SURVIVAL STRATEGIES FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF AN INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT
“A wise man takes his own counsel.” —Unknown
Every day, it seems another story appears in the trade press about an American or European company transferring IT jobs to foreign countries. Is this a fad? Is this an unstoppable trend that will have serious long-term implications for the worldwide IT industry? What can an American, U.K., or European citizen who makes his living in the IT industry do to remain employed, continue to be productive, and still face all of the daily workplace challenges?
Options such as moving into management, taking a leading role in a new technology project, and procuring an ensured on-site job are certainly valid approaches to take. However, purely on the numbers, these options will leave many people shut out.
There are only so many management jobs, and the people who currently hold such jobs are simply not going to walk away from their positions.
Leading a new technology project is all well and good, but which new technology do you pick? In the last 10 years, there has been an ebb and flow of panacea-like software paradigms. Each one was going to change the world as we know it. Unfortunately, many are already in the historical ash heap.
No, to survive in the IT business today, new approaches must be taken.
Have you ever considered the work that you do to be a “marketable commodity,” like soybeans or wheat? You should because this is an emerging concept among many business people regarding fundamental IT skills in a global economy.
Exactly how do you sell your skills to the highest bidder? With great difficulty, I’m afraid.
The effect of the latest headlong rush into offshore outsourcing, coupled with the extreme economic slump, has had a serious impact upon the ability to sell top-quality IT skills. The entire professional IT services arena is no longer about the basic dynamic of selling the highest quality skills for the lowest possible billing rate. It has shifted to be a market that is purely driven by the hourly billing rate. There is no way that an onshore, American IT contractor can compete with offshore organizations on price alone.