[rescue] info trumps man

Richard legalize at xmission.com
Fri Jan 20 21:13:29 CST 2006

In article <43D19F4E.7020105 at widomaker.com>,
    Charles Shannon Hendrix <shannon at widomaker.com>  writes:

> Richard wrote:
> > In article <dqouqg$jkr$1 at dopiaza.cabal.org.uk>,
> >     abuse at cabal.org.uk (Peter Corlett)  writes:
> > 
> >>I think I'd rather look for a new career than have to earn a crust
> >>programming Win32.
> > 
> > I'm a self-confessed mass-market slut.  I gave up being religious
> > about my computing platform after securing a bank loan (cosigned by my
> > parents) for about $4,000 in 1985 in order to acquire an Amiga 1000.
> > After pouring very hard earned money down that rathole, I vowed never
> > to be swimming upstream against the computing market.  
> Supporting UNIX is not swimming upstream though.

It depends on the market, which is my whole point.  I follow what the
market is doing in the area I want to live.  If I was willing to move
to Silicon Valley or Redmond, I could have a different job than I have
now, but my standard of living would be much lower as costs of living
in those areas are higher than Salt Lake, but the pay differential
doesn't exceed the COL differential -- net result, lower standard of

> It might be where you live, I don't know, but comparing Amiga to UNIX is 
> like comparing apples to quasars.

I'm not comparing Amiga to *nix.  I'm saying that it pays to
understand the job market and make sure that you have marketable
skills.  Without investing in keeping your skills marketable in the
area where you want to live, you become more and more unemployable as
the technology continues to evolve and your skill set becomes less of
a match for what the market is seeking.

The Amiga was the last time I let my love of a platform be the
guidance on my career.  Since then, I have paid attention to what the
market wanted and made sure that I had skills that were marketable.
Meanwhile, the *nix bigots that I worked with held tight to their
platform religion as the guiding light of their careers.  They had
difficulty finding work at all and when they found it, it paid less.
That certainly is their choice and their right to cling to their
platform religion to the detriment of their marketability, but its not
what I choose to do.

> There are times and places when you have to pick what positions are 
> open.

Been there, done that.

> That said, Windows employment in most places I've seen seems to be a 
> very up and down affair, kind of like being a boomtown whore.

I don't see this as specific to Windows, technology employment is a
very up and down affair, very boom and bust.  I have friends who work
in Silicon Valley and the Puget Sound area and they report the exact
same state of affairs in those regions (some are Windows oriented in
their skills, some are not).

> Microsoft MCSE's [...]

Since I became a Microsoft MVP, I learned about their developer
certification program.  I've asked lots of other MVPs about it, I've
asked lots of coworkers about it and I've asked employers about it.
The answer has been fairly universal: they don't care.  These
certifications seem more important if you want to be a sysadmin than a
developer.  Once MVP did say that taking the exam taught him some
things about Windows, but I could say the same thing for a good book.
I don't think these developer certifications are of any significance
in the marketplace and if you're meeting developers who are shoving
their MCSE certification around as the most important thing about
their development skills, then I would say they too are disconnected
from the marketplace.

> Windows programmers don't seem to be having much luck either.

I work at a company that is profitable, growing at a healthy clip, and
has many, many people who have worked at this company for more than 5
years and a smaller but still fairly large group who have worked at
this company for 10 years or more.  They are all very good engineers
and the best group of software developers I've ever worked with.  The
business teams in this company are also top shelf.

> Hiring practices have changed a lot too [...]

What you describe about HR isn't any different than experiences I and
others had in the late 80s and early 90s.  Its always best to have
an inside reference.  Short of that, the next best thing is to get a
conversation with the engineers or managers directly and talk to HR after
the fact.  That being said, my current job I got through a headhunting
firm and I didn't know anyone inside the company from previous jobs.
Once I interviewed with the engineers, it was a done deal, but the
headhunter guy did get me in the door.  I was a contractor for 6 months
before becoming a salaried employee about 2 years ago, at a raise over
my previous job.  At the time, I was the only person I knew from my
previous two employers (we'd all been laid off) that got a good job with
a pay *increase*.  My peers were all having difficulty getting *any*
job and the jobs they were being offerred were all at reduced pay from
what they had before.

Market conditions in SLC were tougher for job seekers then than they
are now -- to the extent that we've had difficulty holding onto some
contractors because they get full-time offers from other companies
while contracting for us.  Two years ago, things were quite different.
Still, the people I knew that were having a hard time getting jobs
were people that consistently did not invest in broadening their skill
sets.  They sat in their positions doing the work required of them but
didn't spend any of their time learning new technologies or skills and
literally poo-pooed me for taking the time to learn technologies that
weren't directly needed for my job-of-the-moment.

Your mileage WILL vary from mine, but my approach of continual
investment in my skillset has been profitable for me, while the lack
of investment by my peers was unprofitable for them.
"The Direct3D Graphics Pipeline"-- code samples, sample chapter, FAQ:
             Pilgrimage: Utah's annual demoparty

More information about the rescue mailing list