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Baloney behind ITAA employment figures

In response to the Perspectives column written by Ed Frauenheim, "Is IT hiring picking up?":

Your piece on IT hiring contains some of the same baloney I've read and heard since at least 1999. Anything the Information Technology Association of America says is colored by its continuing love affair with offshoring. And any comments about education ignore the facts that retraining a C+ programmer to write Java (for example) is an on-the-job effort of a couple of weeks.

I know because I started with assembly and Fortran. Over the years, I learned several new languages, including C, C++, PLM, PL/1, and several more obscure ones. With the exception of PLM, I never took a formal class or needed one.

As for the classic scare tactics from ITAA (and its cohorts) that we'll have a shortage in a few years, just look back to 1998 and 1999, when it sounded the same warning. No real shortage ever arrived. What it really means is that it's going to send jobs to cheap countries and pretend it's because there are no people available here.

The unemployment figures remind me of the line about "Lies, damn lies, and statistics." If you could dig into the real world, you'd find that unemployment, including those of us forced out of IT, rises by age. Thus, the unemployment for IT people over 50 is between 15 percent and 20 percent. There is no shortage, and there will be no shortage unless you use ITAA's yard stick, which says we'll hire only young people on the cheap.

Alan Warshauer
Redmond, Wash.