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Old 09-25-2012, 03:33 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
159 posts, read 174,105 times
Reputation: 177

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My wife and I are looking into possible places to settle down. We're from CA (and never going back), and have been traveling for about 2 years now and in all this time I think I've only ever heard one negative comment about portland which I believe had to do with hipsters.

So checking things out, statistically on paper Portland looks very good compared to many other areas we're considering: Good per capita median income, relatively decent unemployment (8%), relatively good unemployment for those older than 25 (6.5%), and it looks like there's a pretty significant IT industry (I've got 10+ years experience in IT.)

So some questions:
* Perusing threads I've seen a couple times that getting a job is hard. Looking at statistics this doesn't appear to match up. Can anyone offer any insight on this? The last 2 years of travel have suggested to me that people generally like to complain about how hard it is to get by where they live, I suppose to either justify their lack of work or bolster their ego that they are successful - is portland more of the same or is there some significant reason jobs are actually difficult to come by, such as perhaps the collapse of a major employer in the area, crumbling city government, invasion of hipsters who actually enjoy working, anything else other than the general state of the nationwide economy?
* I don't have a degree. This has never caused so much as a hiccup in my career, but I'm aware that the local cultures in some areas are more accepting than others. Like I said, I've got 10+ years experience in IT and my last position was as a programmer analyst for about 3 years. I loved that work and will seek to continue on that track - how much resistance should I expect? Should I settle for reverting back to a generic "computer technician" sort of job, how available are positions?

Any help is appreciated, thanks all!
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:43 AM
 
Location: the Beaver State
6,466 posts, read 12,082,791 times
Reputation: 3549
I work in the IT industry, in Portland with about twenty years of experience now. I was unemployed from mid 2008 until late 2010 due to layoffs at my company. I have a pretty impressive resume with a lot of big name companies and a skill set that few IT folks can match, when I was searching, few recruiters felt they would have no problems placing me but the reality turned out different.

In the 2008 time frame there were a ton of large IT layoffs across the Portland Area. Conway Freight outsourced their entire IT department, roughly 300 laid off within a month for instance. Several mid-sized companies went under. I'd say that the bulk of this excess IT population was finally absorbed in about mid-2011 as that's when I suddenly started seeing a large number of recruiters contacting me again.

During this time period HR people saw the excess population of IT folks and started writing job requirements that were insane. One that sticks out in my mind was labeled "Entry Level Help Desk." The job requirements were 2 years Desktop Support, 2 years Programming Experience, 2 years System Administration, and a BS in CS. Pay was $10/hour, swing shift and weekends only. I shudder to think what kind of company that was to work for, and what kind of person lied on their resume to fill that position.

While the IT market is getting better, it's still not totally recovered. I'm not really sure it ever will. While not as grandiose as my example above, job requirements are a lot steeper now then they were before 2008. Degrees can help, but the lack rarely hinders if you have ample experience to make up for it. A lot of IT people in the Portland area have been in the industry for years and value experience over degrees that often teach out of date information. Only the HR departments really care.

We still have a large group of desktop support people that will probably never shrink in size. This is due to the number of call centers that give a lot of good experience. So jobs like that are near impossible to get due to the competition. As a programmer your skills are more in demand, if you've got Ruby, Java and/or iOS skills though, you'll have at least a contract job within a month of applying.

Another point to keep in mind is that the Portland IT Industry works more on personal networking then any other place I've seen. If you don't have a LinkedIn.com profile, create one right now. (feel free to PM me for my link so you can add - I still get a lot of recruiters looking at my profile.) Also do a search for IT Networking Events in Portland, there are a ton of them and they're great ways to start networking.
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:23 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,697 posts, read 25,032,963 times
Reputation: 35648
A friend of mine is a librarian at Portland State University in Corvallis OR. They have been looking for someone who has Ruby skills in their department to take up a program that was written in that program especially for them. The person who created it for them left. He tried teaching it to someone but that person was not familiar with Ruby and so was not able to carry it on.

If you have this knowledge, you may want to contact the university. If you want any additional info, PM me and I can pass the it along to her. But knowing Ruby is an absolute must.
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:49 AM
 
Location: Pacific NW
6,413 posts, read 10,869,740 times
Reputation: 5833
You must mean Oregon State, if it's in Corvallis.
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:29 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
159 posts, read 174,105 times
Reputation: 177
Thankyou both for your replies! I've got nothing but time for the next month or two, I suppose now's as good of time as any to finally get down to learning Ruby it sounds like. My skillset at this point has primarily been with c#, pretty much all work at my previous position was for internal business apps. On my own I've done a bit of android programming, but have no personal interest in iOS so haven't tackled that. I really enjoyed the database work at my previous position too, by the time I left I was doing a lot of fairly complex reporting in SSRS. So as of now my experience is pretty focused on c#, java, and [MS]SQL

@hamellr - love the HR-gone-wild example! Jeeze. Other than the CS degree I suppose I'd have qualified for that, but yeah... at $10/hr I hardly understand why someone would subject themselves to a company like that even if they were pretty desperate. My guess is some kid with 2 years experience at starbucks since graduating with their CS degree probably decided in frustration that they had nothing to lose, faked the experience, and HR was none the wiser - probably worked out well enough for both of them I suppose
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:02 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,697 posts, read 25,032,963 times
Reputation: 35648
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enrico View Post
You must mean Oregon State, if it's in Corvallis.
Yikes! How did I do that! Must have been the late hour. Thanks for the correction. Or maybe because I was in the Portland forum. Sorry Poster, yes that's definitely Oregon State University.
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Pacific NW
6,413 posts, read 10,869,740 times
Reputation: 5833
I figured that. Just didn't want anyone going to the wrong place.
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Old 09-28-2012, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Tucson, AZ
1,563 posts, read 2,137,309 times
Reputation: 3929
I'm so tired of Ruby..and Python. Cheap bastards. Even if a company that needs a Ruby programmer is hiring, you will find out it is a contract position, not long-term stable employment. I have 3 friends who are in community college right now (in their 30's) to get a nursing or CNC machining degree, because even with 6 year degrees and "an impressive resume" they are chronically unemployed. These threads are pretty pointless. In my opinion, IT IS ALL ABOUT YOU! I was told the job market here was crap. I had 3 offers with in a week of submitting resumes. I am a mechanical engineer, but I'm a more blue collared type that does machining work. Older MEs are out of date, and constantly complain that companies hire new guys over those with 30+ years experience just so they don't have to pay as much. The truth is they don't get hired because they are out of date and unwilling to learn new skills. I am constantly in school, and taking online courses to get certifications (on my own time and dollar), that's what it takes to stay employed these days. We have guys at our company who just graduated out of a 2 year technical school getting 60k/yr at our shop. It's all about the individual.
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,697 posts, read 25,032,963 times
Reputation: 35648
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnricoV View Post
I figured that. Just didn't want anyone going to the wrong place.
Neither would I especially if I were the one who gave out the wrong info.
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