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Don't let your job get shipped away

Despite the occasional peril of lost connectivity, it’s a fact of modern business that more and more services are being sent overseas. Once primarily for application development and call centers, outsourcers are enroaching increasingly closer and closer to the heart of businesses. Over on IT Knowledge Exchange, several SMB-types discussed outsourcing their entire IT departments.

Fortunately, there are some things savvy networking pros can do to make themselves “strategic assets” (HR speak for “not outsourcable”) rather than “commodity services” (that’s a bad thing). We’ve got a more in-depth look up at SearchNetworking, but here are some tips boiled down from my conversations with IT veterans, analysts, and even an outsourcing company’s HR specialist:

  • Those with purchasing power are less likely to be cut. If you’re buying something, it’s a good sign you understand the business needs on a higher level, and that you know how to …
  • Think strategically. If what you’re absolutely great at is properly configuring routers or securing a VPN, guess what? So are a lot of other people, and often times they can do it halfway around the world just as easily. What they can’t do is look around your business and suggest ways to cut down on communication problems between sales and the warehouse.
  • If you specialize, make sure your field is not going away anytime soon, and define your specialization broadly enough to be flexible in case the winds change. That means taking a hard look at the theory behind, for example, VoIP management techniques rather than simply learning how to install and maintain one brand of bandwidth management appliances.
  • Don’t rely on certifications alone. As the HR specialist told us, it’s just as easy to get certified in India as it is in the States, and labor is still cheaper there.
  • Don’t forget soft skills. Part of being an effective networking strategist means working with — and learning from — others outside of your domain. Leadership and communications courses can help you not only freshen up your resume, but also work more effectively outside of IT.

There’s also some really great advice in in the ITKE forums, and if you’ve got a question about what to do with your own career, you might try asking there: Generally the members are more than willing to help out, and many of SearchNetworking’s resident expert tipsters are active participants. Some career-oriented posts I came across:

  • How do I become an ICT professional?
  • How do I get into IT with my administrative background?
  • Certification in Business and Personal communications
  • Advice on advancing a networking career

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