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My own dogfood is caviar

I've just finished developing a financial application for a rather large business (probably the biggest company in the world) and due to the stuff that I learned writing the application I was asked to join the business team in a more 'business focused' type of role. I have to wear a suit, get to work at about 9am and go home no earlier than 5pm.

I get paid the same as I was when I was 'a developer', i.e $73 per hour.

My opinions are sought after and respected, and the amazing thing is that I've discovered that I am considerably more able than 'most' of the people around me, the daily challenges are insignificant compared to what I am used too. Also, I get to use the software that I wrote, and, if I may say so myself, I met the users expectations perfectly.

What I am finding is that I now work in an area where people don't bitch and moan all the time, and that generally people are friendly and cooperative. Maybe the IT world is really a 'dive' that we should all get out of as soon as possible. Fortunatey my new role involves  some technical aspects so I get to have a foot in both worlds enabling me to slant my future resume in whatever way is most beneficial to me.

I compare this to my technical role (in the same company) where I was an external consultant sitting on a desk next to the toilet door without any natural light and surrounded by very, very threatened scared people desperately hanging on to whatever knowledge they have that makes them valuable to the organization and sharing nothing with anybody and I wonder if the IT world is really where anyone would want to be right now.


Reading some of the articles of late, I can't but help think that some people expect that merely understanding something entitles them to a decent living, even if that thing is no longer relevant.

IT is 'out' and I get the feeling that some of the obviously talented people here should be moving on.

Realist
Monday, July 28, 2003

"I was asked to join the business team in a more 'business focused' type of role. I have to wear a suit, get to work at about 9am and go home no earlier than 5pm."

In the past (when the mainframe ruled the world) being offered and accepting a more business oriented type of role with your employer was the ONLY career route most techies had available to them.

Imo, the problem with becoming a corporate suit is that the number of available jobs has always been low and if you get laid off you basically have to start over unless your business knowledge is applicable to many industries.

I have seen, read, and heard that many large corporations are only keeping a core set of business oriented employees around and outsourcing just about everything else. To survive and thrive in such a business environment you better master the art of office politics as quickly as possible and be good at deflecting blame onto others or you will be eaten alive by your co-workers.


Monday, July 28, 2003

I always tell folk that the techie bit is the easiest bit in any project.

It is understanding the business side of things, and why that IT project is a good thing (tm) that keeps companies afloat.

good for you, and good luck.

Tapiwa
Monday, July 28, 2003

Tapiwa,

That is unfair. Underestimating technology factors can be just as bad as underestimating business factors. And there is always a point beyond which there is no way to compensate lack in one area by excelence in another.

Practical Geezer
Monday, July 28, 2003

Yeah, but some people are just technical by nature - ie not everyone is cut out for the political/business world.  Tech is having a tough time right now, but business will always need smart people who understand the technical side of things and can solve tough problems.  And in my experience, these people are pretty rare.

Ken
Monday, July 28, 2003

"I compare this to my technical role (in the same company) where I was an external consultant sitting on a desk next to the toilet door without any natural light and surrounded by very, very threatened scared people desperately hanging on to whatever knowledge they have that makes them valuable to the organization and sharing nothing with anybody and I wonder if the IT world is really where anyone would want to be right now."

Do you realize that none of these sins are caused by IT people, but Pointy Haired Bosses?

Leonardo Herrera
Monday, July 28, 2003

I wonder if not just a fundamental difference between "techie" people and "business" people.  Most of the techies I know are very critical, grouchy people.  They love to complain about anything that might not be up to their standard.  Many of the business people I know don't have this personality trait.

Jason
Monday, July 28, 2003

There are plenty of companies where the developers have the safe jobs and the business guys look scared.

On the main point though, I think "business" roles are generally easier than technology roles. This doesn't mean all programmers could fill them.

It just means business guys by definition are more accustomed to rejecting excessive demands, and ensuring their own requirements are met. Technology guys by comparison are not taught to do this, don't gain practice in it, and are actively discouraged from it by corporations that need them.


Monday, July 28, 2003

"Most of the techies I know are very critical, grouchy people"

That's because a good percentage of "technies" have no clue what they're doing. When you have no clue what you're doing, and like to maintain one's job, one must then blame everyone and everything else for their continuing failure--Is your project a failure? It's not because of you, but because Jimmy didn't use 3 characters for his indents or because someone didn't file the right SDLC documents at the right time. This is ridiculously common in software development. There is a wonderful definition of perfectionist in another thread that applies perfectly to people who are paralyzed from actual productivity because they're always seeking their own, err, "high standards".

Dennis Forbes
Monday, July 28, 2003

I'm not sure I would absolve business people of being critical, grumpy, and hard to work with through the fog of CYA.  If anything, they're more likely to claim that their job is a (black) art, can't be objectively measured, would have much better results if it weren't for that Bob fellow mucking things up, etc etc.

They're not all that different from us.  To be good, you still need to be smart and get things done.  If you care that much, you still suffer from that gap between right and "good enough."  Honestly, managers and techies even define good enough the same way (money).  It's not until we define *right* that we don't agree any more, and I want to say that the resulting infighting is one reason neither side ever gets there.

I wonder, will business people ever figure out how to align what they think is right with what techies think is right?  That would be one powerful force...

Mikayla
Monday, July 28, 2003

Geezer.

I do realise I reduced my post almost to the absurd.

The truth is, there are a lot of (for lack of a better expression) 'code monkeys' out there that can churn out any piece of software to spec.

The hard part is actually deciding what sort of IT investment you want to do, and then actually managing the process correctly. That is what seperates successful IT implementation from working software.

A bit like the difference between someone who undestands the C++ syntax, and someone who really knows C++

I wrote an essay once, (will post it on my site when I get time to sort out my blog), where I argued that software programming is analogous to reading/writing.

In the early days, very few could do either. More and more, people then learned to read. A bit later a whole lot more learned to write. Look at early civillisations. Hell, even in Europe in the not so distant past, the only literate folk were the aristocrats and the priests. Now we take it for granted.

Part of it is due to a change in societal habits. A lot of it is due to tech advances (paper, the printing press, ball point pens)

Programmers I think will tend to go the way of these high priests, ala the typing pool.

With programming tools becoming easier to use (think MS Access as a typical example), users will more and more create their own domain specific software. Kids will learn programming of sorts from an early age.  (the python folk are working on something along these lines)

Having said that, there is still a market for good novels/books/newspapers.  A lot of people still earn a living from the publishing industry. A lot of people still earn a living doing calligraphy (sp?).  You will just have to be really really good to earn a living purely as a programmer.

It just won't be good enough for the average programmer to claim that they can program. Everyone will be doing it, and the further up you are on that business foodchain, the better.

I still cringe when I see hear people saying that they want a career in computers. uuuurrrrggggghhhh!!

Tapiwa
Monday, July 28, 2003

wow, realist, I always figured you were some unemployed VB programmer.  ;-)  Good for you.

Vince
Monday, July 28, 2003

Vince - never unemployed in 14 years as a very highly paid contract programmer, and still in demand, on multiple fronts, even now, in fact maybe more so now than ever before.  ;-)

Realist
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

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