Career Advise: IT Service Industry

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Hello,

I am 35, male with a MS in Computer Engineering (Tier-2, good state University).
I do end-end data analytics for the past 12 years in public sector. Good performer. Same title (non manager) for all 12 years.
I love my current job, lot of work, but I am a master at it and feel comfortable. 
My organization is politics heavy , no promotions any time soon. (I have been told, "who will do your job if I promote you!")

One of my co-worker even told me, "Its not how good you are, but its who you know to get promoted in public sector".

Without any career progression for 12+ years, outside employers probably would see me as not worthy - not sure how true this is.. but my feeling.

I make about $98k a year with minimal/no rises

I do a side jobs to yield extra $15k/year - not sure how sustainable that is, as my boss wants me to do some un-ethical (not criminal) things and when I say no, he is little upset with me.

Another couple of years, I will be outdated and the market is also going through IT services outsourcing boom, where IT service jobs are either paying less or jobs are with an outsourcing employer (with sub-par pay + benefits).

I won't be surprised if my job is outsourced even at the government!
I also see a wage stagnation/decline in IT service industry including data analytics!

Prefer not being in technical roles for long as I am sick of constantly learning new technologies. I want to have other hobbies!

My goal for future is to make more money by being a business man (my own boss) OR have a sustainable career where I would be valuable to an employer even when I am older / my experience is valued.

(I should have chosen chemical/mechanical engineering where experience is valued, unlike IT where being lower billing rate is valued!)

Just want to get some inputs form more knowledgeable people here... (please do not suggest being a webcam model/stripper/drug dealer etc..)

1. Start some business - not sure what. I am a hard worker.
2. Change careers to medical field ? (become a RN / PA etc)? I see experience is valued here.
3. Any ideas on how to progress with my current skillets and background to have a sustainable long career?
4. I have a single family rental house, should I get into buying multiplexes and be a landlord? I have 100k to invest. 
5. Data analytics industry is booming, but I am not able to find a good job that even pays what I make now (~115k) without moving 200 miles.
6. Just stick out another 18 years in public sector (very hard) and collect retirement?

Note: The career and compensation thread hit me hard! I find myself underpaid and in a path to failure compared to many others.

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Why is making more money your goal?    Whats that money for?

Your OP said you saw the career and compensation thread and ... (more)

jerosen (Jan. 20, 2017 @ 12:22p) |

You don't need more money, grasshopper -- you need perspective. Next time take the family to central or south America, A... (more)

scripta (Jan. 20, 2017 @ 12:29p) |

Or adjust to the more Euro mentality that your work isn't your life. Take the boring easy money four days a week and fin... (more)

TravelerMSY (Jan. 21, 2017 @ 10:20a) |

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Same age, nearly the same story...

The road to wealth in the US is:
1. Build your own business (risky)
2. Stock market (requires time for compounding)
3. Real Estate (requires project management)

Look for the local Creative Real Estate Group, and find a mentor.
IT people who are organized with CRMs/ERPs can become good project managers, doing gantt charts of Plumbers, Permits, etc.
Find and Flip, or self-finance, or lease to build cash flow.

The one thing you have going for you is stable W-2 income, which most self-employed would kill for.
Make sure that the new field suits you before you quit.

You are correct, it's who you know to get promoted in the Public sector.

I would stick it out, just because it's politics heavy (Most jobs are), and you got no promotion path (most Jobs don't have one), you have a secure job that pays will and gives great benefits.

From my standpoint as a 'private sector worker' you got a Cushy job where you don't have any stress and real need to work harder (as you don't get promoted) and a benefit plan that makes mine look like look 'self employed'.

But that's 'the grass is greener on the other side' argument.

If you really have spare time then do what you are doing, work side jobs, volunteer in your kids (You have kids?) school and sports, and fix up the house (Well you don't own one yet).

If you get a pension, I would stick it out.

I do get pension at 62 or once I hit 30yrs service, any age. max pension is 75% top wage.

30 yrs service would put me at 53 yer old guy.

I do own home and have a toddler kid.

I trade few gold/silver bullion on eaby, it has thin margin and very risky based on metal prices. Doing it very much part time, make about $1k a year profit after eBay/paypal fees.

35 seems, i am starting to look older and maybe feeling the mid career crisis like situation, especially when there is rampant outsourcing and cheap labor available in plenty.

I am of similar age as you.

>> Prefer not being in technical roles for long as I am sick of constantly learning new technologies. I want to have other hobbies!
I feel this is the crux of the "issue" that you may be experiencing.

Are you sick of such learning because the technologies you are asked to learn are all boring and you don't feel challenged by any of them? Or are you threatened by the challenge they pose and are afraid your brain might lose the adaptability to constantly learn new paradigms as you age?

When you say "data analytics" - it could mean either!! If you are more in the "Business Intelligence products" end of it and are constantly changing from IBM Cognos, to Crystal, to Business Objects now - etc on and on and on - that can be super boring!! On the other hand - if you are more "data science" edge of the data analytics, then it could also be the later!!

In certain technology streams - no more than 5 years of experience is required to master it at an adequate level, so people with more years in the industry will feel threatened as their "additional experience" starts becoming more of a liability than a strength.

One easy way out of that quagmire is to become a business expert in the area, start taking ownership of bigger and bigger projects, and then learn/venture into an entirely new technology domain. I have done this multiple times over - and so proof this can be done :-d.

The longer you are in the industry - you want to master a domain that has a very steep learning curve.

The other "issue" that I "sense" may be at play here is that you have worked at the same employer and are afraid of the "outside". I know I was before I did the first job change and I also know many others to had the same thing. You need to overcome this!! Good thing is it takes nothing more than actually changing a job to get over this :-d...

>> Without any career progression for 12+ years, outside employers probably would see me as not worthy - not sure how true this is.. but my feeling.

Titles are meaningless in IT. It is super easy to weave a story that shows you are taking over more and more responsibility over 12 years. I bet you are no longer micro-managed the same way now that you used to be at the beginning of the career? How about some bare minimum co-ordination responsibilities? With such a long stint - you must have a lot of connections inside the company and institutional knowledge? So any time a particularly difficult problem comes up - I'm sure you must be the one being called to solve it now!! Any intra-department coordination?

Spend one weekend trying to write a resume. Spend 90% of the effort on page one. Goal is to make it look professional AND, within 5 seconds, tell someone that this is a person who has taken on increasing responsibilities as time progressed!! Come back to it the next weekend and read again as objectively as possible - or have a friend read it. Does the front page look attractive and tell, in 5 seconds, that this is a resume of a person who has taken on a lot of responsibilies over the years - redo if not? Repeat for 5 weekends and you will now have a good resume.

Take that and hit the job market!!

mrvaluepair said:   Note: The career and compensation thread hit me hard! I find myself underpaid and in a path to failure compared to many others.
  Note that responses in that thread skew heavily towards higher earners. It tends to be a bragging rights thread rather than a reliable indicator of what FWF members, or even individuals in a given industry/field are making.

So, don't let that get you down.

ThomasPaine said:   
IT people who are organized with CRMs/ERPs can become good project managers, doing gantt charts of Plumbers, Permits, etc.

 

  Interesting.

puddonhead said:   

Spend one weekend trying to write a resume. Spend 90% of the effort on page one. Goal is to make it look professional AND, within 5 seconds, tell someone that this is a person who has taken on increasing responsibilities as time progressed!! Come back to it the next weekend and read again as objectively as possible - or have a friend read it. Does the front page look attractive and tell, in 5 seconds, that this is a resume of a person who has taken on a lot of responsibilies over the years - redo if not? Repeat for 5 weekends and you will now have a good resume.

Take that and hit the job market!!


Great advice, thank you.

Yes, i have been called to fix many other issues than just my job. They know I am quiet resourceful and have made use of me well.

I can't just start taking ownership of other projects in my workplace as my co workers are very aggressive in protecting what they do. Many don't have anything to do, so they protect their territory. They wont even auto schedule a sql report, but run it by hand everyday and claim its impossible to automate it.(management /politics belive it)

So the only projects I can take ownership are ones that nobody wants to do. I have been doing it in past and my bosses know that well and now they want me to not do such things, by falsely promising me laurels and promotions.

I have boss that tells me, "for me to promote you, you should not be doing any code, else the tasks depend on you and I can't lose you to promotion"

Never seen more stupid management!

Do 18 more years and take the pension!  

puddonhead said:   

Spend one weekend trying to write a resume. Spend 90% of the effort on page one. Goal is to make it look professional AND, within 5 seconds, tell someone that this is a person who has taken on increasing responsibilities as time progressed!! Come back to it the next weekend and read again as objectively as possible - or have a friend read it. Does the front page look attractive and tell, in 5 seconds, that this is a resume of a person who has taken on a lot of responsibilies over the years - redo if not? Repeat for 5 weekends and you will now have a good resume.

Take that and hit the job market!!


Great advice, thank you.

Yes, i have been called to fix many other issues than just my job. They know I am quiet resourceful and have made use of me well.

I can't just start taking ownership of other projects in my workplace as my co workers are very aggressive in protecting what they do. Many don't have anything to do, so they protect their territory. They wont even auto schedule a sql report, but run it by hand everyday and claim its impossible to automate it.(management /politics belive it)

So the only projects I can take ownership are ones that nobody wants to do. I have been doing it in past and my bosses know that well and now they want me to not do such things, by falsely promising me laurels and promotions.

I have boss that tells me, "for me to promote you, you should not be doing any code, else the tasks depend on you and I can't lose you to promotion"

Never seen more stupid management!

Life is too short to do annoying things so you need to shake stuff around and feel alive. Look at our new President for inspiration

We cannot propose work or jobs for you as you know best what is your comfort zone and reality of financial situation. NAV after 12 years of work, spouse working or not, hobbies or other volunteering interests, any other demand on the time etc. are some of the things that can help people give you more logical suggestions but nothing works if you don't like it and can't commit to it

needdealsnow said:   Life is too short to do annoying things so you need to shake stuff around and feel alive. Look at our new President for inspiration

We cannot propose work or jobs for you as you know best what is your comfort zone and reality of financial situation. NAV after 12 years of work, spouse working or not, hobbies or other volunteering interests, any other demand on the time etc. are some of the things that can help people give you more logical suggestions but nothing works if you don't like it and can't commit to it


Rough NAV would be 775k in age restricted accounts and ~600k outside of retirement including $270k home equity.

*****correction outside of retirement is 600k including $250k in home equity. 

Working spouse, so its harder to move etc...

Hobbies are expanding knowledge in the side business-gold/silver bullion etc, photography etc... reading, politics etc...

mrvaluepair said:   
I can't just start taking ownership of other projects in my workplace as my co workers are very aggressive in protecting what they do. Many don't have anything to do, so they protect their territory. They wont even auto schedule a sql report, but run it by hand everyday and claim its impossible to automate it.(management /politics belive it)

 

  I've seen the complete opposite in Private,
People who constantly pass off jobs that they can do so they do as little as possible.  Then when the job is complete, turn around and take all the credit for it.

As I said, 'TGIGOTS' ,  at my age I would kill for a cushy job where I just had to write a few lines of SQL.  In the private sector you have to be innovative, or you get replaced.

Prefer not being in technical roles for long as I am sick of constantly learning new technologies. I want to have other hobbies!
-----------------

Basically you think you have done your learning part. Now its time where you have a few monkeys working for you. You just sit back and ask for status while doing other hobbies at work.
Nothing wrong with that. Everyone wants that. It is not easy to get this kind of position. Even it you switch jobs, it will take you 5+ years where you can do other hobbies at work.

Just note this: I'd value your pension as worth ~15-20% of your pay. Thats a good 3-5x what people usually get in the private sector.

I'd hazard a guess your health insurance is better too.

Your pay + benefit package may be equal in value to a private sector salary of $125k and typical private benefits. Plus your not seeing 10% mass layoffs every couple years either like some of us see.

I wouldn't call that under paid for a 35 year old.

ArmchairArchitect said:     Note that responses in that thread skew heavily towards higher earners. It tends to be a bragging rights thread rather than a reliable indicator of what FWF members, or even individuals in a given industry/field are making.
  This is worth repeating. While the responses in that thread help know what is possible, it is by no means a representative sample to calibrate against.

mrvaluepair said:   
needdealsnow said:   Life is too short to do annoying things so you need to shake stuff around and feel alive. Look at our new President for inspiration

We cannot propose work or jobs for you as you know best what is your comfort zone and reality of financial situation. NAV after 12 years of work, spouse working or not, hobbies or other volunteering interests, any other demand on the time etc. are some of the things that can help people give you more logical suggestions but nothing works if you don't like it and can't commit to it


Rough NAV would be 775k in age restricted accounts and ~600k outside of retirement + $270k home equity.

Working spouse, so its harder to move etc...

Hobbies are expanding knowledge in the side business-gold/silver bullion etc, photography etc... reading, politics etc...

Since you do have a lot of money saved, spouse works and you have spare time, you can look at different kinds of goals
a. money - buy a fourplex and rent it out.
b. family - have another child. very rewarding depending on if you are the parenting type
c. creative - photo blog + gig to take pictures at events and celebrations


 

mrvaluepair said:   Rough NAV would be 775k in age restricted accounts and ~600k outside of retirement + $270k home equity.

Working spouse, so its harder to move etc...

Hobbies are expanding knowledge in the side business-gold/silver bullion etc, photography etc... reading, politics etc...

  If you're 35 with that types of savings based on your income. I don't know, maybe you had some gifts or inheritance, but otherwise just keep doing what you're already doing? You're already in the top of net worth based on age. If you can get 8% return on your savings you're looking at 110k per year in investment returns alone.

vegas4x4 said:   
mrvaluepair said:   Rough NAV would be 775k in age restricted accounts and ~600k outside of retirement + $270k home equity.

Working spouse, so its harder to move etc...

Hobbies are expanding knowledge in the side business-gold/silver bullion etc, photography etc... reading, politics etc...

  If you're 35 with that types of savings based on your income. I don't know, maybe you had some gifts or inheritance, but otherwise just keep doing what you're already doing? You're already in the top of net worth based on age. If you can get 8% return on your savings you're looking at 110k per year in investment returns alone.


*****correction outside of retirement is 600k including $250k in home equity.

This is the me+spouse together. 

What is your main objective? Make more money? Find a new career you like? Advance in your current career? Coast along and cash out retirement? It sounds like you need to come up with a clear direction.

Make more money essentially by either being a business owner or in a career that pays well where experience is valued as opposed to being aged out in that profession.

I see experienced doctors/chemica/industrial eng providing value and working way past 75 at the same time also making good money at that age, wheras in IT I have not seen 75+ professionals that provide that value. Even at 50 I can't imagine myself coding as swiftly as when I was 20.

mrvaluepair said:   Make more money essentially by either being a business owner or in a career that pays well where experience is valued as opposed to being aged out in that profession.

I see experienced doctors/chemica/industrial eng providing value and working way past 75 at the same time also making good money at that age, wheras in IT I have not seen 75+ professionals that provide that value. Even at 50 I can't imagine myself coding as swiftly as when I was 20.


You're set to retire with a lifetime pension paying 75% of pre-retirement income at age 53. You currently have over a million dollars saved at age 35. You really think making more money is going to make you happier? I don't see you need to be able to work at 75 when you can retire at 53?

Being 18 years away from full retirement is a lot to pitch. I don't see how you can meet your professed goals without a full fledged career shift.

I definitely understand where you are coming from. And to add to what others have said as reasons for not wanting to learn new things... another aspect not wanting to spend your time learning something that will just become obsolete are shorter and shorter cycles. Why keep doing it?

mrvaluepair said:   2. Change careers to medical field ? (become a RN / PA etc)? I see experience is valued here.RNs and PAs make less than software engineers. If you're gonna go medical and you want money and good work-life balance, it's anesthesiology or nothing. Requires lots of expensive education though, and given your income the ROI might be very low, if any.
mrvaluepair said:   Note: The career and compensation thread hit me hard! I find myself underpaid and in a path to failure compared to many others.You should look at glassdoor.com and salary.com for a better measure of average salaries. The compensation thread is ridiculous, most people doing the same thing don't make as much. Also 1.4MM net worth is nowhere near failure. Probably top 2-3% of the US population, and probably better than 99.5% of the world. Don't be greedy.
vegas4x4 said:   mrvaluepair said:   Make more money essentially by either being a business owner or in a career that pays well where experience is valued as opposed to being aged out in that profession.

I see experienced doctors/chemica/industrial eng providing value and working way past 75 at the same time also making good money at that age, wheras in IT I have not seen 75+ professionals that provide that value. Even at 50 I can't imagine myself coding as swiftly as when I was 20.
You're set to retire with a lifetime pension paying 75% of pre-retirement income at age 53. You currently have over a million dollars saved at age 35. You really think making more money is going to make you happier? I don't see you need to be able to work at 75 when you can retire at 53?

Being 18 years away from full retirement is a lot to pitch. I don't see how you can meet your professed goals without a full fledged career shift.
Given his savings rate, he's gonna have a few mil in addition to that amazing pension.
mrvaluepair -- stop reading about politics and start reading about early retirement. Why spend your entire life working when you can spend it living? You can't take that money with you when it's over.

If you really need to scratch that itch, would you be able to come back to this job while retaining the years of service? That might be a good option.

I can't speak to the IT career stuff, but it does sound like you're restless. Why don't you take a long vacation and see if you get some perspective on all of this?
 

I am a few years older than you, electrical engineer, switched jobs 6 times in last 12 years. Put resume on linkedin and you have recruiters calling you constantly. Some of the contract jobs pay at least $61/hr (depending how you negotiate, you could ask for more) and 1.5x that overtime. When you have that as history, subsequent jobs should pay you more. 

each time i switched job, the title changed, I was a project manager, site manager. I wish i was in computer science. Starting salary is $150K with those big firms like google, snapchat (pays more), in Bay Area. Someone told me if you master questions on www.leetcode.com, you will do well in the interview. They ask you to write write out programs on the board (without computer) in 5 hours interview span.

I used to work in semi government job ( a utility company owned by federal government). Private and public life is totally different. Private is intense, fast paced. There is a reason they hire young people because older people would definitely die. Although there are positions in private that's slower paced. I am learning so much in a few weeks that it took me half a year in public to learn because of the info and materials I am exposing to. 

I also do hedge fund and oil well investment. I make multiple six figures and plan to make half a million or more a year. I listen to Grant Cardone on youtube. He's made it. He used make $600K and drove a camry. Listen to other rich people on youtube.com . 

In life it's also who you know. I invested in my friend's business and have millions shares of stocks. when it hits IPO, OMG, I am close to 8 digits wealth. Working does not make you rich. Have money working for you does make you OK but you might lose it. Knowing how to make money work for you and how to managing it are few of the keys to make you ok. I didn't say rich because depending where you live, a million dollar could barely buy you half a house. 

Being public sector, I imagine you have a pretty easy schedule. 40/hrs / wk?

I think you should just find a hobby you enjoy and let work be work.

jason745 said:   Being public sector, I imagine you have a pretty easy schedule. 40/hrs / wk?

I think you should just find a hobby you enjoy and let work be work.

  
Yes. Its 40 hrs/week - 4 days a week. 3 day weekends every week. I do my side gig on 5th working day.

Took a vacation to western Europe (with family) to relax and think. Looking at the opulence, my mind asks me to make more and more money, have to figure out how.

I feel like IT jobs (supporting ERP/BI/Databases) are slowly getting outsourced or is getting some cheap labor on visas ad slowly going away through automation /self service. Sort of losing hope for the long term (I have 18 more years at least if I stick to my current employer). private industry looks sort of less sable for similar jobs. 

Confused on what to do to achieve my goal - how to make lot more money?

My 1.5 cent... as someone who is in one of the traditional engineering field you listed.

- Grass is always greener on the other side. Out here on the coast we have to create a separate IT pay chart just keep them.

- I been hearing about "all IT jobs will be outsourced" for 20+ years and yet, good IT people are still hard to come by and I have NEVER seen a good IT guy/girl EVER have hard time finding a job and get paid well for it.

- Learning new stuff is what keep it interesting so that is the strangest part in your OP. I mean, WalMart is always hiring cashier.

- We all go through mid-life criseS. Making more $, getting a hot car/girl, etc.. doesn't necessary fix it.

I was going to say the same thing. On the traditional engineering side here and often thought I should/should have gone into CS, since I mostly do that anyway without the pay range they get. The grass is always greener. I agree that keeping up with technology is difficult. A lot of what's being used today wasn't even invented when some of us were in school. Maybe law would be better if you want to be able to build on experience.

mrvaluepair said:   Confused on what to do to achieve my goal - how to make lot more money?
  
Why is making more money your goal?    Whats that money for?

Your OP said you saw the career and compensation thread and decided you're underpaid.   Your'e not underpaid.  You're doing great.    You're above median pay when considering that generous pension.

Are you hating your job?   Just restless?  Feeling like you haven't succeeded enough?   Worried about your financial future?

What problem are you trying to fix?

A big pile of money isn't really a goal, its a means to a goal.
 

mrvaluepair said:   Took a vacation to western Europe (with family) to relax and think. Looking at the opulence, my mind asks me to make more and more money, have to figure out how.You don't need more money, grasshopper -- you need perspective. Next time take the family to central or south America, Africa, or India. Or even Arkansas or Mississippi.

Or adjust to the more Euro mentality that your work isn't your life. Take the boring easy money four days a week and find something outside of work to be passionate about for the other three days.  



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