IT Employment

Sanity check: Five things that make it great to work in IT

It's easy to dwell on the things that make it tough to work in IT. However, we also shouldn't lose sight of the fact that technology continues to revolutionize the world and IT departments have a valuable part to play in the transformation.

It's easy to dwell on the things that make it tough to work in IT. However, we also shouldn't lose sight of the fact that technology continues to revolutionize the world and IT departments have a valuable part to play in the transformation.

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Last week I highlighted some of the worst aspects of working in the information technology business in Five things that suck about working in IT. This week it's time to turn the tables and look at five things that make it great to work in IT.

5. You're the hero when you solve problems

When an employee is desperately trying to get a critical project plan finished under deadline but accidentally deletes the latest version of the file and then calls IT in a panic, an IT professional can swoop in and recover the file. Pow! Instant hero status. Some grateful employees will even bake you cookies, invite you to the finance department's annual barbecue, or tell everyone in the company who will listen what a miracle worker you are. Those are the days when this job will make you feel like a king.

4. You get to play with cool stuff

Although most IT pros spend more time babysitting older technologies than they do implementing new ones -- as I first noted in 10 dirty little secrets you should know about working in IT -- you'll still get to play with plenty of new stuff, too. Whether it's deploying cool new laptops and smartphones for executives and senior managers or implementing the latest server and networking gear in the data center, it's always fun to get new gear in the IT office, pop it out of the box and see what it can do. For the IT pros that really love tech, this part of the job is like being a kid that gets paid to play with the world's newest toys.

3. You help make people more efficient

When you break it down, the IT department's job is ultimately to maintain the highly-complex tools that help modern workers do their jobs -- and to implement new tools that can make those jobs even more efficient. It's all about streamlining business processes. There's a tremendous satisfaction in helping workers take a process that used to take 2 hours and through a bit of software and automation magic turn it into a 15-minute task.

2. Your job is rarely dull or stagnant

There are some jobs in IT that can be dull and monotonous, such as running backups or low-level programming where you spend most of your time fixing bugs. But, those are definitely the exception and not the rule. For most of the jobs in IT, the products and the conventional wisdom it takes to manage them are changing so fast that IT pros have to constantly educate and re-educate themselves just to keep up -- and keep their jobs. IT pros sometimes complain about having to do this continual self-education (often on their own time), but this is also part of what makes it great to work in IT. There is a natural excitement and energy in IT because the field is evolving so rapidly and there's always something new to learn.

1. You get to be a revolutionary

From the continuing leaps in microprocessors to the arrival of Web-based applications to the coming spread of wireless broadband, technology remains a revolutionary force in business and in the lives of average citizens. IT professionals have the privilege of being able to serve as catalysts in the revolution, if they focus their efforts on using technology to improve the organization and the lives of its workers every day.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

102 comments
DAYDO
DAYDO

I think you are an idiot, what IT are you talking about?

agnessurijah
agnessurijah

Almost all are correct. The problem is ... if the boss doesn't have the "passion" (even "afraid") for IT. We would feel like a dog who is trying to run but the owner tied his tail. We know the much better way, but they still keep the old inefficient way - with so many reasons.

dbecker
dbecker

Just when you think that you've seen everything, some innovative... person with lower than average IQ, or someone brilliant with an out of sight IQ, does something 5 standard deviations beyond the mean. And being in IT is a perfect place from which to observe, particularly when it isn't, strictly speaking, an IT problem. It's like an endless soap opera... "As the Computer Turns". [Just remember, generally speaking, interpersonal problems cannot be solved with technology... unless... no, shooting someone with a gun just creates more interpersonal problems. Sorry.]

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

One possible addition; and this is particularly true if you're a consultant, or working in a larger organization: Working with different people I appreciate consistency as much as the next person; but at the same time, dealing with the same few people exclusively over and over again would grate on me given time. Worse, I'd probably go mad if I had to toil in isolation in a sterile corporate environment. One of the aspects of IT work that I enjoy is the ability to interact with a wide array of people during the day. You can literally go from a pitch meeting with a VP to answering some questions for a maintenance worker to taking a call from a Fortune 100 vendor all within the span of 30 minutes (or less). On a different note, I wouldn't have listed #5 if I were putting together a list. I've seen too many techs contract 'Dr. McKay syndrome' (Stargate: Atlantis character reference) or 'Jim Edmonds disease' (baseball reference---not every popup requires a diving catch); which ends up rendering just about any and all recognition received insubstantial (not just for themselves, but also for their teammates). Further, as others here have already mentioned, you are exceedingly more likely to be the scapegoat in a situation deemed worthy of 'heroics' than you are the hero (i.e. malware outbreak on network...yes, you may mitigate the damage with fast action, but the question of 'how could you let this occur' will undoubtedly be raised by the bean counters or stuffed shirts). All in all, though, there are few other fields I could see myself enjoying as much as I do IT.

dbecker
dbecker

6. You're privy to secret squirrel stuff, particularly if you work for government. Just think, for some of us, we can look at all sorts of things not as easily accessible to the general public. It is a delight to get into those "public" records. All kidding aside, the one thing that working in IT does is that it gives you the tools to go home at night and do things on your home PC they would never allow you to do at work. For example, set up Desktop LINUX. Create your own home web server. Learn new stuff. Set up your own website and do valuable things for the Open Source Community [I have a public service project off hours to help certain kinds of people in need]. The point is, that if we did not have a job in IT, it would be unlikely that we would have the tools and technology to pursue the really cool stuff off hours and have a much greater impact than we would on the inside. Here are the mitigating factors that help reduce the satisfaction with having a job in IT: 1) You might be a hero, but generally speaking, someone else gets the credit, if any credit is given at all. Or worse -- you get a worthless "Kudo" which means nothing, in which getting credit is an insult. 2) The other guys get to play with cool stuff -- you have to do your job with the inadequate tools you have left to you because your job isn't one of those "hot" ones associated with leading edge, even though you've kept your place running for years without recognition and saved the whole place with your innovation [which would have been unnecessary if you'd been able to play with the cool stuff]. 3) Even though you might be a joy to the Operations Staff by not only making their job more efficient and actually making their job possible, considering what's been dumped on them, it's not all THAT satisfying to know that you've helped the third world citizens in the IT community. 4) The job actually dull and stagnant if you really do what you said you did on your TimeTrak records. What's really exciting is that the TimeTrak records reflect no reality in this world and you are able to do the kind of research and cool stuff you'd like to do in between the nasty problems caused by the lack of management planning and covering up horrible problems and fixing them before they become visible to the customers, or worse, the whole agency if payroll is involved. 5) Revolutionaries get shot, or at least shot at. Things you knew were coming and prepared for, you've had to explain away and then implement them 8 months later to resolve the crises you saw coming -- again all because of very short-sighted management looking to build their reputations as revolutionaries by becoming heroes with exciting perceived cool stuff by sapping resources from vital services, spending money they don't have and lying on their TimeTrak. So go home and have fun with the technology you wouldn't have known about except for the fact that you tapped into the tools at work that enable you to work with the cool tools off the Internet on your own time. Otherwise, you will become nuts and bitter.

jtarchi
jtarchi

lots, and lots, of cowbell.

fidlrjiffy
fidlrjiffy

Back in the days when being in IT meant green screen and a Compaq 386 was a decent server I (#4) got to work with cool stuff which was Local Area Networks (gasp!), graphical user interfaces (Wow!), and pretty much call up PC software vendors and ask to evaluate their stuff. Among the cool stuff was Visual Basic version 1. One of the cool things I worked on was to come up with a way to port our green screen applications to some GUI. We went through a number of really crappy tools at the time but by the time I got to Visual Basic I thought that it might be a possibility because it was a lot more open than anything else, particularly in it's ability to work with external libraries, one of which was HLLAPI, ie: screen scrapping. Meanwhile, the company I worked for was in the very competitive relocation industry where companies would move people around and pay another company to take care of all of the details. While it was not unusual for clients to use multiple vendors the trend was to consolidate with one vendor and, for companies that moved a lot of people, to setup an office at their own location. My company was in competition with another for a multi-million dollar contract and the differentiation came down to technology. The client liked the competitors technology more than ours simply because of our green screen applications. Someone piped up that we had a prototype of our new graphical version of our apps and the client said that they would give us a chance to present, like, next Tuesday which was five days away. Of course, no such prototype existed as I was just messing around with possibilities. In any case, I got the call. My boss and I worked pretty much non-stop for those 5 days in a rather nice collaborative effort to turn my code into something slightly more real than smoke and mirrors. To make a long story short and get to the happy ending the presentation was a success, we got the contract, and created a pretty capable working version that was eventually installed at a number of client sites around the country. I got to lead the implementations because it was my software, such as it was. Bonuses were distributed and there was joy in the land. Many other successes followed and all was well until I ran afoul of someone at which point all of my very cool (#4), revolutionary (#1), exciting (#2), money making (#5), and effective (#3) work was forgotten, but that's another story. I met up with my old boss a few weeks ago and we recalled that those days were the only times in IT that we really enjoyed it.

reisen55
reisen55

5. You're the hero But only a few people ever remember that. And it lingers for a short time. 4. Cool Stuff Only if you work in a progressive firm that buys new stuff. I have worked in hospitals that have 10 to 15 year old junk. 3. People more efficient Sometimes, when the rules permit me to do my job efficiently. Otherwise, I cannot do that. 2. Job is rarely dull or stagnant Filled to max with stress, watching things go to hell because Bangalore cannot do it anything, or old systems put peoples lives in jeopardy (in a hospital system I supported) or knowing that management hates my salary. 1. Revolutionary Oh please, those days are long gone.

flausher
flausher

..At those that do stupid things. A friend of mine rang me up whilst I was at work, crying with laughter. after about five minutes, he calmed himself down enough to tell me that someone had rung up his helpdesk and told him their computers CD drive was..faulty, and must have been installed incorrectly, as the CD wouldn't fit.. Upon going to the user's desk to check, he paused, and quickly realised what was wrong. trying his best not to point out the sheer stupidity of the user, "that'll be why dear, your computer's...upside down..." apparently had been like it for a few months for a practical joke that turned out better than they ever thought could..

Tharg
Tharg

Your job is rarely dull or stagnant > I've always said this is the BEST and the WORST thing about IT! lol

jkameleon
jkameleon

5. Wrong. You get the blame when something fails, while your problem solving is taken for granted. 4. Bah. Tools of the trade are not toys. 3. You help make people obsolete. 2. Double bah. Self education on one's own time suxx, and experience counts for nothing. 1. Triple bah. 99% of these so called leaps is just overhyped snake oil.

AlphaCentauri
AlphaCentauri

Proactive fixes invariably always go unnoticed unless they are somehow communicated to the powers that be. Keep the bean counters and decision makers - and business partners - in the loop with status updates on everything, even regular maintenance i.e., what got updated, what got fixed, changes etc., just like a line item list on an invoice. The report doesn't have to be an essay, just a line item list of what was fixed and why. Use short sentences, bullet points and non technical terms. This helps them remember each week what they're paying you for. As an aside, status reports are always a good idea, they help one keep track of time and what's being worked on. Its also useful to prove your value to your manager.

PhilipYandel
PhilipYandel

Already Nuts! Makes the workday that much more fun!

GreenPirogue
GreenPirogue

In the early days of IT (for me), I have similar feelings. For me, the money was not super, but the experience was.

PhilYandel
PhilYandel

5. It is true that customers have short memories, especially those that make decisions and don't actually use the software or hardware you develop. But I've found that among the people that actually work with your product and get to know you on a day to day basis, they appreciate your ability to listen and help. 4. I agree that not every company can afford to jump on every bandwagon that comes along and normally will be slower to make revolutionary changes since it costs money to change to new technology on larger scales. Sometimes this reluctance to spend a bit on hardware now rather than cobbling together a solution that works today but won't in the future will come back to bite them in the butt, then the fun is figuring out ways to say "I told you so" without the realizing that is what you are saying. 3. As a lead business analyst, I get to work directly with the business to help them to understand their business processes and how best incorporate their new business strategies into their existing environment, sometimes without making any IT changes whatsoever. 2. Every job is dull or stagnant, that's just the way of life. the secret is to use the dull and stagnant times to get training, do your reading, find ways to better serve your customer or make your organization better. 1. Totally agree. The days of revolutionary change a long gone. Business just can't be jumping from one new technology to another to say they are using the latest and greatest. Instead, we need to find ways to evolve companies and business areas out of their archaic 1980's technology (mainframe/green screen systems) to become more responsive to their changing needs and not require months of IT involvement just to change a simple parameter in how to calculate interest or adding a new drug to the list of meds.

jkameleon
jkameleon

I work with relatively new stuff, on a system which looks well enough managed. Even if things start to go to hell, only other people's money would be in jeopardy, not lives. Consequently, I'm not stressed, just bored to death.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

For Real? And you call it the sheer stupidity of the user? The same user that no doubt is told not to MOVE the IT equipment! What do you want them to do exactly?

dkurel
dkurel

This is, although it can freak you out sometimes, what makes the life funny in IT.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

You'll notice that this made my list of the best and the worst things about working it IT. It can be brutal to try to keep up, but it definitely isn't boring.

PhilYandel
PhilYandel

I'm glad I don't meet many positive people like you in my daily life. It's angry people like you that make companies look elsewhere for their IT work. Negative outlook? Bah! While the politics of a large organization may periodically get me upset, every day is a new adventure and I have enough tenure to be listened to and can make positive changes in the way our IT organization serves their customers. And I've been doing this for over 30 years, just not in Slovenia I guess

Nicholas.Blaiklock
Nicholas.Blaiklock

Blimey, talk about jaded 5. Wrong. You get the blame when something fails, while your problem solving is taken for granted. - You work for the wrong people, yes you get the blame when something fails, but you do get treated like a king when you fix something. 4. Bah. Tools of the trade are not toys. - Depends how you look at it. 3. You help make people obsolete. - So!! And that's a negative view point anyway, I work in Enterprise systems Management, which always gets accused of making people obsolete. It doesn't make them obsolete, it allows them to do something useful with their time and not fight fires. We also help 1000x more people than what we harm. 2. Double bah. Self education on one's own time suxx, and experience counts for nothing. - If learning new things suck, get another job. Don't care if it's on a my own time, getting more qualifications, generally get you more pay anyway. 1. Triple bah. 99% of these so called leaps is just overhyped snake oil. A- They often are (not 99% though), but so what. Guess you're one of those veterans that doesn't like change. And that is still my view after 20+ years in the industry.

reisen55
reisen55

Agree, same point by point structure.

dkurel
dkurel

5. Correct. 4. :) Yes they are! At least from the point of a network guy. You programmers can be so boring sometimes. :) I cherish the moments when the new piece of equipment is brought to the datacenter and (I admit) I even try to prolong the testing periods sometimes just to be able to play. That even provides me enough time to get to know the equipment good enough not to have hiccups once it's put into the production environment 3. unless you have developed the code that will think for itself, which I don't think you did, people will never be obsolete. 2. I strongly disagree. You are working on your royal yourself, now don't you? I don't see why would anyone pay you to educate yourself if it wouldn't bring him profit - directly or indirectly. Get real. 1. Agreed somewhat. There are couple of leaps and much more "leaps". Oh, yes. I totally agree that you maybe should think about changing the career...

tiger8085
tiger8085

If you don't like growing and learning new things maybe you should find a different career I feel it isn't a good day unless you learn at least something new every day. And self education is a must in several careers I agree that IT is more so than others but that is part of the deal.

flausher
flausher

Someone's a bit of pessimist aren't we? Look on the bright side maybe? or get into a proffession a involving bunnies and flowers, that might give you a more positive outlook on life? =) Enjoy what you do, or move on. don't spend your life complaining about it, and putting it down and so on, otherwise you just create a negative workplace for those around you..

nick
nick

5. Yes, we do get the blame and rarely thanks for fixing things. 4. However, tools of the trade are fun to play with. I am aged 47. I still love to pull the covers off a new server and peek inside. Same for a PC, fun to explore a new Mobile/Blackberry/PDA or whatever. Some people pay real money to play with these items. 3. IT doesn't make people obsolete. Managers looking for efficiency make people obsolete, shareholders demanding higher profits make people obsolete. IT may be their tools to do this. Meanwhile the unemployment figures are the lowest they have been for years. Obsolete, I think not. 2. Education, keeps the brain active. You have another choice, don't self educate and make yourself obsolete. Or find a career that doesn't need continuous education. Plumbers get paid lots of money, the hours and work are hard mind you. 1. Agreed, we are in a phase of evolution not revolution.

bhuti.mbele
bhuti.mbele

I think you are in a wrong industry bru...You should consider changing your career. I Love IT and for me, the write is to the point about the things that make it great to work in IT. Well done!!!1

snideley59
snideley59

Metrics, I think they call them. Pie charts,etc that justify our existence. I hate em, but how else is the CEO supposed to know why he or she should continue to pay my bi-weekly stipend? Wouldn't be good for me to have the ill informed CEO (my fault) to just red pen the line item named Dan and see who squawks. So I have to let the chain know what I'm up to, no matter how trivial it seems to me.

lucien86
lucien86

Gotta get those TPS reports in on time :)

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...site councils, etc, etc, etc...you name it, I've seen it used/used it myself to keep track of work as well as convey work performed to both directions on the org chart. In a way, it almost made the reactions worse at some previous employers (not all, just a couple). The response went from 'What the hell just happened' to 'what the hell did you do to cause this to happen'. Call it Murphy's Law of Change Control (the work day after a change is made and advertised, something unrelated will go wrong causing a PR mess). I remember at a manufacturing firm, we were implementing a new VPN device. Install went better than expected. Of course, early the following Monday, someone digging for new sewer pipes hits the telco lines, taking down our operations (we were highly centralized, so our 9 remote plants were up the creek). Our department was not popular that morning, despite having no hand in what happened. The bright side of that was it made our case for redundant data lines (which had previously been nixed from the budget). :) That's just the worst case, though. Usually, the general assumption in places I've been is that IT is supposed to stop that stuff from happening, no matter what. What can you do, but roll with it?

PhilipYandel
PhilipYandel

If you find you left your cowbell at home, find one of these IT whiners and boink them on the head. Not quite the same sound as a cowbell, but almost as satisfying. Only problem is stopping once the song ends.

flausher
flausher

..would be a good starting place..lol. they didn't say "oh, my computer is upside down, but i can't move it to turn it back the right way up again," they instead claimed the CD drive was fitted incorrectly...I just figured someone would notice that their PC is one way round one day, and the next day is the other way up..

jkameleon
jkameleon

5. I work for the right people. It's the kind of people that pay me enough to stay on the job even if I'm not enthusiastic about it. 3. Yeah, you always get accused of making people obsolete, even if you actually don't. In any case, IT has no right to whine about lost jobs, jobs that went overseas, etc after all the non-IT jobs it made obsolete. That's progress. 2. For the most part, it's just the same old stuff marketed in some new fancy way. 1. I like change as long as it's not just fashion.

hdelozier
hdelozier

I agree ... there is no room for pessimist's in the IT world. I own my own small business in the IT industry doing a plethora of things from web design to emarketing to fixing pc's, so I have my hands in a lot of different pots on a regular basis. It is exhausting but oh so worth it! I get to have fun all day long learning everyday and fixing things, and getting great satisfaction in making people happy with the end result! You really have to love what you do to succeed in it. Those that are just out for the paycheck and aren't willing to put in the time to keep up on the latest technology are going to be left behind. IT is not the industry to be in if you just plan to end your education at getting your diploma ... it's constantly changing and evolving and it's so exciting! :) So be gone with your negativity and enjoy learning for the rest of your life - because that's what we do in IT! :)

s.butera
s.butera

I've always loved computers so working in this field was a no-brainer. Best part of my job is when someone actually thanks me. Also I love getting to play with technology. I also enjoy the self learning. It's better to learn myself than in a classroom filled with fools and people who just don't care.

jkameleon
jkameleon

... as soon as I find somehing that I'm capable of doing and which pays better. I'm in IT more than 20 years, and I'm pretty much fed up with it. Even learning new languages & tools had became routine.

BINARYGENIUS
BINARYGENIUS

i have been working in IT for many years now but before that i worked in factorys, managed pubs and other office type stuff and they all suck compared to what i do now. i love learning new things i get a buzz from when a problem comes up and yes it can be a headache at first trying to solve it but when i do i feel great and i have proberly learned something new in the process.

PhilYandel
PhilYandel

You have a good point and it does become quite common when things go south and they cannot figure out their own mess by themselves, or the technology they are using doesn't support organizational changes. My problem with Corporate IT is the attitude they have. They begin to think that since the organization needs IT, they are the reason for the corporation's existence. We have lost our understanding of who are customers are and what services we provide. We have internal support groups that never really have any interaction with the business but think that their world is what is most important, regardless of how it affects our ability to provide IT solutions to the business. ...Reminds me of the joke about the parts of the body trying to decide which was most important... IT must remember who they work for and what the primary mission of the company is. So unless you work for a company that provides software, hardware, or IT services you must remember that it is the business that makes the money, and what we do just makes it easier for them to do so and to do it consistently. But they can just as easily kick us out and bring in an external vendor, so why shouldn't we have a better customer orientation and provide excellent customer service?

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

And to think I was just being funny about the whole SNL skit about (Don't Fear) The Reaper by Blue ?yster Cult. Great insight. Thanks for posting.

jkameleon
jkameleon

> . . . As fast as our IT org can merge these groups under the corporate IT umbrella, more of them pop up. That's no problem. Let them pop up and thrive. After encountering a couple of "man with two watches" problems, and especially after the first brush with "excel momma", management will gladly do business with the IT they have, not the IT they might want or wish to have (paraphrasing Rumsfield). The most valuable asset of any IT supported organization is its organizational knowledge. This can either be formally encoded in its core application, orderly written in one programming language or another, or spread around in administrative employee's brains and MS Office files. Now, IT people are pretty much expendable, they generally can't hold organization hostage. Anyone can read program code. On the other hand, if data is processesd by non-IT employees by dragging and dropping, only the said employees have the knowledge. And knowledge is power. I've seen more than one manager went berserk after he was blackmailed by some clerk with unique knowledge about certain business operation and the one and only copy of relevant data. That's usually the point when they stop looking upon IT as a cost centre, and start taking it more seriously. The next step: Wrestle the data and information from offending clerk(s). That's the point when things get ***evil grin*** ... interesting. Making certain people obsolete can require quite a bit of enthusiasm, innovation and creativity. If your company is not aware of this, if it insists on looking upon IT as a profit loser, it's probably not worth the trouble in the first place. It either doesn't really need IT that much, or it's bound to go under due to mismanagement. IT's not upon IT to market itself inside the organization. If organization needs IT, it will gladly cough up the money for it. If it doesn't neet IT, than it doesn't. There's nothing you can do about it.

PhilipYandel
PhilipYandel

Yes, IT constantly whining because they don't like what they are doing really does affect my profits. If you ran your internal IT organization as a confederation of profit-loss centers, then you could require each group to actually show a profit year after year. Otherwise, your group goes bankrupt and is no longer in business. Customers don't want to do business with groups that are constantly whining and griping about how much they hate what they are doing. While my company is a LONG way from implementing such a forward thinking concept, I have seen when the customers in the business get fed up with dealing with IT, they have a tendency to find talented and skilled people from within their organization and form their own internal IT group. As fast as our IT org can merge these groups under the corporate IT umbrella, more of them pop up. Why? They get things done and they still are enthusiastic about doing the work. After 33 years, I am still excited to be in IT (maybe not always at the company I'm at) and just cannot think of anything I'd rather be doing. Some days are better than others and most times the politics of the company get in the way of getting things done, but I've never thought I would want to find something else. Phil

jkameleon
jkameleon

Does IT whining affect your profits or somethning?

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

An upside down system is fitted incorrectly. It is Upside down. :-)

GreenPirogue
GreenPirogue

Yeah, self-learning should have been one of the 5. Most in IT love self-learning.

jkameleon
jkameleon

Supply of people willing to do cool, fancy, innovative, creative work is pretty big. That's why it's usually done for peanuts or even for free. There are far less poeple willing to do shitty work. Consequently, they are paid better. So, if there are bills to be paid, kids to get through college, pets to fed etc, there is also a shitty work to be done. There's no other way.

jkameleon
jkameleon

Or, at least was. In any case, you could kindly stop badmouthing us already. That old boss of mine I was writing about in my previous post used to work in Fiorina's HP offshore programming shop. According to him, the place sucked big time, pure dilbertism. Work they did was very interesting, innovative (a new, sophisticated backup system, if my memory serves me right), but the corporate culture was just atrocious. I've always shunned such places. As a free lancer, the nasty little old me used to snatch the jobs from Italian engineers. Namely, I used to write embedded software for industrial controllers for Italian companies. It was very creatiove and innovative job, but purely technical. As such, it promptly went further south as soon as the living standard in my country improved a bit. I was punished by poetic justice, so to speak. Consequently, I had to switch to business application development. Pure tedium, but it pays well. I agree with what you say about coding. The principle I've always live by, and still do is that understanding of problem domain is far more important than mastery of programming tools and languages. When I was programming industrial controllers, I had to familiarize myself with the machine or industrial process in question. Now, I always learn as much as I can about business I'm writing applications for.

PhilYandel
PhilYandel

I agree that any monkey can write code, I've been telling people that since the 80's when the first CASE tools appeared. What is harder to off-shore is the ability to sit down with the business folks and understand what their real business needs are and then make sure the software developers can build what you know the business needs, rather than what is easy for them to build. Since our company has decided to use off-shore resources for writing code, the quality and efficiency of the code developed has gone down the crapper. These off-shore resources are jumping from one gig to another because they want to get the 'big' bucks just like the US developers in the 80's. So the development staff at any single off-shore IT company is in flux so much that from day to day the same people not only are on different projects but with different companies. Take your experience and find someone that you can help to grow and learn by working closely with you. Now that is something that the off-shore folks cannot offer their employess!

PhilYandel
PhilYandel

Good luck! I hope you are actively purusing some other career. Nothing sucks more that hating what you do.

bhuti.mbele
bhuti.mbele

I understand you man. I guess I will see myself in the next 10 years time how it goes then. Personally I would like to go back to the classroom once I get tired of working and retire there while teaching students. Otherwise, good luck man.

jkameleon
jkameleon

The only thing I could eventually give back is a practical, real life, common sense approach to software development I've learnt on my 1st job in the early 1980s. As far as I can tell, it was pretty close to Agile programming. Come to think of it, I'm actually still making a living on that knowledge. University gave me only the basics. Everything else I gained informally, from my older colleagues, and especially my 1st boss. An elderly chap, the best I've ever met. Those were happier times, when fair play, teamwork, mentoring, sharing of knowledge, and self education were still encouraged by most employers. Since I've picked my knowledge informally, I don't think I would be able to pass it on formally, in the classroom. Of course, there is no way I could give it back the way I got it either. IT workplace and people changed drastically in the 90s. My old boss quit his job in disgust the very day he was proclaimed employee of the month, and retired shortly afterwards. I became free lancer about the same time, to escape the worst management fads. I accepted permanent position again around the end 1990s, lured by high pay, and somehow survived everything that followed after dot com bust. The way things stand now, I can't even imagine mentoring anyone in my current workplace. Inspire other people getting into the field, you say? For shit's sake why!? Software development became the most outsourceable field in the IT. It has no future anywhere in the developed world. Jobs go to India and China at the moment, but I don't think this will last. Living standard of Indians and Chinese will improve eventually, and when their salaries go up, their jobs will probably be taken by Hutus and Tutsis. And when Hutu&Tutsi salaries go up, their IT jobs will continue their never ending quest for someone even cheaper. It just makes no sense to go into this field anymore.

reisen55
reisen55

Try the United States. Ignorance here only writ large. There is NO domestic IT growth in this country anymore. Why choose a career field when you will be fired after a few years by an outsourcing firm. And all for doing your best work!!! Doesn't matter a tinker's damn anymore. No domestic talent? Right - nobody cares here anymore so go with the H1-B and outsource like crazy and see the poor results you get.

SRRY
SRRY

when you have 20 years behind you. I have 18 yrs behind me - sometimes it gets a little boring - I have seen solaris go from sun4 to solaris 8. Oracle go from v 5 to now v 12 . window go from 3.1 to vista - it is endless - and much of it unnecessary.

bhuti.mbele
bhuti.mbele

If you have so much experience in the IT industry maybe its time you inspire other people getting into the field instead of getting out. Either start your own company and you guide people who look up to you or maybe go to Universities and tutor. I love IT that my ultimate goal is to retire in either University teaching IT or something of that sort. I have 10 years experience and I am loving it. I am surprised about the lack of knowledge of IT in my countries businesses. I am busy getting small businesses to be IT literate. That way I get more knowledge cause I am giving back what I have learned in IT all along. Cheers