Looking for an IT job in Austin, Houston or San Antonio?
Learning as much about an employer’s technologies and business issues before the job interview can mean all the difference in whether you get an offer. There are easy ways to learn about southern Texas employers. It just takes a continuous process of drilling down for more information until you get to the company, technology and job that’s right for you.
HOW TO FIND IT
The first place to find information about companies, industries and technologies is the Internet. Virtually every company has a presence on the Internet now. That makes it easy to find company profiles, including current job listings and descriptions, and to take a peek at the technologies they’re using.
And that’s no “if-I-find-the-time” advice. These days, employers expect that all job applicants, especially in the information technology ranks, will visit their Web site. They fully expect you to at least have gained general information about the company from the corporate Web site, says Gary McGowen, manager of technology customer support at Arthur Andersen & Co. in Houston.
“Our Web page shows all of what we do, our vision and our scope of customers,” McGowen says. And if you expect to sit across the interview table from McGowen, he says it’s imperative that you learn beforehand that the company does much more than accounting.
There’s also a plethora of robust technology job search sites on the Web. Those can be a gold mine of information on IT organizations in southern Texas.
“By searching job markets or technologies through job listings, you can make inferences about what companies are doing with their projects and technology,” says Clint Tomlinson, president of recruitment firm Technical Scouts in Austin. For example, “If you are interested in Java Web development, once you have found a detailed job description from a company, you know more about what they are up to,” he says.
Opportunity is BIG in Southern Texas
The San Antonio IT job market includes companies in insurance, health care and the military. And then there’s United Services Automobile Association (USAA), jokes Roy Forsstrom, IT director at ASI/CartoTech Inc., a computer mapping services company in San Antonio.
But there’s truth in the humor. USAA, a worldwide insurance and financial services family of companies that serve the military, is a huge presence in San Antonio, says Jim Burgess, USAA program manager of IT recruiting.
Burgess recently developed USAA’s dedicated IT recruitment program. What jobs are available at USAAand in the San Antonio job market? “Pick one, and we are looking for it,” Burgess says. That includes skills from mainframe IMS, MVS, Cobol experience to client/server, C++, Visual Basic, Unix, Oracle and object-oriented design to good Internet development, he says.
Sometimes it seems as if Austin is made up entirely of musicians and technicians (and sometimes the two are one and the same). There’s a strong group of start-up, high-tech companies here, mixing with established companies such as Dell Computer Corp.
The city hires a lot of technical professionals, Tomlinson says, and the demand for skills is wide and varied. C++ is always a mainstay. Unix and Windows background is needed, and there’s growing demand for Java developers, he says.
In Houston newspapers and business periodicals, the common theme is the labor shortage. Houston is feeling the squeeze from a mass exodus of professionals caused by the downturn in the energy industry in the late 1980s, says Steve Satterwhite, president of Entelligence Inc., an IT professional contract firm in Houston.
“We see a wide gamut of skills needed in the area — robust knowledge of Microsoft NT technology and Exchange server and the whole suite of [Microsoft] back-end products is strong,” he says. “There are quite a few [enterprise resource planning] projects getting off the ground, calling for SAP, PeopleSoft and Oracle developers. And in the middle, a continuing demand for general client/server skills like C++, PowerBuilder and Visual Basic.”