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Given up on Software

Tony Collins
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 03, 2003
Posts: 435
After several interviews, I've given up software and started teacher training. Maybe it's a career for you all to think about in England.
I could not believe the technical test I was given on my last interview. It was a C test but the only core C question was, give the syntax for a pointer to a function( something noone remembers as it's so unintuative) the rest was regarding syntax from pthreads api etc. The man the passed that test is a better man than I. I think the market is still very competitive.

Tony
HS Thomas
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
What subjects are you training to teach ? CS ?
Check at higher learning institutions. They shold have seen it coming and know what they ought to be teaching wrt Software development. To be honest a lot of the innovations have happened in the last couple of years.They'd have to build up on that.
IBM seems to be one huge research centre in all areas of biotechnology , nanotechnology. Kind of like Noo-Noo!
So I am not sure about the role of learning institutions around that.Perhaps the real R&D happens here, whereas IBM/M$ just learns to apply them in the real world.
Or are you getting away from Computer Science/Software Development all together ?
[ February 03, 2004: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
Steven Broadbent
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2002
Posts: 400
I may be following suit this autumn as well. A friend with serveral years c++ has just become a bus driver. For me maths teaching or plumbing.
Software is getting to be too much of a hassle now. Career path is non existant.


"....bigmouth strikes again, and I've got no right to take my place with the human race...."<p>SCJP 1.4
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi,
How did you folks let your careers go astray so bad? Have you utilized your user side knowledge yet? I am still racking business health evaluation of my contacts circle beside billing as in-house engineer consultant for my current company. People can say automation this and that. One thing I know for sure, what kind of sane person would want some strangers on Internet evaluate their health/business/asset, etc. Except for industry celebrities for they are public figures, they are total liable for their words. I am not even have the appropriate credentials for the trick yet, I am working on them. People may prefer open-door policy industry, but I prefer regulations, the more the merrier. It protect my share of the pie.
Regards,
MCao
[ February 03, 2004: Message edited by: Matt Cao ]
Tim Baker
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 04, 2003
Posts: 541
I am also considering joining you.
It looks like my career in software is a complete non-starter, so I'm looking at other possible career paths. My main consideration is a civil service job, perhaps teaching. The money that is available to get in to teaching seems quite tempting too, although once you get there it isn't great. Obviously just being a grad I'd be looking at comprehensive level and not lecturer level.


Kim Jong II (North Korea's Dear Leader) said:Nuclear weapons don't kill people, people kill people.
Steven Broadbent
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2002
Posts: 400
For a great number of reasons Mat which I can't be bothered to go into now. I have done 'real' jobs outside of IT as well, so I have stuff to fall back on.
For you guys considering teaching here's a couple of useful facts:-

It's possible to do your PGCE while working full time in schools - earning about �150 a week. Also there is a bursary of 6k if you take the usual full time PGCE route.
I was chatting to a teacher who came to Italy on the same holiday as my daughter. She told me there is a massive shortage of male teachers, especially in IT/maths, and that quick advancement was virtually guaranteed for even half competent men. Someone else told me that maths supply teachers could earn up to 150 a day.
Useful to know if we really do decide to jump overboard.
Anyone want further info feel free to ask.
Chris Harris
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 21, 2003
Posts: 231
Hi all,
Just out of interest how long have you being working in software? I am just at the start of my career (in England). I am hoping that it becomes a career and not just a job. I am hoping that the more experience I have the more opportunities become available.
However the director of the company I work for said:
"If I was stating out all over again, I would not go into software. As all the jobs are slowly being outsourced."
May be in a few years, I will have not go to India.
Chris.


SCJP 1.2, SCWCD, SCBCD
HS Thomas
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
Originally posted by Chris Harris:

However the director of the company I work for said:
"If I was stating out all over again, I would not go into software. As all the jobs are slowly being outsourced."

It's all about creating global leaders - outsourcing and creating value down the chain (s) . I read somewhere that there is a pitiful lack of global leaders in companies, there is still a hodge podge of standards in terms of earnings, ethics and common standards of security. I imagine business frameworks will be cloned and off-shored but some will remain.
[ February 03, 2004: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
Chris Harris
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 21, 2003
Posts: 231
Far point, but where does that leave us (Software Engineers)? My option is that one of two things will happen
1) Then market will even out and we take a pay cut.
2) We will have to move.
Someone asked me the other day:
"In England, were have all the engineers gone?"
We were talking about mechanical engineers.
The point was that years ago England we at the forefront of mechanical engineering but no any more. How many cars can you think of that are really British?
The same is likely to happen to software.
It does not really come as much of a suprise that people are thinking of getting out.
Chris.
But what would life be like without Java?
[ February 03, 2004: Message edited by: Chris Harris ]
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Mat, you're hinting that people are willingly ruining their careers in software. That's just not true in many cases.
But at the moment we're back where the market was 10 years ago where there are a hundred or more applicants to every job opening.
It might not be that bad your way but over here in Europe that's the situation.
Companies can and do ask ridiculous combinations of classifications, then offer salaries that are a fraction of what they would have to offer 2-3 years ago in the know they can get away with it (any job is better than no job as long as it pays better than unemployment benefits... Not to mention that to continue getting unemployment benefits you are not allowed to turn down any job offer that pays more than the legal minimum wage).
For people with experience outside IT brushing up on that and getting out of the field is often the best way to get a job, certainly a job that pays decently for a normal workweek (unpaid overtime, something unheard of a few years back, is in full swing again, which is one reason companies can get away with not expanding the workforce despite increased orderbooks).
If I'd had marketable experience outside IT last year I'd have gotten out myself, but at the time (and now still I guess) my experience as a photographer would not have made me a living and I'm too old to be admitted to training for air traffic controller (something I did look into extremely seriously, sadly I was 2 years past the maximum age limit to start training).


42
Bela Bardak
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 02, 2004
Posts: 179
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:

Mat, you're hinting that people are willingly ruining their careers in software. That's just not true in many cases.
But at the moment we're back where the market was 10 years ago where there are a hundred or more applicants to every job opening.
It might not be that bad your way but over here in Europe that's the situation.

A hundred serious applicants for each job opening? Serious defined as an applicant who has the qualifications to do it, takes time to write a serious cover letter and follow up an emailed CV? Who can and does present a professional image? I think not.
Spamming your CV to 100 openings a day or sending a pre-literate CV and attaching a pre-written cover letter is not a serious job search.
I was in the job market last year. It was bad but not 100-1 odds against bad. While I was active in the job market I typically generated an actual submittal a day and an interview a week. Usually they interviewed between 3 and 5 people for each opening. The biggest obstacle I saw wasn't my hundred 'competitors' but that so many of the advertised 'jobs' were fictional or closed before any hire could take place.
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:

Companies can and do ask ridiculous combinations of classifications, then offer salaries that are a fraction of what they would have to offer 2-3 years ago

This is true enough. I took a major pay cut to get my current role, but I'm also much happier here than I was on my last job. I'm working and learning and when things come back I should be in an excellent position to recover the lost ground.
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:

For people with experience outside IT brushing up on that and getting out of the field is often the best way to get a job, certainly a job that pays decently for a normal workweek (unpaid overtime, something unheard of a few years back, is in full swing again, which is one reason companies can get away with not expanding the workforce despite increased orderbooks).

Unpaid OT unheard of? Don't make me laugh. Unpaid overtime is part of industry culture. The difference the past three years is that most people can't move on as easily as before. Therefore the employer can put the thumbscrews on much more effectively.
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
I've never done unpaid overtime past 1 hour a day...
I would have, but it's never been requested of me (guess they always valued me enough to pay me for my work ).
As to the number of applicants, there are indeed many more serious applicants than only 2 years ago.
Maybe there are indeed many people sending out hundreds of CVs in desperation, but those too ARE serious in a way.
Even filtering out all those who obviously won't qualify that still leaves dozens of good candidates to choose from where a few years ago companies were lucky to have any choice at all.
The complete idiocy of many job descriptions (and especially requirements) makes selecting what to write on no easier of course.
If you write only on those jobs where you match the profile exactly you can just as well not bother because there aren't any (at least not enough to make a serious chance).
In fact, I did once write to such a perfect fit and was turned down for not matching the requirements which had silently been changed after the ad had gone to press.
So people write once again (just as in the mid-1990s) on anything that even somewhat matches their profile in the hope that the person making the match sees through the mismatch with the published word and sees what he's really looking for.
Bela Bardak
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 02, 2004
Posts: 179
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
I've never done unpaid overtime past 1 hour a day...
I would have, but it's never been requested of me (guess they always valued me enough to pay me for my work ).

Either that or it's Dutch culture. They pay in peanuts but also pay overtime.
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
As to the number of applicants, there are indeed many more serious applicants than only 2 years ago.
Maybe there are indeed many people sending out hundreds of CVs in desperation, but those too ARE serious in a way.
Even filtering out all those who obviously won't qualify that still leaves dozens of good candidates to choose from where a few years ago companies were lucky to have any choice at all.

Yes the competition is much worse. To the point where people who don't take the time to master job-search skills do face steep odds. But - this is key -you can shorten the odds against you by understanding the process and strategizing your way past the bottlenecks.
Many people fail because they don't know how to get their CV past the recruiter into the clients hands. When you're up against dozens you need a strategy to compel the recruiters to read your CV and submit you rather than the other candidate. I find calling them up directly works very well. They are forced to hunt up your CV or ask you to resend. If you are qualified it's a then very short step to talking them into submitting your details instead of or in addition to the others.
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
The complete idiocy of many job descriptions (and especially requirements) makes selecting what to write on no easier of course.
If you write only on those jobs where you match the profile exactly you can just as well not bother because there aren't any (at least not enough to make a serious chance).
In fact, I did once write to such a perfect fit and was turned down for not matching the requirements which had silently been changed after the ad had gone to press.
So people write once again (just as in the mid-1990s) on anything that even somewhat matches their profile in the hope that the person making the match sees through the mismatch with the published word and sees what he's really looking for.

Selecting which positions to pursue is much simpler when you follow my strategy because if you write a proper cover letter and follow up with a phone call within a day it limits the number of openings you CAN apply for rather radically. I find there is a practical limit of less than a dozen a day. So instead of applying for everything I'm remotely qualified for I can afford to only pursue the good matches. Not perfect matches, because there is validity to your criticism of job descriptions. You have to remember that the job description is not what they are trying to fill. It's an imperfect mechanism for their need to find someone who can do their job - but not too many of them!
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15950
    
  19

Aound here, "remotely" was the only way you could qualify for advertised positions for 2 years, thanks to totally insane demands from potential employers (and I hear that in large part, insanity was what they got).
I sent one resume to an agency based out of Tampa and got an automated response indicating that they regretted not being able to respond personally, but they averaged something like 1000 inquiries per posting.
Trust me, Matt, we're not destroying our careers, they're being destroyed for us. I wasn't laid off due to incompetence. I'm considered by my peers to be one of the most competent people in the industry. I didn't spend 28 months unemployed because I lacked necessary skills (at least as opposed to insane desires). I can perhaps plead guilty to not being the world's best jobhunter (social skills are my weak spot), but in times past, I could depend on headhunters to fill that gap. Not this time.
Now that I am back in the workforce, I have had my inflated self-opinion revalidated. I'm still proving myself better than 90% of the pack. But that doesn't mean I expect to have any sort of job stability or that the next job search will be shorter than the last one. My competition isn't more qualified than I am, just so incredibly much cheaper. And as long as cost comes before quality, that means I can starve.
[ February 04, 2004: Message edited by: Tim Holloway ]

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

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
Originally posted by Chris Harris:
Far point, but where does that leave us (Software Engineers)? My option is that one of two things will happen
1) Then market will even out and we take a pay cut.
2) We will have to move.

All those mainframes would need J2EE frameworks on top of existing processes. Why re-invent the wheel if it works. Just modify it to adapt the process to new interfaces. I doubt mainframes will be moved offshore.
And then, pricing : - low prices when there is a glut of programmers and not everyone can get in or not many want to. So the pool dries up and prices rise again.
But what would life be like without Java? Try Tzai Tea Latte now and then.
[/QB]
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15950
    
  19

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Chris Harris:
Far point, but where does that leave us (Software Engineers)? My option is that one of two things will happen
1) Then market will even out and we take a pay cut.
2) We will have to move.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

All those mainframes would need J2EE frameworks on top of existing processes. Why re-invent the wheel if it works. Just modify it to adapt the process to new interfaces. I doubt mainframes will be moved offshore.
And then, pricing : - low prices when there is a glut of programmers and not everyone can get in or not many want to. So the pool dries up and prices rise again.
But what would life be like without Java? Try Tzai Tea Latte now and then.

Therein lies the difference between "market forces" and disruptive economics. The lowest wages that anyone other than migrant laborers can legally work for in the U.S. is about the highest wage that someone in India can make. And even if it were not so, we're not just talking giving up SUVs at that level, we're talking giving up food, shelter and medical care. Wal-Mart may be selling cheap goods from China, but there's still a heckuva markup between there and here. Even those foodstuffs harvested by the sub-minimum-wage migrant workers are expensive in absolute rupees, though dirt-cheap by local relative pricing.
Don't expect that going into mainframes will buy you much. It's true that mainframes cost too many dollars to be installed on a whim (even in this country). However, IBM is fully aware that mainframes as we know them are doing a slow fade thanks to ever-more-powerful PCs and grid computing (which they intend to make their own). I've a good friend with 20 years CICS systems experience and he's scared of losing his job.
Actually, IBM mainframes have been PCs for several years now. They switched over to using 600MHz copper processors about Y2K+/-. The big distinction between mainframes and PCs for a long time has been that the big iron is optimized for I/O, not computing speed. But a lot of modern-day peripheral equipment will happily connect to big boxes and small and even share between both.
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi,
No, I did not meant you folks sabotage your own careers. I wonder how come you folks did not see any hints, signals, etc while you were employed. Before the company decide to outsource the works, they are planned for years. Exception for after 9-11 event, if one company does outsourcing, the other competitors also do outsourcing. I was pissed at that time too.
Regards,
MCao
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi Tim,
You are much better than my brother-in-law, most of the guy knowledge are hands-on. Same as your age, now he sells sportman goods at Sport Chalet. The guy ate his own furniture before he accepts the sales job.
Regards,
MCao
[ February 04, 2004: Message edited by: Matt Cao ]
Tony Collins
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 03, 2003
Posts: 435
I only wish I had given up on Software 18 months ago but you never know how bad things are.
Teaching is the natural choice for me as the training grant is good and it is a secure job. If you are in England the benefits are:-
6000 grant
6000 loan repaid by tta when you go into teaching
50,000 loan/part buy of flat/house(only in London)
4,000 golden hello after a year of teaching.
Tony
HS Thomas
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
You are a brave man. Good luck, Tony.
Bela Bardak
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 02, 2004
Posts: 179
Originally posted by Matt Cao:
No, I did not meant you folks sabotage your own careers. I wonder how come you folks did not see any hints, signals, etc while you were employed. Before the company decide to outsource the works, they are planned for years. Exception for after 9-11 event, if one company does outsourcing, the other competitors also do outsourcing. I was pissed at that time too.

In one sense it's been coming since the early 90's when I first saw Indian consultantcies shipping in bodies to undercut the market for systems administrators and testers in the US. Some US companies set up successful labs in India at that time, but many failed. But the real dip was in general demand for applications in the West. An investment dip, not an outsourcing problem. I think it's similar today, though I'm starting to wonder whether there might be something more to it.
The obvious question is what you can do about it? You can take your technical skills upmarket but there are practical limits to that as I've discovered. You can cut your price and go live in a rabbit hutch somewhere. You can go do business consultantcy as you have, but there is a limited market for that also. Or you can do some of all the above and sharpen up the jobsearch skill portfolio, trying to stay alive and above water until the next upturn(?).
I think the first wave of outsourcing was carefully planned which is why it worked as well as it did. The 'me-too' wave we are in now doesn't seem to have been as well-planned, and the results aren't as good as well. Sometimes it's as simple as 'outsource 30% of your jobs this year or be fired yourself'. I suppose it was dead obvious as soon as 2000 or 2001 but by that time opportunities to change gears were severaly limited....
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15950
    
  19

Originally posted by Matt Cao:
Hi,
No, I did not meant you folks sabotage your own careers. I wonder how come you folks did not see any hints, signals, etc while you were employed. Before the company decide to outsource the works, they are planned for years. Exception for after 9-11 event, if one company does outsourcing, the other competitors also do outsourcing. I was pissed at that time too.
Regards,
MCao


"Ate his own furniture?"

Well, ALLTEL was an early adopter of offshoring. But when they were discussing their Indian programmers back 3 years ago, I thought it was great. After all, IT's a fun job and a (mostly) non-polluting industry and takes minimal capital overhead - made-to-order for countries that have been too poor for far to long. I'm not greedy. Back then it looked like there was opportunity for everyone.
The big whack upside the head came when I tried bidding for work after I got laid off and the offshore companies were bidding directly against me at rates I couldn't live on.
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi Tim,

He sold all his furnitures in the house.
Regards,
MCao
Steven Broadbent
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2002
Posts: 400
I left the industry for a range of reasons. I want to get into a field where I will be in charge of my career. This is clearly not the case in IT.
If anyone is going to say it is, save yourself the effort. The years of IT pros being dicked around by the industry are far from over. You will need to find a very specialised or secure niche.
stara szkapa
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 27, 2003
Posts: 321
Watch for the next wave of people coming to GB form new EU members. No work permit required.
HS Thomas
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
They'll be required to take Tony Collins class first, though.
He can decide to pass or fail them.
Has anyone tried Spain. Spain Has a Booming Economy.
25 years worth of infrastructure upgrades were crammed into 5 years.
Barcelona is a beautiful city. 2-bed apartments go for �400,000 or more.
A delegation from Seattle visited it seeking inspiration to create a "people friendly waterfront" back home.
Public spaces forbidden under Franco's 36 year rule now abound as Barcelona sates itself.
[ February 05, 2004: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi,
I think it is going to be a blast just like in California. Illegal immigrants under US status but legally to drive that is the definition of Driver License in US also needed to change. They have the nerve to concoct the story of create a security screening background like it have not in the current driver license.
Just a thought,
MCao
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
Mat, you're hinting that people are willingly ruining their careers in software. That's just not true in many cases.

I disagree. Most engineers don't know how to manage their careers and build marketable skillsets. Compare engineers with consultants, for example. Most consulting firms have quarterly or semi-annual reviews where they checkpoint the employees growth and plan growth in the next stage. Most engineers aren't even aware of skills outside of those which are technology based.
Everyone needs to continue to grow, because the environment is constantly changing. However, that growth is not just in technology skills--and that's the mistake most engineers make.
(I write this from Chicago where I just interviewed for two MBA programs today, so take my advice as you will. :-)
--Mark
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Originally posted by stara szkapa:
Watch for the next wave of people coming to GB form new EU members. No work permit required.

Yes, it's going to be really bad!
Estimated 170000 per country per year, all of them undercutting the locals by 20-30% in salary negotiations.
That of course means 150000 people per current EU country more out of a job per year for several years running at least, or a 10-30% increase in umemployment for most EU countries each year.
And the politicos are still screaming what a good thing the EU and open market are...
Lucky for us most of those people will be in other market segments (agriculture, building industry, trucking) at least initially.
Robin Davies
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 26, 2003
Posts: 64
I do not understand!
I will tell you why the Indians WIN.

Because they work hard, and are determined people.
Sorry to say it but the WEST falls back in many ways to the EAST.
AND, that is why they will win.

Until things get so bad and a world war will occurr.
OK THEN QUITTERS, RUN OFF TO YOUR NEW CAREER.

Just remember your a quitter, havn't got what it takes to succeed and be the best!
(UK resident)


BSc, MSc
John Summers
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 06, 2003
Posts: 125
Robin,
Indians do not succeed because they work harder than UK citizens. They succeed because they are 10x cheaper. Do you really think companies would be outsourcing to India if Indian IT professionals were 10x more expensive? Of course you would have to answer 'yes' because, as you said, Indians work harder. What rubbish.
In fact, I would argue that at the minute, because of the drastic reduction in IT jobs and the fear of outsourcing, UK workers are probably working HARDER than Indian workers. No IT professional in India is worried about jobs lost from outsourcing from India (at the minute). IT jobs are booming in India.
Tony, Stephen, don't listen to this idiot. I congratulate you on being brave enough to change career path. Teaching is a good choice. It is safe as houses, you can be in work till the day you turn 65. You get a pension and great holidays. Personally, it is not for me. I would rather take the insecurities of the IT market than be a teacher, but that's because my dad was a teacher and it made me wary of the profession. I am also hoping to get into public sector IT, doing not strictly coding job which is a bit safer.
Robin, I also think your post was pretty obnoxious for Javaranch. We've had discussions on outsourcing on this forum for a long time without people 'sneering' at other people like that.
good luck
john
[ February 06, 2004: Message edited by: John Summers ]
Steven Broadbent
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2002
Posts: 400
Robin, don't be a berk. It is my choice if I change career or not. Unlike a lot of people in IT I came to it late and have other careers to fall back on, even new ones to go on to.
Are you saying that all american developers are lazy - in fact I've always found them to be very hardworking. If there is ever a genuine choice on cost and value the americans have a lot to offer. At the moment a lot of outsourcing is just crude cost lowering - quality goes out of the window.
Your statements that indians are better borders on racism. Indulge in your own power fantasies if you want, but don't deliberately antagonise a lot of qualified hard-working pros on this forum.
I have no desire to be the "best" I want an interesting career that is reasonably rewarding and that I do not have to change every couple of years.
HS Thomas
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
There's no harm in keep trying. Teaching and practical experience are useful. I've worked with people who taught part-time.

As Tom Jackson says in Guerrilla Tactics in the New Job Market, every job search looks like this:
No No No No No
No No No No No
No No No No No
No No No No Yes
All we have to do to land a job is start collecting "No�s!!"

Where to Find Additional Information
What Color is Your Parachute?, Richard Nelson Bolles

The Complete Job Search Handbook, Howard Figler

Guerrilla Tactics in the New Job Market, Tom Jackson

Who�s Hiring Who, Richard Lathrop

Your Winning Edge: Your Complete Job Search Guide for Self-Assessment from Resumes to Interviews, NYS Department of Labor
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
We did some outsourcing to India and Indonesia as an experiment back in 2000 and 2001.
It seemed initially to be a big moneysaver but that turned out to be wrong...
Per hand they asked maybe 10% but they needed 10 times the number of people and twice the time of locals, so in the end the project turned out MORE expensive than had we done it ourselves (especially if you take into account the people constantly working to get any result at all out of the Asians, often needing highly expensive phone conversations).
Bela Bardak
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 02, 2004
Posts: 179
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
We did some outsourcing to India and Indonesia as an experiment back in 2000 and 2001.
It seemed initially to be a big moneysaver but that turned out to be wrong...
Per hand they asked maybe 10% but they needed 10 times the number of people and twice the time of locals, so in the end the project turned out MORE expensive than had we done it ourselves (especially if you take into account the people constantly working to get any result at all out of the Asians, often needing highly expensive phone conversations).

We had a similar experience with Chinese outsourcers. We set them a test application to do. After three tries they could not do it, so we're not using them.
Bela Bardak
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 02, 2004
Posts: 179
Are you saying that all american developers are lazy - in fact I've always found them to be very hardworking. If there is ever a genuine choice on cost and value the americans have a lot to offer. At the moment a lot of outsourcing is just crude cost lowering - quality goes out of the window.

Thank you Steve. I had a probationary review last week and they surprised me (I'm a yank working in the UK).
I don't think I work that hard (I spend too much time on Javaranch for one thing). But I do set myself a daily goal and don't go home until that goal is met. It seems that has been observed and appreciated! Indeed the observation was that I have a tendency to overbuild, to worry about details that don't need it.....
I agree about the outsourcing although I don't think it began that way. A few years ago you could hire the cream of the Indian software engineers for peanuts and staff a really good team at great savings. I suspect that the outsourcing boom has drawn a lot of less-qualified people into the labor pool. Just as happened during the dot.com boom in the west.
[ February 06, 2004: Message edited by: Bela Bardak ]
Bela Bardak
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Joined: Jan 02, 2004
Posts: 179
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

I disagree. Most engineers don't know how to manage their careers and build marketable skillsets. Compare engineers with consultants, for example. Most consulting firms have quarterly or semi-annual reviews where they checkpoint the employees growth and plan growth in the next stage. Most engineers aren't even aware of skills outside of those which are technology based.

I agree - and disagree, Mark. I worked at a big 5 consulting company and didn't see that vaunted quarterly review - it didn't exist. The supply-chain consultants were as uncounseled as the tech guys were. You're possibly correct about the non-tech skills though. Depends on the guy. I'm not a presentation guy (too shy and fat) but turn out a mean manual or specification.
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
Everyone needs to continue to grow, because the environment is constantly changing. However, that growth is not just in technology skills--and that's the mistake most engineers make.
(I write this from Chicago where I just interviewed for two MBA programs today, so take my advice as you will. :-)

Chicago and Northwestern? Good luck. I looked at MBA programs a few years ago and preferred Northwestern to Chicago. Though my favorite programs were UCLA, Berkeley, and the tech track at UT-Austin. Stanford was good too.
Steven Broadbent
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Joined: Dec 10, 2002
Posts: 400
Is it just my opinion or has this business always had a fair percentage of piss-takers, fantasists and cowboys - kinda the wild west of professions.
SJ Adnams
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Joined: Sep 28, 2001
Posts: 925
Is it just my opinion or has this business always had a fair percentage of piss-takers, fantasists and cowboys
I think we start out normal. software does that to you...
John Summers
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Joined: Oct 06, 2003
Posts: 125
Cowboys!
There are LOADS of cowboys in Software cos the profession is so new and non-regulated. In the .com boom any chimp who knew HTML could get a job.
Something I find interesting:
The worst 'cowboys' often tend to be those with Microsoft experience i.e. VB, ASP, SQL Server. They have a very 'quick and dirty' approach to software and produce heavily coupled, non robust stuff.
People with C++ or Java experience and open-source experience, like Jakarta, Python, etc, tend to come in with a much different "let's do this the RIGHT way" attitude.
I also know a friend who worked at BA. They experimented with 'Global Resouring' and found the cost savings were drastically lower than predicted for the already outlined reasons.
john
 
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