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Scott Miller Appsguild - Software craftsmanship, project management, and the biz of software
As you have probably seen from other posts, Luke Stevens has an interesting blog post today entitled "Do I recommend my career?"
You can see it here: Do I recommend my career

Mostly I agree with his statements. Except for the following:

  • Unlike most professions, you start in the middle. You don't have to spend your first few years paying your dues with low pay and long hours, unless you get suckered into it. It's just a matter of knowing your stuff and getting lucky in the job search.
  • On the other hand, you stay in the middle. There is no career path. If you want to advance, there is nowhere to go but managing other engineers, which is itself a dead end. It doesn't really matter if you have 3 years of experience or 30, because only the last three are not already obsolete. There is nothing comparable to the rigor, impartiality, permanence, and certainty of, say, actuarial exams (even MCAD is a joke).
My comments:

This is actually not true. We are seeing IT being embedded in the business process. So normal business people are doing the systems analyst job of yesterday, either using Excel or reporting tools or (shudder) SQL. Since Y2K there has been a significant move at many jobs in the field to decentralize IT and embed the IT workers right into the process group. This is good for the business, but not necessarily "good" in the mind of the programmer. This is where the introverted programmer/hacker is going to fail miserably, because it requires people skills and alot of time is spent doing business analysis of processes and design before the coding. This is where agile methods shine. Embrace them.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to get into these positions because you usually have to be familiar with the business first. Very few of these jobs are advertised. And let's be honest. has become little more than a recruiter/consulting agency's hiring blog for contract jobs.

I was talking to my new manager the other day and we had an interesting conversation about the future. If low level jobs are being done by consultants and outsourced to India, where are the entry level jobs for the next generation of IT workers? They are certainly not advertised.

I also disagree with Luke's assertion about exams. I used to think that Microsoft (and any other) certification was a joke, until I got two MCP exams under my belt. I added them to my resume and the contacts definitely did increase. This got me through the first cut of resume selection, obviously.

And posted jobs want experience and a ridiculous amount of technology-specific knowledge, some even non-complimentary, like Java AND .Net.

  • Most of the time, you and everyone else can fake it. Very few employers have the slightest clue how to tell whom they should hire, so getting a good job or a raise has less to do with merit and more to do with luck and politics and selling yourself.

This is true to some extent, but I have had a string of interviews that were very intensive with extremely technical questions. The MCP may have got me in the door, but they were asking questions over and above exam questions. At one company here in Wichita their interview process is eight hours with eight different people, including user reps. They ask questions from Microsoft's interview questions. (That was before the company moved to outsourcing and contract work for all IT except low level business analysis).

So, would I recommend IT as a career path/school choice? Not without a significant amount of business xp as well. Posted on Monday, November 28, 2005 4:26 AM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Do I recommend my career? My opinion.

# re: Do I recommend my career? My opinion.
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I like your comment about the business level folk doing analyst work "using Excel or reporting tools or (shudder) SQL" -- I wonder why you shudder at the SQL but not the Excel... it is more likely to be using Access to which I shudder.
I don't agree with you about certification -- I got my MCSE back in the Windows NT days and it helped me not at all.
Left by Marty on Nov 28, 2005 5:18 PM

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