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New Grads Shun IT Jobs As "Boring" 752

Posted by timothy
from the work-from-home-chicks-dig-it dept.
whencanistop writes "Despite good job prospects, graduates think that a job in IT would be boring. Is this because of the fact that Bill Gates has made the whole industry look nerdy? Surely with so many (especially young) people being 'web first' with not just their buying habits, but now in terms of what they do in their spare time, we'd expect more of them to want to get a career in it?"
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New Grads Shun IT Jobs As "Boring"

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  • 'boring'??? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by avandesande (143899) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:18AM (#23918867) Journal

    And good riddance! We don't need 'shiny object' people in this business.

    • by Brain-Fu (1274756) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:35AM (#23919325) Homepage Journal

      If jobs were very exciting and fulfilling in and of themselves, we wouldn't need to pay people to do them.

      Life requires labor. Civilized life requires even more labor. Most of that labor is unpleasant in some way. We face the grind anyway, day after day, because it keeps the ball rolling, and because it gives us the money we need to do the things we actually like doing.

      If you manage to find a job that you actually like a lot, that's great. If not, hopefully you will be strong enough to accept the realities that most people face, get a boring job, be useful, and earn a decent living.

      • by Bandman (86149) <.bandman. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:39AM (#23919421) Homepage

        I've always found that it pays to like boring jobs ;-)

        It's only rarely that we admins get to do heroics [blogspot.com].

        • by qbzzt (11136) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:12PM (#23920275)

          Me too. But I haven't always valued money the same way.

          Alone in your early twenties is a good time to chase after fun experiences and short term payoffs. Your money needs are relatively low, job security in a nice to have, and independence is new and exciting.

          Wait eight years. Add a mortgage and a couple of kids. Get used to the independence. Suddenly a stable job that pays the bills sounds a lot better. You've done enough exciting jobs and short term payoffs, and now you need to think it terms of decades.

          Most IT jobs aren't so complex that you have to start right out of college. You can do something else and change jobs.

          • by Original Replica (908688) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:23PM (#23920491) Journal
            Most IT jobs aren't so complex that you have to start right out of college. You can do something else and change jobs.

            True with a caveat or two, you will still start at close to the "just out of college" salary, and it jobs have to exist here in this country. If Americans find it too boring, then companies will have to find somewhere else that really wants the jobs. It happened with customer support, it now looks like it will happen with IT, when telepresence robotics takes off it will probably happen with garbage collection, taxi driving, and long haul trucking.
            • by daedae (1089329) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:50PM (#23921125)

              Yeah, some IT outsourcing is happening, but after a while I think it'll slack back off. I've talked to several people about IT--courtesy those assumptions that "computer scientist" = "IT specialist"--who say IT outsourcing is frustrating and ultimately inefficient for their companies. One woman in particular complained that their main corporate office was in NYC, but all of their tech support was at the time (sometime in 2003 or 04) based somewhere in India. Evidently, they weren't making the IT guys work a schedule compatible with any of the American offices, and also didn't check for a sufficient command of English, so it was next to impossible to get any useful help in a timely manner.

          • by Chemisor (97276) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @01:16PM (#23921669)

            > Wait eight years. Add a mortgage and a couple of kids. Get used to the
            > independence. Suddenly a stable job that pays the bills sounds a lot better.

            Wait ten more years. You'll find out you hate it more and more every day, culminating in what is known as the "midlife crisis", where you quit your lousy boring job, get a backpack, and go live on the Appalachian trail. Human beings are not suited to being cogs in a machine. Yes, you can tolerate it for a while, but eventually you'll go nuts.

            • by qbzzt (11136) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @01:29PM (#23921897)

              You have to take breaks and do other things, otherwise you do go nuts. I take an evening a week to write stories on my own.

              However, being bored at work isn't enough reason to ditch your kids. If you decide to have children, they need you to work to support them and they need you to figure out how to stay sane doing it.

              BTW, even a boring job today is a lot more varied than the farming jobs most people had two centuries ago. We're just spoiled.

              • by element-o.p. (939033) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:28PM (#23922949) Homepage
                True, but here's the situation I am in:
                I have worked in IT for ten years. At my previous employer, where I got my break in IT, I found that working as a sys admin in a fairly large company was becoming increasingly unrewarding due to mismanagement and being pigeon-holed into a subset of the tasks we had all shared earlier. I left for a better position in a smaller company where I once again had the opportunity to learn a lot of new skills and could break out of the rut that I had been in at the previous job. Now the company I work for has been bought out by another large company, and it's looking like they are trying to figure out which pigeon-hole the other IT guys and I fit into within their organization. The work load has dropped to nil, and, well, I'm bored again (thus, posting on /.).

                At this point in my life, I am seriously considering going back to my first love -- flight instructing. I've taken a part-time job as an instructor, and I've decided that if things don't work out in the new parent company (i.e., if they decide those of us from the smaller company are no longer needed), I probably won't search for a new job in IT. I'll probably flight instruct full time and maybe take a part time job teaching C.S. at the local college. Throw in a little part time IT consulting, and I'll think I'll probably still be financially secure, but a lot happier than I would be in an environment like my first IT position.

                You can be happy and financially secure; just think a little outside the box. In today's economy, it's probably a better idea to work a couple of part time gigs than put all of your eggs in the single basket of one job where you could be outsourced/laid off at any time.
            • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @03:43PM (#23924111) Journal
              totally dude.

              The problem is, when they hit a midlife crisis, rather than do something MEANINGFUL, like bug out of the rat race, they instead dump their wives and kids for a trophy girl, get drunk a lot and spin their way into debt on a sports car and trinkets for the trophy, like this fat idiot and his bleeth. [hotchicksw...hebags.com]

              when faced with a crisis, people tend to panic, and they don't always make the best choices when they're flopping around like fish on the existential beach.

              Me? I turned 40 and flipped out, but instead of the bleeth and the car, I talked with my wife, went back to school and got into academia... teaching university is incredibly intense, but lots of fun, and now we're a happy family living and teaching abroad. Yay!

              RS

              But sometimes I wonder about the sports car...

        • by harshmanrob (955287) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @01:06PM (#23921475) Journal
          I agree 100%. I am IT Security soon getting my GSEC cert (already have my Security +) and this job has the highest level of suck that one could possibly imagine. I have to interact with managers, my own manager is constantly changing the directives and fakes "rah rah" speeches about "security the company". At the end of the day I could really give two fucks if the place got hacked or not.

          What is funny is the best time I ever had with IT is when I was coding/developing/programming only to learn that that was "shit work" to be outsourced. Kinda nice when I was running a division of a help desk after that, only to learn that to was "shit work" to be outsourced. Turns out they cannot outsource security work and policy management due to ethical reasons. But I consider the position "SHIT WORK!". What I do now is SHIT WORK! And the last time I checked SHIT WORK WAS SHIT!

          I would NEVER suggest or recommend an IT career to anyone at this point. The article is WRONG. The work is not just boring, it is SHIT WORK.
      • by Surt (22457) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:43AM (#23919515) Homepage Journal

        I don't think that's true. I've always thought fortune 500 CEO would be really exciting and fulfilling, and yet you have to pay those guys a fortune to do the job. Maybe it sucks a lot more than I thought.

        On the other side of things, it seems like 'janitor' or 'farm hand' would pretty much maximize boring/unfulfilling, and yet those guys get paid next to nothing.

        • by mkcmkc (197982) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:03PM (#23920043)
          CEOs don't get paid a fortune because that's what's needed to convince them to do an arduous job. They get paid a fortune because they're in a position to directly control how much they get paid, and they like being paid a lot. Think "pirate", not "drudge".
          • by Arccot (1115809) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:23PM (#23920511)

            CEOs don't get paid a fortune because that's what's needed to convince them to do an arduous job. They get paid a fortune because they're in a position to directly control how much they get paid, and they like being paid a lot. Think "pirate", not "drudge".
            Awww... that's not fair. You get paid more with more responsibility, not just more work. CEOs have massive influence over a company. For all the craptastic CEOs in the news and such, there are dozens of solid CEOs managing their companies to larger and larger profits.

            If giving CEOs a bigger cut of the profits produces incentive for the CEO to increase earnings, it's just good business to give them a bigger cut.
            • by Kent Recal (714863) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:48PM (#23921083)

              I think you're missing relation and context here.

              It's not uncommon for a CEO to earn 10x or even 100x the salary of an average employee.
              The reason is not that he's adding 10x or 100x more value, the reason is because he can.
              He's worked himself up (or got born into) the top of the food chain and that's his privilege: he can fire you, you can't fire him.
              He can demand ridiculous salaries, you can not. He can sink your company but still get the golden parachute, you can't.

              This is the common pattern, admittedly quite a bit simplified.
              Nonetheless my point is: no single person can add >1000% value above average to a company constantly.
              As far as I am concerned: Pay them big bonuses when they strike a hot deal.
              But seven digit "salaries" are a [known] bug in our system.

              • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @02:21PM (#23922847) Homepage

                He's worked himself up (or got born into) the top of the food chain and that's his privilege: he can fire you, you can't fire him.
                He can demand ridiculous salaries, you can not. He can sink your company but still get the golden parachute, you can't.

                And who can fire the CEO of a public company? Who decides what their salary is, and what kind of "golden parachute" they get?

                The Board of Directors.

                And what is the most common other career for a member of the Board?

                CEO (or other executive position) for another public company.

                I mean, the CEO of my company is on the Board of Directors for two other companies, and hell he's even the Chairman of the Board for his own company. And this is utterly common.

                You think he, or any other Board member, is going to start a trend of reducing CEO's compensation? No, in fact the exact opposite! It's in their interest to drive up executive compensation, because then at their own company where they are CEO, they can ask to have their salaries raised "in accordance with industry norms" to sell it to the shareholders and employees. And of course the Board is going to say yes, thinking about their own CEO gigs.

                It's a racket. It's a huge incestuous web of people colluding for their own mutual benefit. The alleged "risk" of the position that is supposed to justify the compensation doesn't exist, because they've done everything they can to eliminate the risk. Forget even the ludicrous "golden parachute". What about the most simple of "risks" -- that if you screw up your job too badly, you won't be able to get a job in the same field again? Once again, that rarely happens, about the only way to 'ruin' your career in upper management is basically to get indicted. Otherwise, it's never in the interest of the Board to hold their CEOs to too high of standards, because they don't want they themselves to ever have to worry about finding a job.

      • by COMON$ (806135) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:14PM (#23920295) Journal
        If jobs were very exciting and fulfilling in and of themselves, we wouldn't need to pay people to do them. Actually this is incorrect. We pay people to do jobs to attract a certain level. The more complicated/responibility a job the higher the salary rate. It has nothing to do with excitement, otherwise a machine worker would make top dollar.

        If you are going to be a paycheck hunter and just find a place to put your time in. You are in for a very unfulfilled life. I specifically chose IT because it is enjoyable, therefore in my mind I really don't work. I get paid to do the things I would be doing anyway. There are a plethora of positions like this out there.

        You pay people because they have certain needs they want met and you exchange their time for the ability to meet those needs. So the idea that we get paid because a job is not exciting or fulfilling is just plain wrong.

    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:52AM (#23919757) Homepage Journal

      That's right! IT is boring. Stay away. Far away. You won't like it. More money for m....hey look! A shiny object!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by snowraver1 (1052510)
        You laugh at the shiny object joke, but I bet most of the poeple in this forum like shiny objects. I became a computer nerd because I NEED to know how everything works, from the toilet, to the dishwasher to the phone, to the RC car.

        When I got my first computer, I poked around the software, but was afraid to take it apart for a long time (I was good at taking things apart, not as good putting them together again). Eventually I took it apart and was disapointed with what I found. All I could see was chip
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by COMON$ (806135) *
      AMEN, Preach it!

      I have dealt with enough, paycheck hunters and shiny thing people to be tired of them. I get tired of asking the question; "Why are you buying that again? Cause it looks good?" We need to ween this populace down to the passionate individuals who get the job done well. I have been in departments saturated with shiny thing and paycheck hunters that could have been run by a quarter of the people passionate in IT and bored. hell when I left my gov't job they had to hire 2 people to replace m

  • I'd probably agree with them.
    • by jorghis (1000092) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:41AM (#23919479)

      Even if you dont find it boring to begin with you really need to ask yourself the question "where will I be in five/ten/twenty years?". For the majority going into software engineering or IT the answer is "prettymuch the same thing I was doing two weeks after I graduated college". You might be better at it and you might be leading a team of people, but you will still be doing about the same thing.

      You see this at big companies too, its much more common to promote a software engineer to a "software engineer level 2" or something similar than it is for them to move on to something else. The career path is usually designed to keep you doing the same thing for a long period of time. For many other types of jobs (such as consulting) the entry level position is seen as stepping stone to bigger and better things.

      Now I know that there are a lot of exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking 90% of people who start out in a company as an entry level software engineer or IT guy dont move on to anything else. Thats why people get bored with it imho.

      • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:11PM (#23920231)

        I'd agree, we take the job because we like figuring out problems. "promotion" is not to management, but to get to work on harder problems... the majority of problems are pretty boring though.

        I've said before, IT is like Plumbing, nobody respects it until it doesn't work. Keeping Plumbing working is pretty boring business too. Of course you see good Master Plumbers make nearly as much as good IT people. Just like IT people, even the best plumbers still lay pipe and plunge toilets.. pretty menial work, just like making, testing, storing backups and building new servers for software testing is.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I disagree. I do the IT for a small business, and I love what I do. There are aspects that I don't enjoy, especially as far as managing hardware and user support are concerned, but usually it is just downright interesting. I have had the chance to learn a few programming languages and write a couple of specialized applications, which I loved. Aside from the fact that I learn something new every day, besides the fact that every new job is an interesting puzzle, the decisions I make have a real impact on
    • by bitflip (49188) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:31PM (#23920651)

      Are you kidding? Working in IT is like going to Disneyland!

      Except all the lines are short because all the rides suck.

    • by Avatar8 (748465) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:42PM (#23920927)
      Twenty four years I've been doing IT. I completely agree with them. IT, for the most part is boring. I've moved up steadily in title, salary and responsibility. Still it's the same underneath: fix something, educate people how NOT to break it again, people break it, repeat.


      What's made it much, much worse is how much clerical work we have to do now due to regulations and general ignorance of people new to the industry. We have to document everything so that our job can be outsourced to someone less skilled and willing to work for less. We have to have reviews and justification only because the CIO wants to pretend he has some clue about what's going on. What should be a 10 minute fix turns into a two week red-tape fest. Then they have the nerve to ask why I'm not getting more done.

      If ANYONE asks me if the IT field is a good choice for a career, I solidly reply "Hell, no. Run the other way and get a job *making* something that is useful or a job *helping* people."

      I've been trying to leave IT for the past 10 years, but where else will I find a job that pays so much for such little work?

  • by thegameiam (671961) <thegameiam@NospAm.yahoo.com> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:20AM (#23918937) Homepage

    Then again, if most folks look at computers as an appliance, who wants to be an appliance repairman? Seriously - how many folks wanted to work for the phone company in the 60s and 70s?

    • by omeomi (675045) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:30AM (#23919209) Homepage
      You mean during the heyday of Bell Labs, when they were dumping money into R&D, and inventing things like a little language named C, a little operating system named Unix, the electret microphone, the CO2 LASER, and the first 32-bit microprocessor? Yeah, who would want to work there?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_Labs#1960s [wikipedia.org]
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by thegameiam (671961)

        Bell labs in its heyday was a couple thousand people. Ma Bell as a whole was nearly a million. I somehow think that most people's idea of what "work for the phone company" means is more like the guy who installs phones or the one who runs a switchboard...

        Besides, alongside the Bell Labs reputation for brilliance was their reputation as the alpha geeks of their day...

  • by vertinox (846076) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:20AM (#23918939)

    I would have gone into Economics.

    Or maybe Forestry...

    If I had only known the IT world would turn into what it is now, I'd do something else. Too much politics... To much hype...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sm62704 (957197)

      If I had only known the IT world would turn into what it is now, I'd do something else. Too much politics... To much hype

      That's going to be the case in any field. I would imagine that economics would be worse than most in those respects, so you may be lucky. Forestry might limit your job opportunities.

    • by wolfen (12255) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:30AM (#23919199) Homepage

      I... I wanted to be! A lumberjack!

      Leaping from tree to tree, as they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia!

    • by Synchis (191050) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:06PM (#23920103) Homepage Journal

      Having pretty much lived and breathed both Network admin jobs, programming jobs and QA/Testing jobs for the last... 8 years, I'm inclined to agree with you.

      Of late, I've started to become a little dis-illusioned with the whole industry... unfortunately, at this point in my career, I'm finding it difficult to see a path out. All I really know is computers, and although I have keen interests in other areas, I'm finding that other paths would require a large amount of re-education.

      I was at a training course, and the instructor was going through the various generations of our times, and was mentioning the fact that GenX'ers (thats me) on *AVERAGE* have 7 different jobs(careers) throughout their lives, as opposed to the past generations which had like... 2-3 jobs. Also, GenX'ers are tending to look for more than just monetary compensation. There has to be something more to the job, something to keep them interested.

      I'm finding it harder and harder to stay interested in my job...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Alpha830RulZ (939527)

      I did go into economics, and look where I ended up... I've done a lot of things in my life, and technology is hard to beat.

      BTW, economics was and is a great degree to get. Without a good understanding of economics, it's hard to really understand why the world and business work the way they do.

  • Let's spice up IT (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Grey (463613) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:20AM (#23918941)
    According to Computer Weekly, this is apparently not a new trend. In the TFA they link to one of their own articles [computerweekly.com] from 2001 that says basically the same thing.

    The TFA goes on to quote someone as saying, "We need to show [young people] the variety of roles in IT and the importance that IT carries today. IT is at the heart of business these days and there are real opportunities now to have a career in IT which will ultimately lead to a position on the board."

    A position on the board? That is supposed to be "not boring"?
    • by Nerdfest (867930) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:39AM (#23919411)
      I was once chatting with someone at a party. They asked me what I did. I said I wrote software. They then said "Isn't that boring?". I said "No, it's generally interesting, and even fun on occasion. What do you do".

      "I'm an accountant."
    • by Bandman (86149) <.bandman. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:41AM (#23919481) Homepage

      This isn't a lot different than the general decline of math and science careers in general. It's just a small sign that we're moving away from skilled knowledge-based industries into crap-service based industries.

      Would you like fries with that?

      • Service jobs (Score:3, Insightful)

        by qbzzt (11136)

        A lot of service jobs do involve a high level of skills. If you don't believe me ask your doctor.

        The fact is we've gotten really good at manufacturing. So good that the manufacturing we need can be done by a lot less people (just as agriculture now requires a lot less people than it used to). Services are a lot harder to optimize because you can't stockpile them.

    • by happyemoticon (543015) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:46AM (#23919609) Homepage

      My IT job is plenty spicy after I figured out how to make my desktop loop Destination Calabria [youtube.com].

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:20AM (#23918945)
    Sure, there are plenty of jobs in IT that allow for creativity (game design, many coding projects, etc.). But, in fairness, a lot of IT jobs involve running cabling, fixing routers, database entry, coding really dull projects, etc. that most people WOULD find pretty fucking boring.
    • by jo42 (227475) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:26AM (#23919091) Homepage

      Hate to piddle in your soup, but most jobs in the world are "pretty fucking boring". Welcome to reality.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DrMaurer (64120)

        Wow. Must suck to be like that.

        I mean, it's easy to be cynical, but if you're bored at what you're doing, it's your fault.

        Blah blah blah, it's too hard to start my own company. Blah blah blah, it's too tedious to do that thing. Blah Blah Blah.

        If it's that hard, that boring, then make something that does that thing for you. Sometimes it's easy (autohotkey script), sometimes it's not so much (lots of things).

        You are the master of how you react to what you're doing. If you're bored, sucks for you, and I sympat

  • Oh come on now... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geminidomino (614729) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:21AM (#23918953) Journal

    "Spair time?"

    Seriously, this is ridiculous.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by NitroWolf (72977)

      Seriously, this is ridiculous.

      Oh come now, you and I both know it's really rediculous ... Spair me.

    • by ShaunC (203807)

      To be fair, most of us won't have any Spore time until September...

  • Spelling (Score:5, Funny)

    by ledow (319597) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:21AM (#23918969) Homepage

    "spair time"? Seriously, who edited or approved an article with that in the summary, not to mention the punctuation?

    Maybe THAT's why IT jobs are boring - you're required to spell!

  • Irony? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:22AM (#23918981)
    Does it strike anyone else as ironic that a site that proclaims that it delivers news for nerds appears to be accusing Bill Gates of making the IT industry appear nerdy?
  • What's IT? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by qw0ntum (831414) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:22AM (#23918989) Journal
    What's IT? I'm about to be a new grad. When I hear "IT" I think of tech support for a company, keeping machines running, or working in a data center. Those all sound pretty boring to me (except the last one, if the data center were sufficiently large).

    I'd rather do software development, CS research, something along those lines. Heck, my dream job would be working on low cost communication infrastructure in the third world. While I'm sure that all technically falls under the realm of IT, to me that's always be something different. Maybe that's just me, but "IT" to me has always been the boring stuff.
    • Re:What's IT? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:41AM (#23919463)

      What's IT? I'm about to be a new grad. When I hear "IT" I think of tech support for a company, keeping machines running, or working in a data center. Those all sound pretty boring to me (except the last one, if the data center were sufficiently large).

      I'd rather do software development, CS research, something along those lines. Heck, my dream job would be working on low cost communication infrastructure in the third world. While I'm sure that all technically falls under the realm of IT, to me that's always be something different. Maybe that's just me, but "IT" to me has always been the boring stuff.

      to each their own cup of tea...
      I got my bachelor's in computer science. I found programming boring as can be, so when I got out, I stayed on as a systems administrator building servers / networks, etc. It's a heck of a lot of fun because you never know what that next phone call will bring!

      Maybe a pig will step on a laptop, or a printer is out of toner, you never know with the people I work for (ag research... yes there is a lot of IT in ag research).

    • Re:What's IT? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bestinshow (985111) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:42AM (#23919485)

      That's why any software developer/engineer/designer will never describe their role as IT. And I think that's fair enough really.

      Mentally, I think business IT - point and click Windows administration, network maintenance, exchange account setup, etc, as tasks that someone can be trained to do. You see adverts for IT training, and that's the type of stuff they're talking about.

      So yeah, there's a superiority complex if you actually studied CS, program for a living, know the insides and outsides of Unix and several languages, etc. Of course, you're still creating some internal business application for the most part ... Of course it helps if you actually get excited (mildly) by designing things properly, be they databases, program architectures, and so on.

      Outside people find it hard to see the difference, it's computers, innit.

  • Spair?? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mpapet (761907) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:23AM (#23919007) Homepage

    I loose my mind!

    Seriously though. I don't know if I should be concerned or not. Part of being young is working with the mistaken belief they can become millionaires working for World Peace. (or whatever their heart's desire) Part of it also is they don't comprehend the complexity of the underlying delivery systems.

    Now, if the Bank of Mom and Dad does not sustain their magical thinking, then they'll get in line pretty fast once they have to choose between washing their clothes or eating.

  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:23AM (#23919009)

    And it's not because it's nerdy (as the summary opines). It's simply because its about maintenance of poorly-designed shit. You might as well call it glorified janitorial work.

    In contrast, creating new stuff, as actual programmers and engineers do -- that's interesting!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NeoSkandranon (515696)

      Not necessarily.

      Wait till you get a programming job that consists of coding the same thing over and over for a series of your company's clients.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:04PM (#23920065)

      And it's not because it's nerdy (as the summary opines). It's simply because its about maintenance of poorly-designed shit. You might as well call it glorified janitorial work.

      In contrast, creating new stuff, as actual programmers and engineers do -- that's interesting!

      So to sum up, maintaining poorly-designed shit is glorified janitorial work, but making new poorly-designed shit is interesting?

      Roger.

    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:15PM (#23920317) Homepage

      And it's not because it's nerdy (as the summary opines).

      Yeah, my favorite part was, "Is this because of the fact that Bill Gates has made the whole industry look nerdy?" Really? Bill Gates made it look nerdy? Like if not for Gates, the whole industry would be filled with badass cowboys and hot chicks or something?

      Yeah, even the fact that "badass cowboys and hot chicks" popped into my head as the opposite of "nerdy" is probably an indication that I'm an IT nerd.

      But yeah, I've found that at least the IT work that falls on the support/maintenance side (as opposed to the development side) is kind of boring crap-work. It's fixing problems that some other moron broke, and cleaning up problems caused by poor design. It's 2008, and we still don't even have decent backup/archive methods. Every product out there has huge problems and gaping holes in their functionality that should have been fixed 15 years ago, but instead everyone has been working on things like database-driven filesystems that never make it to market.

      That's right, I'm looking at you, Microsoft.

      InfoTech work isn't all science-fictiony and cool. Oddly, it's more like being a Fonzie in training. It's like all this technology amounts to a broken jukebox that has to be smacked in just the right way to get it going, and you're just hoping to learn how to do that so you can stand around looking cool until someone needs you.

      Except that this Fonzie never ends up looking cool and everyone treats him like a trained monkey. "Slap the machine and play me a song!" they all yell.

      Oh, yeah, I know I've jumped the tracks and gone into nonsense. Whatever. I work in IT. Making up random crap on Slashdot is the most interesting part of my day.

  • by Overd0g (232552) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:23AM (#23919019)

    All you do is sit and type all day and have absolutely no respect from society. It's worse than being an accountant.

  • by swm (171547) * <swmcd@world.std.com> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:24AM (#23919031) Homepage

    FTA:

            Non-IT graduates think a job in IT would be "boring,"
            despite its good career prospects.

    IOW:

    People don't enter fields that they aren't interested in.
    Film at 11.

  • As opposed to... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <`Satanicpuppy' `at' `gmail.com'> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:24AM (#23919037) Journal

    Shit, I wish my job was boring. When something breaks it gets so exciting I worry that I'm going to keel over dead.

    Anyway, the damn snowflakes need to suck it up. What entry level job isn't boring? You put in your crappy dues, so that you get a better job down the road. I've worked all kinds of jobs, and they're pretty much all boring, even things you wouldn't think would be boring. I did a stint doing wildlife tagging, where I got to roam around on a four wheeler shooting things with a tranq gun, and that was astoundingly boring...99% of the time you just sat and waited and let the mosquitos gorge themselves on your blood.

  • Surely!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mtconnol (1170419) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:24AM (#23919045)
    Surely with the number of young people who crave their very own automobile, you would have a large number who want to become mechanics! read: consumption of a commodity != desire to produce commodity. If it did, I would be in the petroleum business.
  • Thank goodness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:25AM (#23919051)

    Back in the late 90's/early 2000's WAY too many people were jumping into IT because it was the new field du jour which was supposed to make those starry eyed high school kids (some even drop outs) rich with no real effort. Them oversaturating the industry with underqualified and uninterested workers half-killed IT over here. It almost felt unfair working on my Computer Science degree with people who flat out hated computers and always wanted to copy each other's programming projects to pass classes, simply because they though that was the way to go for a good job. The industry could use a bit of thinning out if it means that we're left with actual bright and enthusiastic people who really do like doing this type of work.

    • Re:Thank goodness (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Bandman (86149) <.bandman. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:53AM (#23919789) Homepage

      You know, I was one of those people, sort of. I went to college for computers because I was good at them, and I liked the "magic". After a decade spent working on computers, I half-wish I was done. I make decent money being a sysadmin, and I think I may be able to retire a little bit early, but as for my day-to-day existence, I no longer love computers, or even like them. Aside from my work laptop, I don't even have one at home. Don't want one. I'd rather read, or cook, or learn something non-computer-related. I guess I'm just burned out.

      I still do my job, and I have a lot of interest in learning new things I can use at work, but it's not from any sense of personal fulfillment. It's more from a desire to build a stable system that won't wake me up at 3am. I haven't worked on a project for myself forever (unless you count my blog, and even that is blogger.com). I just don't have the fire anymore.

      • Re:Thank goodness (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cowscows (103644) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:20PM (#23920431) Journal

        I think the reality is that "doing it for a living" is a good way to drain the fun out of almost anything. I enjoy building things out of wood. For about a year or so, I made custom furniture for people, and that's how I got the money I needed to eat. I did not enjoy woodworking all that much for that year. Now that I've been working in a different field for a few years, I've spent a good portion of my disposable income on building up a decent woodshop, and it's once again a hobby I enjoy. *shrug*

  • It is (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thelasko (1196535) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:26AM (#23919103) Journal

    Is this because of the fact that Bill Gates has made the whole industry look nerdy?
    It is nerdy. Also, from my limited experience in the area, most of the tasks are repetitive.

    My limited experience was installing new machines in an office building one summer. For the first few weeks, I imaged disks. This consisted of reading The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide and pushing enter when prompted. The rest of the summer was spent teaching people how to use their new machines. I'm sure there is more to it, but I have a suspicion most of the work is dealing with PEBKAC.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bandman (86149)

      It depends on your position.

      To me, interesting would be finding a way to not have to press enter all the time.

  • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gsslay (807818) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:27AM (#23919117)

    "But over 60% of non-computing students do not wish to enter the sector because they think it will be boring."

    Who cares what non-computing students think? I can think of dozens of other job sectors that I suspect would bore me stupid, that's why I had the sense not to study for qualifications in them.

    I suspect that these graduates all have a nasty shock coming to them anyway, courtesy of real life. Most jobs are "boring" in some way. That's why you get paid to do them rather than doing them for fun.

  • by rumblin'rabbit (711865) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:28AM (#23919135) Journal
    This is what happens when you have 5% unemployment over a sustained period of time. In my neck of the woods, where unemployment is even lower, high school kids have their pick of summer jobs. They learn they can be picky about where they work.

    This is not necessarily a bad thing (low unemployment is better then the alternative) but it does bring with it a certain attitude in the young.

    Those young whippersnappers should try haying in 95 F (35 C) weather. They would learn to appreciate an IT job, I tell ya.
  • Oh come on! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:28AM (#23919145) Homepage

    Computers were nerdy WAAAAY before Bill Gates came on the scene.

    Seriously, BillG gets way too much recognition and way too much blame. All he is is an obscenely rich, lucky bastard who happened to be in the right place at the right time and played his cards just about perfectly.

  • Ummmmm.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by rindeee (530084) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:29AM (#23919181)
    I'm not a big fan of Bill, but blaming him for making IT look nerdy....? C'mon. I think we as a community handle that pretty well ourselves.
  • by xpuppykickerx (1290760) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:31AM (#23919245)
    or the day would drag on for even longer.
  • by bestinshow (985111) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:32AM (#23919259)

    Sadly many IT jobs are boring, consisting of pressing F5 repeatedly on various websites throughout the day.

    Some jobs within IT are very interesting, because they are creative and require actual brain utility. Programming is the obvious example. Hell, even coming up with good configurations for sysadmin can be interesting. Point-and-clicking windows admin stuff must be dire though, and is probably where this negative image is coming from.

    In much the same way as I find car mechanics boring, I can see why some people would find programming boring, because they don't appreciate the creative aspect. However being paid a reasonably good wage in an in-demand industry to sit inside at a computer is pretty damned good, even if you don't get to ride a road crusher or steamroller, or fly fighter jets (which I imagine is pretty boring for the 95% of the time you are on the ground actually).

    Oh, and memo to students: Work is that boring thing we'd rather not do that allows us to pay the bills, buy that exciting car, buy that house to do up, eat that thrilling meal with friends and have a great time, etc. Get over it, but if you do stay away, demand will surely mean higher wages for us already in the industry.

  • yes it is. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:33AM (#23919277)

    For the first 20 years, being a developer was cool. You were a hero, you worked during emergencies, you had a bit of freedom as a result, the pay was decent- never superior unless you became a contractor. And there is/was a problem with constantly becoming obsolete and having to retrain a lot more than other professions.

    I finally left to be project leader and then a team leader. I see my developers suffering from the boredom.

    It's mostly SOX. It's also a view of developers as generic by management. Executives do NOT WANT heroes. They want grey reliable processes that consistently take 3 times as long (and are not random between 1/10th as long and 10 times as long without anyway to predict it).

    Programming in business is just not fun like it used to be. It's okay- but you code about 1/10th as much as you used to because of all the paperwork overhead. And you are a LOT more accountable. this is a good thing for slackers but it stifles the good people.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bestinshow (985111)

      I agree totally.

      So go work for a startup which desires hero developers, doesn't care about business processes and paperwork or project plans, but might have a few late nights. Preferably a startup with decent funding from a parent company. As soon as the timesheet filling requirement arrives, leave.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by revlayle (964221)
      I don't know what programming jobs you have... mine in the past 16-17 years has have been at least 60-75% coding most of the time... sometime we do spec writing or documentation. Of course, there are meetings that take up about 15% of my time.

      I also still extremely enjoy software development... maybe why I always go for the senior dev position instead of project management or IT director-like positions
  • I did! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by everphilski (877346) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:37AM (#23919381) Journal
    In 1999, I was debating what to do for my college career, aerospace engineering or IT. I had two jobs in high school, one working for a mom and pop ISP, the other working for a software company as a "junior network administrator", and was programming in c++ for fun, so I knew what IT was about. I also had an extreme love for space.

    I figured, push comes to shove, IT was something I could pick up without a 4 year degree, if I needed something to fall back on, but aerospace engineering you really needed that piece of paper (and then a masters, and probably a PhD if you want to do the cool stuff). Plus, as an engineer, a lot of times you get to write or maintain code if you are in the design world, so you can incorporate elements of IT into your job as needed.

    I have never experienced an ounce of regret.
  • fine by me! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lawaetf1 (613291) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:49AM (#23919701)

    Every now and then I get a twinge of "oh god, I'm really still working at the computer lab in college but with bigger machines and 10x the pay." Then I think about other jobs.

    Lawyer.. HELL NO. Unless you end up doing fancy litigation it has to be one of the worst jobs in the universe.

    Medical.. bleh. Boring? Is performing the same knee surgery over and over and over again not a bit rote? If you end up in primary care you at least get to help people 1-on-1. Help them take drugs to counter their lack of exercise, smoking, etc. Med school. ick. I think it's 40% of doctors say they wouldn't recommend the career to their children. That's one hell of an endorsement.

    MBA? Interesting idea, would probably shortcut a lot of time in getting into the upper echelons but I can't stand posturing, game playing, and management speak so would probably not do well there. I'm an engineer.. in a self-taught sort of way. I look down my nose at MBAs.

    Oh yes... wicked hours and professional attire for all of the above.

    About the only thing I think would tempt me would be some form of design/electrical engineering. So I've picked up a couple books on the same and will start tinkering that direction. If need be, I'll go to grad school.

    For the moment, however, I'm wearing shorts and flipflops, am decently paid, left alone, showed up at work at 10, and have a little web stack I can call my own. I have, admittedly, a bunch of mind-numbing, syntactically sensitive technical problems to work on but with each passing week I add a lump of knowledge and maybe a tool or two to solve future problems.

    If everyone wants to stay away.. fine by me! I'll just be in demand all the more.

    Y'know, I think I've written myself into a better mood.

  • by sirwired (27582) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @11:49AM (#23919711)

    While there are few jobs within IT where your college education really feels useful (i.e. architecture jobs), for most of them, a college grad is either grossly overqualified because he/she paid attention in all those theoretical classes which have no bearing on corporate IT and is a geek that could have done most of the jobs without college, or grossly underqualified, because he/she took a CompSci/Eng program just for the money, and failed to pick up the necessary practical skills outside of class during their education.

    I would go so far to say that if you want to work corporate IT, a 2yr program should be sufficient. If you want to work in the technology industry itself, creating or supporting lower level stuff than end-user apps, then a college education comes in handy. For those jobs, a formal education is real useful, and employers in the computer industry expect you to pick up most of your skills via OJT, so previous practical knowledge is actually less useful than with IT employers.

    For me, my first job out of college with a freshly minted CompE degree was top-level support for a company making network routing equipment. Never mind I had never actually seen a router before in my life... It wasn't a problem, since the work was so low-level that pretty much nobody was expected to come into the job having the required protocol analysis skills. Having a well-rounded CompE education came in real handy for picking up that stuff in a hurry.

    Most of the development work in Corporate IT is churning out one DB App after another. Most of the other work is sysadmin, DB admin or user support work. I just don't see the relevance of the broad theoretical knowledge provided by a college education there.

    I can't imagine doing my job for a tech company well without my CompE degree, and I can't imagine what I would do with my degree at most of the customers I deal with.

    SirWired

  • by mschuyler (197441) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:09PM (#23920195) Homepage Journal

    When I first got into computers it was exciting and new. The first computer at my work place was mine, an Apple ][. What could it do? Anything! Look at this Visicalc thing! Then I stuck a CP/M card in and got dBase II. That allowed us to build a complete accounts payable and payroll system (once we got to dBase III). More computers followed. I thought it would be very cool to get a computer on everyone's desk! People were interested and amazed at what you could do with one of these small desktop boxes. More people got involved. Then came Ethernet! Yes! We're networked! And what about gophers and email? And what was this www thing? It ws an exciting time when hobbyists and enthusiasts drove innovation and spearheaded the drive to compute the world. They were seen as intelligent, innovative saviors. To open up a box with a new computer and smell those polymers wafting in the air still gives a sense of progress! The future has arrived (it's just unevenly distributed--William Gibson) but we were evening the distribution! We were changing the world, increasing productivity.

    Well.....Mission accomplished.

    Now there IS a computer on every desk. Now there are more servers than you originally had computers. Now without a flashy web site you are hopelessly behind. Now everyone wants in on the action to tell you what to do. Now if you're down for a second it's all your fault and heads will roll. Now IT is a subservient class with deadlines and 'management.' The corporations, big and small finally got over their wide-eyed enthusiasm and ignorance of the field and yoked it in--hard. It has turned from an art to a science, from innovative to expected, from bleeding edge to basement cubicles.

    The same thing happened with electricity. The same thing happened with radio. And now it's happened with IT. It has gone fom a hobbyist paradise to a mundane backwater. Too bad. Life was better then.

  • Anecdote (Score:3, Informative)

    by RomulusNR (29439) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:16PM (#23920329) Homepage

    I started college as a journalism major. In my second quarter, we were each assigned a classmate to interview. Mine was a girl who had entered college as a CS major (a path which I would tread backwards on less than two years later).

    Her reason for switching: "I didn't realize it was just programming all day".

    I don't remember whether I asked her what she expected or what she said. I suppose that has something to do with why I didn't stay in J-school.

  • by mytec (686565) * on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:36PM (#23920759) Journal

    This is especially true the lower you are on the ladder. When you are entry level, you are probably doing help desk most of the time along with setting up new machines. Sure, when you get that eight core computer in, the computer is probably pretty exciting to check out and play around a bit while you install what is needed, but after a few installs, it's simply repetitive -- just like all the other computers you have set up and will continue to set up. Maybe you get to write reports. You'll definitely awe your friends with how you successfully joined 10 tables to create your latest report.

    I think IT gets more exciting and interesting when you reach the point where you are creating solutions to new problems. There is a great deal of responsibility but a much greater feeling of reward and satisfaction. I think the saying about the lead dog having the best view is true and not just in IT.

    I enjoyed reading the comment where someone said that IT is like janitorial work.

  • by golodh (893453) on Tuesday June 24, 2008 @12:43PM (#23920953)
    Perhaps it's a sign that the IT industry is growing up. Writing software is becoming much more like engineering and a lot less like pioneering.

    Engineering in all its facets (from civil engineering to mechanical engineering to chemical engineering) is sometimes considered "boring" too.

    From what I understand this is because you need a lot of background knowledge, and unless you're extremely good you won't find much scope for technical innovation. You'll primarily be applying knowledge, not inventing it.

    E.g. in the case of structural engineering using standard components, standard materials, and standard constructions. It's only when you work for a specialised engineering design company that you get to do state-of-the-art finite element calculations on brand-new structures. Other companies just use standard design rules to dimension standard components in standard structures, the trick being to satisfy all requirements in the cheapest possible way in the least possible time. Day in day out.

    So you'll generally have to find expression for your creativity by getting things done on time and within budget instead pushing the envelope, and as soon as you're doing that you'll tend to shy away from wild innovation.

    With software development there simply is a lot of (to me elegant and beautiful, to others dead and boring) scientific background knowledge you should have (algorithms, data-structures, compiler design, finite automata, complexity theory, concurrency theory, discrete mathematics, and numerical mathematics) supplemented by more applied knowledge like the principles of software engineering, in-depth knowledge of at least three programming languages (C, C++, Java), some experience with the object hierarchy underlying modern GUIs, and probably a lot I forgot.

    And when you've done all that and appear for your first job, you may find you'll be on some project team and entrusted with responsibility for building component X of subsystem Y according to specifications someone will give you. You write your code, construct your test-cases, and verify correctness, document your functions, check in your code, and rush off to the next specification you'll implement because you've got to meet productivity standards or you're out.

    This might seem a little pessimistic, and I'm sure that in many companies who use a seat-of-the-pants approach to software engineering things are more exciting. Like being given a huge poorly documented codebase to maintain. But generally speaking I don't think it is. There is (thankfully) an awful lot of this engineering-type work in software production, and only those who excel will, in time, become the lead programmers, designers, and system architects who actually dream up and shape end products.

    Some people, and especially those who dream of designing a new supercool system to fly aircraft do indeed find the prospect of maintaining payslip applications on mainframes, automatic teller machine software, book-ordering software and inventory management systems, and crufty little custom data-entry packages boring. And perhaps they're right.

    As I see it, most software engineering tends to be a bit unspectacular when done right, and excitement mostly enters the equation if you make serious mistakes. Of course there will be exceptions, like the Mars landers. But not everyone can be a programmer at NASA.

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