After reading the posts on being addicted to certs and the various complaints about not being able to get a job, I am recalling an idea that I have had for years, but have never acted on it. Using the movie industry as an example, I would like to see programs around the world unite and form their own company "United Programers". In the last Century, leaders in the movie industry formed "United Artist" and put out of work actors back to work. I know this effort would be difficult, but what isn't. We would have to organize. Plan projects, distribute work, maintain a web site, test final products, distribute software and profits. There are some initial questions we would have to agree upon before starting. How would we form a committee to guide the company? how would we distribute our products? how would we pay contributors? There are many other questions needing answers, but does this idea appeal to anyone?
An interesting idea, but the technical recruiters out there might not take it too seriously, snce it encroaches on their territory. As a complementing idea, (possibly including your idea), I always wondered why we are still a 'cottage industry'. Why can't we have an International Federation of Professional Software Engineers? I rememebr 4 years back a fellow I ran into asked me to go and have lunch with him (no, not a date). He was just leaving the Real Estate business and was making a lot of money (6 figures) but felt it was dying with too many people jumping in and the ease with which people can find an agent and so on. He decided to jump aboard the IT craze that was all the rage back then. He wanted to know how pointers work in C++, and a few other technicalities! I was amazed that he thought he could get a hig paying job in the IT world by just describing a few technical aspects of a programming language. I'm still angered by all the people that jumped aboard the IT bandwagon in those heady days. I blame the ballooning of IT on the people who self-promoted themselves. I remember an engineering friend getting a job 'without' a face-to-face interview; the offer coming the afternoon of the same day as the interview. I don't expect those days to ever return, but an International Organization to regulate people (engineers) to make sure they fulfil certain professional levels of qualification (certs being a possible level), would help our wavering IT industry and keep out the people that do not belong. Such organizations also help regulate the job market and ensure a client gets a decent engineer for a decent salary.
Joined: Jun 05, 2001
but the technical recruiters out there might not take it too seriously, since it encroaches on their territory
Using my comparison with "United Artist", technical recruiters would be like actor's agents or talent scouts. Why would the proposed organization need technical recruiters? If we treat programmers fair, if they make a profit from there work and tell others about their experience, then our reputation will recruite all the programmers needed.
I always wondered why we are still a 'cottage industry'.
If you have all the tools you need, what is wrong with working from your own home? There are many good reasons why more companies are encouraging their employees to "telecommunicate".
an International Organization to regulate people (engineers) to make sure they fulfil certain professional levels of qualification
You are right that employees/members must be able to perform. And certification is one way to prove that you know your business, but maybe not the only way. I picture a new project issuing several requirement documents and making them available to all the members. Any member can make a case for why they should get the work. The case would include their background, their expected compensation and their proposal to satisfy the project's requirements. Small tasks will be issued to build the reputation of newbies. A committee would choose the best proposal. Compensation is an important part of a proposal. We would need guidelines as to how express a desire for a lump sum or a percentage of the profit.
Joined: Apr 25, 2004
Sonny, I agree with you about most of this, except these parts:
I picture a new project issuing several requirement documents and making them available to all the members. Any member can make a case for why they should get the work.
Very slow solution. 500,000 programmers on the East Coast here alone. Say, 10% out of work at any one time. Another 10% are actually interested in replying to a job and submitting specs/design. All 5,000 engineers have to have their proposal examined. Way too much work to examine all of them. Anyway, most companies actually have no idea what they really need. (Can you not dig deep into your own experiences and find such situations? I certainly can).
Compensation is an important part of a proposal. We would need guidelines as to how express a desire for a lump sum or a percentage of the profit. It's a very socialist solution. Is every engineer in the country forced to comply with the organizations rulings? Let's say you get some great job through the organization, but I work outside the org. and decide to usurp you, and offer my services (almost equal to yours) to the company but at a 10% discount in salary. I would theorectically undercut you. The market essentially mimics this process through bitter competition anyway. As a consultant, I must show I can do the job at an acceptable hourly rate. You seem more convinced we need an organization for the sake of fair play. I was thinking along the lines of an organization similar to what mechanical/civil engineers have; to help stabilize the s/w engineering industry and make sure people are truly qualified, as opposed to the people coming out of high school, reading a book, passing the SCJP exam and getting a job without really knowing anything but rote-learning a few technical points. -jeff
Joined: Jun 05, 2001
Can you not dig deep into your own experiences and find such situations?
Yes, anything bigger than a shoe box gets changed before the project is done. 5,000 replies? - Your thinking bigger than I am. I was thinking a well written request would bring in 50 at the most. By the time the best and a back-up were selected, it would be the most cost effective approach to the problem.
Is every engineer in the country forced to comply with the organizations rulings?
There must be rules/contracts because they help us trust one another. United Programmers (UP) should not get jobs for programmers like a recruiter. UP should contract with companies (via web site) to provide s/w solutions. If we are outbid non-members, so be it. But once the contract is signed, there can be no under cutting.
I see where your coming from with the engineering qualifications. But I think that engineers that give it their best and never get selected will figure it out for themselves. We would still have other jobs - like testing, maintaining code, libraries etc.
What other problems do you see? [ May 15, 2004: Message edited by: Sonny Pondrom ]