To the editor: Thinking outside of the box... and out of town

In the May 20 issue, ["Work-force glass half full and half empty, a story"] on a shortage of skilled federal IT employees, you cited a recent survey showing that the C programming language is the hottest technical skill sought by employers, followed by Oracle, SQL, Java and Windows NT.

But your story said government employers want more than technical skills. They also want experience in a specific area, such as finance, the environment or logistics. They also need people with security clearances, a qualification not needed for private-sector IT work.

Too bad I don't want to move to Washington, as I have nearly all those skills -- collected over roughly 20 years in technology industries -- that companies theoretically want.

I have a master's of business administration specializing in economic forecasting and statistical data analysis; graduate studies in other areas of advanced mathematics, physics and computer security; excellent writing and presentation skills from more than 100 CxO-level technology presentations on business strategy and advanced software technology; advanced architecture and programming expertise spanning nearly every computer platform and language in use; lots of tinkering with Grid and other distributed computing models; communications hardware design knowledge; superior knowledge of networking and telecommunications technology and protocols; experience with artificial intelligence products and applications; lots of database and DBA experience; and I used to have a clearance when I did some stuff for a large agency way back when.

With all the VPNs and broadband available, why can't government and companies use the technology as intended and enable people to contribute via remote connections from a local or regional secure environment instead of going to an office building in Virginia or Washington?

My point is many people generally don't see the forest for the trees when it comes to latching on to skilled people. Some day Uncle Sam may learn how to do this -- using the technology that is readily available -- to enable some real out-of-the-box thinkers to do some useful things for him.

Tom Plemich

Arlington Heights, Ill.

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