IT Labor Shortage Myth

There is no IT labor shortage in the U.S. There is no dearth of software developers. Instead, this shortage is reinforced through repetitious pronouncements by industry of the impending labor crisis, and is used as outsourcing ammunition. In reality, organizations outsource because of two simple and related factors:

  • Business believes IT costs are too high and by outsourcing IT labor, cost is reduced.
  • IT doesn’t deliver value-add business software.

New Job New Skin

March 31st marks my first day as an Analyst with Burton Group working in the Application Platform Strategies group. To an extent, this is a career change for me. Since I’ve been in IT, I’ve worked exclusively on enterprise development projects. Over the years, I’ve played most roles on the software development team, but my favorite has always been as the guy who gets his hands dirty writing code. Through writing and speaking, I’ve enjoyed sharing these experiences with others. To this point, however, any writing or speaking I’ve done has always been an extracurricular activity, making it feel like I’ve always had two jobs instead of one.

My role as an analyst means I’m no longer a software developer working in the trenches. The reality over the past couple years is that I was working less in the trenches anyway. As I continued to shape and express my software development beliefs, I also began to gravitate more toward leadership roles, though not always intentionally. Whereas I once coded all day every day, I now code only a few hours each week. Instead, I spend more time mentoring developers, evaluating emerging technologies, and guiding teams through the process improvement quagmire. But yes, through it all, I still code even if it’s of my own accord.

My new role offers some exciting opportunities. Foremost, I’ll be working for a great organization with a stellar reputation. I also feel I have a single job that that combines my passion of technology, software development, and software process with that of my desire to learn and teach. I’m excited for what lies ahead, knowing that I must be careful to remember the important real world lessons I’ve learned. I intend to continue writing code, hopefully experimenting with new languages, platforms, and tools. I look forward to working with new organizations, and meeting new people.

Since I’m moving onto what feels like a career change, I’ve also decided to update my web sites (Yes, I love to hack!). First in queue is this blog, which now has a new skin. I’ll also be moving content away from my home page and onto this blog. Eventually, the code I write will reside on Google Code. Probably other presently unforeseen changes too. I’m excited about what lies ahead, and my expectations are high.

The Agile Roadmap

For the past two years, I’ve been writing The Agile Developer column at Agile Journal. Most of the articles are small focused pieces that share my experience with a specific agile practice. This month’s theme is sharing agile successes, so I took the opportunity to traverse back through many of my previous articles and discuss how each of these practices fit into a more complete agile development approach. The Agile Roadmap can serve as a launching pad for those teams new to agile, or as a gap filler for struggling teams.

I’m sure there are some omissions and gaps in coverage – some I know of, others I may not. If you feel strongly about a practice or technique not mentioned in the article, please comment.