Wednesday, April 22, 2009

They Need Java

And so do I.

O'Reilly--the tech manual company, not the right-wing talk show host--has this snapshot of IT job market trends. It only goes up to last November, when the economy fell apart, but these trends are expected to continue for the two or three jobs that are still left.

The second most popular skill is SQL, which is database programming, which is the computer job thing I'm considering learning next. When I've told some people this, they've said, "Oh, you don't want to do that, you're creaaaaaaative!" which you'd think would be a compliment, but it's said in a tone of voice that indicates, "Oh, you're not smart, you're Giggles the Clown."

I've also had creative people say to me, "Computers, oh, you'd be good at that. You're smart." And you'd think that would be a compliment, too, but it's said in that tone of voice that means, "Oh please stop trying to be creative, you're an unimaginative geek and you're only causing painful embarrassment to everyone but yourself."

The work I've been doing for the past nineteen years, desktop publishing, was something I got into because there was a growing need for it in companies and a growing need for me to make a living other than trying to make drunks laugh at two in the morning and then getting up four hours later to temp at law firms. My college degree was in graphic design, and I'd already been working with computers since 1983. (Those articles telling Baby Boomers to acquaint themselves with that-there newfangled technology are bogus; most 50-ish people have been using computers for most, if not all, of their working lives.)

But over the past few years, desktop publishing has gotten, excuse the expression, dumbed down. Consumers who've never taken a graphic design class in their lives have a home computer, a desktop printer and a million fonts, and often try to use all of them in the same piece. One of the reasons that I'm currently unemployed is because the department I was working in was becoming obsolete. We found ways to automate the production process so that managers and their assistants could download pre-made presentations off the company intranet. It became apparent to me, although apparently not soon enough, that in order to stay employed, the next thing I would have to learn to do would be to program the company intranet. Either that or stay home and write that novel. And I've found from past experience that when I stay home to write that novel, I don't write...I go window-shopping every day for stuff I don't buy.

So here are some possibilities for me right now:

1. Sign up at temp agencies so I'll have something to make money from, even if it's a day of word processing;

2. Sign up for an IT certificate at a reputable place of higher learning;

3. Join some kind of writers' group so that I will have to show up with some printed matter once in a while and can listen to something other than the sound of my own voice babbling prose like a lunatic.

I've got plenty of fine whines about wanna-be writing workshops, but they'll have to wait for another post. Meanwhile, I think NYU has an open house next week for their data mining intensive. Time to wind up my propeller beanie.

you might want to drop me line.
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