The Pragmatic Craftsman :: Simplicity from complexity : by Stanley Kubasek ::

Archive for the 'Career' Category

IT Employment On Upswing? April 6th, 2005
Joel Spolsky: Advice for Computer Science College Students January 18th, 2005
Yourdon on Outsourcing October 20th, 2004
Better Times Ahead? October 14th, 2004
IT Job Outlook September 17th, 2004
How To Survive The Coming Bust September 7th, 2004
Indian Exec on Offshoring August 24th, 2004
IT Employment Drops in 2004 July 28th, 2004
IT — Occupational Outlook Handbook 2004/2005 April 23rd, 2004
Training Your Foreign Replacements April 6th, 2004

IT Employment On Upswing?

According to a report by Information Week, it is. It looks like the unemployment rate for IT professionals is 3.7%. which is close to the lowest rate reached at the end of 2001. Are things looking better for us? I think so. And altough things still look a little murky, it looks like the situation brightened quite a bit from a year or two ago. Read the whole report here. Don’t go jumping in joy, yet. The rate is so low mainly because IT professionals started leaving the field. Nonetheles, companies are starting to hire.

Joel Spolsky: Advice for Computer Science College Students

Joel Spolsky, my favorite blog author, gives his advice to college students. The advice is also applicable to people that are just moving to programming fields. Interesting read — click on the link, below, to see the whole article.

Joel’s Seven Pieces of Free Advice for Computer Science College Students:

  1. Learn how to write before graduating.
  2. Learn C before graduating.
  3. Learn microeconomics before graduating.
  4. Don’t blow off non-CS classes just because they’re boring.
  5. Take programming-intensive courses.
  6. Stop worrying about all the jobs going to India.
  7. No matter what you do, get a good summer internship.

Yourdon on Outsourcing

Stop Whining!

That’s the general theme of this excellent article published in Software Development Times (read the article here). If you wonder who Ed Yourdon is, then do a search on and you’ll see. Needless to say, Ed Yourdon, is one of the most influential Computer Science minds that you’ll hear about. What’s more, he predicted the fall of American programmers in his book, Decline And Fall of the American Programmer. In this article, he shared some very valuable points. Points, that if you take them seriously enough, will put ahead of the competition — wherever it might be. I’ll explain in a little more detail.

My initial view on outsourcing was that something has to be done about it. I still think so: companies need to be encouraged to create jobs in U.S., not given tax incentives to create them elsewhere (if that’s the case, though). But I also agree with Ed Yourdon: We need to stop whining and take our future into our own hands — become the best. If we are the best, outsourcings is a non-issue.

“Stop whining. Stop waiting for someone to solve the problem. Take charge of your own jobs, your own career and your own future. No one else is going to do it for you,” says Yourdon. He goes on to say that yeah, the loopholes should be eliminated.

The bottom line, he says, is that we have to make sure that we are in the top 10, or top 20 percent in our companies. If we are not, we are doomed to lose our jobs, regardless of what politicians do or don’t do.

What can we take out of it: get into a position in your company so that you are needed; become wanted. If you’re there, you don’t have to worry. Otherwise, becoming a software craftsman would help. :-)

I really recommend reading the article, Outsourcing Realities: Time to Stop Whining.

Better Times Ahead?

It finally looks like the IT industry is picking up. The signs are still mixed, but overall, I think, the industry is looking better and hiring is going to pick up. Here are three articles from that support that view.

Greener pastures–and wallets–for tech workers? article

Tech services jobs increaselink to article

Is IT hiring picking up?link

IT Job Outlook

Adding Value…Growing CareersThe Employment Outlook in Today’s Increasingly Competitive IT Job

That’s the title of the study published by Information Technology Association of America. This is one of the best I’ve read. A little long, but the content is great.

Topics covered in the survey are:• Size of the IT workforce• Demand for IT workers• Best background for IT employment• Soft skills and other factors• Employee retention• Future sources of job

Here is a short excerpt:

Bottom line? Competitive pressure is an issue for employees and employers alike. To be successful IT workers must make themselves as valuable as possible to hiring companies. They must also make themselves the stewards of their own careers. Understanding the trends and directions shaping the IT workforce is one of the best ways to launch or sustain an information technology career.

How To Survive The Coming Bust

I came across an interesting article, How To Survive The Coming Bust, recently — little dated, but still valuable. The author argues that you need to do the following six things to survive.

1) Provide Guarantees2) Analyze the business and provide a better solution3) Dramatically decrease the defect rate4) Create well-documented, maintainable code5) Provide better feedback6) Show the customer how you will make them money or allow them to cut costs

I think most of them hold true and I do think that we — software engineers — have a bright future indeed. Under one condition, though: we have to be better than our competition. We have to be better than those developers in other countries. We have to be the best. (I’ll create a post about how to thrive in a global IT market later.) It is possible, it just requires more work.

Indian Exec on Offshoring

Off-shoring high-tech jobs is a growing pain for U.S. professionals, especially now, when the job situation is still tough. See what’s happening in India where many of these American jobs are headed?

In the article, Chitale discusses the mistakes companies make when offshoring IT work, his concerns that US companies will move their offshored workto China, and how the US political climate affects the bottom line of companies in India.

An interview with an Indian Exec.

IT Employment Drops in 2004

According to IEEE-USA, number of employed in IT-related occupations dropped in the second quarter of 2004. The drop in employed software engineers, programmers, and computer scientists is blamed on the continuing trend for U.S. companies to send jobs overseas, often called offshore outsourcing. So there you go, outsourcing is hitting us pretty hard, and encourages others to leave the IT industry altogether. I think something has to be done about it. That’s why I’m looking into John Kerry’s solutions on offshoring. But this is a hard issue, and I don’t know whether there is a good solution for it. :-(

The IEEE-USA reported the following high-tech employment trends yesterday:

* The number of employed software engineers in the U.S. dropped from 856,000 in the first quarter of 2004 to 725,000 in the second quarter. Yet the unemployment rate among software engineers dropped from 3.3% to 2.9% from one quarter to the next. In 2003, an average of 758,000 software engineers were employed in the U.S.

* The number of computer scientists and systems analysts dropped from 672,000 in the first quarter to 621,000 in the second, and the unemployment rate for computer scientists dropped from 6.7% to 4%. An average of 722,000 people were employed as computer scientists and systems analysts during 2003.

See the whole article High-tech employment numbers drop in second quarter on

IT — Occupational Outlook Handbook 2004/2005

This is a pretty good, useful resource if you’re involved in IT, or planning to become. This handbook shows Computer occupations, their outlook, stats, what to look for and more. Plus, it’s coming from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, so you know it’s legitimate.

Anyway, for computer programmer, they say to expect a 10-20 percent growth (average for other occupations) in 2002-2012 period; there will be increased competition (off-shoring) in the field. The following are their significant points:

  • Nearly half of all computer programmers held a bachelor痴 degree in 2002; about 1 in 5 held a graduate degree.
  • Employment is expected to grow much more slowly than that of other computer specialists.
  • Prospects should be best for college graduates with knowledge of a variety of programming languages and tools; those with less formal education or its equivalent in work experience should face strong competition for programming jobs.

As for software engineers, the outlook seems very good, as they’re projected to be one of the fastest growing fields from 2002 to 2012. The following are their significant points:

  • Computer software engineers are projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations over the 2002�12 period.
  • Highly favorable opportunities are expected for college graduates with at least a bachelor痴 degree in computer engineering or computer science and with practical work experience.
  • Computer software engineers must continually strive to acquire new skills in conjunction with the rapid changes in computer technology.

See the report here — Professional and related occupations

Training Your Foreign Replacements

This is not a joke. Some IT people are required to train their replacements from India, China, and others, and after they’re done, they are fired! Are you kidding me? That must really suck! Believe it or not, some big companies are doing it! This practice has to stop! Nobody wants to dig their own grave. How low can the U.S. companies go to save a buck or two?

Read the whole article here, which appeared on Yahoo! News

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