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New York Recruiting Agencies

Travis Williams
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 28, 2002
Posts: 10
Hi,
I'm currently looking in the job market right now - Monster and Dice.com had no effect. Does anyone have any suggestions on permanent/temp recruiting agencies in New York, or a good resource on the web that has a list of some of the more prominent agencies? I've had trouble finding a web resource about it.
I know there's a big difference between the amount and type of work agencies have, and my next step is to start calling every number in the phone book!
Thanks,
Travis
Elizabeth King
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 11, 2002
Posts: 191
It is not the problem of dice.com or monster.com.
It is the economy. The best places to call are
capital hill and whitehouse. Some domestic and international policies should be changed.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Mary King:
It is not the problem of dice.com or monster.com.
It is the economy. The best places to call are
capital hill and whitehouse. Some domestic and international policies should be changed.


Or maybe improve your own skill set so you don't need politicians to protect you from your own shortcomings.

--Mark
Alex Ayzin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 10, 2001
Posts: 107
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:


Or maybe improve your own skill set so you don't need politicians to protect you from your own shortcomings.

--Mark

Jeeesus, you always have a warm and comforting advice for just about anybody. How do you know the level of expertise that guy has. Who gave you the right to bring him to cruel reality. Does it give you pleasure to apply some virtual pain and put the person who needs a real advice and probably a good word on the ropes? If he's not able to land a job because of his educational shortcomings, he knows about it and got to deal with it himself, with no outside interruptions. With your advices you often place yourself above the crowd only because you've been lucky enough not to get laid off yet. Drop your know it all attitude, be helpful to people, not cocky.
Vic Dayton
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 21, 2002
Posts: 7
Heck, I am over 30, already have a Master in C.S. and too late to go to MIT now. So I will diversify my strategies to keep my programmer job.
1)I will get some certifications to improve and solidify my knowledge.
2)I will write to my congressman and senators to express my concern.
3) I will even to pray more to God that I can work in the IT fields for at least the next couple years.
Any more advices that I can use to keep my job??
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Mark, all my life I employed the same strategy - "improve your own skill set", and it worked for me, or so I believed. I would advise everybody do the same. Until I came here.
My teacher of "English as a Second Language" in local community college - amazingly intelligent, bright, artistic and just beautiful women, what she found interesting in teaching English to us, I have no idea. But she did. Once she said she will go to Mexico to improve her Spanish. Everybody breathe out "Noooooo!" because we knew what it is to be peceived stupid only because you cannot intelligently put two words together. She answered: "It's good to feel stupid. It develops sympathy to people".
Fundamentally changed my attitude to life.
[ July 19, 2002: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]

Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
I'll conceed my posting was a bit harsh. I held off on posting it for 24 hours, but then I got fed up. Granted, much of the hostility came from reading the MD post here. (Talk about hostility.)
But the bottom line is
1) I'm very sarcastic
2) I'm blunt
3) I don't coddle people
The fact is, I get about a call a week from recruiters and companies talking to me about positions (and those have lead to offers)--and these are simply people who have found my resume on the internet! There are jobs out there. I have friends who have slacked off for months, as soon as they started looking, they started getting interviews and even offers.
I'm not saying everyone out there is being lazy, but I am saying all jobs haven't moved overseas. I am saying strong IT workers are finding jobs. If you are good, you can, too. You may feel it's best to protect yourself with economic barriers. I just don't think we should protect weak workers with artificial laws. I think you'll be better off for working hard to achieve success.
Just call me HARRISON BERGERON.
--Mark
Travis Williams
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 28, 2002
Posts: 10
I had a feeling from reading other posts in this section that this would happen. I really just wanted some simple info. Thanks for responding to that insane guy all those who did, but it looks like I'll have to go elsewhere.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

I could see, perhaps, shooting off the cuff but waiting for 24 hours to drool on to the screen! Without knowing a single thing about this guy, you, Mark Herschberg - world's expert on the NY job market, decide that the guy is nothing but a lazy bum who needs to get off his fat ass and learn a useful skill. I am amazed at what a pompous twit you are.


Again you misinterpret my posts. I am not an expert on the job market. I made no claim about the NYC job market. My points were
1) That Mary's comment about the need for government economic support was, in my opinion, a bad idea.
2) That the market is not as bad as everyone make sit out to be (an opinion I have expressed repeatedly. This second point was addressed to Alex's comments. I'm not saying this to be harsh, I'm saying it to tell people that it is not hopeless and jobs can be found out there.

I don't feel superior at all. I feel like I'm very smart and talented, but I suspect the same is true for many other people on this web site (and I have never claimed to be better then them). I wholeheartedly agree with Map's story. I think my technical skills are pretty good, so what am I doing, working on my other skill sets, moving into areas where I'm not as strong, and yes, I walk into those situations weaker then those already in it. Excellent story Map.

--Mark
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Travis Williams:
I had a feeling from reading other posts in this section that this would happen. I really just wanted some simple info. Thanks for responding to that insane guy all those who did, but it looks like I'll have to go elsewhere.

Travis, you have a very valid point. As the bartender of this forum, my job is to prevent things like the hijacking of posts, which happened here. Mary's post was a bit off topic. I responded to her, and probably shouldn't have because it was off topic, and I was adding to the problem. My specific comment was intended much differently then how I suspect it was read. I think most people read it in a very harsh and challenging tone. Although I am sarcastic, I never write in anger (I learned that lesson long ago). It was intended more in the style of, "I think you've got other options rather then relying on politicians," but presented in my own sarcastic way. Granted, it should have included a smiley or employed other techniques to make my tone clearler.
Because this topic has been hijacked, I am closing it. Travis, please repost your question, and I will insure all comments there stay on topic.

--Mark
[ July 20, 2002: Message edited by: Mark Herschberg ]
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20542
    ∞

I opened this back up.
The thread has been hijacked and as much as I'm against hijacking, I like to see stuff reach a natural conclusion.
This thread has a lot of very heavy senitment to it. It pains me to read some of the things here.
As for the issues: While petitioning the government could make some long term changes, it certainly won't make any short term changes. And it seems that Travis is in need of some short term help.
Compared to a couple of years ago, the current market is very tough. And it has everything to do with the economy. For experienced engineers, it might mean their income is cut in half. For less experienced engineers it might mean that they are unemployed or working in another sector now.
One could invest a year (or maybe ten) in making themselves more marketable - but that is another debate for another time.
My advice, Travis:
  • Good luck comes from hard work. And you need some good luck.
  • Networking (with people, not computers) helps with any career. I suggest that you find ways to visit with other people in your area (hopefully you'll have a more friendly experience than what you encountered in this thread) involved in your flavor of geek-dom. Also, look into contributing to open source projects. If you do good stuff, one of the other people on the project might be looking to hire and think of you.
  • Be creative. The reason dice isn't working is that each ad is getting in 2000 resumes. You need to explore areas that are not being explored by others.

  • Remember the rules of supply and demand. Right now fresh hire geeks are getting a lot less than they could get a couple of years ago. Don't price yourself out of a gig. When the economy comes back, you should be able to up your rates again.
    I hope this helps.


  • permaculture Wood Burning Stoves 2.0 - 4-DVD set
    Travis Williams
    Greenhorn

    Joined: Jan 28, 2002
    Posts: 10
    Hi everyone, I'd like to thank Paul Wheaton especially for his advice. It was thoughtful and helpful.
    Basically, I got out of school in January of 2000 right when the economy collapsed. I was and still am working a full time job at Credit Suisse First Boston, but a non-programming job.
    I've contributed to the Enhydra App Server (at kelp.enhydra.org), created a J2EE section on a site for a marketing friend of mine (www.executivesummary.com/vendors), a few other smaller projects, and recently got my SCJD. I felt it was time to finally start looking for a full-time programming job.
    Of course I'm having trouble getting responses during this bad economy because I'm not a Senior Developer, but as I've been developing my skills for the last 2 years, I felt it was finally time to start looking. I will continue to develop my skills (I really want to learn Struts next), but I also thought I should start trying to develop a relationship with some of the recruiting agencies in the meantime.
    Perhaps the economy will be back in a year, and in the meantime I've met and gotten into the database for the local consulting agencies, certainly couldn't hurt!
    Thanks all, it's been good fun
    Travis
    paul wheaton
    Trailboss

    Joined: Dec 14, 1998
    Posts: 20542
        ∞

    I met a junior guy in January that was beating back offers with a stick. He was a hard worker, very humble and charged next to nothing. There are lots of employers out there anxious to exploit people like this. The trick is, that you have to find a way to let these employers know that you're out there and ready to be exploited for cheap.
    If I recall correctly, one of his sweeter gigs came from dating a girl whose dad bought products from a company who needed a guy to .... Well, you get the idea.
    Travis Williams
    Greenhorn

    Joined: Jan 28, 2002
    Posts: 10
    Haha, that's hilarious! I'll have to put my exploitation hat on . . .
    I'm definitely going to take advantage of your advice to meet people in my area. Right now I have a contact in California and Austin, but none here in New York. I'll try to start hitting the Java meetings here in town . . . sad, I was at the meeting at the Sun office at the World Trade Center a few months before it went down, haven't been back since.
    Thanks again,
    Travis
    Mapraputa Is
    Leverager of our synergies
    Sheriff

    Joined: Aug 26, 2000
    Posts: 10065
    Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
    The fact is, I get about a call a week from recruiters and companies talking to me about positions (and those have lead to offers)--and these are simply people who have found my resume on the internet!

    Mark, with all due respect, it sounds like one Russian anecdote.
    Army general with his young wife.
    "Honey, I am pregnant..."
    "And I am not! Ha-ha-ha!"
    Roseanne Zhang
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Nov 14, 2000
    Posts: 1953
    Map
    It is not funny, and I know you're very serious. I don't see all the smiley that you like to use. Also thank you for your English teacher episode.
    When some very smart developers on the edge of losing their houses, it is not funny at all...
    Thanks a lot!
    Roseanne
    Mapraputa Is
    Leverager of our synergies
    Sheriff

    Joined: Aug 26, 2000
    Posts: 10065
    Roseanne, one of the best things I read in my life was that Jew people in Hitler's concentration camps were able to joke about their state.
    "Not funy at all" - the next step is good laugh, because there isn't much besides good laugh there.
    Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
    I'm not saying everyone out there is being lazy, but I am saying all jobs haven't moved overseas. I am saying strong IT workers are finding jobs. If you are good, you can, too. You may feel it's best to protect yourself with economic barriers. I just don't think we should protect weak workers with artificial laws. I think you'll be better off for working hard to achieve success.

    Mark, there are a lot of "weak workers" around. College graduates who do not have experience. "Mainframe" veterans who do not have OOP experience. Etc, etc, etc. the list can be continued. You think all these people should go wash the dishes in local Mexican restaurant? You think they deserve it? Because of what? Because Russian programmers are "stronger workers"? But you do not belieive it yourself! They are cheaper - yes, is it a good reason to screw up people's lives here? I could understand (partly) if you said there is no chance to win this battle, but you seem justify what's going on!
    The worst part, I could be at least happy that my country (Russia) gets some jobs for programmers, but I am not! It doesn't do any good for Russia either! I need to think more about it, though.
    Mark Herschberg
    Sheriff

    Joined: Dec 04, 2000
    Posts: 6037
    Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
    Roseanne, one of the best things I read in my life was that Jew people in Hitler's concentration camps were able to joke about their state.

    Very true, and something I agree with (maybe it's my Jewish up bringing). You should always be able to laugh, especially in dire situations.
    Of course, I wasn't trying to "rub it in" (recall my post in MO). The last time I tried to post facts on jobs out there, we jot into a big debate about the veracity of the numbers (and there was no clear proof any of us could find, for a conclusion). Well, I'm getting jobs. My friends are getting job. It's real.
    Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:

    Mark, there are a lot of "weak workers" around. College graduates who do not have experience. "Mainframe" veterans who do not have OOP experience. Etc, etc, etc. the list can be continued. You think all these people should go wash the dishes in local Mexican restaurant? You think they deserve it? Because of what? Because Russian programmers are "stronger workers"? But you do not belieive it yourself! They are cheaper - yes, is it a good reason to screw up people's lives here?

    There are a lot of US laborers who lost their jobs due to robotics and overseas labor. This is the nature of the world. Technology and business progress. Despite lossing those jobs, we didn't see the rust belt collapse, saved only by government intervention. Eventually most of the workers moved on and got new jobs.
    You're right, there are many weak workers out there. (Let me be clear, I have never claimed anyone in particular in this forum was a weak worker--so no one should be taking this personally). Look at the tech boom--many companies got overvalued, people threw their money at overinflated stocks; eventually the market corrected. Unfortunately the correction meant people got burned, but as a believer in the free market, I believe this is in the best interest of our society.
    I think the same thing happened with people. Demand skyrocketed, people with little training got into this field (and many got paid way too much--although overall I think most developers are way undervalued wrt their salaries). Now the job market is correcting. Some people will get burned. That's the way of the free market, and as a believer in the free market, I agree with this. (Right now I'm just talking about "weak" programmers, although I'm not addressing what defines weak.)
    Look at the field of acting. Supply way outstrips demand. Many people in that field would be better off choosing a different career--strictly from an economic perspective.
    I'm not saying they should be washing dishes. These are smart people, and many have good skills which can be put to work elsewhere. But, if you consider the population of US IT workers as of January 2000, I would definately say to the bottom (i.e. "weakest") 5% of them, you're going to have a hard time trying to find a job and may want to look elsewhere. Do you think otherwise?
    Overall, I believe in the free market. The free market doesn't care about you, it just looks for effiency. Sometimes people get hurt. Some day, I may get hurt by it. I accept this. In the spirit of Winston Churchill, the free market is the worst form of economics, except for all the others that have been tried. (I don't agree with this universally, but think the free market is generally a good idea, despite its shortcomings.)
    In fact, I'll do you one better, I was a "weak worker," myself. I very clearly remember a specific meeting with my academic advisor. He asked me what type of physics I wanted to do, and I replied, "theoretical physics." He said to me the problem with theoretical physics is that there's only a handful of people in the world (maybe 60-80) who really lead theoretical physics; everyone else just follows them. What was very much implied was that I was not smart/talented/hard working enough to be one of those top people. He was right. Had I gone into a PhD program, I would have been wasting my time down a career path that wasn't right for me, one where I would have had limited success. Now I still think about someday going back and doing a PhD for fun (perhaps when I retire), but the point is I know where I stand, and I don't have an overly rosey view of the world. (I recognize that some people will go into a field, especially acting, because they have a real passion for it, and maximizing economic benefit is not the primary goal. The same may be true for our field, and that's fine. I'm arguing only in terms of economic benefit.)
    WRT to "rosey views," I'd like to note a dichotomy in my postings here. For most IT people, I honestly believe that the jobs are out there and can be found. I would always be frustrated with all those "is java dead" posts, because, it is not, and people are hiring devlopers. I talk about jobs being available and people getting jobs because I want people to see that it can and is being done.* But for some of the lower ranks, I do think, again, from a purely economic standpoint, that they may be better off in other careers.
    *This leads to the question of, "if it can be done, how come I can't do it." First, let me state, there are no general rules, you can be doing everything right, and still have no success, simply because of how the dice roll. But from what I've seen (mostly from talking to people, not necessarily from what I've seen listed here on the ranch), most people are using web sites, recruiters and the paper to look for jobs. Most of the people I know having success are find it through networking. I've found that to be a shortcoming of people, generally, in our industry.
    Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:

    I could understand (partly) if you said there is no chance to win this battle, but you seem justify what's going on!

    I don't understand what you mean.

    --Mark
    [ July 21, 2002: Message edited by: Mark Herschberg ]
    Roseanne Zhang
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Nov 14, 2000
    Posts: 1953
    Jobs used to move to India and China, now move to Russia. That is a global economy effect. No one can stop it. Actually, the same problem is happening in China too, many people in China are jobless, but jobs are exporting to southeast Asia and Russia and Africa ...
    I personal know a company here is dying due to that very reason. The Co. is still alive because the owner takes some money out of his inheritance to keep it moving, and in the hope to struggle out of the economical down term.
    Good luck to them!!!
    Good luck to everyone, including people in Russia and China and ...!!!
    [ July 21, 2002: Message edited by: Roseanne Zhang ]
    Thomas Paul
    mister krabs
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: May 05, 2000
    Posts: 13974
    Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
    Of course, I wasn't trying to "rub it in" (recall my post in MO). The last time I tried to post facts on jobs out there, we jot into a big debate about the veracity of the numbers (and there was no clear proof any of us could find, for a conclusion). Well, I'm getting jobs. My friends are getting job. It's real.
    And yet when we tell you that there are no jobs, you tell us that is anecodtal and should be ignored.
    I have no idea how the job market is where you live but in NY, the job market is dead. Unemployment is up to 8% and growing. It is even higher in the tech sector. Sept 11th hit us very hard and there is no recovery in sight. The collapse of Wall Street has made things even worse. Meanwhile more jobs are being exported overseas.
    Personally I think there is little future in the IT industry. As you suggested, the bulk of the jobs may move to the analysis area and away from coding. But we only need one analyst for every 20-50 programmers which would leave a lot of coders out of work even if they made the move to analysis.


    Associate Instructor - Hofstra University
    Amazon Top 750 reviewer - Blog - Unresolved References - Book Review Blog
    paul wheaton
    Trailboss

    Joined: Dec 14, 1998
    Posts: 20542
        ∞

    My experience with overseas development is small. But it does seem that many shops have tried it and had really bad luck.
    Remember Dilbert and the elbonians.
    Mark Herschberg
    Sheriff

    Joined: Dec 04, 2000
    Posts: 6037
    Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
    And yet when we tell you that there are no jobs, you tell us that is anecodtal and should be ignored. ;)

    Exactly, you didn't buy my argument as anecodtal, so you seem to put stock in "personal stories," so I'm just choosing a line of reasoning you seem partial too. (If you don't buy that, then I'll simply say, touch´┐Ż. :-)
    Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
    I have no idea how the job market is where you live but in NY, the job market is dead. Unemployment is up to 8% and growing. It is even higher in the tech sector. Sept 11th hit us very hard and there is no recovery in sight. The collapse of Wall Street has made things even worse. Meanwhile more jobs are being exported overseas.

    Granted, Boston is better off then NYC. There are even worse, whereas before everyone and then mom was bulding a web site, and jobs were everywhere, today I doubt there are many IT jobs in, say, Kansas. For the record, some of the recuiters who have called me ar ein the greater NYC region, and my friends in NYC are getting professional jobs (although most of my NYC friends aren't IT).
    Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
    Personally I think there is little future in the IT industry. As you suggested, the bulk of the jobs may move to the analysis area and away from coding. But we only need one analyst for every 20-50 programmers which would leave a lot of coders out of work even if they made the move to analysis.

    I think you're misunderstanding my prediction. Long long ago, when mainframes roamed the earth, we had lots of programmers writing low level code. using a language like Java, I can do more work in one day, then assembly programmers could do in a week. The tools and technology have made me more efficent. I expect this trend to continue.
    The whole point of OO technology was to bring software closer to doamin of problems it was intended to solve. Now we don't have to jump through as many hoops to get to software aligned with our business problems. Web servers and EJB servers were a good sized logical step in this direction. I don't want to have to worry about threading and session handling when I'm building an application server. I want to focus on my business problems. Now I can.
    In my vision of the future, when our flying cars are finally fuel efficent enough to reach the moon on a single tank of gas, programming will have continued in this evolution. The systems analyst will use tool to do high level design and a good deal of the basic coding will be generated automatically. For that reason, I see the ratio you named decreasing. You may look at this trend and fear that this means there will be less IT jobs, and yet, as the evolution has progressed so far, we've only seen an increase in the need for programmers. I welcome it.

    --Mark
    Thomas Paul
    mister krabs
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: May 05, 2000
    Posts: 13974
    Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

    You may look at this trend and fear that this means there will be less IT jobs, and yet, as the evolution has progressed so far, we've only seen an increase in the need for programmers. I welcome it.
    Actually the demand has gone down. And prior to the highs of the mid to late 90's when, as you said, everyone and their mother was running a web site, demand had leveled. I think we have reached the point where supply has exceeded demand.
    Thomas Paul
    mister krabs
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: May 05, 2000
    Posts: 13974
    As far as NYC recruiters go, I get calls every week too. But so far no interviews. The NYC market relies heavily on the brokerage industry and that industry is simply not hiring. The three biggest IT employers in my area, Computer Assocaites, Avis, and Cablevision, all have had hiring freezes since last fall and in fact two of those have been laying off IT staff.
    But I should add that my wife has had plenty of job offers. But then she is a Registered Nurse.
    [ July 21, 2002: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]
    Mark Herschberg
    Sheriff

    Joined: Dec 04, 2000
    Posts: 6037
    Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
    Actually the demand has gone down. And prior to the highs of the mid to late 90's when, as you said, everyone and their mother was running a web site, demand had leveled. I think we have reached the point where supply has exceeded demand.

    Yeah, yeah, I was wondering if someone would actually bring this up. :-p
    I would liken it to the stock market. Over the last 80 years the stock market has always gone up. I have faith that this trend will continue. Of course, in any short span, there will be market corrections. The market went down recently, but I'm not worried (and I don't care about what happened to my long term savings, because I know the market will come back before I need it).
    The same thing is true with programmers. The market got overhyped and is normalizing. But in the long run, it will increase. (I think you get my point, even if you don't agree with it.)
    Bottom line, technological improvements will not cause a decrease in the demand for programmers, just a change in how they work and their needed skill set.

    --Mark
    Mapraputa Is
    Leverager of our synergies
    Sheriff

    Joined: Aug 26, 2000
    Posts: 10065
    Originally posted by perplexed Mapraputa Is:
    I could understand (partly) if you said there is no chance to win this battle, but you seem justify what's going on!
    Originally answered by puzzled Mark Herschberg:
    I don't understand what you mean.
    --Mark

    When you compare code outsourcing to the state of affair in theoretical physics or to "correcting the market" after the tech boom, you are giving sadly observed by our tribe phenomenon undeserved credit.
    The state of affair in theoretical physics is for good: science is developed by the best brains - so they survive.
    "Correcting the market" is for good: insane and meaningless projects had to die and they did.
    Code outsourcing is not for good.
    I thought about it for some time and as I can tell, my motivation comes from observing what happened with clothes-producing industry in Russia. It had its problems, but overall it produced high-qulaity clothes (as we realized later). After the market was open, it was swamped by relatively cheap (or not so cheap) clothes of horrible quality produced in nobody-knows-what-countries.
    When I was a school girl, we had to take some classes to get "working profession" and I took sewing classes, which were at almost professional level. We were supposed to learn discipline and to output product of certain quality. If there is no quality, there is no product. We had to adopt rather advanced culture of the trade.
    When I see this cheap clothes made who-knows-where, it's like their workers felt from the heavens right in the middle of the industry without any idea of what they are doing
    I am afraid this is what will happen to code if it will be outsourced.

    The USA is leader in programming industry, as much as I hate to say it. Here it is part of more broad culture, supported by educational institutions, universities, thousand of bright individuals, hacker subculture (in good sense) at last. Nothing close to this exists in Russia (I am not going to say anything about other countries - I do not know). Yesterday I accidentally found a thread about our giveaway with Joshua Bloch - you need to see all enthusiasm it raised. There is no Joshua Bloch in Russia, and I wonder how many people heard this name. I once decided to check which books on XML are published in Russia and looked at Internet book stores lists. I could hardly see a book that was familiar to me - where did they find all this... I wont say what. College programs in CS are pathetic. And so on and so on. Admittedly, there are talended individuals and few elite teams in big cities, and these should get projects to work - because they *can* compete -- individual projects. I remember an article about how a small team (there were two people and only one finished) developed particularly fast C compiler -- perhaps. But to move the whole coding industry, or at least significant part of it...
    "I just don't think we should protect weak workers with artificial laws" - I am afraid of the opposite: weaker workers will win the competion only because they are cheaper. And "artifical" isn't always bad, depends on perspective. Sorry for too banal example, medicine is "artifical" but we put up with it
    I almost agree with you regarding "free market" virtues, it's a great tool when it helps to support the best - except when it doesn't. Without state regulation it can bring disaster. Isn't it a lesson learnt after Great Depression? Free market can be and should be corrected -- to save it from itself.
    [ July 22, 2002: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
    Jon McDonald
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Sep 02, 2001
    Posts: 167
    Just wanted to add my thoughts on a few of the points made by previous posters.
    Regarding the future of the IT industry:
    Some seem to be predicting that there is little future in the IT industry simply because of the slump the field is in now. I have to respectfully disagree. People tend to forget that the I in IT stands for information, and as long as there are ineffeciences in the transmission, processing and storage of information, our industry will be secure.
    Right now there are tons of business problems which can be solved with technology, but that solution is financially impractical. Part of our job as IT professionals is to make those solutions more financially practical. The beauty of it is that insolving these problems with technology that we develop, our clients see whole new possibilities and new business problems for us to solve. This is where our strength lies, in inovation.
    With regard to weak, cheap workers taking our jobs:
    Different problems require varying quality of software, and thus varying levels of developer skill. There are many problems that are just too complex to be developed efficently by weak programmers, no matter how many additional programmers are added. In fact, haven't some developers postulated that throwing additional people into a software project actually slows it down and/or makes it less efficent?
    So in the end companies will probably out-source the simpler "straight-coding" projects to these "weaker" and cheaper programmers. But the projects requiring the higher levels of skill and mastery will remain with the "stronger" more expensive developers.
    The analogy I will use is Lawyers. I recently found out that in Chicago, a person who graduates in the middle of his class from a middle tier law school can expect a starting salary of $40k, however people finishing in the top of their class from schools like the University of Chicago and Northwestern (2 TOP tier schools) are looking at starting salaries of at least $150k. Now, wouldn't it make more sense for the firms that hire them to simply get 3 average lawyers at a price less than 1 execptional lawyer? Can't throwing more lawyers at a legal problem compensate for lack of skill? These firms seem to feel differently. There are some areas where an abundance of quanity cannot fully compensate for a lack of quality.
    Jon
    [ July 22, 2002: Message edited by: Jon McDonald ]

    SCJP<br/>
    "I study politics and war that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy in order to give their children a right to study painting poetry and music."<br />--John Adams
    Agnes Hyndman
    Greenhorn

    Joined: May 21, 2002
    Posts: 13
    After reading all the posts here, I felt obligated to put in my 3 cents about the NY area. Well, THE JOBS ARE OUT THERE, I know it for sure (in fact I know of at least 2 open positions right now). The catch ? You absolutely MUST:
    1. Have a degree from one of the ivy league schools.
    2. MUST have at least 5 years of experience.
    Which, of course, I don't have. Does it make me a weak worker ? Absolutely not. I have been working for about 3 years now (including internships while at university). I had exactly four job interviews in the past four months with the following outcome:
    1. Interview 1 - "We're sorry - but our budget just got cut...so the hiring is frozen"
    2. Interview 2 - "We're sorry, we're impressed with your background and your knowledge, but you don't have financial experience..."
    3. Interview 3 - "We're sorry, but you don't have a Ph.D., no financial experience, no Wall Street experience..."
    4. Interview 4 - still waiting to hear from them...
    Anyways, the point I'm trying to make is that unless you are a very experienced software developer, it is very tough. And Mark, I'm not making excuses - self-study doesn't seem to cut it in this market...
    SJ Adnams
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Sep 28, 2001
    Posts: 925
    Since everyone seems to be dipping their oar into this one, here is my share:
    1) Price yourself to the job. Unless you hadn't noticed there is a downturn in the market you are NOT worth $120k.
    2) Emailing a recruiter with the subject line "Re: position on monster.com - please find CV attached" will get you straight into the Deleted mail bin. Call them and have a conversation before sending your CV.
    3) If you have been contracting you will have ZERO chance getting a permanent job. Go for contracting jobs with LOW hourly rates.
    4) You are not as smart as you think you are. You are up against people with more academic qualifications, more technical knowledge, more years experience, more management experience, and yes they are cheaper too.
    So in summary you need to try harder. There are jobs out there...
    Simon
    Agnes Hyndman
    Greenhorn

    Joined: May 21, 2002
    Posts: 13
    This is in response to Simon's points...
    1. So what is the "reasonable" amount to ask for someone with two years of JAVA experience ?
    2. Yes, calling recruiter and doing a bit of research about their organization can definitely help - having said that, my conversations with them usually go like this: after describing my background and experience and asking them questions about how they work, what kind of opportunities they have etc..
    Recruiter: "How much JAVA experience do you have ? "
    Moi: Two years.
    Recruiter: "I'm sorry, but I don't have anything for junior/mid-level developers..."
    Moi: "But I can learn, will work long hours, am certified..."
    Recruiter: "Have you worked with Weblogic ?"
    Moi: "I have downloaded an evaluation copy from their website and I know it inside out."
    Recruiter: "Listen, do you have work experience working with Weblogic ? NO ? " <click>
    And emailing recruiters in response to an add works sometimes - provided you write a really good cover letter... It has to stand out in order to get noticed.
    4. SO TRUE it hurts... Well, at least the part about being up against people who have more technical knowledge and experience :-). Having said that, really good people are hard to find - they still are in VERY HIGH demand, and always will be. It is not really related to economic conditions - companies will always be willing to pay a premium for experts in their field...and those people don't need to lower their salary requirements.

    Agnes
    "Life rewards action."
    Thomas Paul
    mister krabs
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: May 05, 2000
    Posts: 13974
    The problem is that if all the "easy" jobs are outsourced, how do we turn new programmers into skilled developers if we have no "easy" work to give them. Mark uses the term, "weak programmers" but that isn't really the issue. If I can hire 5 so-so foreign programmers cheaper that I can hire one US programmer, as long as my analysts don't make the work too tough, I could get by with one US programmer just filling in the complicated technical details. The company I used to work for did this with their data warehouse project. They laid off most of the staff and just kept one US analyst and one US programmer. The rest of the work went to Pakistan.
    Thomas Paul
    mister krabs
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: May 05, 2000
    Posts: 13974
    Originally posted by Agnes Hyndman:
    And Mark, I'm not making excuses - self-study doesn't seem to cut it in this market...
    This is absolutely true. You can't even get in the door unless your resume shows actual work experience. It doesn't matter a bit how much you work to improve your skills. Unless you can show that you have real work experience, companies just aren't interested.
    Mark Herschberg
    Sheriff

    Joined: Dec 04, 2000
    Posts: 6037
    Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:

    Code outsourcing is not for good.
    I thought about it for some time and as I can tell, my motivation comes from observing what happened with clothes-producing industry in Russia. It had its problems, but overall it produced high-qulaity clothes (as we realized later). After the market was open, it was swamped by relatively cheap (or not so cheap) clothes of horrible quality produced in nobody-knows-what-countries.
    ...
    When I see this cheap clothes made who-knows-where, it's like their workers felt from the heavens right in the middle of the industry without any idea of what they are doing

    You lost me again with most of that, but I'll adress the above. The same thing happened in the US. We use to have a huge textile industry. It died decades ago. Why? Cheap overseas labor. Does this mean the free economy failed? No; it means people gladly made the choice for far cheaper clothes, even if slightly cheaper quality.
    I recently needed to get a vest and pants made as a dance costume. Since three piece suits are hard to find these days, and I don't want to use the ones I have, I went to tailors, asking how much it would cost to make. They told me it would cost about $500 for the pair of items. On the other hand, when I was in Bangkok a few years ago, I got 2 custome made three piece suits, 3 custome tailored shirts, and 2 ties, all for for $480. These weren't some cheap thrown together items, the tailors I showed them to said these were good quality items--I simply was able to get the cheaply.
    Along the same lines, I also needed a tail suit for dancing. They cost about $2000 to make. I got one made in Russia for $300. Now I had sent them my measuresments, and so there was no actual fitting. I'm siure the quality is a little lower then what I would've gotten for $2000, but cost-benefit analysis clearly put the Russian suit ahead of US ones.
    The bottom line is, when there is a market ineffiency, and not protected (e.g. former utility company monopolies in the US), it will eventually be corrected.

    Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
    I almost agree with you regarding "free market" virtues, it's a great tool when it helps to support the best - except when it doesn't. Without state regulation it can bring disaster. Isn't it a lesson learnt after Great Depression? Free market can be and should be corrected -- to save it from itself.

    Now you're right that given human nature, a 100% free market may not be ideal; more likely, the route to approach a 100% free market has a lot of pain. Yes, there should be some regulation, at the very least on the route to it, which is where we are now, en route (the journey will likely never be completed, btw, so we'll always need it). An example I gave in a different thread has to do with not outsourcing software needed for national security. Other people would claim crop support is needed to stabilize a market given the trend in increased yields. The debate, of course, is where to draw the line, and that's the one we're having here.
    The cause of the great depression of overspeculation. People simply kept buying stock on margin, because it kept going up. Thankfully we learned our lesson.... oh wait, d'oh! :-)
    Mark Herschberg
    Sheriff

    Joined: Dec 04, 2000
    Posts: 6037
    I share the sentiments of Jon, Agnes, and, Simon. It's tough, but not impossible. One of the fundamental reasons is what Jon describes. A few group programmers are better then many average ones. Right now companies need to be very conservative. Hiring programmer sin the lower two tiers is something of a long term investment--you hope to bring them up to speed so they can be good on your project in 6 months, but in a poor economy, companies are less likely to make such an investment.
    Originally posted by Jon McDonald:
    The analogy I will use is Lawyers. I recently found out that in Chicago, a person who graduates in the middle of his class from a middle tier law school can expect a starting salary of $40k, however people finishing in the top of their class from schools like the University of Chicago and Northwestern (2 TOP tier schools) are looking at starting salaries of at least $150k. Now, wouldn't it make more sense for the firms that hire them to simply get 3 average lawyers at a price less than 1 execptional lawyer? Can't throwing more lawyers at a legal problem compensate for lack of skill? These firms seem to feel differently. There are some areas where an abundance of quanity cannot fully compensate for a lack of quality.

    I can do you one better then this anaology, there's direct evidence from our own field. In The Mythical Man Month[/I} Fred Brooks claimed there was a factor of 10 difference in productivity between the best and worst programmers in the field. Since he also noted that communication costs do no grow linearly, it also means you can't take 10 very poor programmers and use them to replace the work of 1 top programmer, you'd need even more then 10 (if such a wide, spectrum crossing team was even possible). Studies conducted by Tom DeMarco and TImothy Lister, which I read about in [I]Peopleware have confirmed this claim by Brooks.
    Below is a story from Alistair Cockburn's Agile Software Development:

    Project Udall had become stuck, with deozens of developers and a large, unworkable design. Four of the senior developers decided to simply ignore all the other developers and restarted their work. They added people to their private workgroup slowly, initing only the best people to join them.
    ...
    The decided that it would be more effective for them to let the others do anything other then program on the system, then to spend key design resources convining and training others.


    So here's a case where a few, better programers, were even better then themselves, plus others. I've experienced this situation myself, as well, when I had 3 smart, but inexperienced summer interns working for me.

    --Mark
    Jason Menard
    Sheriff

    Joined: Nov 09, 2000
    Posts: 6450
    So which is it, "poor" programmers, "weak" programmers, or "inexperienced" programmers? Or is there no difference between those?
    While it's nice to be dismissive and think of software as a mere service, I would like to go a little bit farther and say that we are moving to the point where software is closer to infrastructure than some mere service.
    If you can accept this argument, it is clear that we need to maintain a high-quality, highly skilled domestic software labor pool. Selling out our programmers is selling out our national infrastructure. National infrastructure == national defense, btw.
    While some B2B software handling purchase orders isn't much of a problem, there are other categories of software out there other than general purpose business apps you do realize? Software for the finance sector (our financial institutions being very much part of the national infrastructure), software for the airline and transportation industries, software for telecommunications, software for public safety, software controlling our public utilities, software for the manufactoring sector, as well as software required by our energy producers are examples that all fall under national infrastructure.
    And this doesn't even begin to address the specialized software requirements of the various government agencies that blatantly fall under national defense: DOJ (FBI, US Marshalls, INS, DEA, ...), DOT (USCG, FAA, Merchant Marines, ...), Treasury (Secret Service, Customs, ...), DOD (USA, USN, USMC, USAF, DIA, NSA, NRO, ...), DOE, US State Dept, CDC, FEMA, NASA, and a host of other agencies I haven't mentioned.
    If we outsource all the projects suitable only for the poor/weak/inexperienced programmers (I'm not convinced that some see a difference in these), how do we build the labor force required to work on the software that is vital to our national infrastructure/defense? Unfortunately, we would probably simply outsource as much as we could get away with, which is of course a huge mistake detrimental to our continued security. But this still doesn't address the needs of developing domestic software professionals. Why would people learn the craft in school if their employment opportunities seem limited? And if no one is learning it in school, how can we develope the work force we need?
    The bottom line of course is purely one of cost, not a question of there not being enough quality talent in the US or Europe. The last figures I saw (they may have been dated) states that an Indian programmer's annual salary was equivalent to around $8000. Any American is going to make far more than that working minimum wage in a fast food restaurant.
    We are talking about the poor/weak/inexperienced US/European programmer as the ones who are most affected (not saying I agree with this at all, but many have said it). What makes us think for a second that the cheap foreign labor being used is of any higher quality than the domestic poor/weak/inexperienced workers who are losing their jobs? I would say that all likelihood tends to point to the contrary (based on supporting national educational infrastructure as but one example). So it absolutely does come down to costs in all cases, "quality" be damned.
    Limiting one's view of the domestic software industry to the few domains they may have experience with is extremely shortsighted. Basing one's evaluations of the domestic software industry on this limited view is naive. It ain't all business apps. I wish that domestic advocates of outsourcing would wake up and realize that the negative effect of outsourcing carries over across all fields of software development.
    Mark Herschberg
    Sheriff

    Joined: Dec 04, 2000
    Posts: 6037
    Originally posted by Jason Menard:
    So which is it, "poor" programmers, "weak" programmers, or "inexperienced" programmers? <http://www.javaranch.com Or is there no difference between those?
    >
    I've specifically avoided defining those terms. Is there some reason to define what is likely a very fine line of a distinction?
    Originally posted by Jason Menard:

    If you can accept this argument, it is clear that we need to maintain a high-quality, highly skilled domestic software labor pool. Selling out our programmers is selling out our national infrastructure. National infrastructure == national defense, btw.

    I disagree. If, tomorrow, the US became isolated, we're in serious trouble. We get clothing, and cars, and gas, and raw materials from overseas, just to name a few core items. How come you didn't complain 10-20 years ago when semiconductors moved to southeast asia? Aren't computers just as important as software?
    Yes, very few things today aren't interelated. Those of who who don't mind outsourcing see software as less coupled to national infrastructure then you do. We simply disagree on where to draw the lines. (We shouldn't feel bad for not coming to a consensus, economists have debated topics like this for decades without resolution.)

    Originally posted by Jason Menard:
    What makes us think for a second that the cheap foreign labor being used is of any higher quality than the domestic poor/weak/inexperienced workers who are losing their jobs? I would say that all likelihood tends to point to the contrary (based on supporting national educational infrastructure as but one example). So it absolutely does come down to costs in all cases, "quality" be damned.

    IIRC, no one claimed that they are of better quality. So what? I don't want to pay for quality I don't need. To go back to the clothing analogy, I would rather pay $20 for a good quality shirt, then $60 for a top quality shirt. Cost and quality are not necessarily linearly related, and my desire for tradeoffs may put my ideal range in a lower cost/quality state then is currently offered by domestic talent, so I buy products made elsewhere.

    --Mark
    Jason Menard
    Sheriff

    Joined: Nov 09, 2000
    Posts: 6450
    Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
    I disagree. If, tomorrow, the US became isolated, we're in serious trouble. We get clothing, and cars, and gas, and raw materials from overseas, just to name a few core items.

    I'm not sure which statement you disagree with: that we need to maintain the workforce, that selling out our programmers is selling out our infrastructure, or that national infrastructure == national defense? I also do not see what isolationism has to do with the topic at hand. On a side note, I think we are one of the very few countries who could survive being isolated, given that we better exploit our domestic energy resources and other sources of energy. Not saying it would be totaly pleasant, but we could do it.
    How come you didn't complain 10-20 years ago when semiconductors moved to southeast asia? Aren't computers just as important as software?

    Twenty years ago I was ignorant of the issues, as most junior highschool students were. Ten years ago I was sweating my ass off in southern Turkey worried about more immediate national defense problems.
    Seriously though, you have been trying to make several analogies to software (e.g. computer chips, cars, clothing) which simply do not hold. How many skilled engineers does it take to produce computer chips, versus how many unskilled workers does it take to produce computer chips? You need only a small number of engineers and a larger pool of unskilled labor. Same with automobiles or any other product you can think of. In addition, what are the raw materials needed to produce these products and do we have access to them? Things like carbon and silica in the case of computer chips, and resources such as steel and plastics for automobiles. The ratio of skilled-to-unskilled workers is very low, and the natural resources are available.
    Now what is the ratio of skilled-to-unskilled workers needed to produce software? This is hugely skewed in favor of the skilled worker. What are the resources used in producing software? The skilled worker is the resource. And that is the fundamental difference. Skilled labor is the resource required to produce software.
    We could ramp up our capabilities to produce computer chips in a relatively short period of time if we needed to. Only a few engineers are needed, and although we'd like more, we have enough, and we have ready access to the raw materials. Now if we lose our minds and go overboard on software outsourcing, what would happen if we needed to ramp up our domestic software production after years of outsourcing? We would have neither the skilled workers nor the resources (since workers == resources in this case), and the time to get to where we needed to be would be many years.
    It is almost as foolish to destroy our software producing resources as it would be to pave over all our wheat fields and buy it all from overseas instead (hey, it's cheaper!). You get yourself to a point where you have no choice but to outsource.
    and my desire for tradeoffs may put my ideal range in a lower cost/quality state then is currently offered by domestic talent, so I buy products made elsewhere.

    And this is where I would like to see the government step in and protect us from the kind of shortsightedness that leads to outsourcing software. Tariff the hell out of imported software and level the playing field. That would pretty much kill outsourcing as a general practice and keep it as an option for only when it would be absolutely required. More importantly, we would maintain and nourish our skilled domestic workforce/software resources.
    [ July 22, 2002: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
    Shura Balaganov
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Apr 22, 2002
    Posts: 664
    Mark, I am going to do what is not really nice, but is needed to be done - woop your tail. So bare with me for just a second.
    Now, I don't call myself a genious programmer. But I know a few people, and some of them I went to college together, who I would call that. People who work with AI in Toronto, a guy who at 29 bought a 4-bedroom house overlooking SF bay (made some dough in dot-com), a guy who does project architecture for IBM consilting group (which then, btw, is sent to Eastern Europe for development). Anyhow, here's what I have to say. All these people have to work twice as hard as your typical know-it-all MIT-Stanford-Cornell grad to get what they deserve. Based on that book's "10-to-one" rethorical analysis there's a definite top-school discrimination that is going on.
    Again, as I mentioned before, I am not a born hacker. But since my resume is definitely overlooked by top companies, I had only worked with a hand full of people worth even discussing programming issues with. The others were simply worthless. This is how bad your "self regulating" market is. I am tired of questions like do you think you'll be able to handle this very complex payroll application, I'd rather shoot myself. Oh, I went to Warton a few months back, to see how good they have it. Met a 20 or so future business hot-shots. All dressed up and acting cool. When we had orientation, most of them where scared shitless (pardon my french), and couldn't ask a freakin' question. But hey, they "networked", "exchanged business cards", and did other useless crap. And in 20 years some of them will actually tell me (and maybe you) what to do.
    And since this thread is about recruiting agencies, I have noticed that some of them completely support your point of view. Somehow. :roll:
    Here you go, Mark, enjoy. Don't take it as a personal attack worth editing. I think this is a very valid point.
    I want a job worth my time and my brain effort, for change.
    Jason, btw, has a very valid point about skilled/unskilled resources. Say, you outsorce textile industry. Comes war, it is very easy to restore it, it doesn't take years of education and millions in investments. But for industry like software, you can't immediately crank out thousands of skilled workers when you want it. Look at math skills in US. It's been painfully obvious that math education is not very strong in US, which might lead to shortage of engineers, programmers, physisists and others in "thinking" professions. To gain it back will most likely take a decade.
    Shura
    [ July 22, 2002: Message edited by: Shura Balaganov ]

    Any posted remarks that may or may not seem offensive, intrusive or politically incorrect are not truly so.
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    Jason Menard
    Sheriff

    Joined: Nov 09, 2000
    Posts: 6450
    Originally posted by Shura Balaganov:
    But hey, they "networked", "exchanged business cards", and did other useless crap.

    Mark Herschberg
    Sheriff

    Joined: Dec 04, 2000
    Posts: 6037
    Originally posted by Jason Menard:
    I'm not sure which statement you disagree with: that we need to maintain the workforce, that selling out our programmers is selling out our infrastructure, or that national infrastructure == national defense?

    I don't think we need to maintain the workforce the way you do. I do not think national infrastucture is as closely coupled to national defense, as you do (I'm not saying it's not, just that we view how closely they are related differently). I don't see overseas programming as a threat to national security. Again, see economic arguments in other industries, I see software as the same.

    Originally posted by Jason Menard:
    Twenty years ago I was ignorant of the issues, as most junior highschool students were. Ten years ago I was sweating my ass off in southern Turkey worried about more immediate national defense problems.

    You're missing the point. What are you doing about it today, now that you know about the problem? Aren't you worried that in 10-20 years we'll be unable to produce many computers in the US--not enough to meet our needs, anyway? You don't see that as a problem?
    Originally posted by Jason Menard:
    Seriously though, you have been trying to make several analogies to software (e.g. computer chips, cars, clothing) which simply do not hold. How many skilled engineers does it take to produce computer chips, versus how many unskilled workers does it take to produce computer chips? You need only a small number of engineers and a larger pool of unskilled labor. Same with automobiles or any other product you can think of.

    Au contraire, I think they do hold. The ratio of skilled or unskilled has nothing to do with it. The automotive industry is considered critical to national defense (they make things like tanks when we go to war). It doesn't matter that automotive products are designed by a few "skilled" workers, i.e. automotive engineers, and produced by many "unskilled" ones, i.e. assembly line workers. If it leaves our country and we go to war, we could be in trouble. More to the point, be it automotive or silicon, after 30 years of non-production you lack facilities, appropriately trained labor, the ability to rapidly train new labor. And when it comes to tank production during a war, one year *is* a decade!
    And yet, this is what happened in the last 30 years! Despite such imports, the automotive industry has survived. We saw an increase in Asian cars, and Ford, GM, and Chryster are still in business. But don't take my word for it, go read about proposed economic policies of the 80's wrt to automotive industry and look at the state of the industry today after such imports flooded our shores.
    The only key differences between software and these other fields is free natural resources (i.e. you only need brains) and zero cost in shipping and deployment. Of course software doesn't magically pop into your computer, but it can be replicated and transported at near zero cost, unlike physical goods. This makes it an even more ideal candidate to be freed from national boundaries.

    --Mark
    [ July 22, 2002: Message edited by: Mark Herschberg ]
     
    I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
     
    subject: New York Recruiting Agencies