Solaris job trends are up, and other observations about IT's future

A middle school telementor student is interested in pursuing a career in computer science. Her teacher asked the class to clip local job openings in their career choice. Since this isn't a terribly prosperous part of the U.S. midwest, I was surprised to hear that there are a number job opening. But the student learned that inexperienced but highly educated candidates were being brushed aside in favor of those with years of experience. How can I encourage a bright middle school student who intends to pursue an IT career, without being dishonest? I could mention the dearth of IT jobs in the midwest at the beginning of my career and the subsequent boom. I hope career counselors no longer channel students away from their talents towards the "hot job du Jour." My 101 computer science class began with a standing room only crowd, but by the end of the semester it had thinned considerably. Our teacher prided himself on his dropout rate!

I do see enormous untapped potential in IT. For example:

  • We've only hit the tip of the iceberg in the application of data mining to epidemiology, economics and security.
  • Much of the clutter of photos, DVDs, CDs and videotapes will disappear as soon as we can organize this data while keeping the MPAA and RIAA happy.
  • Governments, law, education and medical professions seem slow to adopt information technology. Prescriptions rely on handwritten records, Governments and legal professionals treat FAX (a technology which dates to the mid 1800s) is treated as a secure document transmission medium, while 128bit public key encrypted and signed email isn't!
  • Windows PCs still seem a painful hack. Having watched Microsoft Windows languish nearly a decade behind some alternative OSs (Solaris, AmigaDOS, OpenVMS, OS2, NeXT, BeOS), I have to wonder where we would be if antitrust laws had been enforced before it was too late for these companies? We wouldn't go wrong to redesign PCs from scratch.
  • IT has tremendous applications in transportation and traffic management. Why doesn't my car know what speed I should drive to catch all of the lights green? Why did it take the FAA billions of dollars and more than a decade to replace a dieing air traffic control system?
  • Take advantage of Internet ubiquity. Why are people building datacenters in places with expensive real estate and expensive non-renewable energy sources when Iceland and other places have abundant renewable energy and relatively cheap real estate?
  • Sun Ray has been around almost a decade now yet telecommuting is rare even for those in the IT industry.

These are just a few ideas off the top of my head, but imagine my surprise when, to illustrate data mining, I found's jobsite trawler which showed that jobs in Solaris are on the increase.

How could this be in this banjaxed economy when even Microsoft's Vista seems to have flatlined? Imagine what might happen when we hit the inevitable turn around. Few were prepared for this economic slump even though signs of it have been lurking in the shadows and blogosphere for years. Even fewer will be prepared for the coming boom in technology and eco-efficiency. I wouldn't be at all surprised if by the time this bright student graduates, recruiters will have to work very hard to get her on their team. The same goes for all of the extremely talented ex-Sun employees who've recently entered the job market. There is a very bright future ahead if we can get past these potholes!


It might be interesting to add Linux in as a category.

Posted by Scott Johnson on April 26, 2009 at 05:37 PM GMT+00:00 #

Oh yes linux is doing well also, especially Ubuntu.

Posted by bnitz on April 26, 2009 at 05:59 PM GMT+00:00 #

Posted by bnitz on April 26, 2009 at 06:04 PM GMT+00:00 #

Added linux and windows server
<div style="width:540px">
<a href="" title="solaris, aix, hp-ux, windows vista, linux, windows server Job Trends">
<img width="540" height="300" src="" border="0" alt="solaris, aix, hp-ux, windows vista, linux, windows server Job Trends graph">
<table width="100%" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" border="0" style="font-size:80%"><tr>
<td><a href="">solaris, aix, hp-ux, windows vista, linux, windows server Job Trends</a></td>
<td align="right"><a href="">solaris jobs</a> - <a href="">aix jobs</a> - <a href="">hp-ux jobs</a> - <a href="">windows vista jobs</a> - <a href="">linux jobs</a> - <a href="">windows server jobs</a></td>

Posted by Scott Johnson on April 26, 2009 at 06:09 PM GMT+00:00 #

The URL may look better than the html. I guess "HTML Syntax: NOT allowed" means html syntax is really not allowed :--)

Posted by Scott Johnson on April 26, 2009 at 06:11 PM GMT+00:00 #

Ok, 2 strikes. I'll try once more.

Posted by Scott Johnson on April 26, 2009 at 06:12 PM GMT+00:00 #

Thanks Scott! Yes it is annoying that html isn't allowed in the comments, but those graphs are interesting. Linux Job postings surpassed Windows Server postings in January 2008. I hope all of the good ex-Sun people out there are able to remind recruiters that all Solaris experts can 'do Linux' if they choose. The skills are very interchangeable, though we would be annoyed at working without ZFS, dtrace and SMF, Linux people would be annoyed that Solaris forces you to write cleaner code, doesn't work on every Wal-Mart laptop and doesn't always hold your hand at the command line.

I wonder if any other companies/websites publish similar job trends. I'd like to take this with a few grains of salt and see how it compares to other methods of measuring job trends.

Posted by bnitz on April 27, 2009 at 01:33 AM GMT+00:00 #

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