The implications of taking a lower-level position

Joseph L. DeVenuto

Title: Vice president/CIO

Company: Norton Healthcare, Louisville, Ky.

DeVenuto is this month's Premier 100 IT Leader, answering questions about taking a lower-level position, the industry's future, losing a promotion and the skills to have in the slump. If you have a question you'd like to pose to one of our Premier 100 IT Leaders, send it to and watch for this column each month.

I have a lot of experience in networking, but I've been out of work since the beginning of 2008. I seem to be joined by more people all the time, so there's a lot of competition for jobs. I've got nearly 15 years of solid experience and great references, but I'm thinking about trying for some lower-level jobs that I've ignored so far, like help desk. Two questions: Do you think I would be seriously considered, or will my résumé be tossed aside because I'm overqualified? And if I have success and land an entry-level job at this stage of my career, am I washed up in this field? The current economic environment is causing many leaders to re-evaluate the way things have always been done. You are correct that in the past your résumé may have been passed over. This was probably not because you are overqualified but because of the perception that you would expect a higher salary than an entry-level position is usually budgeted for. While salary expectations remain as something to deal with, organizations today are more willing to look in unexpected places to add skills and talents to their teams that were unavailable months ago. We have a more dynamic employment environment, which is creating a larger candidate pool that is filled with many professionals whose availability is not necessarily a direct result of their performance. Because of this, many people will need to move laterally or backward. At the end of the day, however, good workers (at any level) are good workers, and most organizations will recognize that and will work to put you in the "right seat on the bus" over time.

I've been a database administrator for several years, pretty much still enjoying the challenges of my job. But when my technically astute nephew recently asked me about pursuing a job in IT, I told him it probably wasn't a good time to get into the field. Later, though, I found myself wondering, what field does look good to get into right now? Sure, I've seen a lot of layoffs lately and IT jobs are still going offshore, but was I too harsh about prospects in IT? I decided I need a second opinion that I can give him. What do you think? I am probably biased, but I think technology is always a good field to go into, with positive career opportunities on the horizon. The world is becoming more dependent on technology every day, and with that dependency comes opportunities. The opportunities will be different in the future. Historically, every company that had an IT staff had every discipline in IT on the team. In small companies, this meant people wore multiple hats. In larger IT organizations, there is a level of specialization that can occur, like a dedicated DBA. With "clouds" and software as a service, you will probably see more consolidation of technical roles out of individual businesses and into larger technical services organizations. As a result, the role of IT within many organizations will evolve.