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Taming the Technology Tidal Wave

Jacquie Barker
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 201
Hello! I'm the author of "Taming the Technology Tidal Wave", which is featured as a JavaRanch promotional title for this week.

To get our discussion going, I'm going to post an excerpt from the introduction to my book ... please feel free to join in the conversation!

Best regards,

Jacquie

===

Are you an IT professional? That is, does your career success, if not your very career survival, depend on maintaining leading-edge skills in a particular information technology discipline? If so, and you've been at it for more than just a year or two, you already know all too well how difficult - not to mention stressful - this can be.

As a practicing software engineer since 1978, I've faced the challenge of keeping my skills sharpened for over 25 years. I've had to reinvent myself time and time again, as the technology 'rug' was pulled out from under me. In the process, I've learned a tremendous amount about surviving in a fast-paced IT career.

My goal in writing Taming the Technology Tidal Wave is to share my "lessons learned" with other IT professionals, in the hope that it will make your career journey smoother.

I invite you to visit my website:

http://techtidalwave.com

for information about the entire Technology Tidal Wave series of books and seminars.


Author of Beginning Java Objects, Beginning C# Objects, and Taming the Technology Tidal Wave
Jesse Torres
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2004
Posts: 985
Hello Jacquie Barker,

I am going to order your book from Amazon.com. I am confident that I will enjoy your book since it deals with advice on how to deal with the ever changing IT field. During college, a professor told me that, "the only constant in technology is change."

I do have a question for you. How do you address the older IT worker clich�s? I constantly read articles from various resources, including threads here on JavaRanch, that companies don�t want workers that are over 40 yrs old. The articles state that even if an over 40 yrs of age worker is well versed in the latest technologies, companies will prefer younger workers. Is this true? Is it false? Does it depend?

Thanks,
[ February 08, 2005: Message edited by: Jesse Torres ]

-- <br />4 8 15 16 23 42
swami dorai
Greenhorn

Joined: May 03, 2004
Posts: 15
I agree to the fact that companies might prefer young guys over the old for development jobs for sure. The young guys could be more productive, work more hours.... i am seeing this at my work place too. I am in my mid 30's and I see guys in 25-28 getting hired a lot.
Jesse Torres
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2004
Posts: 985
Originally posted by swami dorai:
I agree to the fact that companies might prefer young guys over the old for development jobs for sure. The young guys could be more productive, work more hours.... i am seeing this at my work place too. I am in my mid 30's and I see guys in 25-28 getting hired a lot.


How can someone who is over 40 prove that he / she is willing to work more hours and be as productive as a 20 yr old person?
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
the main reason companies hire young guns is because they're cheaper.
In the minds of many HR people (and non-IT managers) a programmer is a programmer is a programmer so why not get the cheapest you can?

The fact that many older people will have all kinds of obligations outside their jobs (families, hobby clubs, maybe they're authors, etc.) doesn't help either if you want your employees to work those weeklong graveyard shifts towards release time.


42
Arun Prasath
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 17, 2003
Posts: 192
Hi Jacquie,
I have read the introduction of the book from the site.
The General trend is, "As career progresses, Technical skill's importance goes down and management skill's importance goes up".
Does your book entirely give the tips for a Technical Career??
What I see in Indian companies is, people become Team lead, Technical Lead very faster than with those in MNCs. What do you say about this trend?

Originally posted by Jacquie Barker:
Hello! I'm the author of "Taming the Technology Tidal Wave", which is featured as a JavaRanch promotional title for this week.

To get our discussion going, I'm going to post an excerpt from the introduction to my book ... please feel free to join in the conversation!

Best regards,

Jacquie

===

Are you an IT professional? That is, does your career success, if not your very career survival, depend on maintaining leading-edge skills in a particular information technology discipline? If so, and you've been at it for more than just a year or two, you already know all too well how difficult - not to mention stressful - this can be.

As a practicing software engineer since 1978, I've faced the challenge of keeping my skills sharpened for over 25 years. I've had to reinvent myself time and time again, as the technology 'rug' was pulled out from under me. In the process, I've learned a tremendous amount about surviving in a fast-paced IT career.

My goal in writing Taming the Technology Tidal Wave is to share my "lessons learned" with other IT professionals, in the hope that it will make your career journey smoother.

I invite you to visit my website:

http://techtidalwave.com

for information about the entire Technology Tidal Wave series of books and seminars.


SCJP 1.4, SCDJWS , SCJA<br />I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me.
Alaa Abutabaq
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 15, 2002
Posts: 18
Hi Jacquie,
I'm a Web developer now for more than 3 years.New technologies storms me. I'm getting tired of that.they are very fast to being changed.
What do you think the next step should be taken? what is the best direction to go? Management,Archeticture...Changing the whole career?
Kobus Prinsloo
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 26, 2004
Posts: 3
Hi Jacquie

What would be the best way to move from developer to Project Manager?
Does your book cover this process of moving up the "corporate ladder" within IT?

Thanks
Kobus
Gerome Kawa
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 05, 2002
Posts: 61
Hi Jacquie
Its really good that you have come up with such a book.
I am software developer for 8 years now and I constantly keep on searching the net about shifting gracefully to a new role where I can make use of my already gained IT skills and gain extra business knowledge through which I can reap even better in the future. I believe that the key thing is to get yourself in the iteration of newRole-increasedSalary-gainExtraITAndBusinessSkill-newRole. The key hindrance I am facing is getting a new role where I can gain reusable business knowledge. For example I have worked predominantly as a analyst-developer using different programming languages in different industry sector (Oracle Forms/Reports(Hotel Sector 1yr), AS400(Manufacturing 1 yr), COBOL-DB2(Utility Sector 1yr), Java-J2EE(5 yrs in majorly web-development roles) and I am finding it immensely difficult now to get a stable career. My intention is to get into the Financial Sector where I think there is scope to gain tranferrable business knowledge coupled with increased pay.
I would appreciate if you can give me some advice how I can make this transition at my age of 32.

Thanks
Gerome
Jacquie Barker
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 201
Originally posted by Jesse Torres:
Hello Jacquie Barker,

I am going to order your book from Amazon.com. I am confident that I will enjoy your book since it deals with advice on how to deal with the ever changing IT field. During college, a professor told me that, "the only constant in technology is change."

I do have a question for you. How do you address the older IT worker clich�s? I constantly read articles from various resources, including threads here on JavaRanch, that companies don�t want workers that are over 40 yrs old. The articles state that even if an over 40 yrs of age worker is well versed in the latest technologies, companies will prefer younger workers. Is this true? Is it false? Does it depend?

Thanks,

[ February 08, 2005: Message edited by: Jesse Torres ]


Jesse, every situation is different! I, for one, would definitely prefer to hire an experienced person over someone who is naive to the ways of the working world. But, the bottom line is that hiring practices are in large measure based on cold, hard economics.

If a company is considering two candidates who are equally qualified for the same position, they'll most likely go with whichever is less expensive. Chances are that the more senior individual will be attempting to command a higher salary.

It does generally also happen to be the case that, statistically speaking, a younger person will have more flexibility in terms of traveling, working longer hours, etc., than someone who is more settled in his/her life, with family responsibilities, etc. But every individual situation is different.

However, every interview is a very personal experience between you, as a unique candidate and human being, and the manager(s) you meet.

Your goals in seeking employment need to be as follows:

1. Write a gangbuster resume!!! Your resume is your marketing brochure: it sings your praises and calls out what makes you unique as an employment candidate. Most companies spend only a few seconds scanning your resume before deciding whether to put it in the "keep" vs. "throw" pile, so you have to ensure that the key points jump out at the reviewer. (I provide several important resume tips in my book; also, please visit my website, http://techtidalwave.com to see a copy of my resume as an example.)

Also, realize that your #1 goal with a resume is to get an interview, not a job ... which brings us to #2:

2. Interviews are just as much about chemistry as they are about credentials. If you make it to step 2, chances are that, unless (a) you've misrepresented your skills on your resume (a bad idea! ) or (b) the person reviewing your resume misinterpreted something that you said, you are qualified technically for the job ... so, the interview is an assessment of how well you'll fit in to the organizational culture, how well you "click" with the hiring manager and team members you'll meet, etc. It's been said that a hire/no hire decision is generally made within the first few minutes of an interview, so make those first few minutes count!

Everyone has unique things to offer in a job and in life overall -- be sure that you know what your unique talents are, and sell them in both your resume and your interview.

Best regards,

Jacquie
[ February 09, 2005: Message edited by: Jacquie Barker ]
Jacquie Barker
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 201
Originally posted by Arun Prasath:
Hi Jacquie,
I have read the introduction of the book from the site.
The General trend is, "As career progresses, Technical skill's importance goes down and management skill's importance goes up".
Does your book entirely give the tips for a Technical Career??
What I see in Indian companies is, people become Team lead, Technical Lead very faster than with those in MNCs. What do you say about this trend?


My book is primarily focused on how to stay on top of a technical track vs. offering pointers on how to transition into management. In fact, I even have a chapter entitled "Climbing DOWN the Corporate Ladder" for folks who've made the transition into management some years ago, but who now long to move back into a technical career track.

One issue with making the switch from a technical to a management career track is that your technical skills quickly get rusty. If you love doing "techie" sorts of things, you may find yourself missing such a role within a few years' time, but then getting back into a technical track is tough. (It took me SIX YEARS to make such a transition!!! )

In fact, the first tip in my book, Be True to Your Heart, emphasizes the importance of assessing what your true career passion is, and tip #24, Caution: Management Crossing, alerts readers to what you give up when you make that transition.

I hope this helps!

Regards,

Jacquie
Jacquie Barker
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 201
Originally posted by Alaa Abutabaq:
Hi Jacquie,
I'm a Web developer now for more than 3 years.New technologies storms me. I'm getting tired of that.they are very fast to being changed.
What do you think the next step should be taken? what is the best direction to go? Management,Archeticture...Changing the whole career?


Alaa, my book is written to address that very issue! Being on a technical career track is not for the faint of heart. Technology changes come faster and faster, and if you don't absolutely love IT, it may not be worth the "wild ride". If you do love IT, on the other hand, my book is all about techniques for how to cope; in fact, the subtitle is "Maintain leading-edge technical skills without becoming overwhelmed"! Many techies work far too hard on learning the latest "technology du jour", only to find that it fizzles out before they even master it.

Let me assure you, you are not alone in your frustrations! I hope you find my book to be helpful in sorting things out.

Best regards,

Jacquie
Jacquie Barker
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 201
Originally posted by Kobus Prinsloo:
Hi Jacquie

What would be the best way to move from developer to Project Manager?
Does your book cover this process of moving up the "corporate ladder" within IT?

Thanks
Kobus



Kobus, please see my reply to a similar question from Arun ... thanks.

J.
Jacquie Barker
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 201
Originally posted by Gerome Kawa:
Hi Jacquie
Its really good that you have come up with such a book.
I am software developer for 8 years now and I constantly keep on searching the net about shifting gracefully to a new role where I can make use of my already gained IT skills and gain extra business knowledge through which I can reap even better in the future. I believe that the key thing is to get yourself in the iteration of newRole-increasedSalary-gainExtraITAndBusinessSkill-newRole. The key hindrance I am facing is getting a new role where I can gain reusable business knowledge. For example I have worked predominantly as a analyst-developer using different programming languages in different industry sector (Oracle Forms/Reports(Hotel Sector 1yr), AS400(Manufacturing 1 yr), COBOL-DB2(Utility Sector 1yr), Java-J2EE(5 yrs in majorly web-development roles) and I am finding it immensely difficult now to get a stable career. My intention is to get into the Financial Sector where I think there is scope to gain tranferrable business knowledge coupled with increased pay.
I would appreciate if you can give me some advice how I can make this transition at my age of 32.

Thanks
Gerome


Gerome, as a first step, I'd recommend reorganizing your resume to focus on what you've done that is relevant to the financial sector. In an introductory summary of your credentials, sell your versatility: "Adept with crafting IT solutions to business problems in a variety of industries: list ...". Have any of your positions been in a related field/industry?

Again, keep in mind that a resume is a marketing brochure, and so you must sell those things about yourself that highlight where you wish to head vs. where you've necessarily been.

Take a look at my resume on-line at http://techtidalwave.com to see if it inspires you in any way in terms of how you might "reengineer" yours.

Best regards,

Jacquie
[ February 09, 2005: Message edited by: Jacquie Barker ]
thomas wilson
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 21, 2004
Posts: 24
Does anyone know any developer/programmer who is at or older than 50 years of age? How about 45+? Jacquie, what would you say about the common saying that no software engineer does software engineering for 20yrs? If that is true, what do you think the reasons are? Assuming a fresh college grad at 21, he/she is most likely to stop at 41? Thank you very much.
[ February 09, 2005: Message edited by: thomas wilson ]
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
yes Thomas. I know several.
On my team I'm the second youngest at age 34. The rest are all over 40, with 2 being over 50.
The one who's younger is an analyst.
Joe Hepp
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 07, 2005
Posts: 12
I'm working on a project where we have some IBM consultants (in developer/architect roles) and one guy is over 60 years old and he's been with IBM for just over 40 years!

I've noticed that the smaller companies seem to prefer the younger people (for the long hours potential) while bigger companies seem more likely to go with older people. But that is only what I am seeing. I'm not sure if that is a general trend or not.

I'm 38 and have decided to stay on the "Tech Track". I was a C/UNIX programmer for 10 years, then a web developer (Java and some .NET) and now I'm more in the Java world but on the server side. My UNIX scripting experience came in very handy on my current project since they needed someone to write scripts to run things on an AIX box and I was the only one who had that experience. Just dumb luck on their part since they weren't interested in that when I interviewed. They have since found more uses for me.

Joe
Michael Sullivan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 26, 2003
Posts: 235
Jacquie,

Very intersting topic. I have a couple of related questions for you.

1. How do you view IT certifications? I've seen both extremes where company "A" doesn't even consider certs to be useful, and company "B" who will desreguard a technical interview based upon certifications.

2. How do you view advanced degrees? I've recently reviewed a MSCS to find that its very general, and a MS in Software and Information Sytems thats very specific to Java, XML, Oracle, and Oracle Portal. Not so much looking for advice on which degree plan to pursue, but more for how you've seen advanced degrees play out in the IT world.

Thanks, I appreciate the comments!
Michael Sullivan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 26, 2003
Posts: 235
Jacquie, one more question: how do you see long term IT careers progressing? I rarely see people stay in strict programmer/analyst roles for long before becoming things like: team lead, architect, middle management etc. Some people just like the technical aspect of IT, and I'm curious if you've witnessed long careers that were technically bound.

Thanks!
[ February 09, 2005: Message edited by: Michael Sullivan ]
vasu maj
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 12, 2001
Posts: 395
Welcome Jacquie.

I commend Javaranch for featuring a book which addresses the general quesstions about carrer development in IT industry. It's almost time there is a good discussion about this topic.

Jacuie, what aspects of career devlopmet does your book deal with? Does it talk about

Project Management
Ethics at work place
Long term career goals
Keeping abreast of latest in technology

Thanks,

vasu


What a wonderful world!
Jacquie Barker
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 201
Originally posted by vasu maj:
Welcome Jacquie.

I commend Javaranch for featuring a book which addresses the general quesstions about carrer development in IT industry. It's almost time there is a good discussion about this topic.

Jacuie, what aspects of career devlopmet does your book deal with? Does it talk about

Project Management
Ethics at work place
Long term career goals
Keeping abreast of latest in technology

Thanks,

vasu


Vasu, thanks for your inquiry! My book is focused on helping people who love being "hands-on" with technology to master the art of staying technologically current -- that is, surviving the "tidal wave" of new technologies that constantly bombard us. It's written for people in a variety of career situations; excerpting from the book

Begin copyrighted material:



�For those of you just getting started in an IT career, it�s important to form good technology skill-building habits early, and to know what warning signs to watch out for as your career progresses. Familiarize yourself with all of the tips [in my book], and then use them as a road map to a satisfying career.

�If you�re in mid-career and have done a respectable job of keeping your IT skills current, the challenges you face are quite different. You�re accustomed to having to pedal as fast as you can to keep up, but are undoubtedly feeling somewhat burned out, perhaps even resentful, about having to do so. You�re most likely looking for creative ways to reduce the stress and expense of continuing to maintain your technological edge.

�On the other hand, if you�ve remained hands on throughout the years but have unfortunately become mired in antiquated technologies, you�re undoubtedly seeking encouragement and guidance on how to modernize your skills, along with advice on how to stay caught up once you get there.

�Finally, you may have been a proficient techie once upon a time, but unfortunately had to abandon your technical career path, either by choice or due to circumstances beyond your control.

You may find yourself stuck in a decidedly non-technical middle management position, longing to shed your management hat and become a hands-on techie once again.

Perhaps you�ve been out of the job market completely for a substantial period of time, having focused instead on raising a family; recovering from an accident or illness; or struggling to get back on your feet as the unfortunate victim of corporate downsizing.


End copyrighted passage

I hope you enjoy my book!

Best regards,

Jacquie
Rr Kumaran
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 17, 2001
Posts: 548
Jacquie-

If possible keep the english words in your books simple so that it can attract variety of audience. May be for some it may be too simple. yet it can be best interest of everybody.


RR Kumaran
SCJP 1.4
Paul Christian
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 09, 2005
Posts: 14
In fact, I even have a chapter entitled "Climbing DOWN the Corporate Ladder" for folks who've made the transition into management some years ago, but who now long to move back into a technical career track.

One issue with making the switch from a technical to a management career track is that your technical skills quickly get rusty. If you love doing "techie" sorts of things, you may find yourself missing such a role within a few years' time, but then getting back into a technical track is tough. (It took me SIX YEARS to make such a transition!!! )


This is quite true. Even in my case, i was lately offered a managerial position. I felt the same and was wondering whether my decision to humbly reject it was wrong. Having worked almost 3&1/2 years in php, now i decided to switch to j2ee. Nice to see that the book contains many practical stuff.
[ February 10, 2005: Message edited by: Paul Christian ]

<a href="http://www.apilgrim.info" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.apilgrim.info</a>
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16058
    
  21

Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:

In the minds of many HR people (and non-IT managers) a programmer is a programmer is a programmer so why not get the cheapest you can?


Yes, and when you take that approach on the Internet, it shows to the whole world. My wife and I went through 2 OS's and 3 different web browsers the other day trying to login into Cisco's education web site. The one that finally worked wasn't Windows or IE, either.

And I have no idea what the invisible ActiveX control on the page was supposed to accomplish.


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

Joined: Jul 17, 2002
Posts: 259
How long can you be out of the IT profession before its too late to get back in? I was lucky enough to get a job right out of school in 2000 but was laid off 9 months later. With the bubble bursting and 9/11 the outlook for a job wasn't good so I took the first thing I could because unemployment was running out. Should I give up (I'd rather not) hope of getting back into IT?
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by thomas wilson:
Does anyone know any developer/programmer who is at or older than 50 years of age? How about 45+? Jacquie, what would you say about the common saying that no software engineer does software engineering for 20yrs? If that is true, what do you think the reasons are? Assuming a fresh college grad at 21, he/she is most likely to stop at 41? Thank you very much.


I think there is a selection bias. Remember that the number of developers grew nearly exponentially during the late 90's. The ranks grew mostly among the younger generation. Remember as well if you tend to work for a younger company (on less than 10 years old) there is another selection bias that people in their 40's and 50's (with mortgages and kids in college) prefer older, more stable companies.

--Mark
Pradeep bhatt
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 27, 2002
Posts: 8919

Does the book talk about salary negotiation?


Groovy
Jacquie Barker
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 201
Originally posted by Pradeep Bhat:
Does the book talk about salary negotiation?


Not directly. I am certain that there are plenty of career self-help books that talk about salary negotiation, resume writing, and the like; but, my book was written to fill a void: the #1 goal of my book is to help folks who wish to remain on a technical career track -- or to get back on one if they've fallen off -- to keep from getting stressed by the constant need to retool one's skills.

I invite you to visit my website, http://techtidalwave.com, for more information.

Best regards,

Jacquie
Jacquie Barker
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 201
Originally posted by Matt Kidd:
How long can you be out of the IT profession before its too late to get back in? I was lucky enough to get a job right out of school in 2000 but was laid off 9 months later. With the bubble bursting and 9/11 the outlook for a job wasn't good so I took the first thing I could because unemployment was running out. Should I give up (I'd rather not) hope of getting back into IT?


I was out of IT -- at least as a hands-on techie -- for 9 years, from approx. 1984 until 1993! During those years, I was a hands-off manager: not even a project manager, but rather, a business manager. As I discuss in my chapter "A Tale of Two Techies", I was indeed able to reinvent myself technically, but I first had to be certain that was what I really wanted to do ... and, it was! Not only did I get back into being a techie again, I went on to write a best-selling Java book!

I am currently mentoring a friend who has been [B}out of work for seven years[/B], raising two small boys, to help her jump back into an IT career. In one sense, her skills are very outdated, but in another, her skills are right on target, because it is your fundamental understanding of paradigms, not of the implementation du jour of those paradigms, that really matter (see chapter 5 of my book).

The bottom line is that it's never too late if you really want to return to a technical career path!

Best regards,

Jacquie
[ February 12, 2005: Message edited by: Jacquie Barker ]
Jacquie Barker
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 201
Originally posted by Tim Holloway:


Yes, and when you take that approach on the Internet, it shows to the whole world. My wife and I went through 2 OS's and 3 different web browsers the other day trying to login into Cisco's education web site. The one that finally worked wasn't Windows or IE, either.

And I have no idea what the invisible ActiveX control on the page was supposed to accomplish.


I couldn't agree more! There's a lot of JUNK software, a lot of JUNK websites, etc. out there -- truly skilled software engineers are still in the minority, and are still worth their weight in gold -- well, at least in Oreo cookies!

Jacquie
Jacquie Barker
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 201
Originally posted by Paul Christian:


This is quite true. Even in my case, i was lately offered a managerial position. I felt the same and was wondering whether my decision to humbly reject it was wrong. Having worked almost 3&1/2 years in php, now i decided to switch to j2ee. Nice to see that the book contains many practical stuff.

[ February 10, 2005: Message edited by: Paul Christian ]



You are absolutely, positively NOT wrong -- you are DEAD ON RIGHT! Congratulations to you, Paul, for having the insight to know that stepping off the techie track and into a managerial role wasn't right for you!

Cheers,

Jacquie
[ February 12, 2005: Message edited by: Jacquie Barker ]
Jacquie Barker
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 201
Originally posted by thomas wilson:
Does anyone know any developer/programmer who is at or older than 50 years of age? How about 45+? Jacquie, what would you say about the common saying that no software engineer does software engineering for 20yrs? If that is true, what do you think the reasons are? Assuming a fresh college grad at 21, he/she is most likely to stop at 41? Thank you very much.

[ February 09, 2005: Message edited by: thomas wilson ]


I am 48 years old and going strong as a hands-on software engineer!!!

Regards,

J.
Jacquie Barker
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 201
Originally posted by Michael Sullivan:
Jacquie,

Very intersting topic. I have a couple of related questions for you.

1. How do you view IT certifications? I've seen both extremes where company "A" doesn't even consider certs to be useful, and company "B" who will desreguard a technical interview based upon certifications.

2. How do you view advanced degrees? I've recently reviewed a MSCS to find that its very general, and a MS in Software and Information Sytems thats very specific to Java, XML, Oracle, and Oracle Portal. Not so much looking for advice on which degree plan to pursue, but more for how you've seen advanced degrees play out in the IT world.

Thanks, I appreciate the comments!


I am "down" on certifications in general, "up" on formal degrees. Certifications don't necessarily demonstrate skill, especially when folks cram to take an exam despite having no demonstrated experience on their resume. As to a degree, I believe that getting a solid educational foundation makes you a better IT professional -- a true software engineer vs. a "code slinger".

Please see chapters 10 -- "Consider building a solid foundation" -- and 23 -- "To be or not to be ... certified, that is!" for more of my thoughts on the matter.

Best regards,

Jacquie
Jacquie Barker
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 201
Originally posted by Michael Sullivan:
Jacquie, one more question: how do you see long term IT careers progressing? I rarely see people stay in strict programmer/analyst roles for long before becoming things like: team lead, architect, middle management etc. Some people just like the technical aspect of IT, and I'm curious if you've witnessed long careers that were technically bound.

Thanks!

[ February 09, 2005: Message edited by: Michael Sullivan ]


Mine progressed as follows: individual contributor techie => tech lead => hands off business manager => individual contributor techie => technical mentor.

I strongly advise folks to think long and hard before accepting a management role -- no matter how hard you try, it is tough to remain hands on while also managing, and your skills get rusty quickly.

I love being a mentor, on the other hand, as I can use the depth of my expertise to informally lead and develop others without the stress of being a formal manager.

Cheers!

J.
manoj pillai
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 16, 2002
Posts: 41
Jacquie, I think If one has to continue on tech path without making sacrifics on the compensation front, he will need to excel in what he does - play a guru kind of role in other words. I mean one could be an analyst programmer for 20 years and get paid one fouth (or even less) of a person with same years of experience who made the management switch. And being just smart good coder will not make you a guru - that is not simply not enough. You need to do stuff, sometimes outside your regular work - stuff like publishing white papers, writing books, developing some good (popular) open source or maybe launching a startup and even more.. I dont know. I think achieveing any of these would take meticulous planning and proper goal setting. Does your book provide advice on stuff like this and help tech guys turn themselves into gurus?


SCJP,SCJD,SCEA,SCMAD,SCDJWS,SCJP5.0
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
"manoj p",

Welcome to JavaRanch.

Please look carefully at official naming policy at Javaranch & reregister yourself with proper first & last name, with a space between them. Initials may be used for a first name, but not a last name. Please adhere to official naming policy & help maintain the decorum of the forum. The naming policy can be found at http://www.javaranch.com/name.jsp

--Mark
k Oyedeji
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 07, 2002
Posts: 96
Originally posted by Jacquie Barker:

I strongly advise folks to think long and hard before accepting a management role -- no matter how hard you try, it is tough to remain hands on while also managing, and your skills get rusty quickly.
J.


At the same time, I find that as a programmer there is only so far you can go before jobs are given to younger programmers or shipped offshore. There is also a limit to how high your salary can reach as a programmer. Its for this reason that many techies I know are looking at management positions even though they would rather stay programming which is what they enjoy
Linda Pan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 24, 2001
Posts: 96
Yes, I know someone who has switched to project management from being a system administrator. She feels she will try it out and also supposedly the salary is higher.
Jacquie Barker
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 201
Originally posted by Linda Pan:
Yes, I know someone who has switched to project management from being a system administrator. She feels she will try it out and also supposedly the salary is higher.


Switching from being a system administrator to being a project manager is a big shift. To use an analogy, it's like switching from being a carpenter to being an electrician: yes, both careers relate to the building industry, but the skills involved in the two are quite different. Someone who loves the creativity of being a carpenter, and the pleasure of working with wood, won't necessarily enjoy running wire and installing circuit breakers.

I'm a big proponent of loving what you do ... don't get me wrong, I know that you also have to earn a reasonable living; I'm simply encouraging folks not to sacrifice joy for money -- find a career that gives you both.

So, if you are a system administrator who really thinks you'd enjoy project management, go for it! But, if you are a system administrator who loves the technical bits and bytes of your job, try to find a way to stay the course in your career path.

Regards,

Jacquie
Don Stadler
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 10, 2004
Posts: 451
Jacquie,

For some reason Amazon.co.uk doesn't stock your book. This is vexing because I'd really like to read it. Can your publisher push them to stock?
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: Taming the Technology Tidal Wave