Southern California Tech Jobs Make a Comeback

2009 was a horrible year for job seekers, and even those holding on to existing jobs. No bonuses, no promotions, layoffs, and nobody hiring. And SoCal successfully beat most of the United States in unemployment claims, by several percentage points, attaching painful and empirical fact to the grim situation.

But that does appear to be changing. Slowly changing, but it is looking better for job seekers in the region. A recent scrape of job openings for Los Angeles and Orange Counties yielded some pretty strong job titles:

  • Director of Engineering – Marina Del Rey
  • Chief Integration Engineer – El Segundo
  • Director, information technology – San Clemente
  • VP Global Services – Los Angeles
  • Customer Services Director – El Segundo
  • Lead Systems Engineer – Los Angeles
  • Senior Industrial Director – Irvine
  • Smart GRID Architect – Rosemead
  • HL7 Integrator – Los Angeles
  • Disaster Recovery Manager – Irvine
  • Manager, Operations Systems – Van Nuys, CA
  • Systems Architecture Engineer – Huntington Beach, CA

And the list goes on… About 350 good positions listed in my 25 January search.

Tech Jobs are Out There in SoCalOne additional exciting trend in the job stack is the high number of positions in manufacturing industries. While the services market is great, manufacturing spawns input into the supply chain, which adds a lot of downstream value to those companies increasing or expanding their business operations.

Dust Off that Resume

The time is near, and technology-savvy job seekers will reap rewards if they are prepared for the next boom in business expansion. Cloud computing, unified messaging, IT operations, data center consolidation, process automation, green technologies – corporate jargon to some, but areas with increasing demand for qualified candidates.

Cloud computing and data center consolidation are quite interesting, admittedly because they are new and exciting trends in the IT community.

The Dot.Com era taught us painful lessons on the value of investment money. The venture community sat back after 2002 and made a decision to actually perform a bit of due-diligence prior to throwing money at PowerPoint companies and paper ideas. At least those which were not using private equity with large investments in real estate.

The Dot.OMG era is now just about at an end, and some of the lessons learned are focused on the execution of business plans and intelligent use of capital and operational expenses – while building business.

IT has gone from being a “darling” of the internet age, to a very powerful means of adding tremendous business value through globalization of markets, and real-time transaction processing to support the global economy and marketplace. The only problem was to support that IT engine, technical managers tried to solve their processing challenges by throwing more disk, processors, and bandwidth at their requirements.

The next age will be one where companies refocus their energy on developing their business, and begin to expect processing and IT to be more of a utility than an exceptional part of their business. Welcome to data center outsourcing, virtualization, cloud computing, and Software as a Service/SaaS. Recover the costs of expensive and inefficient data centers.

So those engineers and sales staff still hanging out in the Communicator’s Bar, get ready to get sized for your next retro-logo polo shirt. The time is now for those who can put their fantasy of re-entering the telecom community to deal in bilateral telephone minutes aside and get ready to support thought leadership strategies to bring customers into commercial data center outsourcing models – or go sell them on consolidating their in-house operations into enterprise clouds.

Look at the tech job listings again. Companies are begging for IT and tech visionary managers to solve their growth and development pain. Begging.

2010 is going to be a great year in SoCal, so let’s get out there and make sure it does not pass us by, and does not require our companies to go elsewhere to attract talent. We’ve got the talent right here, and we need to put it back to work.

Trouble at the Telecom and Communicator’s Bar

Have you heard the news? Unemployment is skyrocketing, companies are closing, there’s no investment money for startups, and the sky is falling, the sky is falling? Don’t I know, as the layoff frenzy hit my own Hanging out at the communicator's barhome, that it is a scary economic place to take a swim… Sharks, really hungry sharks, circling with an eye to take every last cent you have been able to hide.

And the outlook remains bleak. The New York Times reports that Europe is suffering in youth unemployment – even more than the US. 42.9% unemployment is Spain, 28% unemployment in Ireland, an EU average of 20.7% Makes California look like the “promised land.”

And, California may actually be the “promised land.” California still attracts the best of global engineering to the Silicon Valley, and the most creative minds in communications and entertainment to Los Angeles. Whether you are a European, Chinese, Indian, or even Canadian, Silicon Valley and LA offer an environment that is unsurpassed around the world. Our universities embrace people from other cultures and countries, and our ability to support entrepreneurs draws not only students, but the best engineers and thought leaders from around the world.

Back at the Communicator’s Bar

There are still tables with discussions reviewing the indignities of being laid off by struggling companies. There are still discussions with the whine of people talking about the “damn foreigners” who are here stealing our jobs. Still “barflys” slopped over the bar worrying about their Audi payments and how their ARM mortgage has put them under water.

Then there are other bars with tables full of Americans, And A scatter shot of foreigners talking about fun stuff. Fun stuff like cloud computing, virtualization, globalization, distributing computing, “the network is the computer,” “the computer is the network,” and how the carriers will return to their roots of providing high quality “big, fat, dumb” telecom pipes. The talk is of how we can finally start putting all this intellectual property that we’ve spent billions n producing Powerpoint slides into reality.

Green is here

Virtualization is here

Data Center outsourcing is here

2010 is a blank whiteboard set up to codify the thought leadership and technology spawned in the waning years of the 200x decade and put it into business plans and CAPEX budgets.

2010 is the year we aggressively deliver Internet-enabled technology to every man, woman, and child in the world who has a desire to live a life beyond killing their own food for dinner. Here is a funny though – if a radical 8 year old in one currently scary country is able to Yahoo chat or Facebook their way into discussions and relationships with kids in California and Beijing, doesn’t it make just a little sense the desire to blow each other up would be diluted, even just a little?

If the guy living next to me is producing a telecom switch that is head and shoulders above what is currently on the market, do I really care if his brain was conceived in Hanoi?

2010 is also the beginning of a true period of globalization. That doesn’t mean out hillbilly friends in Duluth, Minnesota have to quit drinking 3.2 beer and hanging out at setup bars watching Vikings reruns, it means that the hillbilly’s kid can participate in a lecture series online from Stanford or MIT. The kid might eventually invent a pickup truck that runs on pine cones, and a 3.2 beer that is actually palatable.

Embrace 2010

If not for the simple fact you have no other choice, consider all the great ideas being pumped out by companies like 3tera, the Google borg, Microsoft, VM Ware, and all the other companies with tremendous innovative ideas. Never before in our history have some many new intellectual and business tools been put on the shelf at the same time. Never before have we had such good reason to consider implanting those ideas (yes, I am a tree hugger and do believe in global warming).

So, even if you are currently living in a car under a bridge near you former upscale Orange County community – shave, wash your car, take a shower at the beach, and let’s get our depression, anger, tacit knowledge back into the business saddle. The young guys still need our experience to get their feet on the ground, and we need them to ensure we will have social security in the future.

Welcome 2010 – you have taken a long time to arrive

John Savageau, Honolulu

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