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  • #2175594

    Programming Start


    by catherine ·

    How vulnerable is it to start an IT career without being involved in programming? Is it necessary to start off here, as this is where everybody starts off as?

    I don’t dislike programming, but after 4 years in college education in IT, I figure there must be a wider world than programming.

    Any career choices in the IT industry?

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    • #3347204


      by jaqui ·

      In reply to Programming Start

      or venerable? ( traditional / aged / respected )
      programmiing isn’t a required step, never has been.
      the ancient days of programming by altering circuits around vacume tubes being the only time that programming was part of all it jobs.
      ( and no special training required )

    • #3347141

      Gotta pay your dues

      by amcol ·

      In reply to Programming Start

      But that doesn’t necessarily mean programming, at least not in the traditional sense, so in a way you’re on to something.

      However, I have a sense from your question that either your expectation level is unrealistic, or you should be looking for a different career path altogether.

      Do you want to make a career in the corporate world? Expect to start at the bottom. I’ve mentored dozens of recent college graduates, and almost unanimously they all ask the same question…how long before I’ll be managing people? I actually interviewed a Cornell grad a few years ago for an entry level position with one of the world’s largest corporations, and his only question for me after an hour long interview was in the event he decided to join our firm how many people would he be managing? Check, please.

      Start at the bottom, work your way up. No way around that in the corporate arena. The trajectory and velocity can differ depending on your abilities, both professional and political, as well as just pure dumb luck. But right out of college…report to the mailroom, learn the business from the ground up.

      You may be too impatient or too entrepreneurial or too non-traditional for that kind of career path. In that event go a different route…think about consulting, or starting your own business. Of course, without a few gray hairs or scars you have little credibility, but you’re certainly entitled to give it a try.

      The moral of the story is you’re right…there’s a much wider world than programming in IT. But it’s going to be hard to manage an upwardly sloping career path without at least some knowledge of and experience with what happens in the trenches. Whether you like it or not, you certainly can’t hurt yourself by spending a year or two just slogging through code.

      You’re going to be working for decades. What’s a few years at the beginning as an apprentice? It’ll make you a more well rounded, productive professional in the end.

      • #3322272


        by dtsonly2004 ·

        In reply to Gotta pay your dues

        I was fortunate that I had a programming mentor. He was a senior programmer who showed me the ropes, answered questions and was just there for support. Unfortunately that ended when American companies decided that it was more important to import foreign programmers from India than use American programmers.

      • #3329227

        Large Company vs. Small Co.

        by jkowolf ·

        In reply to Gotta pay your dues

        I’d like to clarify my perspective on the IT profession by letting you know: A) I started out as a public school teacher and then got into IT. B)I’ve only worked for small companies (50 – 100 employees).

        I took a programming class as an elective (should have known this was a calling), so I was able to write a computer program for every job I’ve held. This lead to technical support, network administration and now programming almost full-time in my present position.

        I think in smaller companies they want you to be able to do everything. Larger companies seem to advertise jobs with skill requirements are either programming or network admin/security specific. Since I’ve never had one of these jobs, the advertisements could be missleading. How much programming is a network admin. at a company with over 1000 employees required to do?

        Just curious if this would make a difference in a career path choice.

      • #3329215

        Progamming experience is a must.

        by godaves ·

        In reply to Gotta pay your dues

        Software Development is currently one of the only technical professions where low- and mid-level management is not required to have the requisite experience developing the products they manage.

        For example, engineering depts. are almost always managed by someone who has (alot of) experience engineering what they are now managing. This applies to most other industries such as manufacturing, electronic, chemical, etc.

        From my experience, lack of meaningful communication is the major reason for SD projects that fail. And, again in my experience, this almost always happens because of unrealistic expectations by management who don’t “know what it takes” to develop good software. In order to communicate effectively, all members of the team must have a common basis for communication, and this common basis must be experience actually developing software. Not just managing it, but /developing/ it.

        The most successful SD companies /always/ hire their team leads/project managers from the ranks of programmers. And not only just “programmers”, but most often progammers with experience in developing the same type of software as they’ll be managing the development of.

        Give me the resume of one person – the project manager – and I’ll be able to give you pretty accurate odds on how successful that project will be. And most of that judgement will come from the experience actually developing the same type of software. This is not to minimize the importance of the actual programmers – they are crucial. Good and /experienced/ project leadership will insist on having control over which programming resources they will use simply because of their past experience developing the same type of software. You’ll never hear them utter anything assinine like “A programmer is just a resource, churning out line after line of code – it doesn’t matter who they are or where we get them”.

        All this talk of CMM and the like by offshore firms (and now some on-shore firms) is, frankly, crap, because it doesn’t enforce the actual quality of the requisite components used to make up the CMM ratings. It is merely a marketing ploy, much like “New and Improved” on the box of your favorite laundry detergent, with the composition of the same ingredients altered a little, sometimes for the worse.

        The reason I mention this is because CMM ratings and the like are becoming inadequate substitutes for what it really takes to develop good software.

        Managers who’ve come up the ranks such as ‘Catherine’ aspires to do (w/o actual programming experience) are the ones who fall for the CMM BS and are probably the primary reason why offshoring is currently an issue, and why it will fail – in one way or the other, later if not sooner – for US corporations specifically and the US as a whole ultimately.

        • #3329147

          We had a thread about this not so long back

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Progamming experience is a must.

          in connection with being a PM. I’ve worked for many managers of the type you describe (lots of time in manufacturing), and in the main they knew their limitations and got out of my way when it was time to practice my expertise. So I don’t believe she needs programming experience, a basic idea of what it’s about coupled with an appreciation of her own limits and a willingness to listen to the people she’s managing will do the job. I’t’s the business people who once did an excel macro while at college you’ve got to watch out for not fellow profesionals from a different IT discipline.

        • #3342399

          Weak Resume

          by catherine ·

          In reply to Progamming experience is a must.

          From what you mention, does that mean my resume will be much weaker than another candidate with richer programming experience? Because the employer will think that all I have got is talk, and I didn’t manage to get my hands “dirty” doing the tedious programming…

          I do understand the basics of programming, security, networking, but you can’t substitute real working experience with academic education. Even with a MCSE, employers expect to see how you practice, not “preach”!

          The critical part (from what I gathered) is making a compromise between business expectations and IT limitations. So, is programming really the “hard” way to move (vertically / horizontally) in the IT industry?

      • #3329168

        Know your Trade

        by Anonymous ·

        In reply to Gotta pay your dues

        I believe that key to success is knowledge. Know your trade. Know some background on what you are doing. I’ve run across IT pros who not only knew all about their own field of work, but also one or more other fields. The more flexible you are, the better.

        I think most IT professionals should have at least a little programming experience and a basic knowledge of how computer hardware works. A little networking knowledge is also useful. These days, that is knowledge you’re best not to be without.

        Sometimes learning these things can help you come up with more creative and useful answers to situations in your work. Programming isn’t just learning to write instruction code that make computers work. Programming teaches some valuable skills you can use in other areas as well. It teaches a method of logical thinking that can prove very useful.

    • #3335655

      Well the

      by tony hopkinson ·

      In reply to Programming Start

      ability to do it or at least understand the principles won’t hurt.
      There are four tracks through IT + technical sales which is really sales with a different product.
      Quality Assurance/ Business Analysis
      Prgramming believe it or not is not mandatory in any of them. Well a little tongue in cheek, it is a useful skill if you are a non VB developer.
      Administration, coding or at least scripting is a useful string to your bow, the first two it’s a nice to know.
      P.S. Programming is the art of taking a complex task and breaking it down into a series of small steps defined by the language in which you are programming, so you are doing it all the time.
      If you don’t enjoy the strict formalism of it don’t do it, you won’t ever be good at it until you do enjoy it, and will probably be more comfortable with the fuzzier end of the business such as project management or QA.

      • #3352087

        there is a benefit though,

        by jaqui ·

        In reply to Well the

        knowing programming does help to both learn new applications and to troubleshoot when someone screws them up.

      • #3352082

        Business IT

        by catherine ·

        In reply to Well the

        I like the idea of learning the business side of IT, because business and profits are what drive the economy, the stock prices today. IT, I think, is more of a backroom operation.

        What I am not sure, is how and when I can engage in this business IT, without going through the phase of 9am to 5pm programming everyday.

        • #3352049

          9 to 5 is for loonatics

          by jaqui ·

          In reply to Business IT

          no sane person will work 9 to 5.

          never trust anyone that works 9 to 5 and likes it.
          they are completely untrustworthy.
          even worse if they bought into the corporate dress code, then they just proved themselves to be brain dead monkeys.( they wearing monkey suits ain’t they )

        • #3351983

          There is no such thing…

          by amcol ·

          In reply to 9 to 5 is for loonatics

          …as a 9 to 5 job.

          This is not an IT related concept, this is true of any discipline.

          It’s the big workplace lie, perpetuated by a wide variety of sources ranging from government to employers to unions to the media to…you get the picture.

          Get this idea out of your head immediately. You will not find a job…in any discipline, in any geography, in any company, at any level…in which 9 to 5 will be realistic.

        • #3351979

          In the UK a 9 – 5 er

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to There is no such thing…

          Is someone who gets in a minute before they should start, takes an exact hour for lunch and is out of the door exactly at finishing time no matter what.
          Wouldn’t survive in IT for more than a day, except for management of course.

        • #3351975

          And do you think that’s right??

          by obiwaynekenobi ·

          In reply to In the UK a 9 – 5 er

          Do you REALLY think it’s right to be forced to put in more than your fair share of work?

          I utterly despise it when I have to work overtime at my job (partly because I’m on salary now and part because it’s only to continue doing the same thing I do for the previous 8 hours. And nevermind that I don’t really take a lunch break..)

          To me this demonstrates the sad state of corporate ethics: Work ’em for everything you can, without any regard. 8 hour days are bad enough, if you ask me.

        • #3351897

          It’s not an issue of right or wrong

          by amcol ·

          In reply to And do you think that’s right??

          First of all, I agree with you…eight hours a day is enough. Forty hours a week is enough. Work is not real life, it’s just a place you come between your life. Anyone who consistently puts in a significant amount of overtime is either incompetent or in the wrong job.

          But this is an issue of practical reality. The work force is as competitive as it’s ever been, ever. As an employer I can hire you for what I describe as a forty hour per week job, and that’s what you sign up for. If all you’re willing to do is your forty hours and I have a whole bunch of other people who are willing to work longer hours for the same pay (which is absolute reality), what am I supposed to do?

          No question there are those companies that hire people fully intending to burn them out, and do so disingenuously. But that also is a two way street. IT people in particular have always been known as industry loyal but company disloyal. We are IT people first, and company weenies second. Don’t kid yourself for a nanosecond that companies aren’t aware of this. Knowing this to be true, and knowing that as soon as a better opportunity comes along we’re quite likely to jump ship, why SHOULD companies act any other way toward us?

          You used an interesting word…”forced”. Not to play semantic games but no one’s forcing anyone to do anything. Your company can certainly attempt to make you work longer than forty hours, but that’s when your freedom of choice kicks in. You can choose to acquiesce, or you can choose to take your skills elsewhere. Slavery’s been illegal in this country for quite some time.

        • #3351886

          I get paid for the hours I work

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to And do you think that’s right??

          no one forces me to do it.
          I do a lot of work in 24/7 manufacturing, leaving the place while it’s in a tip is not an option, because all your colleagues then get left in the sh1t. If I’m professional enough to stop, my employers should be professional enough to pay me.

          I’ve talked to people who think that’s a bad career move, they are still being shafted in the same job.
          If I stop to fix something then I have time off, or book it. This isn’t optional for them, if I don’t get paid I don’t work. If you are in bad situation unload on your employers not me.

          This is an attitude I’ve always had, not something I can now afford to do. Threaten me with a good shafting or no job, don’t bother getting your d1ck out because I’m gone.

        • #3351896


          by jaqui ·

          In reply to There is no such thing…

          when I worked at a bank, it was a monday to friday 9 to 5 job.

          didn’t last, as I can’t handle days.
          it does exist, but it isn’t common, not by a long shot.

        • #2794436

          I disagree

          by gaprogrammer ·

          In reply to There is no such thing…

          A blanket statement like that is pretty
          ridiculous. I have been working 9-5 for a
          while now. I completely agree that many of
          you out there work 60+ hrs a week. Good for
          you. As for me, when 5pm hits, I am out the
          door. I do occasionally work late for
          upgrades, emergencies, etc, but so far it has
          been 9-5 for me.

          I enjoy my job, but at the end of the day,
          that is all that it is – a job. Family and
          friends are a higher priority for me.

        • #3351893

          From a Loonatic

          by dc_guy ·

          In reply to 9 to 5 is for loonatics

          Hey, people differ tremendously from one another. Some of us simply don’t want the kind of life in which our children never know whether they’re going to see us on any given night; we spend $200 for tickets to see Velvet Revolver and so sorry gotta work that night; we’re working 60-70 hour weeks and noticing that both our productivity and quality have dropped off and that our paycheck has not increased; we’re sitting in a cubicle with a placard on the wall saying “Work smarter, not harder” at 9:00 pm and all we get for it is “free” pizza.

          My life encompasses a heck of a lot more than this ***** job. And believe me, the work-all-you-want-for-free jobs are just as ***** as the nine-to-fivers after a couple of years of never seeing your own garden in the daylight and having your dog treat you as a stranger.

          Henry Ford discovered 75 years ago that 40 hours is all that a human being can work in one week without loss of attention and coordination. The companies that have pushed the work week back up to 50 hours like it was in 1900, with only 40 hours pay, should be torn down and sold for scrap. And their executives should be sent to Antarctica, preferably without parkas.

        • #3351884

          Antartica’s beautifully unspoilt

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to From a Loonatic

          we should leave it that way, send ’em to a rwandan shanty town instead.

        • #3351836

          Yes, and no

          by amcol ·

          In reply to From a Loonatic

          Yes, life is more than work. Yes, everyone’s different and wants different things out of life. Like you, I’d rather spend time with my kids than my co-workers. And if there’s a professional price to pay for that, I’ll pay it willingly.

          No, it’s not just a matter of productivity falling off after 40 hours (which isn’t true, BTW). Here again, as I said in a previous post, you have an issue of practical reality…staying competitive in an increasingly shrinking world.

          If each country were entirely self-sufficient and businesses only had to compete with other domestic businesses the ones that would eventually win would be those that performed the best within the context of that microcosmic environment. On the world stage we’re all competing with the Japanese, whose standard workweek exceeds 60 hours; with the Chinese, who are quickly learning how to create high quality low cost goods in mass volume; and with any number of other countries, who all do something well enough to cause the rest of us to have to adjust accordingly.

          Competing in that macrocosm means doing things better, or faster, or cheaper. Henry Ford may have opined (not discovered) that productivity tends to diminish after 40 hours but his contemporary Thomas Edison was famous for working 20 hours a day, seven days a week. He did pretty well for himself, too. Who was right?

        • #3350575

          Edison was a Coke head

          by dr dij ·

          In reply to Yes, and no

          Edison relied heavily on use of Cocaine (legal at that time) for his 20 hour days. It is true productivity drops off after 45 or so hours. there are numerous studies showing this.

          It may not be true for individuals but on a whole holds. You also may not be willing to admit you’re not working as well or as productive after long hours.

          All developing countries their hours tend to drop off as they become more productive. While the chinese produce good quality at times, alot of what they produce is CR*P and ends up in $.99 store.

          60 hours or not, the japanese are also finding thenselves priced out of market and increasingly subcontracting to lower wage areas. Hours worked don’t directly compare as we use more productivity machinery, software, etc.

          There are industries that we actually are lower cost in US regardless of labor rates. The chinese are being used by their government which has kept their currency from floating, and it would go up quite a bit. This is to keep their sales to US market by pricing their people’s labor artificially low, enslaving them.

        • #3250074

          Reply To: Programming Start

          by doug m. ·

          In reply to Edison was a Coke head

          And don’t forget that the Japanese, from what I hear, have a high suicide rate from all those long hours.

        • #3329054

          Yes and yes

          by dc_guy ·

          In reply to Yes, and no

          “No, it’s not just a matter of productivity falling off after 40 hours (which isn’t true, BTW).”

          I beg your pardon, but it is true. I published a paper on this topic a couple of years ago and exhaustive research showed that IS development productivity drops back to benchmark after merely three 45-hour weeks. More surprisingly (to the Theory X managers who refuse to die off) is that companies that have experimented with shorter work weeks experienced such a drop in defect rate that their net productivity actually increased.

          How many of us have had the experience of working until 9pm, then spending the entire next day undoing the damage we had done when we were too fatigued to see straight?

          America is in a death spiral. Overworked developers produce low-quality software. More developers have to be pulled out of development and reassigned to maintenance. Fewer developers are left for the next project, which therefore posts an even higher defect rate.

          Sorry I can’t tell you where to find my article. My company only lets me participate in this BBS if I remain totally anonymous. But it’s real, it was published in 2002, and there was no trouble finding mountains of statistics which overwhelmingly supported my conclusion. You can probably find my source material faster than you’ll find my article.

          The Japanese with their 60-hour week are discovering the same problems that we have. Families are fracturing due to insufficient parenting, as the practice of men renting rooms in town and only coming home on weekends is growing. The new generation of workers is rebelling against the straitjacket of Japan Inc. A growing portion of the young female population refuses to date their male peers because they feel that marrying one of them will doom them to a life of loneliness. And surely we’ve all noticed that the legendary high quality of Japanese products is becoming nothing more than a legend.

          If you’re looking for a role model, try France. Police patrol corporate parking lots after hours to make sure no significant segment of the workforce is working overtime, and if they find any, the corporate managers are fined.

          Western Europe in aggregate has a shorter work week than the U.S. To the extent that it translates into a slightly lower standard of living–and that’s arguable–workers consider it a more than fair trade. They don’t see the point in working themselves to death in order to buy a nicer car–to drive to work.

        • #3342384

          Sorry, no sale

          by amcol ·

          In reply to Yes and yes

          Holding France up as an example of anything positive in terms of work ethic is a self defeating argument. France, and most if not all of Europe for that matter, basically takes August off. It’s a little hard to compete in the world marketplace if you’re sitting on the Left Bank sipping lattes and eating brioche for a month.

          I’m not going to take exception with the findings you reached in the paper you published. I don’t need to read it to say that…the fact that you did the research and got it public tells me you know more about this than I do. However, you are focusing on only one organizational slice out of the larger corporate whole. It may be physically and mentally true that productivity falls off after 40/45/50/whatever hours, but the practical fact is that the higher one rises in an organization the harder you’re expected to work and the greater your output is expected to be. Those of us in such positions have to develop coping mechanisms in order to stay at the top of our games no matter how late the hour.

          That’s not possible to do once you achieve a high station. You need to develop these techniques early on, when you’re still at the organizational slice you discuss. Whether or not productivity falls off after 40 hours is irrelevant…you gotta do what you gotta do, no matter what.

        • #3250001

          Well a bit of each

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Yes and yes

          Mainland europe seems to have a particularly strange attitude to work, as though it was some sort of right or something. I worked in Holland for a fair while, and while they were very on the ball while they were there, they seemd to operate on a five hour day as far as I could make out. The UK is a bit more ‘work oriented’ but we do have an overtime culture. Personally I don’t have a problem with a longer working week, as long as the hours are in keeping with my body. I’ve started after 9 O’clock and done lots of consecutive ten hour days when necessary but ask me to do the same hours starting a 6 am, and the success rate would be abysmal.
          The big difference though is not the hours you work, but how rewarding (financially is not enough) you find the work. Time flies when you are having ‘fun’, but you don’t have fun when you are tired.

        • #3249942

          You’re exactly, precisely right

          by amcol ·

          In reply to Yes and yes

          This is where the arguments about productivity falling off after 40 hours break down. If you love what you do, if you get fulfillment from your job, if you enjoy the challenge, if you feel fairly rewarded and compensated for your efforts, you can put in 1,000 hours and your productivity won’t suffer a molecule.

          There is no magic clock that kicks in once we reach 40 hours of work effort. The prevailing standard of 40 hours work per week is artificial; back when the standard was 50 hours, do you suppose there were any studies that showed how productivity fell off after that level?

          IMHO it’s a clock watcher mentality that leads to these kinds of conclusions.

        • #3251892

          Two sides to everything

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Yes and yes

          If enjoying your work makes you more productive, why do certain a$$holes try and take the fun out of it ?.
          My absolute favourite though was a manager who docked me 30 mins time for being ten minutes late, then that evening refused to pay the extra twenty minutes after four, because he only paid half hours.
          Course pay back’s a b1tch, he’s stacking shelves in a supermarket now, where he belongs.

        • #3251859

          productivity after hours

          by john.a.wills ·

          In reply to Yes and yes

          When someone “works” 60 hr/wk is he really working or merely chatting, drinking coffee, snacking, etc.? He probably gets less than 40 hr work done in the 60 hr.

        • #3251841

          Reply to Amcol

          by dc_guy ·

          In reply to Yes, and no

          Sorry, the “Maximum messages” flag shows up at random so I couldn’t post this in the right place. You say that as you rise in the corporate hierarchy, you’re expected to take even more time away from your real life and invest it in the surreal life of the American workplace.

          That’s not true everywhere. One of my classes had some attendees who were American employees of the U.S. Nokia plant. They insisted on staying after hours because they thought that was the only way to get ahead. Their Finnish managers locked their desks promptly at 5:00 and went home, and thought the Americans were nuts, incompetent, or at the very least woefully disorganized. They felt that if you have to stay late to get your job done, then you’re not very good at it. And if you simply have more work to do than can be done in a standard work week, your manager is lying on his status reports.

          You also ask how the human race got along for so many thousands of years with work weeks much longer than 40 hours. The answer is simple. Back then most people did work that was primarily physical labor.

          As the institution of government arose — the first bastion of what we now call “knowledge work” — it was discovered that our brains need more rest than our musculature in order to perform properly. The U.S. government has always been the trendsetter in the length of the work week, cutting it from six 12-hour days to six 10-hour days almost two hundred years ago.

          Of course there is a small percentage of the population with the ability to produce high-quality work with far less rest than the average worker. Those people should be rewarded handsomely and be given the assignments with the most difficult deadlines. The problem with the American workplace is that every manager believes that every single one of those exceptional people will be assigned to his project.

          If you haven’t seen managers do some really stooopid stuff because of overwork, you haven’t been paying attention. They’re no better than the rest of us. I’ve always thought that promotions into management reward inefficiency. I remember working with those same guys when they were programmers, and they couldn’t get their jobs done right in an 8-hour day back then either.

        • #3251832

          Not entirely

          by amcol ·

          In reply to Reply to Amcol

          While you make some good points, most of what you’re saying is gross generalization. I don’t believe that 40 is some magic number representing the point beyond which most/all/some people can’t function properly. We’re all different from each other. We’re even different from ourselves…I don’t work as hard now as I did when I was younger, mostly because I can’t. In my twenties it was easy to work 80 or 90 hours a week, and an occasional all-nighter was no problem. Today, thirty years later, I’m pencils down at 60 hours.

          The only point you made I’ll take strong exception to is where you say “there is a small percentage of the population with the ability to produce high-quality work with far less rest than the average worker”. Horsefeathers. I’m sure you have all kinds of studies you can quote supporting this notion, but there’s no component of the equation that represents a scientifically measurable parameter. Statistics are too easily manipulated to render any conclusions from such studies credible.

          I don’t understand your reasoning that physical labor explains why people can work beyond 40 hours. I’m a heck of a lot more tired after 40 hours of hauling bricks than I am after 40 hours of deep thought…aren’t you?

          Want to get religious about this? God rested on the seventh day, after having worked pretty hard for six. I mean, let’s face it…it takes a fair amount of effort to create the universe. But God made man in His image, so how come we can’t work as hard as God?

          You know, I think I’m on to something there. Creating the universe requires both physical and mental labor, so that kind of blows up your argument about 40 hours of physical labor also. And it’s not as if God had any assistants…this was pretty much the effort of an individual contributor, yet He was able to concentrate and perform at an impressive degree of productivity for six days in a row. Not to mention, the Bible doesn’t say anything about God taking a nap in between creating evening and morning and the sun and the planets…He basically worked straight through. So, by my arithmetic, God was able to work productively for 144 straight hours without a rest. Whew! I’m getting tired just thinking about it.

        • #3251164

          Quantity = Quality?

          by catherine ·

          In reply to Reply to Amcol

          It’s quite interesting to observe how some people stood by the 5pm rule, while the others continue to work on (Nokia example).

          I believe Americans have a stronger belief that quantity of hours = quality of work. The piece of work that you do between 9-5 may be your best, given the 8 hours, but would it become even better, if you work beyond that? Your best work might then be up to your boss’s best expectations. What’s the harm in producing work that really pleases your boss?

          Of course, the Finnish counterparts place a higher premium on lifestyle quality. If a bit of rest sparks off an excellent idea next day at work, that would really solve this problem of “what works late, or leaves early”.

          One problem of working late is that the company would have to pay for your overtime hours, which is not very motivating to the company’s shareholders. Which is why, in my company, we are given leave after certain hours of overtime. Now, that’s back to square one, where I can get the rest I deserved, but at a later date.

        • #3251163

          Quantity = Quality?

          by catherine ·

          In reply to Reply to Amcol

          I posted this thread a while ago, but it did not appear in the forum, so if you happen to read this again, my apologies!

          It can be quite interesting to observe how some people firmly stood by the 5pm rule, while others slog themselves into the night (Nokia example).

          I believe Americans have a belief that the piece of work that you submitted can only be your best for a fixed 8 hours period. If you progress to work beyond 5, this work may even meet your boss’s expectations. What’s the harm of pleasing your boss? That’s where the annually performance appraisal comes in.

          Of course, the Finnish counterparts place a higher premium on lifestlye quality. If a bit of rest can sparked off an excellent idea the next day at work, that can really solve the whole problem of “who leaves early, or works late”.

          If you progess to work late, the company would have to pay for your overtime hours, which does not sound financially motivating to the company’s shareholders. In my company, they give us leave days, for working beyond a certain limit of overtime hours. Then, I can really get the deserved rest that I need, but only at a later date.

        • #3251153

          For Catherine

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Reply to Amcol

          When I worked as a shift data entry clerk, overtime was to cover for sick & holidays etc. You got paid premium, and according to the rules at that time, you had no choice but to stop back for unplanned cover.
          In Support & Admin in a 24/7 environment, if things went pear shaped, you were expected to stop back and get it going again before you left. If it was half an hour, you wrote it off, if you were there a long time you took the time off later.
          In Development, you could stop back and finish something off because it was convenient or if they asked to you to go full on to get something finished for a production dead line. In the latter case you got either non-premium overtime or time off at a later date dependant on what was convenient for the company.
          So the further up the food chain you go the more extra ‘un-rewarded’ effort you are meant to put in.
          I never really cared which way it was played, but I insisted on not losing out for my efforts. I’ve run in to types who thought it was a good career move to be a corporate slave, it is n’t, they’ll just take advantage of you and more to the point leave you in position where they can continue to do so.

        • #3351820

          I”m not

          by jaqui ·

          In reply to From a Loonatic

          saying work huge amounts of hours.
          I’m saying that working days is for looneys.
          I’m perfectly happy and healthy working graveyard shift five days a week.

          then I get the after-school before bedtime with my daughter, not just the after dinner before bedtime.

          go right ahead, buy thhose 200 dollar tickets to a show/conert/game, I’ll stick with being around the house when it’s a professional day at school, so I can go do something with my family, instead of being stuck in the office missing a full day mid-week with my daughter.

          ( the shift thing can be argued both ways huh? 😉 )

        • #3351792

          If you are one shift constantly

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to I”m not

          once you’ve adjusted there’s no problem. It’s switching shifts that ages you. I was grey and wrinkly years before my time.
          Used to enjoy night shifts, 6 – 2 was physically impossible for me and a week of 2-10s, well just forget any plans you had for the non-working hours.

        • #3351779

          my sleep time…

          by jaqui ·

          In reply to If you are one shift constantly

          6 am to 2 pm.

          I don’t really function well until 4 pm.

          spent a year working 4 12 hour shifts a week.
          all graveyard.
          one of the nicest years I had in a long time.

        • #3350687

          Shift work

          by amcol ·

          In reply to I”m not

          We’re not necessarily talking about shift work here, but about number of hours worked regardless of when.

          Frankly, you have my respect. Human being are diurnal and have a circadian rhythm that’s very difficult to disturb, especially on a regular basis. I couldn’t do shift work, and I have a lot of respect for anyone who can do anything I can’t do (which is a very long list, both of people and stuff).

          You’re actually reinforcing the point, BTW. You’ve elected to make a sacrifice…working off hours…so you can have a life. There’s a price you’re paying for this, but you’re willing to pay it because the actual reward (time with your family) exceeds the potential reward (career advancement, more money). Good for you…again, you have my respect.

        • #3350660

          9 to 5 is a myth?

          by catherine ·

          In reply to Shift work

          Right, I believe working in the IT industry is more than 9 to 5. It is not a job where your work ends on the dot, at 5. It is not like the banking sector, etc, where your work begins when the stock market opens. There would be some sort of schedule where you determine what you have to finish today, but mostly, I think we work on tight project basis, where sometimes you literally continue working even when the stars are in.

          Even if we have family commitments, at the end of the day, the company is so-called our “artificial parent”, because of salary factor. Else, where can buy Gucci bags or watch the next Broadway show?

          So, Cheers to all IT professionals, and work harder.

        • #3350484


          by jaqui ·

          In reply to Shift work

          I now work for myself, so I make time to be with family whenever.

          my natural circadian rhythm is is to be awake at night, so working the night hours is far easier on me physically, mentally and emotionally than working half the hours in the days is.
          ( my mom has told me stories about being sound asleep in my crib at < 6 months old, turn light off and I would wake up and play, turn it on and I would go to sleep )

        • #3350582

          I work 8-4:30 :)

          by dr dij ·

          In reply to 9 to 5 is for loonatics

          No point killing yourself on the job. Reminds me of recent (spoof) TV adds where pharmaceutical company is thanking americans for their work ethic and driving themselves into the ground, and telling them relief will be available in their product. And similar one for mortuary plots.

          I go home and have lots of interesting things to work on, some computer related, others using computers but not programming related. makes it all worthwhile.

          When there is a real urgent need I’ll stay late (and get OT), and is OK with me because I’m not doing it all the time. I also work harder when I’m there as I don’t have ‘staying there too many hours burnout’.

          project managers get good pay. you might be ideal for consulting job as they give overall direction some of the time instead of actually coding; map out architecture, etc. there is also IT auditing (see

        • #3329160

          Being a Well Dressed Man

          by bfilmfan ·

          In reply to 9 to 5 is for loonatics

          A truly well dressed man wears a tuxedo to work…

          Did ya ever notice how much I look like that Linux penguin in my profile pic? haha

        • #3352020

          Project Management & Business Analysis

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Business IT

          are the starts educationally.
          Another way in on the ground floor is to look for opportunities to work testing software. I’ve worked at places where they wanted to give a new application a damn good bashing, and they’d fetch some temps in to do the grunt work. One of them ended up with a job in QA and is doing quite well now.
          You might want to post a more specific thread on the how to get in on the ground floor of being a business IT person, It’s not a route I’ve gone down.

        • #3350658

          Quiet Hero

          by catherine ·

          In reply to Project Management & Business Analysis

          I have thought of QA, but it seems ultimately, there is a stronger sense of status and priviledge given to the programming guys than the testers. People are always more interested in who “developed what”? QA, it seems to me, is more of a “unsung hero” profession.

        • #3350618


          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Quiet Hero

          A lot of places QA is under the wing of the business analyst. Also these guys tend to be The Customer Account Manager as well. Generally ‘programmers’ (more likely analyst/developers) are not considered to be business oriented. Wrong in many cases but it is a prevailing attitude that programmers tend to be geeks, who want to spend the entire IT buget on some cool tool, or do a total re-write to the next ‘in’ technology.
          It’s very hard to progress up the ladder from just a coding environment. You need provable business and management skills.

        • #3352249

          Cheers, Everybody

          by catherine ·

          In reply to Depends

          Thank you for all your advice. It has been thought-provoking, getting such a variety of advice.

          Cheers to all IT professionals. We shall rule the virtual world! Get Moving Now!

        • #3330863

          whaddy mean

          by jaqui ·

          In reply to Cheers, Everybody

          we do rule it. 😉
          after all, majority of people wouldn’t be able to keep the systems running if it weren’t for us.

          ooohhh..that just gave me an interesting idea.

    • #3350465

      Positions in IT

      by craig herberg ·

      In reply to Programming Start

      There are many other things to do in IT besides programming. System administration, network engineering, and security are but a few. I believe that help desk and programming positions are the ones most likely to be offshored.

      Good luck.

      Craig Herberg

    • #3250010

      Many other options

      by techrepublic ·

      In reply to Programming Start

      There are tons and tons of careers other than programming. System Administration, Integration, Implementation, Project Management, Documentation, QA, Security, Training etc. etc. do not require a heavy programming background, nor current programming skills.

      You can work your way up from the bottom rungs in these fields fairly easily if you are talented.

      Figure out what interests you, and do it.

    • #3251863

      Tech starts

      by boston ·

      In reply to Programming Start

      From my 12 years of experience in the technical field, I have found that companies are usually divided into divisions [Programing, Support, & Networks]. Depending on what you would like to do with your future and your experience would assist you to find the right path. I have found that most people that start within the support area climb into network support. Programers seems to work their way into mainframes etc. Some of the best technical people I have worked with did not have very much programing experience. Hope this helps.

      • #3251838

        Re:Tech starts

        by rayjeff ·

        In reply to Tech starts

        Now, that’s very interesting.

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