw he did at his office was watch youtube music videos, which he lied to his boss that he was watching TED talks to update his IT skills. Life is beautiful if I could get his job, but I know he would never leave.
Deal Fanatic
May 29, 2006
8069 posts
1155 upvotes
the key is to finding a company that takes IT seriously, IT is the most critical component of companies that use technology, yet its viewed as an expense by those same companies and its one of the first areas of the business to be cut when times are tough.

that being said, I usually enjoy it, salary is pretty good
Deal Fanatic
Jan 27, 2006
6015 posts
1441 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
Income ceilings are really in areas of IT that are more commodity items - such as a basic level 1 help desk tech or a data centre tech. If you get into some of the more in demand areas (such as network security, AWS architect, or a BIG Data analysis... ) you'll find that while there might be an income ceiling, that ceiling is pretty darn high.
Newbie
Oct 20, 2015
19 posts
Toronto, ON
I heard that AWS is popular. But how do you become an AWS architect? Are these jobs mostly in the big cities?
Deal Addict
Jul 29, 2002
1931 posts
64 upvotes
rocking23nf wrote:
Jul 8th, 2017 12:37 am
the key is to finding a company that takes IT seriously, IT is the most critical component of companies that use technology, yet its viewed as an expense by those same companies and its one of the first areas of the business to be cut when times are tough.
...
I disagree. Don't rely on the company at all. Staffing for internal IT will only get smaller with cloud and/or MSSP taking over various functions.

It's better to manage your IT career like a consultant, even if you are working as a full-time employee.

It's my 12th year in IT and it's been great in terms pay, mobility, and work itself.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 27, 2006
6015 posts
1441 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
dangdwn wrote:
Jul 8th, 2017 5:42 am
I heard that AWS is popular. But how do you become an AWS architect? Are these jobs mostly in the big cities?
These are really early days for a 'certified' AWS architect so basically if you have any experience with setting up AWS, you may be able to hang out a shingle and say that you are an AWS architect. Realistically, for cloud type of work, you shouldn't need to be in any big cities... you just need a big pipe to your location.
Deal Addict
Mar 10, 2011
1955 posts
228 upvotes
Toronto
Have been in IT for 15+ years on the application side doing various roles including development, support and project management among others and still think it's a very good career choice. I have been outsourced before and that is always on the table, however many companies insource after trying it out and not being happy with the results.

The reality is all companies computerised their businesses decades ago and need to people to maintain, enhance or replace their systems employing hundreds of thousands of People in this country. Btw I have never heard of hitting income ceilings quickly and in any case, IT salary surveys show that IT pays very well.
Deal Addict
Jul 4, 2004
3473 posts
225 upvotes
Ottawa
I don't think IT is a bad career choice BUT, like anything else, you have to be interested in the work and enjoy it - if you don't I think it would be terrible. As others have said, IT is a very broad description so you need to narrow it down.

Income potential is good, especially early in the career when it's very good but I do think it is limited. Contracting is a bit different since rates can vary a lot but as an employee, I think the most you can expect to make might be $150k/year, $200k/year very tops and most senior positions are probably somewhere around $70k-$120k/year (depends a lot on what you are doing, where you are working, etc). Compare that to lawyers, accountants, doctors, dentist even engineers where $300k+/year is not that uncommon and top earners are making $500k-$1mil / year ...

I don't think outsourcing will go away but I also don't think it's going to make all the jobs go away either.

As far as constant training and upgrading your skills, I'd agree for the most part although it's possible to find something and stick with it for 30 years.
Newbie
Feb 19, 2017
60 posts
31 upvotes
michelb wrote:
Jul 17th, 2017 12:30 pm
I don't think IT is a bad career choice BUT, like anything else, you have to be interested in the work and enjoy it - if you don't I think it would be terrible. As others have said, IT is a very broad description so you need to narrow it down.

Income potential is good, especially early in the career when it's very good but I do think it is limited. Contracting is a bit different since rates can vary a lot but as an employee, I think the most you can expect to make might be $150k/year, $200k/year very tops and most senior positions are probably somewhere around $70k-$120k/year (depends a lot on what you are doing, where you are working, etc). Compare that to lawyers, accountants, doctors, dentist even engineers where $300k+/year is not that uncommon and top earners are making $500k-$1mil / year ...

I don't think outsourcing will go away but I also don't think it's going to make all the jobs go away either.

As far as constant training and upgrading your skills, I'd agree for the most part although it's possible to find something and stick with it for 30 years.
This is just completely wrong.

Google engineers start at ~$120-150K all-in first year out of school. It shoots up to $250K by your 5th-6th year.

Same with Amazon, Microsoft, and a ton of other tech companies.

If you're good, you will be paid better than most accountants, lawyers and doctors. Doctors go to school for an extra 8 years, racking up debt. Lawyers, an extra 4. It's really not even close.

The only common profession that makes more than tech is investment banking. And for that, you have to work 80-100 hours a week for 3-4 years, effectively making your hourly wage about $15/hour.
Member
Oct 6, 2015
468 posts
235 upvotes
Walch1102 wrote:
Jul 20th, 2017 2:31 am
Google engineers start at ~$120-150K all-in first year out of school. It shoots up to $250K by your 5th-6th year.
Same with Amazon, Microsoft, and a ton of other tech companies.
No, that's an exaggeration. They start closer to $100k, and basically top out at 150k for a long time unless they're made a manager. Obviously not everyone can be a manager. So a lot don't go anywhere and can end up making still $130-$140k at Google after a decade. $250k isn't supported by any salary survey, Glassdoor, etc., out there whatsoever.*

Remember that outfits like Google, Microsoft, etc. receive literally hundreds of applications per position. So its heavily a matter of luck to even get into those companies. Amazon is notorious for capping salaries at $150k even for managers, and paying anything above that in stock.

If you're good, but not lucky, it can be a world of hurt. When a firm receives a thousand resumes for a single position, there's not someone there who actually has the time to go through the applications and pick out the best. Most of the applications get tossed in the garbage.

Salaries at those places are also heavily skewed because they operate in some of the most expensive places on the planet in which to live. $130k (ie: typical Google non-managerial engineering salary) might seem like a lot, but its not really in the SFBay area where rent can run $4k/month for a decently appointed 2-bedroom.

So IT is really hit and miss. You can graduate at the top of your class, and get really lucky and get into one of those companies. Or you can graduate at the top of your class, be unlucky, and wait for years to find much of anything because the employers consider you overqualified. And if you have to leave those big companies, because of a downsizing or something for whatever reason, finding employment elsewhere is often extremely difficult as smaller firms might feel they can't compete with that kind of money. Similar to how ex-Nortel people faced extreme difficulties finding re-employment because they were *highly* paid employees at Nortel and most smaller business was reluctant to hire.

Having said that, Canada has a horrifically bad problem with IT underemployment as well. Even IT manager positions in small-towns in the middle of nowhere are receiving 50-100 applications from highly qualified people.

* https://www.glassdoor.ca/Salary/Google- ... ,9_IN1.htm

(note: 10:1 ratio between software engineers and senior software engineers!!)
Newbie
Feb 19, 2017
60 posts
31 upvotes
Please learn to read. I said 120-150K ALL-IN.
Why would I care whether comp is in cash or stock. Almost all the large tech companies will adjust stock grants to make up for any dip in stock price.
And progression to 250K is pretty standard for most software development engineers starting their career at one of the large tech companies.

Average for SWE III is $203K. This number is low because people are stupid and often only report base (348 salaries, only 244 reported stock when in truth, every single software engineer employee at Google gets stock without exception). Also, dated salaries reported to glassdoor drags down the average.
https://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/Google ... KO7,28.htm

I work at one of these companies so I'm pretty sure I know a heck of a lot more than you.

It has almost nothing to do with luck. The good ones almost always eventually make it in.
There are many who THINK they're good, but suck in reality. That's another issue altogether.
Sr. Member
Aug 16, 2008
702 posts
97 upvotes
Markham
hyph3n wrote:
Jul 7th, 2017 11:57 am
I just noticed that there is a general dislike regarding IT. I have seen comments like that its not reliable due to out-sourcing and it hits income-ceiling quiet quickly. As someone who is working in IT for quiet sometime, it was a shocking news for me. I wanted to discuss it here that why do you guys think like this. Compared to other careers options, what are their income-ceiling.

I agree their is a huge possibility of outsourcing a lot of stuff to 3rd world countries. But there are certain fields which would never do so. Healthcare & banks are couple of those examples.

So what do you guys say about it.
The IT salary ceiling stems from the abundance of commodity jobs in the field, and the vast majority of outsiders looking in paint the industry either black or white, and usually its black.

Do you make business influential or pivoting decisions or are you behind a help desk?
Are you revenue generating, or are you supporting legacy products or services?

You're a software developer....of what exactly? Are you influencing the direction the next big data product is heading, or are you merely the guy who writes documentation for it. There are huge differences between IT roles.

Essentially, YMMV.

The one's that don't do it for the money are generally the one's with the big salaries. But if you're idea of being an IT professional is tied to being a code jockey or database administrator, then yes - there is a very definitive salary ceiling.

And tbh, that figure for google, 250k sounds a little low nowadays.
Deal Addict
Jul 4, 2004
3473 posts
225 upvotes
Ottawa
Walch1102 wrote:
Jul 20th, 2017 2:31 am

This is just completely wrong.

Google engineers start at ~$120-150K all-in first year out of school. It shoots up to $250K by your 5th-6th year.

Same with Amazon, Microsoft, and a ton of other tech companies.

...
Walch1102, I hope you are right but that's a lot more than I've heard (although in all honesty, I was just thinking of salary, not bonus). The glassdoor link you provided shows $175k avg including bonus ($137k + bonus) which isn't too far from the estimates of up to $150k for a top company.

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