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Alternative careers for programmers ....

Harpreet Singh
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 16, 2002
Posts: 56
Hello Ranchers,
There is a lot of conversation on Javaranch how management considers programmers dispensable. Given all the threat to programming jobs a lot of programmers have thought of taking alternate paths. Apart from making a complete switch to another profession I think programmers have two choices.
1. Enroll in a management program and in 2-3 years timeframe join the management crowd.
2. Go into academia i.e. try to find teaching jobs with universities/community colleges and do research on the side because the job offers a lot of free time.
After many years of being in technology the idea of management is not sitting well with me. I am interested in finding more about option two. Is there anyone here who teaches in a college/university? What kind of degrees/credentials/experience do you need to get a position like that? What kind of competition are we talking about to get a teaching position? What kind of salary can a starting community college teacher make? What is the career path you can expect? How much time do you have left over for research?
All relevant input appreciated!


Harpreet Singh<p>SCJP2/SCWCD/IBM Certified Specialist-DB2 7.1/IBM Certified Application Developer-DB2 8.1
Jamie Robertson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 09, 2001
Posts: 1879

since most comp. sci/engineering graduates have a strong math background, I would think a viable job prospect would be in actuarial services for insurance companies.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16305
    
  21

My first computer job was for with the Reserve Valuation department of a local insurance company (back before they all consolidated). We worked with the Actuarial Services group, but all it was was 2-3 actuaries (including manager) and a secretary. We outnumbered them.
Come to think of it, why do you think that actuarial jobs aren't offshorable? They were already outsourcing them in the '80s!
[ August 06, 2003: Message edited by: Tim Holloway ]

Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
Al Newman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
Originally posted by Harpreet Singh:
Hello Ranchers,
There is a lot of conversation on Javaranch how management considers programmers dispensable. Given all the threat to programming jobs a lot of programmers have thought of taking alternate paths. Apart from making a complete switch to another profession I think programmers have two choices.
1. Enroll in a management program and in 2-3 years timeframe join the management crowd.
2. Go into academia i.e. try to find teaching jobs with universities/community colleges and do research on the side because the job offers a lot of free time.
After many years of being in technology the idea of management is not sitting well with me. I am interested in finding more about option two. Is there anyone here who teaches in a college/university? What kind of degrees/credentials/experience do you need to get a position like that? What kind of competition are we talking about to get a teaching position? What kind of salary can a starting community college teacher make? What is the career path you can expect? How much time do you have left over for research?
All relevant input appreciated!

Unfortunately both of the career alternatives here depend upon demand for technical services holding up in the 'rich' world. The demand for managers who 'manage' contracts from a time zone 12 hours away from where the work is being done is going to be limited.
And if the job market for programmers in the developed world goes down the tubes, presumably so will the demand for courses teaching those same skills! No?
But..... I don't think things are as bad as many believe. I think we're feeling the effects of the explosion of a speculative bubble, and that the market for technical services in the US and elsewhere in the developed world will recover sooner rather than later.
So: Alternative 3 is to polish your skills and prepare yourself the very best you can for the market as it will be in 2005.


SCJP1.4, SCWCD
SJ Adnams
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 28, 2001
Posts: 925
(hijack alert) alternative 4:
Among them is Crocodile, a camp aide whose only function was to dress in fatigues and shout "guerrilla warfare" at Tyson news conferences. Crocodile was paid $300,000 in 1996.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/boxing/article/0,2763,1012528,00.html
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Originally posted by Harpreet Singh:
Hello Ranchers,
There is a lot of conversation on Javaranch how management considers programmers dispensable. Given all the threat to programming jobs a lot of programmers have thought of taking alternate paths. Apart from making a complete switch to another profession I think programmers have two choices.
1. Enroll in a management program and in 2-3 years timeframe join the management crowd.
2. Go into academia i.e. try to find teaching jobs with universities/community colleges and do research on the side because the job offers a lot of free time.
After many years of being in technology the idea of management is not sitting well with me. I am interested in finding more about option two. Is there anyone here who teaches in a college/university? What kind of degrees/credentials/experience do you need to get a position like that? What kind of competition are we talking about to get a teaching position? What kind of salary can a starting community college teacher make? What is the career path you can expect? How much time do you have left over for research?
All relevant input appreciated!


Hi,
You could go with quality field, I do not see this particular field emphasize much in the software industry comparing to hardware and others. You will be in the management but you still have opportunity to see people codes to find out why the product do not worked as customer expected. The customer may not be limited to enduser.
I think college professor must have advanced degree and industry experiences. Monetary compensation is not much comparing to private industry, but there are perks such as:
1. Government subsidy in housing
2. Free time during off season allows you to work on your private project, whereas in private industry full time employee may get into legal trouble against the company if the project seems related to company business.
3. Parking closer to school buildings
4. Make students life miserable...
Just my two cents,
MCao
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Have any of you considered the possibility of government work? Think outside the box a little. For instance, I have read on the FBI job sight that they are looking for people with Comp Sci degrees to become Special Agents. Sure not everyone is cut out for that type of work, but I'm sure there are some who are. And if the FBI wants people with CS degrees for law enforcement type work, what about other government agencies? Here's an old topic where I listed the jobs pages for several government agencies.
You are right. One resource is the official federal jobs website.
The search engine sucks, but if you go to the IT jobs search page, leave keyword empty and select $57k-$88k for salary, you will get some hits.
The other thing to do is to go straight to the pages of the various government agencies, who very often post job openings as well as general information on how to get hired, and what skill mixes they hire. Remember, government agencies hire individuals with a wide variety of backgrounds. Not everybody at the FBI, for example, is a special agent (although according to their site the FBI is looking for people with CS background to fill positions as Special Agents).
Here are some links to the employment pages of a few government agencies:

My point being, as long as you have a degree, the federal government might have a job that interests you, even if it's not directly related to IT.
leo donahue
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 17, 2003
Posts: 327

Apart from making a complete switch to another profession I think programmers have two choices.
1. Enroll in a management program and in 2-3 years timeframe join the management crowd.
2. Go into academia i.e. try to find teaching jobs with universities/community colleges and do research on the side because the job offers a lot of free time.

3. Go into business for yourself. You could start your own outsourcing company and pay hungry new java students pennies on the dollar to do the work. You definitely have a supply of cheap and willing labor out there. You'll probably have to hire someone to be a supervisor/mentor to all your new cheap labor. Think in economies of scale.
Just a thought...


Thanks, leo
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi,
It is a good idea but also a worn out idea.
1. No established business will work with a no name start-up. Unless your board of advisors have alot of industry clout or public figure.
2. You must have a facility housing all your staffs not let them venture into client site, previously and currently some consultant firms still practice it. It is a strategy mistake.
3. A project bid must be always lower than in-house project cost estimation.
4. Consultants must write technical articles constantly and under consulting firm name to keep client executive interested.
5. You must have fully function company just like a client company.
All of the above only satisfy one factor perception value. There are also quality aspect, technical support aspect, maintenance aspect, and ect.
I think the reason company willing to involve with offshoring because the outsourcing company do not justify or fail to create a perception value in the mind of client company. I better stop here; otherwise, another whole can of worm will open.
Regards,
MCao
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16305
    
  21

Hmmm. I like "Crocodile"s job. I do annoying so well.
Besides, if ever a company deserved annoying, it was Tyson. Long before the management irregularities came out, I was hearing about how they slapped their employees around. And their products are disgusting. Bite. Chew. Spit gristle. Gag. Repeat.

I don't know that I believe that the current IT employment mess is all that much bubble implosion. For two reasons. First, because the bubble was so short-lived that I think a lot of the bubble hires came and left before they'd established long-term credibility. Secondly, because white-collar employment is down in pretty much every profession right now, including many that have no ties to dot-coms at all.
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Jason Menard:
Have any of you considered the possibility of government work? Think outside the box a little. For instance, I have read on the FBI job sight that they are looking for people with Comp Sci degrees to become Special Agents. Sure not everyone is cut out for that type of work, but I'm sure there are some who are. And if the FBI wants people with CS degrees for law enforcement type work, what about other government agencies? Here's an old topic where I listed the jobs pages for several government agencies.

My point being, as long as you have a degree, the federal government might have a job that interests you, even if it's not directly related to IT.

I think some of the FBI IT positions had an age limit of 35 when I checked 6 months ago, maybe the other law enforcement or security ones as well.
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by herb slocomb:

I think some of the FBI IT positions had an age limit of 35 when I checked 6 months ago, maybe the other law enforcement or security ones as well.

The age limit of 35 is usually for Special Agent positions, not technician positions AFAIK.
Ashok Mash
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936
Heard a friend's friend left his IT job and spend thousands on private pilot training, and now working for BA (or some such major airliner). Now thats a job that I would love to do, but not sure how practical this idea is! I wonder if someone here know what would be the subjects or courses that one should look at, to land a job like that?


[ flickr ]
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16305
    
  21

A career as an airline pilot is pretty chancy. They can make all the 9-11 excuses they want, but the airline industry has been a tight job market for a long time now. You can spend as much time furloughed as working.
Just as a recent example, India Air's pilots were pushing for pay hikes about 2 months back and got slapped down pretty hard. The US airline industry is in abominable shape overall, and the only reason we haven't seen more buyouts is that Congress isn't quite as willing to see one or two airlines holding the country for ransom as they are one or two $oftware companies.
 
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