Tongue in Check: Professionally problematic

Hoping to get a movie role opposite Julia Roberts, Sim this month dreams up yet another conspiracy theory to explain the IT industry's skills crunchIt's a conspiracy, I tell you. But most of you would already know that, because most of you are in the industry. You're one of them.

Now I admit that I've had my share of conspiracy theories, but I'm telling you, I'm on the money with this one. I've seen documents. I've seen tapes. I saw the two-headed goat get sacrificed (or maybe that was the last episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

I know what you're all up to.

My own self interest precludes me from exposing the truth to the wider community; after all, the lifestyle that I have become accustomed to depends on the continued buoyancy and health of the IT industry.

What's more, having reported and commented on it all for so long now, I guess I've become something of an accessory.

So yes, you've bought my silence, but I just wanted you all to know that I know.

I worked it out, not just because I'm a clever dick, but because I've actually spent quite a while pondering this so called "skills crisis". What's the story, I asked myself? There's a significant portion of our society unable to find work, yet there's a massive undersupply of people whose work is to make computers work.

Now, as regular readers of this column would know, I've had thoughts on the issue before. There was my first exposŽ, which revealed how the IT industry had deliberately portrayed itself as uncool in order to scare people out of wanting to work in it, thereby protecting everyone's job security and outrageous salaries.

I still think that's part of it, but I now believe there's more to it. There's a darker, more sinister aspect to the plan. Isn't there?

I asked myself why is there such a shortage of people who can make computers work? It's not as if it's that hard to make computers work, is it? Then it hit me. It is that hard to make computers work.

There, my friends, is the fundamental core of the plan. I'm guessing you all make some sort of pact back at university.

That all those who end up becoming programmers and system designers will make computers so buggy and so difficult to use and manage that there will always be an overwhelming number of jobs for those who become IT managers, administrators and support staff. Brilliant!

I have ample evidence. Look at every successful system. It's always the most unreliable, difficult to use and manage platform.

Look at SAP, look at Windows, look at Novell.

When NetWare was a dog to manage and you had to know all those command-line instructions, it was a hit.

But as soon as Novell tried to buck the system by introducing a GUI interface and a directory that made it a cinch to manage networks, people stopped buying it.

Instead they turned to the most bug-ridden unreliable platform they could find -- NT! But what would the conspirators do if Microsoft had a brain explosion and made NT reliable and simple to manage.

How about finding a bastardised version of Unix created by some backyard Finnish hacker? Yes, that'd do it.

Equilibrium is maintained and everyone's job security and handsome salaries are protected once more. And there, the prosecution rests.

Philip Sim is the editor of Australian Reseller News. E-mail him at

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