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Hire Now, Save Later

See if you can follow this pretzel logic: Since technology vendors now have money to tweak each other via highway billboards, it's time to think about hiring network professionals sooner, rather than later.

This convoluted thought came to me while driving on Highway 101, the aorta of Silicon Valley. After seeing IBM's "Middleware is Everywhere" billboard (where the message is located within a word-scramble puzzle), a few miles down the road an electronic billboard flashed a message from the folks at Sun, who used the same "puzzle" format, with the words "Middleware is History."

The middleware debate doesn't even concern me here. I'll leave the explanations up to the two companies' able marketing departments. What is clear, is that if these guys have cash to burn on tit-for-tat billboards, then the recovery is indeed in full swing -- meaning that a hiring crunch may be just a year or so down the road.

Since I have no empirical data to back that opinion up, you can judge for yourself its relative worth. To me, it's a simple game of follow the money: If BigEquipment companies have loosened their billboard budgets, that means cash is flowing and more gear is being purchased -- meaning more people are going to be required to install and administer said gear, sometime in the near future.

Sure, it's a buyer's market now in the high-tech help-wanted land, but as in any field, the best players are always picked early. If you've been meaning to beef up your IT staff, it might behoove you to lock in some top players now, before salaries and freelance costs start to escalate again.