This week I had a phone interview with
a large IS organization. I stated my
experience in designing and programming
software and with working with databases.
I then found out that they were looking
for people with specific PowerBuilder
and Sybase experience. I return to my
place of work and think to myself "What
kind of project could I ask my manager
to begin which could use PowerBuilder and
Now, my goal is not to produce what my
employers' customer needs, but to produce
a product which meets my need to be marketable.
I believe it is this type of attitude which
is leading to the rapid proliferation of
fad programming environments and languages.
: >I believe it is this type of attitude which
: >is leading to the rapid proliferation of
: >fad programming environments and languages.
: >James Krell
: I believe you are just trying to justify a less than ethical
: rationale for your actions.
Ahhhh.... I'm in the job market right now. In every cluster of
job listings I review the number one requirement is C++. I have
17 years of solid productive work in C and UNIX. It doesn't mean
much to the manager looking thru candidate resumes for some one
with "Proven C++ Experience". So how do you suggest that an
old timer gain the experience if it is not ethical to push the
next project into the 'fad' development environment as James Krell
suggests might be happening. I'm suggesting it is ethical nor
am I suggesting C++ is a fad. However, James Krell has a good point
aabout the feed back pressure that the FAD development systems
ME! I've purchased over $300.00 worth of books in the last month on
various languages and environements that I haven't had the project
opportunity to utilize so that I can at least appear to know something
about the latest greatest fad. I've been porting old programs to C++
every night and pushing to deeper depths of X-windows knowledge and
brushing off my Quick-C compiler for Windows. Every time I hear of a new
fad environement like
Tcl/Tk (touted as the best in C++ stuff)
I'm at the Barnes & Noble computer books section looking it up.
What is it? How does it fit in the development world? What are
its siblings. What methodology does it fit under.
Managers seem to be looking for short term people. People that can
"hit the ground running." I've heard that now three times in the
last few months.
Recruiters/Head-Hunters/Search-Organizations do not care if I'm a seasoned
software engineer. They have reduced me to a SKILL SET. If I have a
"SKILL" that their client requires I might get an interview. There is a
program that some of the firms are now running called (I think) RESUMEX
which scans resumes some how. The point is if you want to move in todays
job market you have to be in the groove with the latest greatest
BUZZ-DEVELOPMENT system or you'll be wondering why no one cares to
Frank if your work section were suddenly droped from the corporation and
you were laid off are you sure you would be in the groove with the RIGHT
Do not get me wrong. I do not believe in the way were are being
handled right now in the job market. I think its short sighted.
Its a wake up call, however, for the seasoned software engineer.
I personally avoid the pressures of fad development systems and wait
maturity to set in. For example Sun's DevGuide was touted as the great
way to develop GUI's, WRONG! There were a lot of people that bought off
on that package and several project leaders pushed to use it. It now lies
on the shelf gathering dust. Several programs fell apart because they
were built by non-software engineering folks that found GUI building a
snap with DevGuide... until the day the bugs came an ate them alive.
But hey... Its time to move from Los Angeles to San Francisco. A seasoned
software engineer with 17 years of engineering experience, no problemo...
She'll be snaped up in a couple of weeks. WRONG!... The search groups all
started to complain that she DID NOT have the RIGHT SKILL SET for the
clients in there stable. "SKILL SET??" She don't need no stinkin skill set,
she's an engineer. Hmmm... she can't seem to reach that PRIVATE data,
only the fucntions bound to the class called JOB MARKET seem to
have access. Damn those objected oriented methods. So what does a good
engineer do?? SHE re-prototypes her self. Scans the job listings, talks to
everyone that will give her feedback on the state of the market. She sets
down at the word processor and reforms her presentation. Nothing untrue
or exagerated just re-presented in the Glitz-Form. She druges up her work
with SMALL-TALK in the hey days of AI. She thought that was a dead
langauge. Nope its an up and coming fad OOP environement. She doesn't
even mention all of that wonderful work in AI back in the early 80's.
Wrong Skill Set and besides it stinks of failure. With a reformed and
GLITZY-BUZZWORD high lighted resume she gets past the first layer the
search group scanners. Now she is given the opportunity to go on
interviews and use her talents to assure the manager she can solve the
problems, manage the tools, be productive and fit in with the team or even
lead the team.
I think James is right there is a real concern about the influence
fad development systems have on engineering choices. Its like some weird
kind of feed back loop in the development domain at the cultural level.
Issac Asimov's "Foundation Series" comes to mind....
Amanda Jane Giarla
The Rand Corporation
Good points and probably a bit of truth in them all - but I tend to hold a
more optimistic view of these environments and languages:
On one hand there really *is* a tendency of many companies/recruiters to
push for the latest and greatest of technology X, thus pushing the market in
general toward these environments.
On the other hand, many of these environments, languages and technologies
really DO make for changes (be they good or bad) in the way software is
constructed. While I would tend to moan about the current "fad" of visual
development environments, they really do open up software development to a
new class of users (as to whether this is a Good Thing(TM) is arguable).
Yes, there is a certain amount of pure "keeping up" - learning something new
just to maintain your marketability but I also find that there is usually
always something beneficial added further down the road. In fact, the only
time I really complain about the new technology is when *I* tend to feel
overwhelmed and unable to keep up.
Kevyn B. Ford Eastman Kodak Company Voice : (716)253-0149
Software Developer 901 Elmgrove Road Email : ke...@kodak.com
Rochester, NY 14653-5810 k...@raster.kodak.com
Usually, a person with the skills left the project and so they need
someone to restart it "right away." And, the list of fads is easier
to match up and qualify than something general like "software
I personally don't agree with this model. I mean, I can understand if
the company is hiring a contractor, but permanent employees deserve
better treatments. (Unless the job is a contract position unethically
disguised as a permanent one.) I also think it's bad for the employee
moral to be in such hiring mode: "we don't have the time to take care
of you new people, so make sure you come with all the skills needed to
do real work right away."
: Its a wake up call, however, for the seasoned software engineer.
I agree. In capitalism, one should never be satisfied with the status
quo (e.g., look at the steel or automotive industries), so vigilance
and (re)training are the order of the (every)day.
: I think James is right there is a real concern about the influence
: fad development systems have on engineering choices. Its like some weird
: kind of feed back loop in the development domain at the cultural level.
Unfortunately, the marketplace asks for the fads and if you want to be
marketable (e.g., to get a new job (if) after you get laid off),
you've got to fit in.
The other alternatives are to work (or consult) for the diminishing
companies that haven't (yet) jumped on the fads (and will train you to
work in new fads, in time) or start your own business (where you get
to choose the fad(s) you want to use).