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Comment: here you go... (Score 1, Insightful) 224

by buddyglass (#47950133) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Becoming a Complacent Software Developer?
Let me fix that for you:

Next year will be the start of my 10th year as a software developer. For the last nine years I've worked for a variety of companies, large and small, on projects of varying sizes. During my career, I have noticed that many of the older software developers prioritize activities other than software development. They would rather do their 9-5, get paid, and go home. They have little, if any, desire to code for the sake of coding left, and I constantly wonder how they became this way. This contradicts my way of thinking; I have rationalized my obsession by calling it passion for what I do, and I enjoy going home self-importantly believing I made some kind of difference.

Needless to say, I think I am starting to see the effects of having a crappy manager. In my current job, I have a development manager who is difficult to deal with on a technical level. He possesses little technical knowledge of basic JavaEE concepts, nor has kept up on any programming in the last 10 years. There is a push from the upper echelon of the business to develop a new, more scalable system, but they don't realize that my manager is the bottleneck. Our team is constantly trying to get him to agree on software industry standards/best practices, but he doesn't get it and often times won't budge. I'm starting to feel the effects of having a crappy manager. What is your advice?

My advice?

1. Try to have some perspective. It's not "complacency" when someone wants to spend time with his family instead of working overtime without pay.
2. Recognize that your manager's problem isn't so much complacency as it is an exaggerated opinion of his own technical competency. He thinks he knows and understands more than he actually does, hence his steadfast refusal to consider the possibility that his team's ideas are actually better than his own.
3. Consider the possibility, however remote, that you may be the one with an exaggerated opinion of your own technical competency and that, just maybe, your manager's vision for the project actually has some advantages. You may end up concluding that this possibility is extremely unlikely; if so, that's fine.
4. Since your manager sounds like kind of a jerk starting looking for another job. If your skills and/or credentials are such that finding another job is difficult then start the process of acquiring new skills and/or credentials so you won't have that problem in the future.

Comment: Re:Why Do You Accept This? (Score 1) 231

by buddyglass (#47926085) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?
My company uses a similar "agile in name only" model and I find it rather terrible. We have the scrum meetings w/ the same three questions. Only, when you're blocked, nobody actually does anything to make sure the person who can un-block you actually does what they need to do to un-block you. Nothing happens if you're working on a feature and it runs longer than it was supposed to, including changing deadline for future commitments. Rather than adjust the schedule to reflect the fact that you were a week late getting Feature #1 done, it's expected that everything else you're scheduled to work on will get done in the time originally scheduled minus one week. So there's always a mad scramble at the end of every release since we're almost always one or two weeks "behind" when we get close to the release date. To combat this, management adds a sprint to the end of every release with no work scheduled. But work does get scheduled in these sprints because new features are almost always added to the schedule mid-release (without changing any of the dates, of course).

Also, exactly opposite the agile model, we have almost no QA taking place during the development phase. So usually during the first half of development for release N we're spending time significant time fixing bugs found during the QA testing of release N-1. And, frequently, modifying how features work because the customer waiting on that feature didn't like the way it worked once they actually saw it. Since our release cycle is longish, though, we can't just tell the customer "it'll be fixed in release N"; no, we have to fix it in release N-1 and merge the changes forward.

It's a bad scene. :)

Comment: Re:Fear-Driven Development is How America Works (Score 1) 231

by buddyglass (#47925933) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?
Puh-lease. Your situation isn't as cushy as some places, but it's a damn sight less scary than what folks deal with in developing countries. If you're realistically worried about "destitution" if you lose your job, then you need to start re-training / re-credentialing yourself now so that isn't the case. I might also recommend taking on a supplemental unemployment insurance policy if your state's unemployment benefits aren't very good.

Comment: there should be some fear (Score 1) 231

by buddyglass (#47925879) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?
The opposite of "fear driven development" is a total lack of accountability, excused under the banner of being "agile". Miss a deadline? Who cares! Dragging your feat on a work item that's blocking someone else? Who cares! Break the build because you didn't even run your code a single time before checking it in? Who cares!

I trust you can see how that sort of environment sucks as well.

Comment: Re:Smart People (Score 1) 161

by buddyglass (#47845511) Attached to: Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money

So, sorry -- if you actually get into and graduate from MIT, chances are your debt levels are going to be at the levels of many state university graduates, perhaps lower.

This is doubtful. If only because the caliber of student who is admitted to MIT is likely to receive extremely generous merit-based scholarships at most state schools, and especially at lower-tier state schools. There's at least one AAU member school (Arizona) that offer a free ride (tuition + fees + room + board) to any national merit scholar. When I was applying to colleges (which, admittedly, was 20 years ago), I was offered free rides to the University of Oklahoma and LSU based solely on my SAT Math score. It really depends on which state schools we're talking about (top-tier vs. lower-tier) and the student's household income. In the specific case of a middle-income student (household income = $70k/year) and a top-tier state school then what you've said is likely correct. Despite having a strong resume (evidenced by his being admitted to MIT) that student may not get a full ride at a top-tier state school. So he's relying on financial aid, and MIT's financial aid package for a student whose family earns $70k/year is likely better than the top-tier state school's. As income goes up and/or the quality of state school goes down, though, the equation starts to favor the state school if all we care about is out-of-pocket cost.

Comment: Re:Smart People (Score 1) 161

by buddyglass (#47845479) Attached to: Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money
My household is around the 15th percentile (counting from the top) in terms of income. I'm a software dev. and my wife, who works half-time, earns about a quarter what I do. So that should provide some context. I recently ran the numbers and compared how much I'd have to pay for my son to attend Harvard vs. how much I'd have to pay for him to attend my alma mater, which is generally thought to be in the upper tier of state schools. Using in-state tuition for the state school, the cost was approximately the same, though Harvard would have required work-study to make up part of the tuition. If he (my son) were admitted to both, I'd probably pony up the difference to send him to Harvard. If the difference were large (say, $10k/year) then I would probably advise him to attend my alma mater.

Comment: Re:Not worth it (Score 1) 161

by buddyglass (#47845441) Attached to: Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money
It's also worth noting that the sorts of people paying tens of thousands of dollars for Ma's services are themselves quite wealthy, so when discussing whether it's "worth it" you have to take into account the marginal "value" of those dollars to the person paying them. If I'm fabulously wealthy then sure, paying $20k is "worth it" to get my kid into Harvard. Because $20k is a meaningless sum to me. (Which, incidentally, is why it would not be so tragic if that $20k were to go to, say, the IRS instead.)

Comment: Re:You are of no value to the company, you're a to (Score 1) 250

by buddyglass (#47841175) Attached to: IT Job Hiring Slumps

You are a fscking moron for the comment you made to the other person.

What was moronic about it? The poster claimed he will only be able to command 35-40% of his previous salary when he finds a new job. Presumably his productivity will stay roughly constant, assuming he stays in the same industry. So the "market value" of all that he brings to the table is actually 35-40% of what his previous employer was paying him. Ergo his previous employer was overpaying him. If I can buy an identical car from two dealers, A and B, and they provide equivalent customer service, have identical policies, are equally convenient, etc., but A charges N and B charges N + $1000, then buying from B is "overpaying". Likewise if I can hire either A or B to perform a given task and A and B are such that they'll perform it equally well, but B costs 35-40% more than A, then hiring B is "overpaying" to have that task completed.

Many of us have been laid-off as a cost-reduction strategy by short-sighted management.

It may well be that your layoff was shortsighted. But how do you know? Is it possible the layoff was, in fact, the right move to make with respect to the business's short-term and long-term success?

My salary has been on a steady decline for the past decade as a consequence of these "thought leaders" and "best and brightest."

If your salary has steadily declined then it's because your skill set has become comparatively less valuable over time. That's likely the result of a whole host of factors, and isn't necessarily caused by the employers in your industry acting contrary to their own self-interest (i.e. being short-sighted).

With over 2 decades professional experience and currently unemployed I feel as though I made a terrible mistake pursuing a career in many roles within IT.

It is entirely possible you have, in fact, made a terrible mistake. And I don't say that to be mean. It absolutely sucks. But it is what it is. If I were in your shoes, the main question I'd be asking myself (and I'm sure you are) is: what can I do about it? Unless it's reasonable to expect that the trend will reverse, and it probably isn't, then it may be time to consider switching career tracks. Or, alternately, relocating to someplace your skill set is in higher demand. Obviously both of those are more easily said than done, but they're not impossible.

Comment: Re:You are of no value to the company, you're a to (Score 1) 250

by buddyglass (#47840881) Attached to: IT Job Hiring Slumps
Not redundant. "Obvious" perhaps. I'm not familiar with the situation in Australia, but I'd be surprised if you weren't exaggerating the 35-40% figure. If only because if it were true then I'd expect your employer to have laid you of earlier than they did. For instance, when the potential savings were 20% instead of 35-40%. Though it's entirely possible they're just incompetent.

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