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RE: <offtopic>Opinions About Cold Fusion</offtopic>

  • From: "Len Bullard" <cbullard@h...>
  • To: "'Rick Marshall'" <rjm@z...>
  • Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2007 09:16:03 -0500

RE:  <offtopic>Opinions About Cold Fusion</offtopic>
Tool based opportunities means jobs, not careers.  Settling in on a tool and
not paying continuous attention to the evolution of the technology is a
death trap.  Here is how it works in the States.

The way job postings read in the USA, experience with the tool is the
primary qualification.  The degree is necessary but in most cases, the
active clearances are more important if you work near the MIL-IND complex.
The level of degree (say Bachelors vs Masters) makes a difference in what
they can charge a government customer for your hours, so more is better
there but not because of what you know, simply because of the job codes.

The job titles are meaningless unless one has access to the job code/salary
value pairs to which they correspond (a salary range that may also
correspond to years in work force).   This is where it gets tricky.  Age
discrimination is a very real thing.  The closer you get to retirement, the
more you cost to own.  No matter what the Human Resources brochure tells
you, the manager is discriminating now that MBAs run the companies where
technical means a spreadsheet.  If they tell you otherwise, that's a clue.

Next, we have a coupler between the maturity of a tool and the age of a
developer that forces the developer to keep searching for opportunities to
get experience with emerging tools or to stay put at any job that uses a
tool.  When coupled to rising salaries, about the time one hits forty, the
system is deftly snapping handcuffs on the developer to stick with the job
regardless of other conditions.

Intergraph Public Safety resolved in the late 90s the web was a fad and
worse, the web offered no barrier to complexity against competition.  As a
result, they stuck with tools such as Visual FoxPro far past the sell-by
date.  There were the usual prototyping efforts, and finally a rush job to
produce web-based systems once the RFPs could not be bid without them, but
they had done little to create a sustaining base of developers.  The result
coupled with downsizing to reduce costs prior to sale of the corporation was
to diminish the bandwidth.  This is a death spiral because the effect of
9/11 was to drive procurements toward regional systems.  Regional systems
require software that scales to small and large installations.  All they had
to offer was Cadillac solutions and industrial trucks.   In other words,
very fat client expensive server solutions with all of the costs.  At the
same time, as the management talent bails in the face of *changes*, the
development ranks are left without the significant skills and years of
experience on what you and I would consider mature tools.

This is how lack of real product planning, not meeting goers but people who
have the capacity to analyze and the cahones to speak truth to power kills
off not just the company but devastates the careers of the young and the
middle aged developers, not to mention, creates chaos among the customer
base which begins to detect that the contract is over-promised for the
actual development capacity.

I stayed because of a stock option.  Considering the opportunities available
to me in 1996, it was a very bad choice.  Never trade on values for cash.
It is always a bad trade.  If you look around and the tools you use are
slipping too far behind the curve, and your management is arrogantly
resisting change, polish up the resume, put it in the hoppers, and get to
the door.  Age or experience regardless, things only get worse.


From: Rick Marshall [mailto:rjm@z...] 
Sent: Sunday, April 01, 2007 10:27 PM 

Hi Len

Tools are careers - at least today.

So when I go to employ someone (being old fashioned) I look for an 
application developer - figuring that if you know how to build 
applications you can adapt to the tools.

That may be true but the industry (at least here in oz) is based on 
tools. So I'm having extreme difficulty finding people to work for me 
because they want to be "Oracle" programmers or "SAP" programmers or ...

I'm starting to wander if they even see the projects in terms of 
outcomes or just "I spent x years working with product y doing z". ie 
Even the resumes don't reflect completion, only practice. I worked for x 
years on ... rather than I built this and this and this - or the team I 
worked with completed these projects.

The world has changed ...


PS being true to yourself and your goals is also old school (but I don't 
intend to change either).

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