IT job satisfaction

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sunnyday
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IT job satisfaction

Post by sunnyday »

If you work/worked in the IT field, how satisfied are you with your job and what is your education and experience? Do you get excited about your work or do you dread Mondays?

I have a degree in Computer Engineering from a very good university and have 10 years of experience as a web applications / database developer. I enjoy the field and feel it's a great fit for me.

My current job has some great benefits -- job security, decent pay, great work life balance. It also has some downsides -- I've reached a bit of a ceiling (I work mostly with non-tech people), it's not a very motivating environment and there are some major politics.

On a scale of 1 to 5 my overall satisfaction level goes between a 2 and 4. I feel fortunate to have my job yet don't want to become complacent.
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leonidas
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by leonidas »

I have been in the IT field for about 18 years. I have a bs in finance and an mba in management. Started off as a cobol programmer for 5 years before I learned java. Now I basically manage a team of 6 developers. Up until 2009 things were great. Since then the work is more intense with tighter deadlines and more stress. Not to mention no promotions in 7 years and no raises in three. I know so many people just waiting to jump ship but their skills don't always match the opportunities available. As for me, I sometimes feel that I am just counting down to retirement. My work performance reviews have been stellar so not sure why I am stagnant but I don't let it affect my work. Either way still blessed in what I have. My rating would be 3 of 5 stars.
ChampagneOfBeers
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by ChampagneOfBeers »

I’ve been involved with IT since the early 90s. Right now my job satisfaction is five stars. Took years to get there.

I’ve moved around a lot and worked many, many different jobs with many different managers. I think the answer depends on the person, and the accepted risk/ability to move around to understand what you want out of the IT field. Right now people don’t understandably want to move around and take risks, there are less and less startup companies also to take that risk at. You have to be working for the right management first and foremost; management willing to take risks to develop a new system; and the IT staff has to be told that it is ok to try new ideas that are sound, even if they don’t work out. That is the challenge, to find environments where this is fostered. Luckily I have one. The biggest part I’ve found is if you have a great manager stick with them the best you can.
It sounds like you need to find a herd of like-minded people that are also primarily technical and not business-folk. I agree business and IT need to be kept separate; it is an art to be a business person who works in IT, I have an MBA but work in IT; most IT Developers either can’t or won’t talk with customers in my environment, amazingly. While it is very important for IT staff to understand and support the business requirements of the process; I agree if there is too much business in the IT side then the politics can be stifling. A lot of politics in IT I think has to do with business folks not really, really understanding the system and are afraid to adjust the system and innovate. Add the offshore component to this and things can get very bogged down. Not sure what the answer to this one is by the way; at all.

The biggest change for me in IT is the early 90s was a direct development/support model; there was no formal life cycle, a system build was attempted, processes tried and failed, but there was an iterative/reactive development lifecycle. It was very rewarding to see systems/processes develop from nothing into operation. But we also owned the system it seemed (because there was very little industry standardization on end support; many customized applications).
Now is the 2000s it seems that a lot of the earlier 1990s philosophy of “hey make a nifty new technology work…wow; hey looked it worked!”…this is no longer the case…it is difficult more to find an environment where there is an accepted level of risk taking with new technologies, and that environment is flexible enough to retain/promote the interest of those on a technical career path.

Good Luck!
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Gray
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by Gray »

The grass is always greener...

Develop a career plan for where you want to be in 5-10 years. Understand the skills you need to have to get there. Keep up the training, participate in and lead projects, develop and manage contracts, and network.

Ultimately, IT is a commodity service, so if you want to move up, you need to make yourself invaluable to the business you support. Learning how to interact with and support your executive clients may open doors.

Many techies view themselves as indispensible, hoard access/knowledge/roles, and try to operate as a "black box" to the business, but those days are done. I work to break down those walls and silos.

Having good and supportive management is so important. After a management shuffle that bestowed a petty supervisor on me, I left a 7 year position in 2007 (that I had outgrown anyway), went to work for a larger organization that had inept senior management but good training, I took the training and left after 2.5 years for a promotion. I've led several projects and contracts, and have recently (without a pay increase) become responsile for natiowide enterprise engineering which focuses on infrastructure. I'm doing this with (my own) expectation that I'll be leaving for another organization in 2-4 years for a promotion. I like this organization, but unless someone kicks the bucket, opportunities to move up are limited.

Change is good, but you have to make it work for you by linking it with a career strategy.
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sunnyday
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by sunnyday »

Gray wrote:The grass is always greener...
Yep, that's precisely why I started the thread. To help myself and others see over the fence.
Gray wrote: Having good and supportive management is so important. After a management shuffle that bestowed a petty supervisor on me, I left a 7 year position in 2007 (that I had outgrown anyway), went to work for a larger organization that had inept senior management but good training, I took the training and left after 2.5 years for a promotion.
I'm going through a similar experience. I really liked my former manager but he left a few years ago. Things have gone downhill since in terms of leadership and the overall business direction. Taking advantage of any training makes complete sense.
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ElJay
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by ElJay »

I have a BS degree in comp sci and about 8 years in software development. I've held three jobs over this period. After an 18 month or so honeymoon period where I think everything is just great, satisfaction level can easily oscillate between 1 and 4 in a single week. No matter what I do and how good my performance reviews are, external forces conspire to make the job more dreadful than it has to be. Management seems to constantly change no matter how big or small the company is, and nobody is interested in any continuity. It's always about trying to shake up and fix stuff that's not broken. I'm not surprised to hear in this thread that others have the same problem.

On a day to day basis, my biggest challenge to satisfaction as a developer is trying to understand vague or incomplete requirements and specifications; business users don't know what they want and our analysts who are supposed to figure it out too often do not. Of course when stuff comes in late and/or wrong, it's blamed on development even though we weren't accurately told what to implement in the first place.

I keep searching for that great idea which will allow me to be my own management. I don't want to think about working for other people for the next 20-30 years... With opportunities like Amazon web services it feels like anybody can launch the next big thing by investing not much more than time into an idea.
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interplanetjanet
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by interplanetjanet »

sunnyday wrote:If you work/worked in the IT field, how satisfied are you with your job and what is your education and experience? Do you get excited about your work or do you dread Mondays?
Keep in mind that "IT" encompasses a huge range, there are many, many different niches.

I've worked in the field for about 20 years now. Education...well, my formal education was a few years towards a physics degree with some engineering & CS classes sprinkled in. I think that a lifelong interest in science and my education helped me to develop problem solving rigor, but it didn't really do anything for my technical skills - those were all acquired either through self education or work "in the trenches".

Over the years I did mainframe software dev, Unix system administration, used some AI algorithms I co-developed to start an internet startup in the late '90s that had great technology but just couldn't stay afloat when things got bad in 2001, taught grad school (briefly), did more systems administration, and currently do large-scale "IT architecture", whatever that means. What has helped me more than anything else has been problem solving skills, patience, good communication skills, and yet more patience. Don't underestimate the usefulness of communication, though, a considerable portion of my job involves working with relatively nontechnical (though very sharp) stakeholders who use my evaluation of a situation in order to make high level decisions. I still get my feet amply wet, though, one of my favorite activities is postmortem OS kernel dump analysis.

I really do love what I do, most of the time - I get to design and maintain system infrastructure that is used by a large number of people, and have a relatively free hand in doing so - this is the best part. A good IT job, in my experience, generally comes about when a good manager knows how involved to be and can engage or disengage more as the moment decrees.

The bad side? The more useful you are, the better you are at what you do, the more you become a "go to" person. On some level this is wonderful, on another, it can create a situation where you can be swamped by requests or projects. You really do have to learn how to create the space you need in order to succeed at what's important. Many times I've had to say that I would love to work on a project, but I can't overcommit myself, and I have to either offload some existing work I'm doing or get agreement that existing dates can slide.

Depending on what portion of IT you are interested in, there can be a fair amount of firefighting when things go wrong. I actually love the firefighting part of it, it's marvelously focusing, but it's important to realize that when things go wrong badly enough to require it there has usually been at least some sort of a breakdown in what should have been monitored/planned for. That said, sometimes you have to be a Winston Wolf.

It's a fairly male dominated field, but that's probably not much different than the one you're in now. I think that as a woman, I've had to work a little harder to prove myself initially, but people who live and breathe technology are pretty good are realizing when someone else is effective and that early phase has generally passed quickly.

-janet
Mudpuppy
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by Mudpuppy »

You need to ask yourself what is making your satisfaction decrease. My job satisfaction in an IT field has been low lately, but I know exactly why that is and it has nothing to do with the work. The main aggravation lately has been a new hire who is being quite stubborn and not listening when being told he's about to violate rules and regulations. His tirades and non-compliance has made that particular project a major pain lately, but luckily it's not my only project. I have put measures in place to protect myself from any liability he might cause with non-compliance and have moved on to other work on that project (and my other projects).

I would guess from the wording of your post that it's more the people and environment ("not a very motivating environment" with "major politics") than the work ("I enjoy the field and feel it's a great fit for me") that is bringing you down. If that's the case, you need to evaluate if this is a permanent atmosphere or a temporary disruption. If it is a permanent atmosphere, you might want to seek a different job just to get a different group of people. Maybe even a different division within the same employer would be all you need to get a more encouraging work environment. If it's a temporary issue, you might just need to ride it out (unless you can find a better job opportunity elsewhere).
skyvue
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by skyvue »

I have a degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering. The first 5 years of my career I was more of an Industrial Engineer but the last 15 have been in IT. I am currently a Senior IT manager at a Fortune 500 company with 85 developers/analysts reporting up through me. My role is to develop and maintain all the systems for our plants, warehousese and supply chain in North America. At this point, I am more "business" than IT. My value to the company is I understand manufacturing and distribution but have also been a developer.

I would rate my current job satisfaction a 2 right now. I only have one promotion left which would be to have my bosses job. I have reported to him for the last 7 years and he plans to work another 3-5 years. Salary and position are stagnant which leads to a source of frustration but I am more unhappy with the general corporate america culture than I am my particular company or position. I think a lot about what value I add to "society" on a daily basis and it is basically none! If my group does well, we make product cheaper and thus increase the profit margins for the company. This makes the top 50 execs at our company extremely wealthy but thats about it. I feel like a well paid slave to their "game".

My plans are to work about 6 more years and leave at age 50. If the markets do well I may not have to work anymore after that. If they don't then I will find a part time gig doing something that will be more enjoyable.
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HomerJ
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by HomerJ »

skyvue wrote:If my group does well, we make product cheaper and thus increase the profit margins for the company. This makes the top 50 execs at our company extremely wealthy but thats about it. I feel like a well paid slave to their "game".
There is something seriously broken with corporate America. All workers in a company contribute to its success, and all workers should share in the rewards.
JeffX
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by JeffX »

sunnyday wrote:If you work/worked in the IT field, how satisfied are you with your job and what is your education and experience? Do you get excited about your work or do you dread Mondays?
I have been in IT for 12 years now. I have a B.B.A and M.S. in Information Assurance. I have about 15 professional certifications. I have moved up the ladder from Helpdesk/Tech > Network Admin > Network Engineer > Security Engineer > Information Security

The IT Field is great and one of the nice things about it is there is jobs everywhere, as every company needs IT. Also, great pay sometimes.

One of the negatives I tend to think is that Information Security is so demanding as far as keeping up with the latest in technology and vulnerabilities. I find myself studying, learning, reading, hacking, etc atleast 2-3 hours a night outside of normal work. Information Security requires you to love what you do, or else you will fail.

Another negative I don't like is job hopping. In my 12 years I have worked for 6 different companies. WHY you may ask? Because employers can't keep up with your pay in this industry if you continue to grow and learn outside of work. I typically will shoot for 15-25k raises per job change. I have seen yearly raises go from 2-6%. Sometimes I would need to stay at a position for 5-10 years before I would make the pay if I were to job hop. I know this doesn't look too great on a resume, but employers need to understand what a person is worth, and if your underpaying your employees, then they will leave.

Finally, I have had issues with management in the last few jobs. For one position, it was a family run business and the owner brought in most of their family to run the company. They had no management skills, or understanding of the business. You can guess how well that went:) . The next was another family member of the CEO who had no clue about networking, yet was the network manager. Go figure.

I would rate my current job 3/5 only because of new management. My previous manager made my job a 5/5
KyleAAA
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by KyleAAA »

At my current job, 4.5. At my last job, 2. The particular company makes all the difference in the world. I don't know if I'm actually EXCITED about going to work every Monday, but neither do I dread it.

BS in CS
8 years experience
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magellan
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by magellan »

I studied CS and Economics as an undergrad and later got an MBA. I spent the first half of my career doing firmware development and the second half in management. I've been mostly retired for several years now, but hopefully can still offer a few relevant comments.

First, I agree with previous comments that your manager and your company's management matters a ton. While you don't want to be reactionary and looking for work just because of a bad week or two, in general, EMPLOYEES GET NOTHING FOR PUTTING UP WITH BAD MANAGEMENT. Sure, there are times when sticking with a loser company can result in an unexpected windfall, but more likely, you'll have better career prospects at a firm that's doing well and growing as compared to one that's struggling, especially if you're a go-getter. That doesn't mean you need to quit a job you love to work at facebook or the latest fad startup, but you should keep an eye on major trends and try to keep yourself in a part of the industry that's growing rather than shrinking.

Another important factor in job satisfaction is getting the stress level right. You have to figure out what stress or excitement level works best for you and try to find or craft a job that matches that. This is partly dependent on corporate culture, but can also vary widely within a company. For me, job stress was highly connected with the amount of time I spent each day doing things that I planned to do, vs the amount of time I spent dealing with surprises or emergencies. I did well with about 3-4 days of relative calm for every 1-2 days of harried or interrupt driven work. The occasional emergency trip to Europe was workable, and maybe even fun, but just not too often. OTOH, I got bored easily during long periods of calm when nothing exciting was going on except for the day in and day out. The same can be true for stress around deliverables. This is another area where company culture, and even subcultures within a company, can be all over the map. What seems exciting and dynamic to one person might be far too crazed and risky for another. You don't want to be the one person that likes calm and predictable in an organization of daredevils and risk-takers, or the reverse.

Jim
Last edited by magellan on Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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FelixTheCat
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by FelixTheCat »

I've been in IT for 26 years. Love my company, people are fantastic, Compensation is great, Future looks even better.

There are great days and not so great ones. The grass is always greener at my place because I water the lawn. :D
Felix is a wonderful, wonderful cat.
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Steelersfan
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by Steelersfan »

skyvue wrote:I have a degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering. The first 5 years of my career I was more of an Industrial Engineer but the last 15 have been in IT. I am currently a Senior IT manager at a Fortune 500 company with 85 developers/analysts reporting up through me. My role is to develop and maintain all the systems for our plants, warehousese and supply chain in North America. At this point, I am more "business" than IT. My value to the company is I understand manufacturing and distribution but have also been a developer.

I would rate my current job satisfaction a 2 right now. I only have one promotion left which would be to have my bosses job. I have reported to him for the last 7 years and he plans to work another 3-5 years. Salary and position are stagnant which leads to a source of frustration but I am more unhappy with the general corporate america culture than I am my particular company or position. I think a lot about what value I add to "society" on a daily basis and it is basically none! If my group does well, we make product cheaper and thus increase the profit margins for the company. This makes the top 50 execs at our company extremely wealthy but thats about it. I feel like a well paid slave to their "game".

My plans are to work about 6 more years and leave at age 50. If the markets do well I may not have to work anymore after that. If they don't then I will find a part time gig doing something that will be more enjoyable.
My work history and experience are very similar. For the first 30 years everything was great and my satisfaction was high. I expected to work for many, many more years. The last 6 years, the corporate culture changed and things weren't good at all. I retired early. Since I've retired I've kept in touch with former co-workers and it's only gotten worse. There's something seriously wrong in most of big corporate America.
Topic Author
sunnyday
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by sunnyday »

Some great feedback -- I'm glad I posted the questions.
Although I'm not super satisfied with my job, it does seem like many others are in the same boat. I might casually look around at other jobs and network a bit but I'll probably stay put for at least a couple more years.
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mmmodem
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by mmmodem »

sunnyday wrote:
Gray wrote: Having good and supportive management is so important. After a management shuffle that bestowed a petty supervisor on me, I left a 7 year position in 2007 (that I had outgrown anyway), went to work for a larger organization that had inept senior management but good training, I took the training and left after 2.5 years for a promotion.
I'm going through a similar experience. I really liked my former manager but he left a few years ago. Things have gone downhill since in terms of leadership and the overall business direction. Taking advantage of any training makes complete sense.
This described my situation as well. I worked in IT for 4 years straight out of high school because I had a knack for computers and networks. I loved my job and went to community college part time. My manager gave me huge raises every year and recognized my value to the business. There were some politics and one day her position was eliminated. IT and production merged into one department and the fun ended.

I remember going up to the production manager, my new boss, to explain a mistake I had made in data processing. He didn't understand what I meant. I couldn't get him to understand because I speak tech and have a hard time putting it in ordinary terms. My previous IT manager would not have had a problem understanding me. I said it would be an simple fix but I would have to come in on Saturday to monitor the fix with weekend staff. He nodded and I left. A few hours later he asked me into his office to yell at me and wanted to know how I made the mistake. I explained it to him again best I can. Then he said I have to come in this Saturday and do this and this to fix the problem. This guy wasn't even listening to me. I already told him I was coming in Saturday but he insists on forcing me anyway. What? Is this a power trip? I quit a year later when I saw new hires come in with higher salaries doing less work than me while I was stuck at the same pay because I did not have a degree.

I went full time to school and got a BS in Physics and now do something I love. There are a lot of IT problems at my current job but I am no longer responsible for it.
yosef
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by yosef »

sunnyday wrote:If you work/worked in the IT field, how satisfied are you with your job and what is your education and experience? Do you get excited about your work or do you dread Mondays?

I have a degree in Computer Engineering from a very good university and have 10 years of experience as a web applications / database developer. I enjoy the field and feel it's a great fit for me.

My current job has some great benefits -- job security, decent pay, great work life balance. It also has some downsides -- I've reached a bit of a ceiling (I work mostly with non-tech people), it's not a very motivating environment and there are some major politics.

On a scale of 1 to 5 my overall satisfaction level goes between a 2 and 4. I feel fortunate to have my job yet don't want to become complacent.
I'm a software engineer and am very satisfied with my current position and company (~2.5 years). IMO, reaching a "ceiling" is never good in this industry; if you're not moving forward by adding to your skill set, you risk becoming a dinosaur. In my experience, moving forward often requires a job change, though I have done a fair bit of that already and hope to not move again anytime soon. How long have you been in this job? If the best you can say about it are things like "easy", and "familiar", then I say you need to move your career forward; within your company or otherwise.
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by KyleAAA »

yosef wrote: I'm a software engineer and am very satisfied with my current position and company (~2.5 years). IMO, reaching a "ceiling" is never good in this industry; if you're not moving forward by adding to your skill set, you risk becoming a dinosaur. In my experience, moving forward often requires a job change, though I have done a fair bit of that already and hope to not move again anytime soon. How long have you been in this job? If the best you can say about it are things like "easy", and "familiar", then I say you need to move your career forward; within your company or otherwise.
Yeah, that's the annoying thing about this industry. They almost force you to job hop every few years in order to a.) get a decent raise and b.) learn new skills and technologies. It's pretty difficult to grow within one organization in my experience. Not impossible, but difficult most places.
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interplanetjanet
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by interplanetjanet »

KyleAAA wrote:Yeah, that's the annoying thing about this industry. They almost force you to job hop every few years in order to a.) get a decent raise and b.) learn new skills and technologies. It's pretty difficult to grow within one organization in my experience. Not impossible, but difficult most places.
I jobhopped pretty much constantly for most of my first 10 years in IT, sometimes after less than a year each time. Like you said, it helped to get exposed to new tech, and gave far quicker advancement than I ever would have had otherwise.

I'm fortunate to be working now for a company that has a "senior technical" track with pay parity to management all the way up to the VP level - I've been in management and while I feel capable there, it's not the best use of my strengths. I think a lot of technical people feel boxed in by the choice to go to management in order to "advance", while some of us really are at our best in the trenches. I'm glad that more organizations are getting a clue there.

-janet
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beyou
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by beyou »

Have been a paid IT worker since 1984, wrote first code years before that in high school.

First job satisfaction is an oxymoron. I go to work to make money.
I sometimes enjoy it but most often do not.
After 3 decades of working do not see the grass being greener elsewhere.
If I won a sizable sum in the lottery i would leave the field immediately.

I have always worked with ridiculous deadlines, unclear goals and priorities,
and found that stressful. This was offset by the satisfaction of solving problems
and getting rewarded for doing so. The balanced has tipped in the wrong direction
because of some new workplace problems :

1) Off-shoring work. Besides the obvious fear of your own job moving off shore, if you are lucky
enough to move into a management role, you are told you must get some of the work done offshore
to save money. Being responsible for output of people in a different timezone, with a different culture,
usually a different employer is a joke. All that happens is the remaining onshore staff has to work harder
to make up for the usually junior untrained staff hired by offshore body shops. Senior management thinks
they get more and pay less, but they actually get less and pay more, and just demotivate their middle
mgmt and hands on staff making up the work for the offshore staff.

2) Sarbannes-Oxley Even since Enron, auditors have run amok. I get pre-audits first from IT's own internal group,
then by official "internal audit" run out of the finance/accounting group, then by multiple outside auditors hired
for similar overlapping purposes (SOX and industry specific audits). Used to be auditors had unreasonable suggestions
which were open to discussion. Any sense of reality or practicality has gone out the window in recent years.
Auditors insist they are right in areas where they do not understand, and apply the same blind rules to all situations.
This puts IT folks in the position between lying or telling the truth and then being forced to make ridiculous
changes to systems for appearance only.

3) Outsourcing user functions. You build systems to make users efficient, then management outsources
the user's jobs, throwing away your systems with them. There is no jobs stability, even if you work on
mission critical systems.

4) Reviews and promotions. In my industry we are forced to rank our staff on a curve, so even after mass layoffs,
we still must rank some as underachievers. They get no raises, no opportunity for promotion. They leave
and the rest have to work that much harder.

I am not sure I would be happier being in the shoes of others, every profession has it's challenges.
Part of the problem is that good IT persons are detail oriented, and our society no longer is willing to pay
for attention to detail. They expect things to work, get it right away and pay nothing for it.
Tough to be motivated under such expectations.
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verbose
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by verbose »

My husband and I are both in IT and we are both job-hoppers. I don't know how else we'd keep our careers going.

The hardest thing about it are the benefits. Staffing and consulting firms have horrible benefits, probably just a step above those for retail workers. Almost every 401k we've had consisted of group variable annuity contracts (though I was told by an insurance company rep that, "They're mutual funds." Right.) I'm looking forward to seeing the mortality and expense charge disclosed (I've never been able to get that number, but I know it's there). At least when we switch jobs, we can roll out of the 401k into a Vanguard IRA. We currently have the health insurance plan that causes providers in our area to roll their eyes, as in, "Oh. You have THEM." Wonderful. But we love our work!!

We've discovered (the hard way, and more than once) that office politics = job hunting time. Most people who are technically inclined are not relationally equipped to play the political game (broad generalization, there are exceptions of course). Though the techie may be a bystander for a while, eventually a backstabber feels threatened by techie's competence and notices how vulnerable the techie is because she has no freaking clue what's going on, and makes her job a living hell. Or, if the backstabber is a supervisor, you could get a phone call like I did once on a Saturday, "Don't come back." I assure you, that particular incident had nothing to do with my lack of performance. I was on a roll improving horrible legacy code and "threatened" the sanctioned incompetence of this particular supervisor who had originally written it. I had observed some serious political dysfunction there and thought it didn't apply to me. Wrong!

Life is too short for office politics. It's never absent from a workplace, but it can be minimal. Unfortunately, there's almost no way to find this out in a job interview, and the political atmosphere of a place can change. One bad apple is all it takes (that's another story, and another job change).
MathWizard
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by MathWizard »

mmmodem wrote:
sunnyday wrote:
Gray wrote: Having good and supportive management is so important. After a management shuffle that bestowed a petty supervisor on me, I left a 7 year position in 2007 (that I had outgrown anyway), went to work for a larger organization that had inept senior management but good training, I took the training and left after 2.5 years for a promotion.
I'm going through a similar experience. I really liked my former manager but he left a few years ago. Things have gone downhill since in terms of leadership and the overall business direction. Taking advantage of any training makes complete sense.
This described my situation as well. I worked in IT for 4 years straight out of high school because I had a knack for computers and networks. I loved my job and went to community college part time. My manager gave me huge raises every year and recognized my value to the business. There were some politics and one day her position was eliminated. IT and production merged into one department and the fun ended.

I remember going up to the production manager, my new boss, to explain a mistake I had made in data processing. He didn't understand what I meant. I couldn't get him to understand because I speak tech and have a hard time putting it in ordinary terms. My previous IT manager would not have had a problem understanding me. I said it would be an simple fix but I would have to come in on Saturday to monitor the fix with weekend staff. He nodded and I left. A few hours later he asked me into his office to yell at me and wanted to know how I made the mistake. I explained it to him again best I can. Then he said I have to come in this Saturday and do this and this to fix the problem. This guy wasn't even listening to me. I already told him I was coming in Saturday but he insists on forcing me anyway. What? Is this a power trip? I quit a year later when I saw new hires come in with higher salaries doing less work than me while I was stuck at the same pay because I did not have a degree.

I went full time to school and got a BS in Physics and now do something I love. There are a lot of IT problems at my current job but I am
no longer responsible for it.
I'm just curious:

What job did you get with a BS in Physics?
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Kulak
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by Kulak »

The problem with IT/programming/comp-eng is that it's sexually repulsive to women. Better a fireman or construction worker making $25K than a senior C# developer or CTO making $125K. If you're the latter and single, realize that you must compensate -- yes, compensate.

Don't talk about what you do. If pressed on it, obfuscate. Joke. Exaggerate the "people" aspects. Make sure in your spare time that you body-build, dress/groom like a Abercrombie model, play a team sport (preferably something like rugby where you'll get injured), travel everywhere, and have very non-nerdy (aesthetic or stereotypically "masculine") hobbies. Study the dress, body language, idioms, mannerisms, etc. of your colleagues and do the opposite to the point of exaggeration. Spend at least $250 on a pair of jeans (and don't buy them a size too big like all your co-workers). No polo shirts, ever. LASIK. Read every "pickup artist" book and blog you can find, and act like a complete jerk on dates.

That won't completely redeem you but it may help.
Depriving ourselves to boost our 40-year success probability much beyond 80% is a fool’s errand, since all you are doing is increasing the probability of failure for [non-financial] reasons. --wbern
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Imperabo
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by Imperabo »

But at least you're not bitter. :wink:
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interplanetjanet
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by interplanetjanet »

You know, some of us actually kind of like geeks. At least the ones who manage to focus just enough on the outside world to maintain good hygiene and who don't spend every spare hour not at work staring at computer screens, and who don't mind going to the big room that sometimes has a blue ceiling and an intensely bright light, and sometimes has a black ceiling with lots of tiny night-lights.

-janet
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sunnyday
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by sunnyday »

Kulak wrote:The problem with IT/programming/comp-eng is that it's sexually repulsive to women. Better a fireman or construction worker making $25K than a senior C# developer or CTO making $125K. If you're the latter and single, realize that you must compensate -- yes, compensate.

Don't talk about what you do. If pressed on it, obfuscate. Joke. Exaggerate the "people" aspects. Make sure in your spare time that you body-build, dress/groom like a Abercrombie model, play a team sport (preferably something like rugby where you'll get injured), travel everywhere, and have very non-nerdy (aesthetic or stereotypically "masculine") hobbies. Study the dress, body language, idioms, mannerisms, etc. of your colleagues and do the opposite to the point of exaggeration. Spend at least $250 on a pair of jeans (and don't buy them a size too big like all your co-workers). No polo shirts, ever. LASIK. Read every "pickup artist" book and blog you can find, and act like a complete jerk on dates.

That won't completely redeem you but it may help.
Haha. Well I was going to create a similar thread "Fire fighter job satisfaction" but was concerned stories would get so out of hand that it would quickly become inappropriate for this forum.
Default User BR
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by Default User BR »

Kulak wrote:The problem with IT/programming/comp-eng is that it's sexually repulsive to women.
I've known many software engineers over the past decade or so. Almost all were married, so it can't be that big of a deterrent.


Brian
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GregLee
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by GregLee »

interplanetjanet wrote:I think a lot of technical people feel boxed in by the choice to go to management in order to "advance", while some of us really are at our best in the trenches.
Another victim of the Peter principle:
employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Principle
Greg, retired 8/10.
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VictoriaF
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by VictoriaF »

Kulak wrote:The problem with IT/programming/comp-eng is that it's sexually repulsive to women. Better a fireman or construction worker making $25K than a senior C# developer or CTO making $125K. If you're the latter and single, realize that you must compensate -- yes, compensate.

Don't talk about what you do. If pressed on it, obfuscate. Joke. Exaggerate the "people" aspects. Make sure in your spare time that you body-build, dress/groom like a Abercrombie model, play a team sport (preferably something like rugby where you'll get injured), travel everywhere, and have very non-nerdy (aesthetic or stereotypically "masculine") hobbies. Study the dress, body language, idioms, mannerisms, etc. of your colleagues and do the opposite to the point of exaggeration. Spend at least $250 on a pair of jeans (and don't buy them a size too big like all your co-workers). No polo shirts, ever. LASIK. Read every "pickup artist" book and blog you can find, and act like a complete jerk on dates.

That won't completely redeem you but it may help.
A recency bias.

I recall some articles from 1998-1999 about women using their last dollar to buy a ticket to the Silicon Valley for a chance to meet single geeks. One article was about a group of women from Scotland who organized a tour just for that purpose.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)
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VictoriaF
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by VictoriaF »

interplanetjanet wrote:You know, some of us actually kind of like geeks. At least the ones who manage to focus just enough on the outside world to maintain good hygiene and who don't spend every spare hour not at work staring at computer screens, and who don't mind going to the big room that sometimes has a blue ceiling and an intensely bright light, and sometimes has a black ceiling with lots of tiny night-lights.

-janet
Not to be confused with cloud computing.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)
yosef
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by yosef »

Kulak wrote:The problem with IT/programming/comp-eng is that it's sexually repulsive to women. Better a fireman or construction worker making $25K than a senior C# developer or CTO making $125K. If you're the latter and single, realize that you must compensate -- yes, compensate.

Don't talk about what you do. If pressed on it, obfuscate. Joke. Exaggerate the "people" aspects. Make sure in your spare time that you body-build, dress/groom like a Abercrombie model, play a team sport (preferably something like rugby where you'll get injured), travel everywhere, and have very non-nerdy (aesthetic or stereotypically "masculine") hobbies. Study the dress, body language, idioms, mannerisms, etc. of your colleagues and do the opposite to the point of exaggeration. Spend at least $250 on a pair of jeans (and don't buy them a size too big like all your co-workers). No polo shirts, ever. LASIK. Read every "pickup artist" book and blog you can find, and act like a complete jerk on dates.

That won't completely redeem you but it may help.
I guess you are just trying to be amusing but I personally don't see what this has to do with the OP. Not to mention it's completely false.
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rob
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by rob »

Next year makes it 25 years for me in IT.... Bits of paper & certifications are irrelevant but like most have a stack of those but unlike a lot I have avoided management.

The real questions is - Would I make the same choice today - for me the answer is no. This depends a lot of industry, company size, role and a lot of other things but for me; It's now cheapest and fastest wins at any cost. Yeah I can do it - I'm still working in the field obviously - but it's not what attracted me to the IT field and it's not satisfying for the most part.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien
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fishnskiguy
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by fishnskiguy »

Threads like this make me so happy I chose to stay in the Navy for a career when the vast majority of my peers went for the big bucks running nuclear power stations.

Watching electrons go around in circles never came close to the variety and scope of operations I got to encounter.

And "office politics" were two words we never learned to spell.

Thanks for the validation of my choice.

chris
Trident D-5 SLBM- "When you care enough to send the very best."
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ClevrChico
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by ClevrChico »

I've been in IT 17 years now, and I have to say it's been very good to me.

The hours can be long and bad at times, and the stress levels high. It's not always fun, like any job. But, I do like seeing projects get completed, be profitable, the variety, and the fact it keeps me sharp.

When I was single, most girls thought upon the occupation well. Getting paged after hours was damn sexy to them, although it was drudgery for me.

I also like the fact of having hard skills, that I can always use for moonlighting, if I needed more :moneybag . I'm not sure I'll do this for another 25 years, but I know I could do much worse.
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VictoriaF
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by VictoriaF »

ClevrChico wrote: I also like the fact of having hard skills, that I can always use for moonlighting, if I needed more :moneybag .
What hard skills do you have in mind? I look at moonlighting jobs as well-defined, short-duration, autonomous projects that require technical skills but not the knowledge of a specific business and its processes. Examples of such jobs include web site development and technical writing. The autonomous nature of such projects makes them easy to outsource, particularly using modern online outsourcing companies.

A sticky job is more difficult to outsource. This is a job that requires ongoing interactions with the technical team and periodic interactions with business customers and users. But such jobs do not lend themselves easily to moonlighting.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)
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VictoriaF
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by VictoriaF »

fishnskiguy wrote:Threads like this make me so happy I chose to stay in the Navy for a career when the vast majority of my peers went for the big bucks running nuclear power stations.

Watching electrons go around in circles never came close to the variety and scope of operations I got to encounter.

And "office politics" were two words we never learned to spell.

Thanks for the validation of my choice.

chris
No office politics in the Navy?

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)
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ClevrChico
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by ClevrChico »

VictoriaF wrote:
ClevrChico wrote: I also like the fact of having hard skills, that I can always use for moonlighting, if I needed more :moneybag .
What hard skills do you have in mind? I look at moonlighting jobs as well-defined, short-duration, autonomous projects that require technical skills but not the knowledge of a specific business and its processes. Examples of such jobs include web site development and technical writing. The autonomous nature of such projects makes them easy to outsource, particularly using modern online outsourcing companies.

A sticky job is more difficult to outsource. This is a job that requires ongoing interactions with the technical team and periodic interactions with business customers and users. But such jobs do not lend themselves easily to moonlighting.

Victoria
The moonlighting I've done is small(er) businesses with referrals from people I've worked with at mega corps. One job was a database integration project and the other was a network buildout. These projects were a few weekends and several evenings, with a few face to face meetings thrown in.
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fishnskiguy
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by fishnskiguy »

VictoriaF wrote:
fishnskiguy wrote:Threads like this make me so happy I chose to stay in the Navy for a career when the vast majority of my peers went for the big bucks running nuclear power stations.

Watching electrons go around in circles never came close to the variety and scope of operations I got to encounter.

And "office politics" were two words we never learned to spell.

Thanks for the validation of my choice.

chris
No office politics in the Navy?

Victoria
Inside the Beltway, yes. Out in the fleet, none. Since I preferred driving ships to driving a desk and was good at it, I was able to avoid duty in the Pentagon. Of course that meant I would never make Admiral, but that was fine with me. The skills to be a good ship Captain are rather different from the skill required to be a good Admiral.

Chris
Trident D-5 SLBM- "When you care enough to send the very best."
rustymutt
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by rustymutt »

I was in the IT industry for over 30 years before retiring in 2009. I started out in EE working for a aircraft company, , then was offered more my a major telecommunications company. I've moved for career reason 4 times, and put off marriage and family for several years while moving around. I was on called out during this time, as a technician, and would get called out at all hours of the day. While I loved my work, I found that management was the hardest part of the equation. I was lucky enough to have honest managers, who stood up with you on issues. But I saw a lot of managers who didn't make any effort to get along with subordinates, and that could be very demoralizing to those workers caught up under them. I enjoyed the work of solving problems and working with others to do that. I can state for fact that most trouble I worked on, was related to software more often than hardware. Not the underlying code, but rather the configuration of the equipment. 8 out of 10 times this was the case. The IEEE standard for hardware is an excellent standard.
Even educators need education. And some can be hard headed to the point of needing time out.
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zaboomafoozarg
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by zaboomafoozarg »

ElJay wrote:On a day to day basis, my biggest challenge to satisfaction as a developer is trying to understand vague or incomplete requirements and specifications; business users don't know what they want and our analysts who are supposed to figure it out too often do not. Of course when stuff comes in late and/or wrong, it's blamed on development even though we weren't accurately told what to implement in the first place.
Same thing here. That's why I'm pushing for REAL agile where I work, not the same old waterfall business process with a few less paper deliverables, but a step toward real agile development. Too often the business doesn't know what they want up front, so I say let's take the few features they want most, get it to prod in 2-4 weeks, and see what they think. And if they want it changed, OK we'll do make that into a new story and get it in the pipeline.

Will this be at least partially successful? I hope so, but I have my doubts. It's a very conservative company that is change and risk averse. So, we'll see.
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ElJay
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by ElJay »

The development team I work on is branded "Agile" (Scrum) by management, but I am not really seeing it. The business micromanages our product backlog too much, so every release we do ends up taking twice as long as what we initially planned to do at the start. Three week releases end up being two months. It's a frustrating way to work because I can see how a real Agile Scrum team could function quite efficiently. When there are too many self-appointed external(!) "product owners" with their own pet projects that are telling us what to do, it all jumbles up into a rats nest. Management isn't there to help or shield us from this unsustainable process, they're there to be yes men and rubber stamp ridiculous requests from the business.
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by Default User BR »

We've made some strides towards Agile. Unfortunately some of the guys aren't really into it. They don't really do the steps in proper fashion. Too many of our units are 400 hours with no sub-tasks. Those just get moved forward from sprint to sprint and doesn't look any different than regular waterfall.


Brian
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by kilns »

CS degree with 35 years experience.

Having work and a job are great blessings any day so I'll rate satisfaction a 5. Yes, many, if not most enterprises, are gold mines for the author of Dilbert. Politics usually trumps merit on most days. Elbonians are playing an increasingly prominent role. Pointy hair project managers evince their brilliance everywhere. (Remember the project manager who hired 9 women to meet the "hard" requirement to produce a baby in a single month.) And yes, software productivity can still not be gauged even remotely accurately. Good reads are the Mythical Man Month by Brooks and The Castle by Kafka.
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by zaboomafoozarg »

jenny345 wrote:If health care reform does get insurance separated from employment it may make paid by the hour contracting jobs more attractive for top IT talent. It will be interesting to see what changes take place in the IT job market in 2014 and beyond if there is no repeal.
Honestly, health insurance is the only thing that has stopped me from going contractor in the last few years.
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hAvAAck
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by hAvAAck »

I've been in IT for about a year, background is accounting. I work in a software development company that masquerades as a state agency. The business doesn't show any support to IT even though IT is full of great individuals. And IT shows no support to my position (governance) so job satisfaction is at an all-time low.
gofigure
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by gofigure »

I've been in IT for almost 30 years. It's been a very demanding career. Keeping pace with the constant flow of new technologies, the exacting nature of the work, competition from overseas, the insecurity of outsourcing, the expectation that you're available 7x24x365 and my own aging.... have all contributed to a treadmill like work environment that I'll be happy to exit from when the opportunity presents itself. I will say though that compensation over the years from my career in IT has put retirement within reach for us...which increasingly it seems, isn't the case in many other fields.
plnelson
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by plnelson »

sunnyday wrote:If you work/worked in the IT field, how satisfied are you with your job and what is your education and experience? Do you get excited about your work or do you dread Mondays?

I have a degree in Computer Engineering from a very good university and have 10 years of experience as a web applications / database developer. I enjoy the field and feel it's a great fit for me.

My current job has some great benefits -- job security, decent pay, great work life balance. It also has some downsides -- I've reached a bit of a ceiling (I work mostly with non-tech people), it's not a very motivating environment and there are some major politics.

On a scale of 1 to 5 my overall satisfaction level goes between a 2 and 4. I feel fortunate to have my job yet don't want to become complacent.

I'm 59 and have been working as programmer/sw engineer for 36 years. I work as a contract engineer. My current assignment is to develop and enhance a couple of industrial applications in Android. The first one is already shipping and the second one starts shipping in a month. After that I'm supposed to be write a new PC-based app in .Net, also used in manufacturing. I'm having the time of my life and would definitely give my satisfaction level a 5.
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zaboomafoozarg
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by zaboomafoozarg »

plnelson wrote:I'm 59 and have been working as programmer/sw engineer for 36 years. I work as a contract engineer. My current assignment is to develop and enhance a couple of industrial applications in Android. The first one is already shipping and the second one starts shipping in a month. After that I'm supposed to be write a new PC-based app in .Net, also used in manufacturing. I'm having the time of my life and would definitely give my satisfaction level a 5.

Do you have to lead and manage a team? I know that if I didn't have to do that, my sanity level would be way higher.
goodbishop
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Re: IT job satisfaction

Post by goodbishop »

Excellent question.

I have 9 years of IT experience, 2 as a help desk minion, 5 as a Sr. IT minion, and 2 as a IT auditor minion. I was ok with help desk, enjoyed the Sr. IT minion position, and got by on the audit minion position. But I was able to leverage that to a managerial IT position in compliance, so that worked out.

As I'm new to the job, I have to say I enjoy it. I feel that the things that I can do as I've moved up are greatly increased, and my opinion and what I do matters more. Plus it helps that for the first time in my life, I feel that I am being adequately compensated.

What's that? You want me to work 55-60 hours a week? Sure thing, no problem. Keep the fat paycheck coming. :)

I think that derives a great deal of satisfaction - the knowledge that you are adequately getting paid what you're worth. Plus, it helps that I like what I do too.
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