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How to Spot a Bad Programming Employer

Rufus BugleWeed
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Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
What's executive hair?
Spotting a Poor Employer
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
A good list, although I'm sure people here can add to it.
"Executive Hair" is a term from Dilbert--the only people who can make it to the executive level have the "right" hair.
--Mark
Rufus BugleWeed
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Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
How about - Programming staff looks to all be under 35 years of age?
Matt Kidd
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Joined: Jul 17, 2002
Posts: 261
I personally like number 23 as African-Americans seem to be few and far between in the software engineering ranks.
Jose Velarde
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 11, 2002
Posts: 78
26. They make you take a drug test.

Is there a law that prohibits the employers from requiring potential employees to do drug test?
[ September 11, 2002: Message edited by: Jose Velarde ]
Rufus BugleWeed
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
How about their idea of training is - "You need to do that on your time."
Abadula Joshi
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Joined: Sep 01, 2002
Posts: 126

How about - Programming staff looks to all be under 35 years of age?

If you can't change the society, then it means you have to change yourself...
Abadula Joshi
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Joined: Sep 01, 2002
Posts: 126
How about their idea of training is - "You need to do that on your time."

Some of our global company branches wants to move towards J2EE. They want to retire their old legacy system. They have tried for a year but made no real progress. Why ? their staff just can't adjust themselves to J2EE from mainframe, cobol. They asked for training and the company provided Java training, apperently some training can't quickly change you from knowing nothing of Java to a real J2EE hands-on expert. There is no such training. So eventually company re-spent money to hire expensive contractors. Some of those old guys often complain they don't get enough "training". But from what I know, many of the consultants got less training than those employee got. The difference is the consultants have more pressure on them so they are 'forced' to learn efficiently and quickly. But some employee just relax and relax, they want the company wait for them for 2 years so that they can comfortably be trained into a J2EE expert. I just don't understand what kind of "training" can be enough for theose employees ?
Rufus BugleWeed
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
This is probably true in some cases.
But it does not explain this:
Twenty years after graduation from college, only 19% of computer science majors are still employed as programmers. This compares, for instance, to a figure of 57% of civil engineering majors who are still working as civil engineers 20 years after leaving school.

The best sort of training is on the job mentoring. Maybe one knowledgable person works with three who are learning. Often the legacy programmers understand business domain and the new people don't.
I believe a lot of OO projects fail because of a lack of knowledge by the developers in the business domain.
I think you're painting with a very broad brush. People who enter this field do it by exercising a great deal of commitment and energy. Some of the old guys can't make the jump from COBOL to J2EE, but 80% is beyond reasonable.
Then again, you're not saying much about a 20 year veteran who attains the Sun Certified J2EE Enterprise Architect Certificate and can't get hired because of a lack of J2EE experience. Whereas, a new college grad with a three week school project on EJB is an attractive candidate.
[ September 12, 2002: Message edited by: Rufus Bugleweed ]
Rufus BugleWeed
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
I live in a large metropolitan community. African American IT types are rare here.
Two contractor recruiters have indicated that some of their clients would prefer native applicants to foreign nationals. I would not be suprised if this did not extend to WASP types.
Garann Means
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 28, 2002
Posts: 214
Originally posted by Rufus Bugleweed:
The best sort of training is on the job mentoring. Maybe one knowledgable person works with three who are learning. Often the legacy programmers understand business domain and the new people don't.
I believe a lot of OO projects fail because of a lack of knowledge by the developers in the business domain.

This more or less sums up the situation at my current project. For years my organization has used a COBOL mainframe system for storing their critical data, and now they're moving to a J2EE app to manage and store this data. AFAIK, not a single COBOL programmer has been laid off as a result. Rather, more and more of them are being pulled out of an active maintenance role in the current system and onto the project. They more or less represent our "business experts". But none of them seem to know a lick of Java. We younger Java programmers develop design specs with them, and the pseudo-code tends to run along the lines of:
if ((FDS023HG.CDNUMDATA).equals("foo"))
MOVE "foo" to new StringBuffer();
Despite how silly that looks, I have to agree with Rufus that keeping the original programmers on in more of a mentoring role is invaluable, when it comes to capturing the real nuts and bolts of the business logic. Unfortunately, my organization isn't spending any time or money teaching these people Java, and few of them seem interested in learning. To me, that's an equivalently bad programming employer - one who squanders their valuable resources and ends up paying contractors to do what their current employees would be able to do with a little support and motivation.
g.
Neil Laurance
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 18, 2002
Posts: 183
Is it just me or is it always the case that the 'recommended' training courses are designed for people of the pointy-haired persuasion The best training is one where you get to choose the course yourself.
Jim Baiter
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 05, 2001
Posts: 532
I had an interview once where the manager told me I could meet in a group with the developers but none of them were even speaking to each other. That company's stock is now trading under $1, I wonder why?
 
 
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