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Where'd all the Young Programmers go?

I remember when I got my firt tech job (senior year of high school, a pidly 20 bucks an hour), I was one of many really young kids who had a tech job (wether it was coding, html, network admin).
I'm 20 now, and it seems like all the other young programmers died off or something.  when I was 18, most people wern't too suprised to see teens in the office place. Now I hear it all the time.  My company needed an html guy, so I thought i'd scoure my old high school. Talked to a lot of people, no such luck.  What happened?  Did the young programmer become extinct? are they all playing quake?  Studying instead of working?

Vincent Marquez
Friday, January 10, 2003

Maybe programming is no longer "cool".

Dim
Friday, January 10, 2003

$20 an hour for a first tech job in high school is not pidly.  My first job involving programming was at age 21, year '99, and I was getting paid $9.75 an hour in a "student" job, the highest the school paid for student jobs.  Yes, this was in the good ol' U.S. of A.  My first real programming job started at $14.50/hr but a year later I was at $20/hr (same job), and climbing fairly rapidly from there.

Anyway, back to the topic, I too noticed a lot of young kids in tech positions in the various places I worked in my younger days.  A lot of them seemed to be there for the "happening" cultural aspect.  Some of them thrived fairly well that way.  Being in a college town, there were a fair number of young (cheap) faces at smaller businesses, start-ups, and in staff positions at the university.

I think the lack of young faces these days is partly due to me not being as in touch with the "scene" as I was in my teens and college years.  But I think a lot of them were just bubble-riders who went elsewhere when the bubble culture collapsed.  I've run into a few young guys who still have that "start a dot-com on a shoestring" mindset, but they're pretty rare now.

When there was a bunch of hype in the air, it was easy for kids to learn stuff without realizing how much effort it took.  But now, it's just hard work that may not even be rewarded, and the culture doesn't have the momentum to help carry them through any more.

ODN
Friday, January 10, 2003

Some wealthy old Spaniards found that the glands of teen programmers are an aphrodisiac.  Sadly, they've been hunted nearly to extinction since then.

You're lucky to have escaped.

Young smartass
Friday, January 10, 2003

Take an economics course and then a psychology course and you'l l understand.

Mr. Peabody
Friday, January 10, 2003

Vincent Marquez wrote, "I'm 20 now, and it seems like all the other young programmers died off or something. "

Is this post meant to be a joke?  Trust me, you are still very young.

"...when I was 18, most people wern't too suprised to see teens in the office place"

For me it goes something like this -- three years ago when I was 35, most people weren't too surprized to see a lot of young twenty something techies working in the office.

"...are they all playing quake?  Studying instead of working?"

I sure hope so.

one programmer's opinion
Saturday, January 11, 2003

Has anybody noticed the increased quality of the average web site.

Surely not related.

Ged Byrne
Saturday, January 11, 2003

"Has anybody noticed the increased quality of the average web site."

No! What I have noticed is the increasing number of web sites that use Javascript for the links and thus don't work at all when you right cilck to open in a new window or centre click to open in a new tab.

Must be something to do with web designers having been replaced with programmers, who'd put code in a recipe for tomato ketchup given half the chance!

Stephen Jones
Saturday, January 11, 2003

"What I have noticed is the increasing number of web sites that use Javascript for the links and thus don't work at all when you right cilck to open in a new window or centre click to open in a new tab."

I absolutely hate that when it happens.  This should go on the list of one of the top things NOT to do when designing links.

HeyMacarana
Saturday, January 11, 2003

"web sites that use Javascript for the links and thus don't work at all"

I'll third the hatred for this tactic.

But is there any reason whatsoever to do something so foolish or are the designers of these sites just plain stupid.

Surely they must realize that many customers with money to by products are also intelligent enough to have figured out that turning Javascript out makes yourbrowser crash less and stops popups...

X. J. Scott
Saturday, January 11, 2003

"But is there any reason whatsoever to do something so foolish...."

Yeah, I've done that before - but only on Intranet sites.  I'd never do it on a public site. 

Very simply, I'll use script to open a link when, for example, you're dynamically generating parameters on a parent page (using a mix of server and client script) and you want a child window to pop-up so you can collect information to pass back down to the parent window based on the parent window stuff and the child window stuff combined(without doing a bunch of page reloads).

That might not make much sense, but it makes a browser feel more like a Windows application, which really makes Intranet users happier / more comfortable (in my company's environment, anyway).

Jeff MacDonald
Saturday, January 11, 2003

Everquest.  ^_^.

A_Young_Fella_001
Saturday, January 11, 2003

<quote>
"What I have noticed is the increasing number of web sites that use Javascript for the links and thus don't work at all when you right cilck to open in a new window or centre click to open in a new tab."

I absolutely hate that when it happens.  This should go on the list of one of the top things NOT to do when designing links.
</quote>

It's number 6 in Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox, December 23, 2002: Top Ten Web-Design Mistakes of 2002:
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20021223.html

Philip Dickerson
Saturday, January 11, 2003

Thanks, I'm with you completely - intranets are definitely a whole different world and there it makes sense to do whatever works and can enforce that everyone using it keeps scripting enabled.

The scripting can be ok on a website too as long as the site is designed to still work fine when javascript is off. But if there isn't time or expertise to do both then it's probably best to just go with the straight links rather than to have a site that fails completely when javascript is disabled; particularly any site selling products.

X. J. Scott
Saturday, January 11, 2003

"Where'd all the Young Programmers go?"

definitely true.  Being from the generation that was studying before the boom went bust, I saw this first hand.  When I studied I was also a contractor.  Most people reading CS had ok tech jobs too.  Now, I think only a handful from the course (who passed btw) have jobs in the trade.  Some are even unemployed.  I guess when the bubble burst, the first to go were those of questional value, and experience = value IMHO

"..the increasing number of web sites that use Javascript for the links.."

reminds me of something I read about ASP.NET using hyperlinks for form submission, http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/LeakyAbstractions.html

Is the javascript hyperlink going to become more common?  I don't have any ASP.NET websites to do a quick check of...

europe
Sunday, January 12, 2003

Ged Byrne:

Actually, I think you may have hit the nail on the head.  Seems like 3 years ago, any company was willing to hire someone with HTML on their resume to do websites, knowing they could pay 14 bucks an hour, and bill out at 100.  Now days, companies wanting websites expect quality, clean code, modulartiy, etc.  The 17 year old html junky just doesn't cut it.  (unless he is very good). 

Vincent Marquez
Sunday, January 12, 2003

Yes, I agree that the bubble has burst. It's no longer enough to know C++, or whatever language. You need to actually be good at it... and have some experience under your belt, in order to be considered employable these days. For the most part, teenagers don't really fit the bill.

HeyCoolAid
Monday, January 13, 2003

I think that Joel sums it up nicely with his two requirements:  Smart and Gets Things Done.

A little while ago smart alone was enough.  Now you have to be able to get things done, and that takes experience.

Ged Byrne
Tuesday, January 14, 2003

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