Q&A: What Would Another Recession Mean for IT?

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2007-12-13 Print this article Print

The IT work force is still scarred from the dot-com bust of 2001, with some technology pros feeling like they never got back on their feet. Even more ended up leaving the field. Fears that another round of downsizing and layoffs are imminent have technology workers on edge again, just when they should be focused on relaxing with their families over the holidays.

In a conversation, Jim Lanzalotto, vice president of strategy and marketing for Yoh, a technology staffing and outsourcing firm, says that he thinks IT professionals are in a better place than they were seven years ago.

Q: Should IT workers be bracing themselves for a recession?

A: Unless something dramatic happens, I don't see anything tanking in the technology job space in the next quarter or two. Fundamentally, I would expect things to be soft because of the housing market collapse, but it hasn't impacted IT demand.

Q: We hear a lot of terms like Web 2.0 being called "Bubble 2.0" and, in light of some big technology buys this year, that there is a lot of overvaluation in the market. How are these conditions any different from what led us into the dot-com bust seven years ago?

Q: There is a big difference between 2001 and today, when there was a lot of irrational exuberance around tech companies that didn't have yet the value in the market that the people placed on them. I think we learned our lesson about what happened in 2001. It doesn't mean it won't happen again with Web 2.0, but I think we're smarter this time around. People are being shrewder about the opportunities they are going into. Many in IT are opting for jobs with stability over startups. Q: Most people have very little control over whether their companies are successful or not. They can't stop them from needing rounds of layoffs. But are there things that IT pros can do to put themselves in a better position if the axe falls?

A: The best way to not have a career setback is to stay ahead of where you are. How can you have best impact in the market in the long run? How can you become a leader in your marketplace? If you are indispensable to a company, unless they are truly failing, they're not going to want to get rid of you. They'll make sure you're the last to go.

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