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Possible to get perks of Management Still Progra

The company I am at seems to reward managers a great deal no matter what.

They have laptops & the best equipment (XP) while us programmers have P2 266's running NT. Also, when it comes to raises & benefits they seem to get the best deals.

Those in senior programming positions with the same years of experience - project leader or tech specialist don't get the same perks or treatment. A younger manager may actually give a more senior developer a review! Because of politics a more senior developer can get laid off while a younger manager may remain!

What can you do if you'd rather stay programming and not be a part of management? Why is management so highly valued while developers are not? (I feel that it's easier to be a manager than a developer)

KenB
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

I respectfully disagree with you that management is easier then software development. Having done both, often at the same time, I find software development vastly easier and less stressful then managing.

As to why managers get better perks and pay, it's the normal way of life. The Starbuck manager gets more pay then the guy who shleps your coffee after all.

Now why companies do not recognize and fire bad managers is a different story. In my experience a lot of companies do a really poor job of conducting performance management and acting accordingly. Then again, this is not limited to managers, I see a lot of companies keeping poor developers around as well.

Gerald
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Ken has a lot here so I don't miss something, let me try a point at a time.

First, if you feel you desire more respect than you get within an organization, move.  You describe the legacy C&C top down organization and many people, myself included see them as a waste.  Others love the specificity of the environment and thrive.  Many times, just changing departments will make a big difference.  Just remember that people drive different kinds of cars.  It does not make one "bad" or "good", just different.

Now to your specific points:
-Those in senior programming positions with the same years of ... don't get the same perks or treatment.

I am going to assume you are not a technology company.  If you are, then you are probably in trouble, as an organization, as resources are being spent on overhead.  The goal of any responsible organization is to maximize the revenue generated per person.    That being said, a technology company that sends a sales rep out with a 266, is making just as big an error, same with any of the executives meeting clients.  It should appear you are on the leading edge where you interface with clients.  EVEN when such knowledge does not change what you provide.  If you doubt it, consider whether you would buy your next new car from a person dressed like a bag lady.

- A younger manager may actually give a more senior developer a review!
This is traditional and many will claim it has worked for decades why change it.  Rather than complain about it, offer an alternative that reduces the work on managers, and improves the process overall. 

My personal favorite is what I call the 360-3-3.  You are reviewed by your leader, your peers, and people reporting to you (if applicable).  The review consists of two questions:
  1. Name 3 things Mike does well.
  2. Name 3 things Mike can improve on over the next evaluation period and beyond. (Some things take a while)

Your mentor, then takes the 3-3 from each person and comes up with a list of only three does well and three needs improvement.  The mentor is looking for patterns. 

As you improve, you become more valuable.  Raises and such are the product of how well you perform your duties.  They are not tied to the appraisal process.  -- This is difficult for HR to deal with but I know of three fortune 20 IT companies that do this, so it can be done.

-Because of politics a more senior developer can get laid off while a younger manager may remain!
Yes, they can.  Nothing will change this, so get heartburn or get over it.  Politics is always going to be present.  Consider whether you would keep someone who was good, but you did not like over someone you liked but was only slightly worse.  (Very few are Good/Bad)

- What can you do if you'd rather stay programming and not be a part of management?
Stay a programmer and if that is the life you want, consult or contract.  This puts you in the driver seat.  But be warned, a contractor is evaluated weekly.  If they tell you to come back Monday, you  passed.  And you should always be the first to go.

- Why is management so highly valued while developers are not? (I feel that it's easier to be a manager than a developer)
Look at it like a pyramid.  As developers gain experience, they add value.  As time goes on fewer and fewer can reach that next plateau.  As a manager pointed out to be, Supervisor roles are one of opportunity. (We have a spot we need a leader).  Developer roles are one of skill. 

Now the down side is that business runs for profit.  At some point you will have gained experience and the more you gain the more value you bring.  However, a point will be reached where you are a 50 year old Cobol programmer with 25 years experience and I need two JAVA developers.  Historically a company would send you to training.  Today, most companies would buy the experience.  Even if you stay current, a 50 year old may be making 3 times what a "fresh from school" developer is asking.  It gets hard when the questions come down to are you really three times better?  To which the 50 year-old should be prepared to look for the consulting gig themselves.

Mike Gamerland
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

"I respectfully disagree with you that management is easier then software development. Having done both, often at the same time, I find software development vastly easier and less stressful then managing."

For people endowed with project managment skills, management is easier than coding, while others will find development easier than management for those who are more skilled in software development than management.

So it just depends on the person.  Some find some tasks easier than others do.  While others find the same tasks harder than others do.

As for Ken's question, I would recommend that you let management know how you feel.  Tell them that you would rather be on the development side of things since you feel that you will be able to contribute more to the company that way and be happier than by moving over into a management position.

However, also let them know that you think there is a major gap in the perks that senior developers like yourself receive vs. managers.  Let them know that more "toys" like a better system will improve your productivity and therefore most importantly the company's bottom line.  Also tell them that morale and satisfaction may tend to drop. 

They just need to get it into their heads that management doesn't necessarily need to get better things than developers do.  At several companies developers make more than managers do and have better systems since those companies realize that while project managers are important for things such as coordination tasks, it still falls upon the developers to actually get the job done. 

However, if at your place managers are actually the ones that are making things happen and have to push developers to get things done then maybe they should get more perks.  So first just look around and really assess who's getting the job done the most, or perhaps it's an equal team effort on both managers and developers.

HeyMacarana
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

KenB, organisations generally value the occupations that are closest to their core mission.

For that reason, the best places for developers to work are software development companies.

You won't change the culture there. Move to a new job.

Must be a manager
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

"Why is management so highly valued while developers are not?"

Maybe you should ask one of your managers?

There is no universal answer to this question, however, typically it is because you (the developer) are considered to be part of the labor force and in many companies management always earns more than labor. While a software developer may work in the same building as the CEO, that is where the similarity between the two of them usually ends.

"(I feel that it's easier to be a manager than a developer)"

Do you mean easier to be a Project Manager or simply any type of manager?

One Programmer's Opinion
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Gerald writes:

"I respectfully disagree with you that management is easier then software development. Having done both, often at the same time, I find software development vastly easier and less stressful then managing."

Gerald, I believe you to be an amazing, honking idiot.  This is exactly why the U.S. is losing its technical edge.  Utter and total imbeciles such as yourself actually accept and promulgate the notion that low level pieces-of-crap "managers" actually contribute something.  In Eastern Europe & India technical skills are appreciated and rewarded while America squanders its talent by rewarding "managers" for outsourcing technical jobs overseas.

I mean, I don't blame you.  It's _hard_ to understand everything it takes to master computer science & engineering.  Why put in all that work when all you have to do is party through college with the frat boys who major in business? 

America is crashing and burning because her priorities are being determined by fools who imagine a "manager" can better use a new machine than a developer.

anon
Thursday, April 17, 2003

Dear anon,
                I doubt if America is crashing and burning but comments such as yours certainly aren't what's stopping it.

                If technical expertise is rewarded so highly in India how is that the programmer gets 25% of the salary he does in the States, whilst the company is charging 80% of the States price? Are the gangsters that control much of Eastern Europe, or the goons and sleazy "commis" men that proliferate throughout the sub-continent, really that much more appreciative of technical skills than the western manager.

                  And why don't you own up to the fact that the reason you didn't party through college was because nobody ever wanted to invite you?

Stephen Jones
Thursday, April 17, 2003

Ken:

Sadly, this situation is VERY similar to many fields.

Think about Doctors and Nurses. 

Think about Laywers and Legal Secretaries.  (60% of the time, the secretary writes the letter, the lawyer signs it ... who gets the perk?)

Think about Military Officers and Senior Non-Coms - probably the most terrible example.  A Air Force Chief Master Sergeant with 20+ years of experience may have to salute some kid who just finished his four-year-degree last month.

And so it is with coders.  We're probably the closest to the Military Analogy - allthough we generally require our brand-new Managers to have an MBA, we generally require out Senior NCO's to have a 4 year degree.  More education, same deal.

The thing is, getting the big picture is hard.  So is becoming a world-class engineer.  The argument is that if you try  to do both in one lifetime, you won't be very good at either.  So we need two tracks - a management track and a coding track.

Now, here's where things get screwed up, because it's the managers and exectutives who decide the perks and pay scales, and, well, "birds of a feather ..."

Not all companies, however, are like this.  In his book "Mythical Man Month", Fred Brooks suggests that many "managers" are really just "administrators" and, perhaps, should be treated that way.

I'd suggest that, in your job search, if you find companies that at least recognize this as a possibility, that's a good start.


Actually, the entire idea of "boss is better" came up once for me in an interview.  The hiring manager said something like "It's hard for me to think of myself as better than any of our people - just because our people are so good.  In fact, I think of (Mutually known and respected sr. developer) as a PEER. And I think my boss thinks of me as a PEER."

At that point, my response was pretty much "Where can I sign?"

regards,

Matt H.
Thursday, April 17, 2003

Matt H. I appreciated your comments thanks!

I was just wondering how do you go about finding such a position? (One that respects programmers more). A lot of times they seem to "give you a line" during interviews to make you want to join:

"The company values our IT. IT is the most important division in this company. We have a solid structure in software development."

Then when you get there you see the reality. (Managers valued, programmers not & Joel test level 3)

My point was more of a thought of 'Why things are like this?' & 'How are other people's company's like in this area?'

Also, someone asked me before if it was management in general or project management that I thought was easy:

Being a very organized person, I feel that Project Management is simple. A lot of planning, emails & meetings & communicating with others. I know I CAN do it - it's just not fulfilling to me - I'd rather be building something.

But in my experience a position of Tech specialist or even a Project Leader doesn't get the same perks & advantages as simple project managers & other areas of management.

(What does a manger who uses Outlook, Project, Word, Excel & IE need with a P4 2.9Gig machine?)

I guess I am proposing that the senior technical leads should be viewed as equal to mangement with the same level of experience. Thus they should qualify for the same benefits & perks. (If not, then you force people to move into management that could be stay technical and help the company more)

Thoughts?

KenB
Thursday, April 17, 2003

>A lot of times they seem to "give you a line"
>during interviews to make you want to join

My advice:

Join a user's group in your area of expertise.  (Perl Mongers, Oracle User's Group, Linux UG, maybe IEEE, etc.)

Find out where the best and brightest work.  (These are people who, like you, take the job seriously enough to join a professional organization - and who are the best in the field to boot.) 

Find out if they are happy and "Taken care of."

Find out if that company is on track to succeed.

Work with them over a long period of time.  Eventually, they may have an open position. 

Ask the people in the trenches about how things really are.

If you like the answers - THEN interview with a hiring manager.

If they give you an offer, ask your friends to talk you out of working at the place.  If the worst things they can say about the company are non-issues, and these are people of integrity ... you might be in good shape. :-)

good luck,

Matt H.
Thursday, April 17, 2003

You're using the classifcation stick just as baselessly as they are when you say stuff like management and techs should be treated equally based on experience.

Surely they should be treated according to WORTH, not EXPERIENCE or JOB DESCRIPTION?

And the horse you rode in on
Thursday, April 17, 2003

And the horse you rode in on - (Love your name by the way LOL)

What I am referring to has nothing to do with performance or worth of an individual.

I have noticed that at the 3 companies I have worked for those in Management get perks over those not in management. Period, end of sentence, you lose, good day sir!!!!!!!!

KenB
Thursday, April 17, 2003

To Stephen Jones:

My father is an engineer.  I overheard a conversation he had with some of his work buddies in which they fondly recalled the sixties in the U.S.  The space race was in full gear and technical people were valued not only in the workforce, but, perhaps more importantly, in popular culture.  I wasn't around then, but this certainly seems plausible.

I work with many people from Eastern Europe & India and they describe a similar popular appeal.  People there are encouraged to exceed in science & technology and they a well respected upon gaining success.  In America today, gangsta' rappers are far more well respected than mathematicians or computer scientists.  Being from "the street" is infinitely much more a badge of honor than getting good grades.  Crashing and burning, baby.  Crashing and burning.

But again, this is totally understandable.  You can work your butt off for years and years to master difficult subjects like math and physics, or you can party hearty, get a job as a pointy-haired boss, and get promoted for exporting technical jobs overseas.

anon
Thursday, April 17, 2003

Hey, I have a degree in philosophy (well, and in math.) I slept and partied my way through school. Luckily I was a mega dork in high school and taught myself how to program.

I've never made less than $70,000/yr since 1996. I work from home. I drive a cool car. I work on cool projects. I've determined you can't possibly win if you are trying to fit yourself into an existing role, like "manager". I mean, everyone hates doctors, lawyers and CEOs. Programmers hate managers, managers hate themselves... you truly can't win, so why even play that game?

The reason why gangsta rappers make so much money is they are smarter than most engineers.  Most engineers I know can maybe fake their way through partial differential equations, but they can't do basic arithmetic. If you see one dollar for every item you sell, and you sell a million items, that's a million dollars. That is how hip hop moguls. think. If you see $20 for every shareware utility you sell, you only need to sell 4000 items to double your salary. you don't even need to quit your day job.

Why anyone cares about getting respect in this industry is beyond me; it isn't going to happen. it is better to focus your energy on  getting more money, and doing so doesn't necessarily have to mean begging for a raise.

choppy
Thursday, April 17, 2003

anon,

The writing has been on the wall for quite a while now, no longer is software development some arcance discipline practiced by bearded and overweight gurus in a dark room sipping at their Jolt cola. For a profession that requires no degree, can be learned on your own time and takes no legal responsibility for the quality of the work like engineering does, it pays remarkably well. I'm hard pressed to think of any other profession that requires so few qualifications and yet pays so well.

I have a degree in Electrical Engineering and I do software development professionally, so I do understand how difficult both jobs can be. Professional engineers get paid quite well not only because engineering is difficult, but because they accept personal liability for the work they produce. The civil engineer who signs off on a bridge that collapses is in deep, deep trouble. It is the same situation with laywers that Matt fails to mention, the laywer is legally responsible for the documents he signs and the consequences of signing off on a bad document can be severe. The secretary who produced or typed the document is not sharing in this risk and thus is not sharing in the reward.

Depending on your opinion, managers either have or are perceived to have increased responsibilities in comparison to the typical software developer. The manager at Starbucks makes more simply because they have more responsibilities then the typical Starbucks employee. Best management line in a movie is Hopper in Bugs Life after the ants lost the food offering because one of the ants screwed up, "But Hopper, it's not my fault..." "Tut, tut, tut. First lesson of leadership Princess, it's always your fault". Good managers take responsibility when things go wrong (and yes bad managers don't, but those are the guys I fire first).

I'm often surprised at the vitriol directed at managers on this and other software development boards. In my opinion, good managers are worth their weight in gold, They act as force multipliers and can make a huge difference in productivity and quality across a team. If you have not worked for a good manager then quit and find a new job where you would be working for one and you will be amazed at the difference it makes.

Gerald
Thursday, April 17, 2003


Good managers ARE worth thier weight in gold. 

If you follow other threads on this board, you know how crucial this is to me.

http://www.systemsguild.com/GuildSite/TDM/Professionalism.html

I saw your post and blinked; the greatest manager I ever worked for is named Gerald. :-)  I don't suppose you're the principal for a small consulting firm in Kentwood, Michigan? :-)

I do agree - people who take risk should be compensated for risk.

regards,

Matt H.
Thursday, April 17, 2003

To Gerald:

Nobody gets paid in proportion to the amount of responsibility he accepts.  Nobody gets paid in proportion to the amount of hard work she puts in.  No one gets paid because his job requires a great intellect.  People are paid what the market will bear, and the market will bear a lot for pointy-haired bosses because it's pointy-haired bosses setting the pay scales.

Matt H. put it wonderfully:

"Now, here's where things get screwed up, because it's the managers and executives who decide the perks and pay scales, and, well, 'birds of a feather ...'"

I've been consulting for over thirteen years and for ten companies.  Not exactly a scientific sample, but I've never come across a good manager.  And I'll wager that this has been the experience of most of America judging from the success of the "Dilbert" comic strip.  (If anyone out there has had a preponderance of good managers, please write and let me know that I'm incorrect.)  The highly valuable managers I've had, have be educated in such heady topics as total quality management, the successful leveraging of synergy, the Peter Principle, colorful parachutes, and of course, paradigms.

America's largely illiterate management teams are selling our technological edge for a few short term dollars.

(Oh, and by the way, I love the guy who wrote that gangsta' rappers are at the top of the intellectual food chain because they are entertainers who make lots of money.  By this theory then, Britany Spears is pretty much the smartest American of all.) 

anon
Thursday, April 17, 2003

Matt, sorry not me, I live in Toronto. Wish I were that person though, that's quite the compliment.

Gerald
Thursday, April 17, 2003

"Nobody gets paid in proportion to the amount of responsibility he accepts.  Nobody gets paid in proportion to the amount of hard work she puts in.  No one gets paid because his job requires a great intellect.  People are paid what the market will bear, and the market will bear a lot for pointy-haired bosses because it's pointy-haired bosses setting the pay scales."

Your right that pay is controlled in large part by supply and demand. So why isn't everyone becoming a middle manager or god forbid, a CEO? The fact is when a company is looking to hire a manager they look for people who have a previous track at similar positions with similar responsibilities. No company is going to hire a cashier from McDonalds to be their CEO.

As someone posted previously, the structure at most companies is a pyramid, generally speaking the higher you go in the food chain the more responsibilities you acquire and the more pay you get. Because it is a pyramid, people with proven track records at senior levels are in short supply and thus command high salaries. The more senior the level, the more in short supply they are.

BTW, I feel sorry for you that you have worked in this industry for 13 years and not once worked for a decent manager. I find it hard to believe that this is the norm, perhaps I have just been lucky.

Gerald
Thursday, April 17, 2003

I've worked for some breathtakingly great managers. I've been a great manager for brief periods - when the project and people best suited my talents.  But mostly, I tried the best I could to deal with the project, the mangement, and my reports, knowing that most of them thought they could do the job better than me.  Sometimes they were right.

But the perks, in my opinion are hard earned as you climb the ladder.  The higher you go, the more you work, the less you see of your family.  And the work? It's often crushingly boring meetings that may start at 7pm and go past midnight with other talented, ambitious, political, and high - ego folks who are competing with you to climb the ladder.  Some folks thrive on it but that kind of life doesn't suit most folks.

tk
Thursday, April 17, 2003

To Gerald:

I have no quarrel with what you say, but I'm not certain how it counters my assertions.  I am simply saying this:

1) Managers' total compensation in America is artificially high.  This, I believe, is clear.  Google out there and you'll find dozens of articles documenting and commenting on why the American executive compensation to front-line worker compensation ratio is so much larger than in some other industrialized nations such as Japan.

2) My gut feel is that management in the US is composed largely of imbeciles who know nothing about software engineering - or worse - Cretans who know just enough to be incredibly dangerous.  I'd love to see some studies on this, but right now it's just my strong gut feeling.

3) One of Americas greatest assets is her innovative technical community.  Time and time again, industries have moved overseas, and in each case bright people have conjured up amazing new products and built news industries around them.  If the great managers who ruin - er, I mean run - our companies succeed in saving a few bucks by outsourcing technical jobs overseas, don't you see, our greatest resource will be squandered?  And, you know what?  Bubba the manager don't give a crap as long as he makes enough money to buy a red sports car so he can leave his wife and kids for a twenty year old.  He'll need a lot of money for booze, too, to dull the ache in his tiny little brain that results from the vague realization that he performs no useful purpose.

anon
Thursday, April 17, 2003

Market forces don't have as much effect on senior management salaries as they should.  Executives form a close-knit circle whose priority is to scratch each other's backs instead of improving the long-term profitibility of the company.  That's why we see things like CEOs being on the boards of each others companies, and outrageous severance packages.  That's also why it is so hard for women and minorities to land senior positions.

Still, middle managers such as those who immediately supervise developers are not yet in that "inner circle" so they are still subject to market forces - although they benefit from being viewed by senior management as being more like themselves.  That's why it is very common to see bad managers making big bucks, while you'll almost NEVER see a bad developer with an enormous salary.

T. Norman
Thursday, April 17, 2003

Gerald, there are several misconceptions in your post.

First, software engineering actually has more stringest requirements than other professions, not less. They are the requirements that code must work. Full stop. No explanations.

They are also the requirement that knowledge and expertise must continually be kept up to date, to an extent greater than any other profession, except in university research.

You associate degrees with qualifications, but they are not necessarily the same.

Second, Electrical Engineer-trained engineers are not ipso facto good developers at all. There's a lot of extra talent and work required, which some but not all EE grads possess.

Third, professional engineers don't actually accept direct legal responsibility for their work, any more than do teachers or others. Most are employees and it is their firms who accept responsibility.

In the case of construction, there are mandated statutory responsibilities for several important aspects, but along with those come the power to force compliance. This is quite different from what you're proposing for software.

Lawyers' alleged responsibility is a farce. Lawyers in fact avoid responsibility through the expense of litigation, and through compromised, tame, professional insurance schemes.

Concerns about management of software development are quite valid. Software development is one of the few professionally involved fields where the professionals in that field do not manage the work in that field. Generally speaking.

echidna
Friday, April 18, 2003

echidna,

"First, software engineering actually has more stringest requirements than other professions, not less. They are the requirements that code must work. Full stop. No explanations. "

Let's keep things in context here, we are talking about the type of software development that the vast majority of developers perform in their day to day work, not the stuff that Nasa does. In this context, most of the software in existence is not bug free and most of it is not developed to rigirous engineering standards as employed by places like Nasa. Most commercial software is knowingly shipped with bugs, which is fine, because companies look at it a bug in cost/benefit terms. Obviously Nasa needs totally bug free software, but this is not an industry norm.

Also, in terms of saying that software development has more stringent requirements then a regulated profession like engineering, law or medicine is totally bogus. You do not need a degree to be a software developer, you do however to be a professional engineer, a doctor or a layer. You do not need to pass certification exams to be a software developer, you do to be an engineer or a lawyer, not sure about medicine though.

"They are also the requirement that knowledge and expertise must continually be kept up to date, to an extent greater than any other profession, except in university research."

I would dispute this, hardware engineering requires constant updating of knowledge and expertise. You don't think the hardware engineers at NVidia are constantly reading literature, learning new techniques when developing new GPUs? Doctors are expected to keep up with the latest medical advances.

"Second, Electrical Engineer-trained engineers are not ipso facto good developers at all. There's a lot of extra talent and work required, which some but not all EE grads possess."

Where did I say ipso defacto EEs make good software developers? I mentioned EE because that is my degree and I am familiar with the profession in Canada in comparison to the software development profession.

The original point I was making is you do not need a degree to be a professional software developer. You can make plenty of good money without one. You cannot be a professional engineer without a degree, in this case the software development industry has a low barrier to entry and surprisingly despite this it has paid quite well, but times are changing. That was my original point.

"Third, professional engineers don't actually accept direct legal responsibility for their work, any more than do teachers or others. Most are employees and it is their firms who accept responsibility. "

In Canada where I live, and I believe in all states in the US, only Professional Engineers can sign off on blueprints and other documents. Because the PE is the one signing off on the final fitness of the documents, he or she is the one personally liable for negligence. Yes, anyone suing would sue his or her employer as well, but the employer cannot shield the employee from either being sued or arrested for personal negligence/fraud/etc. As the PE who signed off on the document, the PE is where the buck stopped.

Additionally, similar to other professionals like doctors, professional engineering is regulated by a board that can have your license stripped due to malpractice, negligence or fraud which would effectively stop you from making an income in your chosen profession.

Here is a reference you might enjoy talking about software development in comparison to engineering, I have quoted a relevant passage below the link.

http://www.stevemcconnell.com/gr-badges.htm

"One of the consequences of being a professional engineer is that you can be held personally liable for the work your company performs under your signature. Courts in the United States have held that only members of a profession can be found guilty of malpractice."

Feel free to smear lawyers all you want, but it doesn't change the fact they are personally responsible for negligence both legally and to the bar. You need to watch Law and Order more :)

Gerald
Friday, April 18, 2003

Another good link which talks about legal liability for malpractice in software develop in general and in comparison to engineering. In addition it discusses why software development is not considered a profession under the law.

http://www.badsoftware.com/malprac.htm

"Several people are considering taking the ASQC examination to become Certified Software Quality Engineers (CSQE). Others of us have become ASQC-Certified Quality Engineers (CQE). A lawyer can make a persuasive argument that a CQE or CSQE should be subject to malpractice liability, even though we are not members of a recognized profession. The problem is that by using the word "engineer" on our stationery or resume, we can be accused of representing ourselves as professionals. Engineering is a licensed profession, and engineers are subject to malpractice liability."

Gerald
Friday, April 18, 2003

Gerald, this is a much more complicated issue than your references to MConnell address, or the other cowboys. The concept that software has bugs, therefore we have to make sure everyone has degrees, is naive.

This discussion doesn't belong in this thread, and I'm reluctant to continue it here. There have been related discussions previously here.

echidna
Friday, April 18, 2003

echida,

You seem to be completely misconstruing my point. I am not saying that because software has bugs, anyone who develops software should have a degree. What I am saying is that compared to other professions, like engineering, law, or medicine, software development has an incredibly low barrier to entry in comparison to the amount of money people actually make doing software development.

The primary point I was making in relation to the original post is that you cannot make simple comparisons between software development as a career and professions like Engineering, Lawyers, etc as some posters are doing. There are perfectly valid reasons why the lawyer makes more then the secretary, such as the personal liability a lawyer accepts, the fact that the law profession has a higher barrier to entry then the secretarial profession, etc

BTW, if you don't want to discuss it further that is fine, but please do not make statements saying I am laboring under misconceptions and then deny me the opportunity to rebut. The last couple of posts I made had little to do with the original topic, they were just addressing one or two factual errors you were making plus a couple of other 'misconceptions' you felt I had made.

Finally, do not assume that I think software development should be a profession like engineering, I don't. I love the fact that as a career software development is completely open to anyone and for the most part is a meritocracy.

Gerald
Friday, April 18, 2003

"I love the fact that as a career software development is completely open to anyone and for the most part is a meritocracy."

Unfortunately, I find it becoming quite the opposite.  A college-age person thinking about what to do with their life will probably have a greater chance of a successful career if they choose to become a doctor or lawyer or dentist or pharmacist.  It is easier for them to get into medical/dental/law/pharmacy school than it is to get a job as a programmer, and after getting their qualifications and licensing they can be confident of finding a job in a reasonably short amount of time.

But for an inexperienced programmer to get hired now, they really have to know the right people.  Even experienced people have serious problems moving off unemployment.

If anything, the licensed professions are MORE of a meritocracy; you perform well in your training and exams, and somebody will recognize your accomplishments enough to hire you.

Software used to be very open, but it has now become quite closed, and merit doesn't have that much to do with your entry and survival (except in extreme incompetence or excellence).  There are many many good programmers unemployed for over 6 months while nincompoops still have jobs developing software.  To get hired, either you get lucky with a 1000-resume crapshoot or you have to know somebody.

T. Norman
Friday, April 18, 2003

It's all somebody elses fault.

It's not fair.

I deserve more.

They get too much.

What about me?

Nobodys holding a gun to your head, it you are pissed off about being a developer then become a manager, that's what I always tell permanent programmers when they get pissed off about me earning 2-3 times what they do.

Realist
Saturday, April 19, 2003

Realist,

Thanks. I'm so sick of hearing well paid devs whinge about how hardly done by they are.

The reality is that it's usually pretty hard to do a really good job.
Sometimes it can seem an unattainable goal.

It is, however, always possible to point and complain about something or someone else, and thus the burden of success is removed from your shoulders.

Nobody can disempower you but yourself.

pod
Sunday, April 20, 2003

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