Mike Gershman

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Recent posts by Mike Gershman

SCJP didn't get me any interviews but the Kathy trivia I had to study for SCJP definitely helped me pass the interviews. (Thanks Kathy )

I agree that managers who never earned a Sun Java certification are not likely to understand or respect what is certified.
[ August 20, 2005: Message edited by: Mike Gershman ]
18 years ago
And the next time they downsize your department, your boss will make sure you have plenty of play time.
18 years ago
Java has to call the main method to start your program. If main were not static, java would have to first create an extra instance of the class that contains main. If that class lacks a no-arg constructor, java would have no way to do that.

Keeping main static avoids this complication.
18 years ago
Ramesh said:

IT industry structure cannot be created in a week. First they may snare low level job's like support, call centre's etc.,. Then they may jump up in the value chain and grab jobs of our programmer's. But that will take atleast 10-15 years.

If you believe that, you are in for a surprise.

While there is some value-added, the bulk of off-shoring still involves projects designed in the US. It doesn't take 10 years to become a good programmer, it takes 1 year with talent or 5 years with less talent.

Experienced MNC's can shift a programming project to the cheapest supplier nearly as quckly as they can move a call center, leaving workers stranded. When the MNC's work through local employers, the labor laws don't prevent this. Anyone can choose to award the next development contract to a supplier in another country. The old employer then has no way to pay the workers.

As for IT education, the books and curricula have gotten so good that any good college can offer a CS major with a few imported teachers and some students with English skills.

The only real issue is political and economic stability. Here, India excels compared to its neighbors. I don't know how long that will be true.
18 years ago
The exact reason that even US sites have more and more Indian programmers is that entry level programmers jobs are plentiful in India and scarce in the US. Far fewer US students major in programming than ten years ago. In India, the computer classes are still packed.

Once Indian programmers have, or can claim, five years of paid Java expereience, they can come to the US under the H1B program and happily work for lower wages than historic US salaries. This drives down the salaries of US programmers and allows employers to benefit from lower costs whether the work is done in the US or India.

This is all win-win if you're not an American programmer.
18 years ago
The only Google employee I met personally was much smarter than the average programmer, teaches a graduate school UNIX course just for fun, and brought in his dad, a big name in the history of UNIX, to give the last lecture.

The Google hardware/software architecture he described to us was highly innovative and creates an extraordinarily low unit cost of computing.

I don't think the Google qualification exam, which is basically an IQ test, is just hype. From the posts above, I do think it may be subtly culturally dependent.

By that I mean that people from different societies tend to attack hard problems differently. For example, when I visited a large company's Tokyo office, I found that the managers were all Japanese but none of the hands-on programmers were Japanese. It seemed like they could learn a programming language OK but never got really good at the rigidly linear thought process required to write good production code.

It may be that many Indian programmers are trained to follow a deductive process in analyzing problems and have trouble with deliberately obscure brain-twisters requiring out-of-the-box thinking.

As other posts on this thread noted, Google has some heavy-weight competition. Those guys can throw any number of competent programmers on a project. Google has to work smarter, not harder, to stay ahead of them.
[ August 06, 2005: Message edited by: Mike Gershman ]
18 years ago
Jesus Angeles said:

in usa, a regular employee can get laid off anytime for any reason?

Yes, that is the law. It is called the "employee at will doctrine".
18 years ago
Here is a good link on Social Security Numbers. You can see that the last four digits of the SSN are randomly assigned and tell nothing about you.

The only practical use of the last four digits of your SSN that I can see is to distinguish you from other people with the same name when looking at various records.
18 years ago
Ulf said:

In certain jurisdictions I am familiar with (Europe, USA), an offer letter does not constitute a legally binding document. Resigning from your old job on the basis of one would be very risky, so it generally isn't done. Only once you have a contract signed by the company would you resign.

Programmers in the US don't get contracts unless they are consultants and even these contracts can be terminated early.

Rajiv's sad experience happens everywhere. When the order comes to cut back on the payroll, new hires and people who haven't started yet are the first to go. After all, these people have no track record at the company and have done nothing yet to earn extra consideration.

On the other side, how many programmers would turn down a big raise in salary and maybe an on-site assignment because their existing project has six more months to go?

I have often seen people who already had a schduled start date at my company accept a better offer and ask if we wanted to offer even more money. I even had a Y2K consultant quit his contract two months before 1/1/2000 because he got a better offer.

So the free market cuts both ways.
18 years ago
The security clearance application is filled out after you are hired. It is very thorough and your answers are carefully verified by professional investigators.

Anything like a falsehood on your resume or employment application that would cast doubt on your identity or expose you to blackmail could be a problem.

The very highest security clearances go further, with searching interrogations using polygraphs to be sure that nothing in your background can be used against you.

As discussed in another thread, you must be a citizen of the US or possibly another NATO country to get a security clearance. Exceptions are made for unique individuals, but this is unlikely in IT.
18 years ago

An H1B holder with 10 months experience may not be their first choice, but employers will still take him over a US applicant with the same experience.

Of course, the body shop will change the applicant's resume to show 2-5 years experience. The employer won't be fooled, he just won't care because the price is right.

H1B abuse has three consquences. Experienced US programmers make less money because the comparable wage requirement is totally unenforced. Beginning US programmers have to struggle to even get an interview because junior H1B holders with fake resumes are hired in preference to US freshers. US students don't choose careers in IT because the entry jobs are not available to them.

H1B abuse makes good business sense for individual employers but leaves the US without the next generation of IT people. Only government enforcement will change anything.
18 years ago
That question does not compute.

Platform independence has nothing to do whether program execution affects the environment on which it is running.

I would anaswer that:

1. Java is designed to be platform independent.

2. Java applets are not supposed to affect their execution environment outside their "sandbox", but that is a separate issue.

3. Since HR is asking technical interview questions, is the line manager going to ask me about my relationship with my last boss?
18 years ago
Thanks, Marc. This site has plenty of good ideas.
18 years ago
David asked:

Is 19 years without a clearence job a problem?

The specialized job sites specify active clearances, but you can always post your resume as Pat suggested.

Also, when I worked in DC, there were certain clearances that you weren't supposed to disclose. Our employee badge color codes only went up to Secret. I don't know if that has changed.
18 years ago
I think that Luke and I basically disagree about the proper role of government so we won't agree on job protections or immigration.

A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. A liberal is a conservative who has been arrested.

A protectionist is a free market advocate who was outsourced.
18 years ago