[nycbug-talk] MSNBC on the decline of technology jobs

Isaac Levy ike
Tue Jun 21 20:46:26 EDT 2005

Hey All,

Interesting thread,

On Jun 20, 2005, at 4:13 PM, Gordon Smith wrote:

> > people come to new jobs they see all the horrible code and they
> > can only tolerate that for say a year then they leave and that
> > keeps a lot of jobs open all the time and creates the impression
> > of market dominance...
> True. In times of high turnover, quality suffers.

Furiously, yes.

> There's also the other side of the coin - what about the people who 
> are responsible for the lack of quality?? A lot of mediocre people 
> tried to jump onto the "gravy train" when technologists were being 
> paid more. ?They need to be weeded out, and that's a big part of what 
> has been happening in the technology workforce since Y2K. ?The sad 
> truth is that good and talented people have suffered as well as the 
> charlatans.

Actually, Gordon, while I agree with you that a *lot* of mediocre 
people jumped into the fray in the late 90's, (dot-com'ers mostly), but 
I wanted to state state that I've worked on salvaging software projects 
in the last 5 years that suffered not because of weak original 
developers, but from business process that leads to failing systems.

A couple of *bad* directives that often come from the business side:

- Code, Code, Code- don't take *any* time to design, plan, or document

- (conversely), over-Design ad-nauseum, documented like mad for Mgmt. 
and Investors
   (then slap something together last minute to fit into the reqs.)

- Cost/Corner cutting decisions coming from un-technical 
   - this is EXTREMELY common for developers to face, making software in 
     they KNOW (and often warn) will fail, based on improper mgmt. cost 

- Disinformation from vendors, the 'Info-World' and 'CNet' syndrome, 
   Managers/Decision Makers to push developers in insane (yet trendy) 

- A generally not focusing on, (or even defining) the problems at hand,
   and solving them by whatever means necessary.

- Making Cheap patches to fix other cheap patches

With that, I'm just wanting to state that not *all* bad software comes 
from bad developers- and in the last 5 or so years, there's been a lot 
of really talented developers I know working on software I *know* they 
aren't proud of- because they needed the work, and someone with little 
know-how and zero long-term thinking directed their actions. (I sure 
have experienced this, but have had the luck of working on some solid 
projects too.)

This isn't to say that developers can't make bad software too, based on 
similar pitfalls, but just wanted to throw in my .02? that it's not 
always a developer's fault.  The economies and ecosystems that make a 
piece of software manifest are complex...


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