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Pete Joseph

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since Feb 21, 2006
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Recent posts by Pete Joseph

It is about value. If you are one of the top engineers, then yeah you probably get a lot more respect. But like most industries and careers, the majority of people are not the top anything. They are just avg or even above avg.

So that means most people maintain systems, upgrade systems and work more or less in a support role. Most IT depts are support roles. You support whatever the business does. And many non-IT workers look down upon the IT dept anyway.

So if you are an MBA who closes some multi-million dollar deal, you will be somebody the company smiles upon. However if you go too long without bringing in new clients or improving the revenues and reducing costs, you won't be so respected anymore.

It is about money. Many MBAs go on to do consulting type of work or high level management type of work. Jobs where they might work long hours, but sometimes they can get those million dollar bonuses even if they aren't that bright. It's really a glorified sales role these days with more responsiblities.
15 years ago
I've always been more of the "leave me alone" type of person. I get my job done, I figure out complex problems or simple problems, I do attend meetings and other various requirments, but for me, dealing with customers, high level managers, and the like everyday would get way too exhausting. It would seem you are more concentrated on what might be able to be done to please the client rather than actually building and getting it done.

Different roles or sure as the above poster said. While i'm not a huge fan of the cubicle, i am a huge fan of getting things done with as little interaction with non-it people as possible.

But if you like giving presentations and socializing with everybody and their mother, the role probably is for you. And if as you say, you still get to keep your IT skills up to date, even better.
15 years ago
I'm in a pickle right now.
I've been working on a contract for about six months. The project is good, the people are great, and the opportunity has taught me alot. While I enjoy the project I'm working on, management has me going in seperate ways. On one hand the one manager has a plan mapped out for a 12+ month project. There are various issues and designs that need to be discussed. And it might extend or change the plan around, but it is what it is and 12 months sounds realistic. It's a great opportunity and it's great for me.

But at the same time another higher level manager keeps bringing up speed and thought the project should be done in 3 months. Not realistic at all, especially when there are many things out of my hands due to lack of admin rights or whatever. It just means we have to submit forms and go through a process if there are issues relating to the DB or web/app server and it takes time for the other side to even respond to those issues. In the mean time we are stuck in a pickle. But the one manager still wants to keep things on a low profile as they say and not get into it with even higher level managers and budgets. In a round about way, the company really doesn't want to hire anybody, but the one manager found a way to get some people in for the time being, as long as they stay off the map and get things done. Not a problem if not for an unrealistic time frame on top of so many outside issues that cause delays.

Like I said it's been great so far a nd I've learned alot managing, designing, creating, testing ,researching, teaching, and developing.

But what worries me is if these other higher level managers indeed start poking around and suddenly, project near complete or not, no longer want outside contractors there. I don't know, it's a weird situation and kind of uncomfortable. At this point I'm trying to get things done as fast as I can, but like I said, my hands are tied at times and I have to wait for other issues to be resolved before I can even test some of my web apps.

In a long winding way, the issue is in the fact I started updating my resume because I wasn't sure if I'd be on this contract for 2 more months, less or 12 more months. It's an "at-will" contract and who knows. how it'll go. So I started updating my resume just to get a feel for whats out there.. Well a couple of prospects contacted me, but since I'm in a contract where if I go, they'd be in trouble at this point, I wasn't interested.

But one opportunity, another contract with a large company, caught my eye. It's a contract that could get extended or could be a right to hire, who knows. That all depends. But while I wasn't really looking hard, just getting a feel for whats out there, the offer, while not definite yet, is an opportunity to make about double of what I'm making now.

That put me in a pickle. I like the opportunity I'm on now, but double the amount of what I'm making definitely has peeked my interest.

I'm not sure what to do at this point. I wouldn't want to leave my current project in limbo cause if go, mabye they can't bring in somebody else to finish it. On the other hand, if upper management does a round about way in finding out they did bring in a couple people, who knows what'll happen. Like I said, i'm in a pickle.
15 years ago
I'm trying to figure out which is better to use and if I really need a reporting application in the first place.

Management is impressed by Jasper Reports, however, I'm not so sure if there is a real need for the project I'm working on to use it.

The Users of the web application rarely print any reports, rarely save the reports, and probably never use charts or anything like that.

Most of the data the users retrieve and then look at from the backend DB more or less tracks products, materials, and projects. It's set up to where they look at the data on the screen to make sure certain things are there, to make sure certain amounts are there, to make sure certain timeframes are kept or not kept and so on.

While management is pushing for Jasper Reports, i honestly can not see a real reason to use it for what the current application is being used for.

I don't know Jasper reports, never used much reporting apps in the past, but I could figure it out, find a way to implement it and have a use for it, but if it's never used by the end users, I really don't see the point or the time involved if it's not something the end users will ever use.

During the design of the new web app, I even asked the one functional manager of the users if they'd need something simple like saving a report/data display to a PDF, Doc, or printed out and he flat out told me that they don't print or save the reports now.

So on that note, I'm trying hard to find a way to use Jasper Reports.. Like I said, I don't know it so maybe I'm missing something, but i honestly can not see a point to using it for this project i'm working on, but the upper management is pushing for Jasper Reports(they aren't tech, while my direct manager tells me that the head managers would be impressed and happy if i found a way to use Jasper Reports, but he also said that if there is no use for it then don't feel like I'm forced to use it.

Any suggestions or advice?

[ January 16, 2007: Message edited by: Pete Joseph ]
[ January 16, 2007: Message edited by: Pete Joseph ]
I'm not expert in jsp or struts or JSF for that matter, but a new web project I'm working on needs to be migrated, upgraded, enhances and so on...

Most of the users have java runtime 1.4 and who knows when they'll upgrade to java5. That is not in my control. The backend db is on a unix mainframe and the app server is websphere.

I've been researching different processes and frameworks and have come up with a simple prototype to get data from the db and display it.. But it's more or less just simple jsp, beans and servlets right now.

Before I move forward, I just wanted to know if i should stick with Struts MVC framework or go all out into JSF and so ON?

My biggest concern is in the fact that some of the JSF and newer technologies wouldn't work on the users systems... And then the system would be utterly useless.

I've browses many forums on many topics, including ruby.
It seems to me that many forum posters on various sites aren't exactly building or developing systems for real world clients. And if they are, I feel sorry for their clients.

It's great learning new things, but i've been around long enough in IT to know that the most important aspect in building or enhancing a system is in the fact that your users can actually use what you build and develop.

So is JSF that compatible with Java 1.4 or is it built more for Java 5.
15 years ago
Anybody ever have any experience migrating a web based system from (IBM) to jsp and java servlets?
15 years ago
Gaining knowledge about a certain domain is fine. If you have extra time and want to learn about accounting, go for it.

But the fact is, while it's good to learn about the domain you work in, it's a waste to think you'll actually become proficient more in that domain than in IT..

Many IT jobs these days are consulting and contract related. If i go into finance company, help design and build their new or existing system and am gone within two months.. It's ridiculous to think I'd be an expert in that domain..

Yeah I might have picked up a thing or two, but the fact is I might be in finance today, the drug industry next month, some entertainment company the following month, a government agency the month after and so on and so forth.

I learned alot more by working in various domain rather than just one. Yeah if you are lucky enough to leave college, get a job in a great company, stay at that company, learn all about their software, hardware, business, people, and so on...then that is great.

But if you get out of college, work for a good company, learn all about what they do and how they do it, but it's 10 year old technology you are working on, it's not always a good thing.

I worked for an organization that used 15 year old mainframes. We had a huge upgrade when The funnyu thing was when I first started we changed from a 20 year old mainframe to a 15 year old one. Yeah an upgrade.

I did learn alot when I was there. I learned alot about the organization, the mainframe, how to save on reel to reel discs.

But at the end of the day, my skills were not that valuable outside that company and a couple of others because quite honestly, my experience was with a 15 year old mainframe system most people never even heard of before, yet alone used. And government agencies are weird because each one thinks they do things differently than the other ones.

So when their were cutbacks and lay offs I moved onto more consulting type work.. I didn't learn about many domains because i just didn't spend that much time at one place to learn about them. One month I was here, another month somewhere else.

I learned alot more IT skills in the few years as a consultant than I did for 5 years with the other organization. Yeah I could tell you how things worked at that agency and I became very knowledgable, but the fact was, they used 15 year old technolgy that nobody used anymore.

Keeping my skills up to date on my own was nice, but when looking for other opportunities, people want to see real world experience and not "yeah I know how to do this."

So learning about other domains is great, but if you become more of an expert about a certain company and domain that uses older technolgy, that isn't always a good thing.
15 years ago
I agree with what has been said.. Many times candidates won't ever be considered or overlooked because you might have worked in IT for a auto manufacturer or whatever and they are specifically looking for candidates with healthcare experience only.

That is stupid. Maybe if you are jumping on board as a CIO or CTO or some high level position like that, I'd understand. But for most IT people, there might be some new things to learn here and there, but at the end of the day, it still is IT.

I don't know, it is real stupid that some places want somebody who knows the industry, when in reality, you'll really never need to know a damn thing about that industry as an IT person.
15 years ago
If you're a tech person and work for a certain industry for a specific amount of time, you should pick up certain details and ideas.

If your friend has been a tech person in the finance industry for a few years and he's proactive in his learning, it wouldn't be that hard to figure out some basics and advanced topics regarding that industry.

It's not that hard to pick up information if your open to it and the company is willing to show you some of the ropes. Why many people don't pick up specific business skills is beacuse of the fact that many people get on as consultants or move from job to job or contract to contract and you just never have the time or need to learn more than that.

You have your tech skills but you don't have the time or need to learn the intricate details of the industry you work in for a month or two or less. It's pointless to learn everything about finance when next month you might be moving onto a project in the drug industry...

Some people are just tech people. They don't want to know anything else but technology. Sometimes a company isn't that open.. The tech people are located with only tech people, so the fact is you really never learn the ins and outs of a company.

I worked on a project one time where the only people i ever saw were tech people. Networking, software, security, so on and so forth.. The building I worked in was about 2000 miles away from the companies headquarters. So the only people any of us ever saw were tech people. Yes, you had figure heads who ran the building I was at, but it was the tech headquarters and for the most part, nobody ever interacting with the business people because we never saw them.

There are many places like that. If you don't interact at least once a week with business people, your not going to learn all that much about how this bank runs or this finance company or this drug company and so on.

It's good to be proactive, but sometimes you have to realize before you take a job, that some places don't want you doing anything outside of what you do best, and that's IT.

It really depends on the person, the company, and your outlook.

If you want to learn about technology and the business you are working for, don't jump into a job where the only people you'll ever see or interact with are technology people.
15 years ago
That's the problem with the legacy systems.. Most have no documentation for them.. I worked on a system where there was no documentation for over 20 years..... It was a nightmare.....

Yeah those systems probably won't go by the wayside, but the fact is, it's not worth just knowing Cobol or any other mainframe these days.. The job market is just not there for that technology.

If you wish to learn it, that's great, but like I said before, I learned java after I worked in mainframes because half of the recruiters and people had no clue what a Tandem system was.
15 years ago
Bonuses shouldn't be considered as part of what you will make per year, per hour and so on and so forth. Sometimes if you work hard, you get a bonus..

But many times a company might struggle financially, not bankrupt or anything, but maybe the revenue isn't what they might have expected. Many times it has nothing to do with IT, but since it is a down year, your bonuses are cut back or cut altogether.

Sometimes the bonus process is more political than based on success or hard work. And many times people in IT aren't exactly the the ones networking with non IT people.

So take it for what it is, and if you do get a great bonus, then great.. But don't expect to always get it... You aren't a sales person or marketing person depending on commission and bonuses, at least you shouldn't be.

It used to be worse back when companies offered more stock options in lieu of larger salaries.. Yeah and when the stocks or company crashed, you were screwed.

But at the end of the day, don't consider an extra $5k or whatever bonus on top of salary as part of your quoted salary . Cause you never know if you'll ever see that bonus.
15 years ago
If you have the extra time, why not learn cobol, fortran, assembly and so on just for your own knowledge..

But the fact is, there are very specific markets for mainframes and cobol.. I learned Cobol when I was in college, it was interesting to learn, but over my career, it hasn't helped in my career one way or the other.

One of my first career opportunities was working with a Tandem Mainframe system. The problem with mainframe systems are that companies don't always keep up to date with the latest and greatest technologies.

So you might be learning all that you can on a mainframe system called VERSION 4, but if it's 5-6 years old and the latest mainframe system is VERSION 8, then the fact is, unless you have a few friends or buddies who know of those openings, it wouldn't get you another job.

I remember after 4 years working on that tandem system, I was laid off. Half of the people I interviewed with or spoke with had no clue what a Tandem was... The other half laughed at the theory that people still use mainframes.

LIke I said, if you have free time, learn it, but in the long run, don't expect a ton of Cobol jobs or Mainframe jobs to open.. Not when it's cheaper to buy a bunch of servers or to outsource elsewhere..

Mainframes are expensive in the long run and IT has become just another part of business like marketing, sales, accounting and so on.. It's all about the bottom line.

If a cheap server can do the same job as an overpriced mainframe, what is the business going to choose?

And if there are thousands of consultants and workers who know java/j2ee or c#/C++ or .Net while only a select few Cobol programmers out in the world, most businesses aren't going to go against the flow.

Yeah some companies might have a need, but if the latest and greatest is AJAX, then that's what a company wants....not because it works, but because that's what everybody says is needed.

Hey, there might be a pickup in job openings because most of the cobol programmers will be retiring.. If you want to do something different for awhile, go for it, but if you're looking at it in the career sense, just learn it to learn it and don't expect tons of job openings.
15 years ago
It depends... Can you find work where your husband is going?

If you are bored now and dont have that much work but in a couple of months or so things might pick up and propose challenges for you, then stay.

But if you've been there for a few years and it's mostly "no challenges" then in the end, you should start looking elsewhere..

Because in the long run if you aren't doing things on a consistent basis, you will forget things.. Yeah open source is nice, certifications are nice, side projects are nice, but they aren't building something that has real deadlines, has a make or break agenda, has expectations and so on..

The fact is, if it gets boring sometimes, but exciting other times, then I'd stay. But I worked for a company once where you'd get 10 months to do a project that took 2 weeks. Too much paperwork, meetings, more paperwork, and approvals.. In the long run, it did nothing for my career.

If you move on in the future and it's like the company I work for, it's hard to explain things when the fact was, you didn't work on challenging projects..
15 years ago
I don't have a problem with the new guidelines. It is what it is.. But if things keep going like they are, this job discussion board might as well be deleted... Half of the new posts are either deleted or warned or somebody answers with "depends on company."

Either way it's kind of useless really.
15 years ago
How funny...

"Depends on the company you are talking about.."

Fact is you can't mention companies on this site anymore....

So either this job discussion board will be deleted or eventually it will be useless to read..

I mean if somebody asks about skills, salary, locations and so on but the responses are "depends on the company."

Then this job discussion board becomes useless.
15 years ago