10/29/2017

Barriers to Entry in the Workforce

What would you like to be when you grow up?  I'd like to be CEO.

What are the barriers to entry?  Well, you most likely have a degree or two or three and tons of business experience.  So why aren't there more CEOs?  Limited number of positions.  Why aren't there CEO positions listed on the job boards?  There are different barriers to entry.  CEO's are not filled the same way most jobs are filled.

What are the barriers of entry to most positions?  College degree, industry experience, entry level, or lateral moves.

Many people have a comfort zone.  This is what I do, this is what I did, this is what I'm going to do.  Typically, not much variation over the long haul.  Perhaps some upward mobility depending on your work ethic or lack of, your ability to play politics and your ability to get things done.

In the world, there are 3 typical jobs.  You make something.  You service something.  Or you sell something.

Some jobs overlap.

Musicians make music.  Artist make art.  Authors make books.  Bakers make goods.  Chefs make meals.

Medical profession is in the business of service, yet they tend to sell things, discretely or not, to their patients, or customers.

Sales people sell things.  Shoe salespeople sell shoes.  Umbrella sales people sell umbrellas.

Although the roles are segments, they tend to overlap.  And good workers are skilled in all three areas.

Programmers make programs.  They also service programs.  And perhaps they sell those programs.  Or they sell their ideas or service to other departments internally.

Back in the day, a programmer sat behind a fortress, was provided specifications, and worked for months uninterrupted to produce a final product.  They were the gatekeepers as they held proprietary information and, the ability to translate business process into machine code in form of application, which had value to users.

Now programmers must service their clients, whomever they may be, as well as sell themselves, their skills, their value.

Typically, those versed in writing code have been intellectual if you may.  Programmers tended to be introverted or socially inept.  No more, now programmers must have social skills and sales skills if they wish to survive.

Not only that, what are the barriers to entry?  College degree, real world experience and perhaps know someone.  Once you get foot in the door, college degree becomes irrelevant for the most part.  Either you provide value, by making something, servicing something, or selling something.  Or a combination of all three.

Can you enter the world of programming without College degree?   It's possible.  If you have ability and knowledge to solve problems, there are jobs waiting available, as IT has shortage of qualified workers.

If I was going through the system today, I'd probably skip the traditional 4 year college diploma.  First, it's costly.  Second, they teach you the basics.  Third, you delay entry into the workforce, losing out on valuable time.  Forth, by the time you graduate, the world of IT has already changed and you're behind the curve.

If it were me, I'd learn as much as possible in High School before graduation.  I'd get involved with industry experts through networking, take on some free projects to gain real world experience, by creating a side business.  I'd attend classes on the internet, perhaps some certifications, so I had the necessary skills out of the gate.  Completely bypass the traditional 4 year diploma.  Perhaps in time, attend courses at night, maybe get an AA degree, perhaps Bachelors, maybe MBA, who knows.  PhD, most likely not.

Programming computers has a lower barriers to entry than many occupations, with one of the biggest upward mobility potential.  You can increase salary quite a bit in a short time, so long as you have the skills, motivation, work ethic and understanding of how business run.

I wouldn't stay at the same job very long, as that's passe.  Pensions went away, no use in staying put for very long.  Here's why.  

When you move jobs, you learn new ways to do things, you meet new people, and solve new problems.  Within a few years, you have enough real world experience, projects under you belt and flexibility to climb the ladder of your own terms.  You can't depend on the company to provide that upward mobility.  

Reason being, they want immediate results, they'd rather hire from the outside than train internal people, hold carrots to entice loyalty.  Now that healthcare is available outside the corporations, there are really no immediate ties which handcuffed a good chunk of the workforce prior.  People got lazy, they liked their seniority, x weeks off a year, corner office.  They preferred the pecking order and lack of change, how people hate change.  Many folks worked harder at keeping the job they had, avoiding actual work, primarily for job security.  Those days are over.  Job security is dead.

If I was going through the system today, I'd find a way to make it happen, by self learning how to program a variety of different technologies and claw a way into the work force, and relentlessly learn new skills.  As today's corporate ladder doesn't go up, it goes sideways and down.  You have to own your destiny and not rely on outdated models.

And so it goes~!

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