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Comment: Re:If Java had never been invented (Score 1) 377

by RR (#49757615) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever

I've studied Java (and C#) a little, and have generally been interested and see some value there. But I have never actually had an explicit need for Java, so I never stuck with it long enough to become proficient in it. In particular, mastering Java's libraries is a daunting task. So, if I can live my life without it, I wonder how much worse off the rest of the world would be if it had never been invented?

Like any hypothetical history, we can’t ever know. As TFA says, Java didn’t introduce any new technology. It just bundled them together and marketed them. If not Java, then another language could have done that. However, I think the world would have been a lot better off if this hypothetical language didn’t bring with it Tony Hoare’s Billion Dollar Mistake.

For your life, I think Java validated the idea of building significant systems on a VM. Python was around before Java, but it was considered a slow language for scripts. Java showed that a slow language could be fast enough, and it also made Jython possible and was part of the environment when PyPy was created.

Comment: Re:Lives up to a lot of the hype (Score 1) 377

by RR (#49754527) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever

That all came too late for me. I was so excited when Java came out. GUIs that could run on anything.

Also, the Java GUIs back then were, without exception, ugly and laggy. Most of them are still ugly and/or laggy. And while the Javascript VM and CSS interpreter start running with the browser, going to a web page with animated Java buttons would cause an excessive pause while the Java VM launched and checked for permissions. Java startup speed doesn’t seem to be a major problem anymore, though: Everything now takes forever to start up.

The Write Once Run Anywhere of HTML5 is certainly compelling, though I’m immensely disappointed with the taste of Javascript, CSS, and Flat Design.

Comment: Re:Plant? (Score 1) 377

by RR (#49753237) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever

"The short version is that Minecraft is now bundling a standalone version of Java into their installation."

So dead we're distributing it as part of the product!

That is death for Java as a platform. In the past several years, the only reason I’ve seen for most people to have a Java plugin installed (and the always-neglected Java Update process, and the Ask toolbar) was because they needed the whole JRE to run Minecraft. Now Microsoft is eliminating that requirement.

Comment: Re:Where will future workers be trained? (Score 1) 442

There may be some people who have all this experience but I seriously doubt they're doing it for the stated salary in any large city in the U.S. If they are, they're desperate for any job.

Here in Silicon Valley, one hiring manager actually called me just to taunt me about this. He claimed that he had no shortage of applicants with the years and the specific experience that he's looking for, so why should he consider giving me the job?

Comment: Facebook is the worst (Score 1) 442

Facebook is one of the worst companies for job applicants. They have a thousand different job openings, but an individual applicant is allowed to apply to only a handful every year. Right under the Apply now button, "Please limit to 3 applications."

And they actually enforce it. "You've applied to the maximum number of allowed positions at this time. Please check back again in a few months."

No surprise, they can't find anybody to fill their job openings.

Comment: Re:Lies, bullshit, and more lies ... (Score 1) 442

I do know how rendering pipelines work, and how linear algebra works, and how low level memory management works, but I'm not going to get past your hiring filters because I haven't had a need to use those for a job, yet. 0 experience = 0 job offers.

Every hiring manager should read and understand The Hiring Post from (a former hiring person for) Matasano.

Comment: Re:Perfect security (Score 1) 460

by RR (#49424021) Attached to: Planes Without Pilots

In the "remote controller" system, the only reason you would need to rely on communications is if there were a major systems failure on board and the on-board pilot could not control the aircraft.

But sometimes the major systems failure is in the pilot life support systems. Helios Airways Flight 522 might have had a different outcome if the autopilot were programmed to land the plane, instead of just circling until it ran out of fuel.

Comment: Re:Anti-JS sentiment (Score 1) 198

JavaScript was originally just going to control some minor browser behavior; moving windows around, etc. So it didn't need to be efficient or well thought out. Then it got extended and overused so much that it slowed down computers so noticeably that it caught the attention of everyone.

Actually, web technologies were horrible, with every major browser adding its own incompatible extensions and the W3C barricaded in an ivory tower, and Microsoft extended their version of Javascript to support the insane uses of Internet Explorer as the Windows Update control panel and stuff like that. Then Microsoft won the browser wars, and web technology stagnated, until some people figured out that "the XML HTTP thing" could be used to create web applications that communicated in objects instead of reloading all the time, and Jesse Garrett gave it the name Ajax. Then there was a business use for Javascript to be fast.

Then Douglas Crockford discovered that Javascript has good parts, the WhatWG started doing HTML5, and now many web sites don't show anything at all without Javascript, but at least you can compile a sane language into Javascript.

Comment: Re:Define "Qualified" (Score 1) 407

by RR (#49357227) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

Your advice is evidence of your privilege.

Wow. I'm an anonymous coward, which means you know practically nothing about me, and you're accusing me of having unearned advantage?

I'm amazed that you came back. I almost never track down what happens when I post anonymously. Also, I know almost nobody here, anonymous or not.

Believe it or not, I'm also a self-taught coder, from the era before everything was freely available online and all these "Learn to Code" etc schemes were operating. If you wanted computer access you had to hunt it down or build one of your own.

I miss those days. Bill Gates got started by selling a traffic counting program to city governments when he was in high school. It helped that his parents were loaded and had connections, but a high schooler would be extremely lucky to get revenue from such a simple program now.

I've been avoiding buying gadgets because my part-time job doesn't pay enough to afford it, and also I don't have time.

When I said "gadget" I meant a gadget that you built yourself, not one that you purchased.

No, I think I understood correctly. One of the things I want to build is a controller to go to a $1000 piece of machinery. I looked at how much it would cost to get the parts, and I can't really spare the $100, not to mention the risk of damaging that $1000 device. I don't have a whole lot of use for a $50 Raspberry Pi With Blinking Lights.

That's what's insidious about privilege. It takes a lot of effort to understand somebody who's in a drastically different life situation.

What do you have 15 years of experience in, if you don't mind me asking?

I have over 15 years of experience with installing and running Linux on workstations, servers, and routers, and also 15 years with audio-video systems. Before that, I used Classic MacOS, even as a router for a while. It worked surprisingly well. I've also programmed in various languages for over 20 years; however, my father was on the wrong side of history (he actually liked PL/I), so I'm counting only the last 10 years with modern programming languages.

Comment: Re:Define "Qualified" (Score 1) 407

by RR (#49356907) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

Almost every job I apply to, when I do get a response, I get a form letter: "Blah blah blah, we're impressed by your skills and experience, but we're going to concentrate on other candidates who match our needs more closely right now. kthxbye."

Never apply online. You are lucky enough to be getting a form letter for your trouble; most people just never hear anything, if they go that route.

I play the numbers. 100 applications leads to about 10 summary rejections and about 3 screening phone calls. Maybe 1000 applications to get to the second interview. It is an extremely inefficient process, but I have no industry contacts, and my part-time work frequently overlaps the industry's party times.

A few of the companies make me jump through hoops, the coding challenges, before sending me the same form letter.

OK, here's the reality of things. As an autodidact, you are probably not very qualified to work on a team, because you lack the proper vocabulary to communicate with your team members. This will come through in an in-person interview (really, the only kind anyone should consider, unless they are about to graduate, and take a phone interview instead).

The way it will come through is that you will perhaps know how to solve a problem using the computer, and you might even write the correct code on the whiteboard, but you won't talk about "Big 'O' notation" (algorithmic time order complexity) correctly, you'll probably think "everything is a linked list" or "everything is a btree", and you won't be able to name algorithms, and you won't be able to answer questions like "Why did you use a bubble sort, rather than a quicksort? Why didn't you do an insertion sort when you were building your data structure?".

Prejudice much? I did take algorithms in college, and I read algorithms papers. So far, only 1 company got as far as discussing the algorithm, and they were impressed. But they're busy doing a death march, trying to get a particularly complex product into the market, and in the end they were spooked by the lack of "qualifications." That was 1 month of stringing me along for nothing.

If you insist on this (non-degreed) route as an autodidact, my advice is to get the Knuth Algoriths books, and Sedgewick C++ algorithms book, and several other books that include discussions on "Big O", and learn the vocabulary so that you'll be prepared for your next interview.

Yes, well, I already have a bookshelf full of books and scientific papers to read. Sedgewick also has a very interesting MOOC on algorithms (that doesn't give you a qualification). It's just impossible to concentrate on studying when I'm in the wrong level of Maslow's Hierarchy.

I don't need more books. I need money.

I suspect that I will have to start my own company, just to create my own qualifications. This job market sucks.

Starting your own company will solve your employment problem.

Actually, it might not, because I don't have any ideas right now that would lead to money, except for some ideas that would require me to immediately spend money that I don't have. That's a downside of working at a charity-type non-profit: You tend to look for solutions that don't involve money. There's not much difference between self-employed with no revenue, and unemployed.

Comment: Re:Define "Qualified" (Score 1) 407

by RR (#49352291) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

Ugh. "Don't give up." As if I had a choice.

Your advice is evidence of your privilege. At the moment, between my part-time job, my tech-related volunteering, and my job applications, I don't have a whole lot of time to contribute to open-source projects. I've been avoiding buying gadgets because my part-time job doesn't pay enough to afford it, and also I don't have time. I like what I do, but my employer is non-profit and doesn't have a lot of respect in the technology industry, for good reason.

Those are all qualifications that you're saying I should pay for myself. I barely have any money. I can't afford to invest right now, and I was really hoping that my 15 years of experience would be enough at least for an internship. But so far, nothing.

Just today, I received an email about a Clojure developer job. I replied that I used Clojure and wanted the job. The recruiter then called back and wasted 15 minutes of my time, saying that because I used Clojure for a personal project and not commercially for a client, then it didn't count, even if it was on Github.

Maybe there is a good employer out there, but applying to jobs is extremely tedious and I haven't found that employer, yet. So far, I have over 50 distinct logins for taleo.net, 10 for silkroad.com, 10 for ultipro.com, 10 for brassring.com, and 5 for apply2jobs.com; and I've been finding JobScore, lever.co, and greenhouse to be extremely tedious. I bet it's tedious for the hiring managers, too, so I don't expect them to find my resume on their own. What I really need are industry contacts.

Comment: Re:Define "Qualified" (Score 1) 407

by RR (#49352203) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

A millennial with a 5 digit UID? That would mean you started your account when you were, at most, ten years old and this site less than three years old. Something smells fishy.

Haha, yeah, I'm a bit ambivalent about whether I should classify myself as the youngest Gen Xer or the oldest Millenial. I was a teenager when I made this account. I'm also a third-generation computer user.

Comment: Re:God I wish we'd stop hearing this myth. (Score 1) 407

by RR (#49352111) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

What I'm hearing, for example from Carol Dweck, is that self-esteem is not a noble goal by itself. Certainly, we shouldn't be trashing people's efforts, as Microsoft discovered after they canceled Courier; at least, I'm guessing that's the client who called Dan Ariely (video) for help. (Text summary.) In general, good work is intrinsically rewarding. I'm sick of this culture of fake cheerfulness.

Comment: Invest in workers (Score 3, Insightful) 407

by RR (#49352055) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

Another problem is that very few companies want to invest in their workers. They want somebody who already has the skills that they need, and will be performing the same role for the extent of their employment there. No wonder there is so much job hopping among the people who are qualified. Never mind that even qualified people take weeks or months to get up to speed in a project of any complexity. Everybody's asking for, "Hit the ground running."

My problem is that my last 15 years of education, work, and hobbies, they just sweep it away as "Not qualified." Heinlein's Specialization is for insects? Doesn't exist as far as recruiters are concerned. You've been a network admin but haven't used OSPF? Fail. You've been a Clojure programmer but haven't used it for a commercial client? Fail. You've run a helpdesk for dozens of clients but haven't supported thousands of clients? Fail. Well, you recruiters fail, as far as I'm concerned.

Comment: Define "Qualified" (Score 1) 407

by RR (#49351995) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

I am a largely self-taught millennial, and I have been experiencing the hardest time getting a technology job right now. Almost every job I apply to, when I do get a response, I get a form letter: "Blah blah blah, we're impressed by your skills and experience, but we're going to concentrate on other candidates who match our needs more closely right now. kthxbye." A few of the companies make me jump through hoops, the coding challenges, before sending me the same form letter. This is in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, where you can supposedly just walk across Market Street and get a new job.

All these Learn to Code, Hour of Code, Computer Science for Everyone are doing is giving false hope. You learn to code, but you got no qualifications. You have to pay one of Dice's commercial partners out of your own pocket to get the qualifications. That's what every employer is holding out for: Qualifications that they're not paying for.

I suspect that I will have to start my own company, just to create my own qualifications. This job market sucks.

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