(Un)happy Techies Day to You?
eLABorations: IT pros' message to students isn't dollars and job security anymore.Late September, and with the tang of apples ripening in the chilling fall air came, too, the yearly call to celebrate Techies Day come Oct. 1. This year, the chirpy press release sent a chill down my spine. "Mamas, please let your babies grow up to be techies," it read, betraying what seemed like blithe ignorance. After all, what IT professional in good faith could volunteer time to encourage K-12 students that technology is still a better career choice than, say, cleaning tile grout? But in spite of the crash-tinkle-thud economys effect on the IT job market, techies.comthe job site that founded Techies Day back in 1999as of Sept. 24 was still extolling organizations and individuals to do things like hold speaker forums and panel discussions, invite K-12 students to workplaces for job-shadowing, form mentoring partnerships, and give students sneak peaks into college tech courses. Cynical journalist that I am, I immediately dubbed this years event Anti-Techies Day, and I set out to discover how dourly Techies Day played out in this time of layoffs, bankruptcies and salary shrinkage.
I am pleasantly surprised to report that, in some ways, I had my head up my journalists pass. Organizations across the country participated with enthusiasm and creativity in spite of the sour IT job landscape. SUNY Upstate Medical University, in Syracuse, N.Y., for example, is suffering from the tight job market, yet it still mustered four analysts from the university hospitals Hospital Information Systems department, who took turns hosting a job-shadowing high school student.