3 things about IT in the financial industry in 200x
1. A manager is as successful as his staff is dispensible.
In particular, a manager seeks to ensure, consciously or unconsciously, that a candidate from Infosys can pick up your job in a month's time.
When someone leaves and they bravely, solemnly state "The show must go on...", they forget to leave out the last part : "...in Bangalore".
(This is the kind of Lowest-Common-Denominator thinking that makes Java so popular. But that is a whole new direction of this conversation which we can have in private.)
Even as Infosys and other Indian IT firms struggle to control attrition & salaries, yet hire smart, experienced folk, the number of Indians who are good at IT keeps increasing each year.
2. The only way to keep a $100K job is to get a $150K one.
(I use 100 and 150 only as reference numbers, but you get the point.)
If you're in a job developing typical IT applications, please plan for it to be outsourced soon. Indians are at least that capable, and the best IIT-ian who has chosen to stay back in India will probably cost no more than 50% of a comparable candidate. At the same time, the maturity and stability of Java, .NET, their class libraries and 3rd party libraries continues to mean a lot of productivity and less time spent on pesky debugging. The barrier to entry in IT is decreasing every day.
At the same time, an increasing number of candidates with Ph.D.s and additional Masters' degrees are joining the financial industry today. These folks are bringing in a new wave of applied quantitative finance and Artificial Intelligence techniques to the art of making money and controlling risk. The big banks continue to scream and shout that they cannot increase salaries but the fact is : there's a lot more money being invested in the markets today than ever before. If you have something to contribute, you can definitely think of attracting it to your pocket.
The only way to survive in IT is to move up the skill or management ladder : if you're a Java or C++ programmer, become a quant programmer or a manager of a team.
Given this situation, there is a simple thumb rule to decide what to focus your attention on:
3. What doesn't make you stronger will kill you.
Get your ass off YouTube and pick up that challenging book about petri nets, calculus, statistics, machine learning, or whatever you've been meaning to (re-)learn. It's a good sign if the going is tough. Or go find a successful manager in your hierarchy to suck up to. I hate that path to success in the rate race, but it's the easier one and I've seen it work. You choose mate.