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"IT contractors cram hard to stay ahead"

"Equivalent of a degree course every six months to upgrade technical skills and learn new packages "

http://www.computing.co.uk/News/1142639

anyone else thinks this is massively exaggerated?

"The average contractor spends the equivalent of 45 days a year researching news and developments within the business and a further 32 days every year upgrading their technical skills."

45 days per year reading slashdot, etc.

the 32 days sounds about right, but thats no where near a degree every 6 months ...

blargle
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I believe what is meant is that "IT" contractors take the equivalent of about 2 or 3 College Courses heading to a degree a year.  Which is easy believable.  (90 to 140 hours of in class time is about 8 to 12 Semester Credit hours)

A Software Build Guy
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

The key word is 'course', as in: the ordinary course load is  about 5 or 6 'courses' per semester.

Sounds about right.

John Aitken
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Blargele is British and the article is American.

Two nations divided by the same language.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

"but we always look for contractors who are prepared to put the graft in and who already use e-learning to keep their skills up to date," said Fletcher"

Put the graft in? Hey! Enron guys! Found someone that wants to employ ya! :')

Mark Hoffman
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Hi Mark,

Both at Enron and Arthur Anderson, many hard-working, decent and dedicated people were screwed by a few ultra-greedy folk who were playing a fantastical pyramid game.  Taunting these people isn't really fun - they lost their jobs, their pensions and their investments - pretty tough.

As for taunting the Enron people who had strong transferable experience and skillsets...well, it's true that times were hard. Many of us had to take a significant drop in compensation, in my case to a contract rate equivalent to only $220K a year.

Regards,

Mark
---
Author of "Comprehensive VB .NET Debugging"
http://www.apress.com/book/bookDisplay.html?bID=128

Mark Pearce
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

>Blargele is British and the article is American

'Blargele' - the french spelling ...  but otherwise true.

I obviously mis-read the article - degree course rather than degree.

Still, I wonder if, say, a degree level course is really equivalent to keeping up to date in IT - is a thermodynamics, quantum mechanics or relativity course really equivalent to learning .Net, Oracle or Java? Doesn't *feel* that difficult to me.

blargle
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

"...in my case to a contract rate equivalent to only $220K a year."

I'm *hoping* that you possibly mistyped "$22K a year", because if you're honestly complaining about "only" making six figures a year, well, I'm not all that sorry for you.


Tuesday, July 29, 2003

"I'm *hoping* that you possibly mistyped "$22K a year", because if you're honestly complaining about "only" making six figures a year, well, I'm not all that sorry for you."

My thoughts exactly!

Hector
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Enron paid IT contractors MORE than $220k, who then complain when they only make $220k?

Maybe this accounting thing wasn't the only mistake they made...

Nimoy's Bilbo
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Only $220k/yr?  Next you'll be telling us that your wallet's too small for your $50's and your diamond shoes don't even fit!

Greg Hurlman
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Sheesh, folks, do I need a smiley for every barbed comment? Obviously, I didn't make myself clear...sorry.

Mark floated a little flamebait about Enron people. I pointed out that for the majority of Enron staff didn't really need or deserve this type of comment. Whole lives were disrupted, damaged etc.

And for a small minority who were dumped, the flamebait hardly applied, because their compensation went from life-changing to just extremely good.

FWIW, the best business people received 7-figure salaries, sometimes even 8-figures. They made the developers look poor.

Regards,

Mark
---
Author of "Comprehensive VB .NET Debugging"
http://www.apress.com/book/bookDisplay.html?bID=128

Mark Pearce
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I don't understand your latest comment. Did you or did you not make more than $220k as a IT contractor at Enron?

Nimoy's Bilbo
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

NB,

Sheesh, how to hijack a thread by accident.

Yes, my rate at Enron was equivalent to more than $220K a year. In the financial industry (just like the dot-com industry), if you're in the right place at the right time, you can do very well.

The energy trading software that we developed resulted in a (real) daily profit figure that was often in 6 figures. Enron's EOL online trading exchange was the largest e-commerce site in the world, measured by transaction value. It simply dwarfed sites like Amazon.

Were we worth the money? Well, at its most basic, you're worth whatever someone will pay. If you want to ask who's worth more, my boss at Citigroup earning $15M a year or the hospital consultant who saved my wife's life with a minute to spare and probably earns $100K, I'm not sure how to answer that question.

Regards,

Mark
---
Author of "Comprehensive VB .NET Debugging"
http://www.apress.com/book/bookDisplay.html?bID=128

Mark Pearce
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Ok, since we're completey off-topic.

Mark..My little sarcastic whip was aimed at the criminals at Enron; not the rank and file employees. I think this was painfully obvious to everyone, except perhaps people that had actually worked there who might be a little sensitive.

It wasn't flamebait, it was sarcasm. Enron is a poster child for graft and corruption and since the article..

oh nevermind. This is a waste of my time to explain.

Mark Hoffman
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Hi Mark,

Enron is a poster child for graft and corruption only among those who swallow what the media present.

Journalism is a business just like Enron was, and indulges in practices perhaps even more dodgy.

Regards,

Mark

Mark Pearce
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Yeah, the Federal indictments being handed down to the officers of the Enron are just media hype. And here I was thinking they were criminals. Glad you educated us.

CEO
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

> It wasn't flamebait, it was sarcasm. Enron is a poster child for graft

In case you're wondering, "graft" is another Englishism: "put the graft in" means "put the hours in" or "work" ... the 3rd entry for graft at  http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary is:

Main Entry: graft
Function: noun
Etymology: English dialect graft, verb, to work, perhaps alteration of grave (to dig)
Date: 1853
chiefly British : WORK, LABOR

You were thinking of the 5th entry, i.e.:

Main Entry: graft
Function: noun
Date: 1865
: the acquisition of gain (as money) in dishonest or questionable ways; also : illegal or unfair gain

> thermodynamics, quantum mechanics or relativity course

I found relativity relatively easy, whereas quantum mechanics was the reason why I was grateful to escape from Mathematics into the world of computer programming; your mileage may vary ... I suppose they were just talking about the hours.

I'd like to feel encouraged by Fletcher's statement: "Although commercial, hands on experience is best, e-learning is looked upon very favourably by companies, particularly for emerging technology markets where premiums are very high and skills very rare" ... http://www.computerpeople.co.uk is a "recruitment consultancy" and not an e-learning provider, which adds some credibility to the statement.

Christopher Wells
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Hi CEO,

Federal indictments have been laid against less than 20 Enron executives. Some of them will probably be found guilty - I certainly hope so, because those few people were responsible for killing Enron and for the wholesale layoffs of tens of thousands of dedicated hard-working people.

From the viewpoint of somebody on the inside, I was often very unhappy with the way Enron was portrayed in the media. It probably feels similar to how MS insiders feel about the media portrayals of MS. Of course, they need to sell newspapers, tv programmes and so on. They're businesses, just like Enron was.

Regards,

Mark

Mark Pearce
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I definitely believe the original question. Big companies (Fortune 500) hire contractors to come in and do something or set the foundation. The employees sit and age.

Tom Vu
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Mark wrote, "From the viewpoint of somebody on the inside, I was often very unhappy with the way Enron was portrayed in the media."

I don't understand your displeasure with the way the media has portrayed the Enron corporation.  Do you feel that the media has portrayed all Enron employees as crooks?

Most people I have spoken with realize that corporate America and senior management are one and the same.

Personally, I don't believe the mainstream media did a very good job of covering the Enron fiasco. I had to watch PBS shows such as "Bigger than Enron" before I truly understood the extent of the corruption.

One Programmer's Opinion
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Christopher,

I knew the "English" meaning wasn't corruption. Not too many companies advertise that they are looking for crooks. I wasn't aware of the precise meaning, but I was just making a pun of the word...I swear I'll never do that again...

Mark Hoffman
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Enron was thoroughly corrupt from top to bottom and that includes all the programmers who wrote the software to scam people, including the programmer who is not sure how to answer the question whether the doc who saved his wife's life should earn more than the criminal he used to work for.

People are dying because they have no medicine because their pensions are gone, bankrupted by Enron and the state can't step in to cover them either because the state was bankrupted by Enron.

Mark Pearce, you are a murderer.

Death to Enron
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

OPO,

I feel that much of the media portroyed Enron as a generally corrupt organisation, rather than concentrating on the mechanics of how a small number of individuals managed to find several deep flaws in the accounting system used by many major corporations. People aren't really being told that the problems are systemic, and affect everybody - the individuals at Enron just exploited these problems in clever, and sometimes illegal, ways.

DtE
***
You've obviously don't believe in the dictum that you should never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think.

Mark

Mark Pearce
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Mark,

The fact that corrupt people are able to commit crimes does not mean there are flaws in the system. It means that certain people are criminals. You seem to believe that if someone is able to get away with a criminal act without being stopped, then the system is to blame and not the individual. That is sociopathic reasoning.

D2E
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

D2E,

But there are fundamental flaws in the system, as you can see if you analyse the mechanics of SPEs, derivatives and GAAP.

So in this case, both the system and the individuals are at fault. It's no good jailing the criminals if you don't also fix the system.

Mark

Mark Pearce
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

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