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'helping out'

To what extent do you feel someone ranked as a 'senior programmer', should assist the company he works for in tasks which are probably not applicable to his role?

In the last 2 months I've written <10 lines of code, spent a long time helping a test team by running incredibly long & dull test scripts, cross checked bugs between development and released versions of a product, been responsible for organising and implementing releases, currently checking a load of crystal reports report thingys to see if a certain field has x decimal places... <yawn>

Whilst I don't mind lending a hand occasionally, eg after a few months dev work a couple of weeks helping a test team is just good team playing ...

but where do you draw the line?

(especially since the job market is none existant and there isn't a lot of interesting work in the company anyway?)

posting chicken style
Friday, March 7, 2003

It only matters if doing these other things gets you frozen out of any genuine development that comes up.

Otherwise you could just try being relaxed about being paid over the odds to do grunt work.

Leave when you find a job that gives a better balance between being interesting and being paid (where that balance lies is up to you).

Personally, I do everything from new development to watering the plants and locking up on the way out.

Mathematical Dunce
Friday, March 7, 2003

>(especially since the job market is
>none existant and there isn't a lot
>of interesting work in the company

Right now, there's an oversupply of people who want to work in technology - but there is _always_ a market for world-class coders.  If you are world class, don't fool yourself into thinking that the market stinks. 

Good people have a tendency to rise to the top despite a hiring slowdown.

That said, I'd talk to management about it.  It sounds like you're moving from a coding role into a QA management role.  That would be fine by me if they wanted to pay me for it.

A big part of the issue is how much you feel you are part of the company, and the size of the company.  In a smaller company, I've always felt that my job was to help the company reach it's business goals, and the heck with my title.  I've always been a coder, but I've done DBA work, QA work, a little bit of Management-ish stuff, and, uh ... I guess "Consulting" to other departments. And lots of process improvement.

If you love the company and want to see it flourish, well, you do whatever it takes. 

On the other hand, if you aren't happy, and "whatever it takes" is less "What I think notice needs to be done" and more "grunt work my manager gives me", and the job isn't meeting your needs, well ... it may be time for a talk with management.  And, if you try to work it out and nothing changes, it may be a time for a move.


Matt H.
Friday, March 7, 2003

Why do you believe that there is a market for world class coders?  This is one of the statements that are repeated on this discussion board but never with supporting evidence.  Can you give some examples to support that claim?

Friday, March 7, 2003

You may to move, you may have to network, but the bottom line is ... find people that understand the above articles and work for them. :-)


Matt H.
Friday, March 7, 2003

In fact, no more than ever, there probably isn't.

At least at those companies who don't understand anti-cyclic investments and general business continuity.
They tend to "reduce costs" and reducing costs does not mean getting more bang for the buck, but simply spending less bucks.
Whatever happens as a result, which is usually spending more to repair damage done, tends to escape their attention.

So their may be a market for first class coders, but only if they come really really cheap.

But maybe I'm just too cynical...

Practical Geezer
Friday, March 7, 2003

I meant to say, "now more than ever ..."
And my reply was of course not to Matt's second message, but to mackinac.

Practical Geezer
Friday, March 7, 2003

Matt's totally right, but those companies are gems.  They don't know it really, they aren't arrogant, they don't hold it over you that you should be grateful to work for such amazing people, if they did they wouldn't BE great but merely good enough.  Great companies are a bit like great developers or great managers, I think - it's easy to believe they're a myth, you find so many of the other kind.

A true passion is what matters.  So, to get back to the original poster's problem, if you're feeling as if you're drifting from where you think you want to be, look at what's taking you there.  Huge difference if it's your employer's decrees vs. your true passion in an unexpected form.  Be open minded, ask yourself what really matters and why.  You may discover something.  I've started / reorganized more than one QA department in my short time.  I've accepted that I look at development at a larger scope now.

Of course, I'm willing to have no patience with idiots who can't respect that. ;)  If the bad economy is something you're taking very personally, it might not be the time to ask hard questions.  Prepare your personal situation to be able to ask them, though.

Friday, March 7, 2003

I concur with Matt's advice:  Talk to management.  If you feel unhappy, that's a legitimate concern.

Ultimately, you're the one who has to draw the line.

Brent P. Newhall
Friday, March 7, 2003

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