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Is there a place in IT for the uncreative?

By Professor8 ·
I supposed there might be, but it would have to be a pretty tiny niche.

Bits of brilliant code labeled "Magic begins here", "ADVNTR" games and later via the academically-stilted PLAyTOy to video-games, getting a primitive piece of garbage from Ill-Begotten Monstrosities to "sing" "Daisy, Daisy...", making line and chain printers make music by controlling the rhythm of garbage printed on the paper or by controlling their generation of RF noise and playing it back using a cheap radio, Snoopy posters and calendars, contour graphs with tonal density gradations using over-printed alpha-numeric characters, Al Capp strutting across the monitor of a super-computer or Snoopy swooping across on his dog-house, even "PERFORM UNNATURAL_ACTS", elegant algorithms, doing an academic assignment by having the required beastial programming language generate the required machine code and then executing it, finding bugs, calling the module to make it easy to update electronic documation "UpDoc" just to get people to ask "What's Up Doc?", imagining what the heck the user is seeing and doing while talking over the phone, test coverage without being exhaustive, reducing massive amounts of wind-tunnel data or sub-atomic particle collision data so something that can be understood in glance, creating a data-base of the organization's LAN or VPN node graph in order to automate statistically appropriate variations in ping rate for rapid detection of network faults while minimizing such extraneous traffic, integrating the QA test-base with the version/configuration/source code library to minimize variations in the developers' and QA testers' environment, removing the cruft and only the cruft from a tangled mess of a data-warehouse... all require significant amounts of creativity.

Lack of creativity would be a major handicap in most IT work.

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Not at all

by OH Smeg In reply to Is there a place in IT fo ...

It all depends on what it is you do. Any form of Code Punching needs Creativity but for some positions creativity is the worst thing a person doing that job could have. They want things to work the way that they do and the last thing that they want/need is changes to be made to make things work better in the view of the person making the changes as apposed to the people who use the system.

Even those sub-atomic particle collision data so something that can be understood in glance need to make the data appear in a form that has meaning to the Person/people doing the experiment not the Accountant who is paying for it. The Creativity that they need is to get the useful data to those who can use it, not to those who may be able to understand bits of it. Even in that single instance different bits of the produced Data needs to go to completely different people and no single person could possibly understand 100% of the produced data.

OH and incidently when you ask a question it should be posted in the Q&A Section and things like this should be posted in the Water Cooler Section.

Col

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if you have limited wants...

by Professor8 In reply to Not at all

"They want things to work the way that they do and the last thing that they want/need is changes"

So, how did they come up with these "wants"? Sounds like a creative activity coming up with such things. And who is this "they"? My knee-jerk reaction was "Well, since they're rigid in their design demands, let them write the code.", but then realized you may be talking of a different context.

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creativity is a professional software/hardware development matter

by Professor8 In reply to Not at all

"Even those sub-atomic particle collision data so something that can be understood in glance need to make the data appear in a form that has meaning to the Person/people doing the experiment not the Accountant who is paying for it."

The PI certainly has to understand particle collisions, and so do the engineers and interns and grad students and assistant professors who are running the experiments and crunching and analyzing the data. Of course, we understand the output WE want, and that requires creativity, to get it into the simplest, most clear form possible (but no simpler). This data doesn't go to those "other people". Sheesh!

"OH and incidently when you ask a question it should be posted in the Q&A Section and things like this should be posted in the Water Cooler Section."

Nope. This is a directly relevant professional career, software development matter, based on Toni Bower's column, in which she didn't state the question quite as well. This is about being able to do "IT" work well and finding and keeping the best co-workers/employees. Good "IT" work requires creativity.

"Water cooler" would be "What percentage of software developers prefer basketball over hockey?"

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Hah

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Is there a place in IT fo ...

Loads of them apparently....

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palettes

by Professor8 In reply to Is there a place in IT fo ...

Software developers have widely different palettes.

We have different application area knowledge.
We have different academic specializations -- math, languages, CS, engineering, music, statistics, chemistry, physics, economics, B-school, "information science"...

We have different programming languages, different tool-set experience, different optimal learning modes, different regional cultural familiarity, different time-styles (some are inflexible 8 to 5ers or 4 to 1ers, others work until a significant mile-stone is reached regardless of the clock and then go home to eat, shower, work-out, spend a few hours with the family before returning on a schedule that continually adapts to the work that needs to be done).

Some software people are more hardware oriented than others (envisioning how the hardware and software work together). Some lean to the concrete while others tend to abstractions of abstractions of abstractions. Some focus more on process, others state, others data flow, others timing. Some focus on readable code, others on functional elegance, others take great care in formatting their comments, still others only on gittin er done. Some just have to write equations, others to diagram or graphically envision, still others to put things into prose.

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Sure there is.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Is there a place in IT fo ...

It's working a 'Level 0" help desk, reading scripts. There's no career advancement but there are plenty of unimaginative people answering the phones for the major hardware and software manufacturers.

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"level 0"?

by Professor8 In reply to Sure there is.

That doesn't make sense. The people who deal directly with customers have to be creative (if only to cope with the many cultural, regional, dialect, colloquialism variations), the 2nd line to which they refer the issues they can't handle have to be creative, and the 3rd line has to be creative.

"Reading scripts"? What kinds of scripts? Reading them looking for what? Or are you talking about those stupid (and evil) CRM systems that try to control every word of the customer-tech support conversation? Those do not cope well with the intelligence, knowledge, cultural, etc., variations, and increase the numbers of disgruntled customers (and former customers).

But I agree that there are a lot of not very creative people ansering the phones for the major hardware and software manufacturers. That's the problem. Many such firms outright forbid their tech support people from being creative, and the service is rotten as a result.

Are there FAQs in tech support? Of course, and all of the tech support people should have easily understood reference materials, and training so that they can quickly learn and handle such things, get them off their plates so that they can focus more on the less common issues to which they can apply their intelligence and creativity.

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Look deeper.

by LocoLobo In reply to Is there a place in IT fo ...

Everybody you meet IS creative. I worked for years with a lab tech that I labeled less integillent, unimaginitive, uncreative. One day he showed me a woodworking project he had done. It was excellent and not just something done from a magazine article. I realized my personal opinion of him was wrong.

In his job, he was required to perform procedures according to exact specs. He was never given the opportunity nor encouraged to show creativity. But it was there. I just hadn't looked.

Perhaps I'm just a bad judge of character. But there have been several examples of this in my life.

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opportunity to excel

by Professor8 In reply to Look deeper.

Yah, I've seen that, guys who seemed to be nearly worthless drudges just going through the motions for a considerable time... until something came along to which they could apply their talent, knowledge, etc. And all of a sudden they were bright, eager, active and productive.

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