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Looking for opinions on my career

 
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im an experienced developer with about ten years experience developing client server apps using smalltalk, and more recently java swing. I think my company may be shipping my job role to TCS sometime in the next year.

I can either work on teaching myself web development, stick with my seemingly fading client server background that i enjoy, or make the move into project management, of which i have some experience and believe i could be very effective at.

I have a family that needs feeding, so my career is important to me on a financial and practical level, as well as id like to enjoy what i do.

Anyone wishing to share their opinions on the job prospects of any of the three possibilities i noted above, would be appreciated!!!

Good luck!
 
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First, forget about money for a second, what would you enjoy doing? Forget titles and roles, what tasks would you enjoy doing?

Second, is your experience in any particular industry?

Third, are you tied to any geographies?

Fourth, do you have other constraints?


--Mark

 
William Thomas
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Hi Mark, to answer your questions...

I enjoy working with people, and i like the challenges associated with building elegantly coded software applications. I know i will never though, be a top flight developer, Ive worked with a few and i see what separates themselves from me lol. Still, i freely admit that ive enjoyed the last ten years more than the first ten years of my work experienced, when i worked in other fields.

My experience is all with one company (i know how odd that is), Nielsen, the market research company. I have written several apps from end to end, which also seems to me to be a somewhat fading trend.

I am indeed tied to my local geography, which is in the north east, and have no desire to move. Luckily for me, there are many companies within driving distance of my home, so i dont see my geography as a problem.

as far as other constraints, i have a family and a mortgage, i know i know, you said forget about money for a second, but its my reality. Otherwise, no i am reasonably open minded about learning new technologies (although i admit its not my favorite aspect of the job, building code that has an inate elegance is more appealing than learning the latest and greatest techniques, to me at least. Still, i dont want to be left behind, or end up like the poor old mainframe programmers i know, just trying to hang on (not that all mf programmers suffer from this).

Ok, i think ive answered your questions with a lot of typing
 
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William Thomas wrote:as far as other constraints, i have a family and a mortgage, i know i know, you said forget about money for a second, but its my reality.



Right! That's mostly the first reason people do a job, support the family. It's almost like this is a taboo subject for management and human resource. But the truth is, although most people do not dislike what they are doing, they would do total different things, or they would not do any work, if they just not needed the money to pay the mortgage. But you cannot bring this undiplomatic like this to a future employer, I know that.
 
Marcel Wentink
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William what is TCS?? Googling gives me links like Tafeltennis Club Steenbergen, which is a table tennis club in the north east of the Netherlands.

To make you feel better. I shifted from Customer Support to JSP and ASP.NET web programming when I was over 40 already. You're never too old to learn. With unemployment breathing in your neck, and kids to feed and mortgage to pay, mankind can reach his prime. ;)
 
William Thomas
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TCS is Tata Consulting Services. AKA, an outsourcing firm from India. Unfortunately for me and my coworkers, Nielsen signed the largest outsourcing contract in history, over a billion dollars. Since that day, ive been watching coworkers walk out the door on a regular basis, and not just the unknowledgable ones, weve lost a lot of very talented individuals, and are replacing them with kids straight out of college. I figure i had better get my career in the best possible position before the axe hits me, given the current economic climate...
 
Marcel Wentink
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My advice would be to try to have some domain specialism. For example myself. Like if you're programming for a hospital and for the radiotherapy department try to have knowledge of both software development and physics. Then you have something special a cheap kid from a low salary country cannot replace.
 
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Marcel Wentink

cheap kid from a low salary country cannot replace



That is really bad choice of words...Who do you think you are to call someone cheap , for all you know these might be really bright kids much better than you ever will be...

Looking at your sentence you seem to be more worried about such a kid replacing you , and that means you should first ask yourself the question what have you done in this industry for so many years... Is your experience worth anything meaningful..??? and if you dont have a significant experience stop calling others as cheap...

Low salary country...which country are you talking about... If you are really so smart and outspoken as you show yourself to be go ahead and name the country and then we will discuss furthur... and (because I know you don't have that much guts) there is only one country mentioned in this post and if you are calling it low paying you are in desperate need of some general knowledge... don't forget that country provides some of the best IT professionals in the world
 
Marcel Wentink
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Low salary country...which country are you talking about...



Several: India, China, Russia. I am just talking outsourcing to cheap labour countries in general.

If you are really so smart and outspoken



Mmmm....Did I tell you I was 'so smart' somewhere? By the way, I will be frank, I do have criticism on for example too much immigration, if you want to flame me, just go ahead now. But I think moderators would not like this to get political. Furthermore, on the subject, I think the competition to outsourcing can be unfair since the cost of living in Europe exceed those in India by factors. So you have to present something in which short lines and communication would be more valuable then just writing code quick for a low price from a long distance.



 
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IT, like many occupations, has its fads. At the moment, we're sort of back to client-server, but using thing clients (AJAX). However, one of the other currently popular fads is to attempt to do the client-facing work locally and outsource the grunt stuff overseas. That trend is likely to continue until the cost of labor rises sufficiently elsewhere (and it has been rising, especially in India) or the cost of living locally drops proportionally or the actual results of having work done offshore offshore are decided to not be worth the supposed cost savings. Or, more likely, until an equilibrium is reached between the 3 aforementioned factors.

In the mean time, locally we have what are referred to as "architects". It's a watered-down bastardization of the concept that actually means something more like "on-shore developer" (whether native or H1-B). As far as I'm concerned, a true architect is someone who sets abstract policy for the entire IT enterprise, and thus there should only be one or a small handful of them at most companies. Modern-day "architects" are hired in bulk, and although in theory what they're mainly supposed to be doing is combining the traditional systems/business analyst's role with preparing specs for offshore development, I've encountered several who are actually doing the coding themselves - anything but abstract.

You'll stiff find more traditional ways of doing things out there, but expect to this "brave new world" model as well.
 
Mark Herschberg
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Abhishek, please follow the "Be Nice" rule and don't engage in personal attacks on other members.


As for Marcel's comments...

abhishek pendkay wrote:
That is really bad choice of words...Who do you think you are to call someone cheap , for all you know these might be really bright kids much better than you ever will be...



I think you may be making a grammatical misreading. I don't believe he was referring to inherent value of the person as cheap, but rather his effective cost to the organization. The primary reason for outsourcing/offshoring is lower cost. If the person is not cheaper, it becomes questionable as to why the action would be undertaking.

Also, as I read it I don't think Marcel made any comments as to their IQ.


--Mark
 
Marcel Wentink
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Mark Herschberg wrote:I don't believe he was referring to inherent value of the person as cheap, but rather his effective cost to the organization.



Ah, sorry, really no! Sorry if I provoked something. But 'cheap kids' are a problem for say older generation programmers right now. And the worst part is, like the original posters writes, you are at an age that you have a familly depending on you, so you cannot go down in salary too much. So you have to build up your carreer to specialize is something. I must say I have not always succeeded in that, but I am trying.

But it's always something. I myself thought of going to Spain, since my ex wife was latin, and hence both me and my daughter speak spanish fluently. Nevertheless, unemployment there is double of what it is in the Netherlands, house prices are lower, but not really in the business centres of the big cities where I would be working, and salaries are lower. So it kind of adds up even.

 
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William,

What I have seen so far that when work is outsourced, some senior developers from the existing company move to Architect's role or a Manager's role.
You have a good chance for that as you have been with the company for a long time and coded many applications end to end. Explore your chances of getting such a role when this happens.

Also, the company to which the work is out sourced usually requires on-site coordinators for the project. You have a good chance at that too as you are already familiar with a lot of things in the company.
There might be a case where your company might strike a deal with TCS to offer employment to its existing company. Of course, last two options mean taking up an employment with TCS which might not be acceptable to some.


 
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William Thomas wrote:
...
I have a family that needs feeding, so my career is important to me on a financial and practical level, as well as id like to enjoy what i do.

Anyone wishing to share their opinions on the job prospects of any of the three possibilities i noted above, would be appreciated!!!

Good luck!



William, if you like client/server you can learn Flex and/or JavaFX. Rich Internet Applications with Flex share many similarities from the UI perspective to c/s systems, shouldn't be hard for you to pick up, and the market for those skills seems to be really hot. Landing a couple of consulting gigs will give you time to evaluate what you really want to do and find the right job. Also Smalltalk is an awesome language to know, it should be easy to port your knowledge to other dynamic languages, like Ruby (or JRuby/Groovy) giving you more options.
On the other hand, you can also explore the project management way, since you have the experience but probably it will not be that easy to get hired quickly for that...

Good luck with your change!
 
William Thomas
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Thanks to all for your thoughtful posts! I enjoyed reading them.

Tim, one thing i was confused about from your post... AJAX as a thin client... When i think client server, i think a client application directly interfacing with say a database. Isnt AJAX used in distributed computing via browsers?

Perhaps its my definition of client/server thats lacking...

As for what to do, i am going to continue to investigate both avenues available to me. I really do enjoy programming, and im pretty sure my company will give me opportunities with web programming. Plus dont tell anyone, but learning this stuff is fun to me

But in all honesty, i think project management will pay me better, and i am well suited to being successful at it. I still think though, that i can use my past experience, along with getting comfortable in web development, when i finally make that move...

As for being an architect, that term drives me nuts. I see these so called architects, with little to no programming experience, and a degree. big whoop. I agree with the old school approach that there should only be a very small team of architects in an organization, setting standards/ performming abstract analysis/ learning new things that might be applicable on a global scale. I dont want to be an architect, and as the last ten years have occurred, my sad belief is that most of these cats doing this job arent the real thing lol.
 
William Thomas
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p.s. to the guy who gave smalltalk props, THANK YOU!

The language still holds a special place in my heart. It lead itself to beautiful design, and really pushed the true beauty of object orientation. I giggle when i see the MVC design aspects of web development, as if its a new concept. I chuckle when i see EJB's as if they are suddenly in vogue.

Heck, ive been coding this way for many years, i just looked at it as the logical approach to good OO
 
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William Thomas wrote:p.s. to the guy who gave smalltalk props, THANK YOU!

The language still holds a special place in my heart. It lead itself to beautiful design, and really pushed the true beauty of object orientation. ...



No matter how beautiful it is, it just does not fly...
 
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