Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Disincentivized (Score 1) 370

by tlambert (#49356197) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

WTF? The very next requirement after your quote says "3. Proficiency in at least one higher-level language. [CS] ."

Generally, that ends up being something like Java. I am more interested in people who know lower level languages, like C/C++ and ssembly. So are most employers in Silicon Valley.

The bad news is that there's only a handful of places that have these programs, such as Brown, Rice, Stanford, MIT, CMU, and so on.[ ... ]

Bullshit. While there are some expensive good CS undergrad programs, there are also good (relatively) cheap ones at public state universities such as University of California - Berkeley, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor and University of Texas - Austin (and those are just schools in the top 10 -- ranked above the Brown and Rice you mentioned!).

I would include all of those, except UTA, in the "and so on".

UCB is primarily responsible for BSD UNIX. IT's CS department is also not strictly a CS department, it's an EECS department.

UIUC Has CS 241 and 242, among others; it counts a a place that teaches the C language specifically. CS 423 covers Linux kernel programming, which is in C. Note that these classes aren't specifically required for a CS degree, unless you pick the appropriate emphasis, so it's still possible to graduate from here as unhirable.

Georgia Tech has 8 tracks. Pretty much the only hirable ones are the "Devices" and "Systems & Architecture" track. If you too CS4210 and CS4220 as electives on the "Theory" track, you might also do OK. I typically don't mention it because of the low percentage of people who opt for these tracks, compared to the other tracks at this school, so you have to be picky.

UMich I am a great fan of. It was their LDAP implementation and my patches which started OpenLDAP, and they've kept up the tradition. They are also not a traditional CS only program, they are an EECS program, which gives them an advantage. However, they have 7 programs, and it's possible to escape through 2 of them without actually learning to code usefully.

It looks like I should add UTA to the list; CS105 appears to be C++ - an actual, honest to god, language class. Again, it's a degree program elective, but it's heartening to see there, given that ABET wouldn't require it for accreditation.

Thanks for pointing me at UTA. I'll give those resumes a bit more weight, depending on degree track.

Comment: Re:And as an employer... (Score 1) 370

by tlambert (#49355941) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

This is the same suggestion I've made in multiple places, and exactly what I would have gone on to suggest in this thread.

Although, I generally peg the number at 10%. :)

Every time I bring it up to Robert Reich, he gets red in the face and incredibly pissed off, because, while he's now an ivory tower teaching type, and wants companies to hire more Americans, and pay for the social good, he was instrumental in the policy decisions, going back to the Carter administration, which have resulted in the current situation where we are offshoring everything.

I happily bring it up every time he speaks at The Commonwealth Club in SF, if I happen to be attending that particular session, and I have cheerily brought it up at other speaking engagements he's had, as well as on his postings on LinkedIn (which he doesn't make that many of, these days).

Comment: Re:Also, about long term unemployment... (Score 1) 370

by tlambert (#49355907) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

Valid complaints would be that the numbers reported don't include the homeless (although those estimates are gathered elsewhere), you don't understand the report, or that it conflicts with your personal opinion.


The numbers are specifically the number of people who are unemployed long term.

If you want to include the people who have simply stopped looking entirely, the percentage of working age people who were engaged, but are no longer, in the workforce in the U.S. who are not working is much higher.

Feel free to try and spin-doctor this:


The Real Unemployment Rate: In 20% Of American Families, Everyone Is Unemployed

Fact Check: No, ‘Actual’ Unemployment Isn’t 37.2 Percent
(it's "only" more than twice the number reported by the government)

Chart: What’s the real unemployment rate?
(This is the "U-6 rate" - "The U-6 rate covers the unemployed, underemployed and those who are not looking but who want a job.")

Real unemployment rate is at least 18 percent

Missing Workers: The Missing Part of the Unemployment Story
(This is the economic policy institute; they have the lowest "real" estimate, slightly less than 2X what the fed is reporting; they have a somewhat vested interest in casting the numbers lower than the others, as they get more than 1/4 of their funding from labor unions)

Feel free to disagree with them, or cite numbers from sources that don't have a political master to which their numbers are subservient (i.e. "someone other than the DOL").

Comment: Fix is pretty obvious. (Score 2) 105

Fix is pretty obvious.

There are two URLs being hit.

Step 1: Put a reverse proxy cache which serves static pages directly out of RAM from a kernel module in front of GitHuB. If there's nothing like this for Linux, there is for FreeBSD, and it's pretty trivial to set up.

Step 2: At the first URL, serve pro Free Tibet information. At the second URL, serve pro Falun Gong information.

Step 3: Wait for someone in China in charge of the attack to call it off in fear for their life from the government for serving this illegal in China content to everyone in China going to one of the affected web sites that has the javascript injected.

Step 4: (optional) Laugh your ass off as they are sent to a reeducation camp.

Comment: Re:finger pointing (Score 1) 370

by tlambert (#49354213) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

On the contrary. When you factor in the launch costs, it doesn't make sense to use low grade materials to save a tiny bit of money. Instead, solar panels in space use the best materials available for highest possible efficiency for a given mass and/or volume.

I think you haven't worked on space systems. I worked on a Satellite in the 1980's which went up on the shuttle.

(1) You never launch anything "cutting edge"

(2) Top end solar cells have the same problem as unshielded top end microelectronics

(3) You have to "build heavy" in order to survive the launch without damage

(4) You have to hang them out in space where they *will* be smacked by micrometeorites

Basically, you build the best you can with 6-8 year old "proven" technology, and then you expect that it will be an addition 3-4 years out of date by the time it makes orbit.

The designs we've done for satellite systems all assume multijunction Gallium Arsenide photovoltaic cells; for SPS, we've relaxed that, and made up for efficiency with surface area. It's a launch vs. repair vs. energy density trade-off (this is why Hubble used Silicon photovoltaic cells).


See also this paper from the NASA Glenn Research Center, SERT (Space Solar Power Exploratory Research and Technology) program team:

Comment: Also, about long term unemployment... (Score 1) 370

by tlambert (#49353993) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

Also, about long term unemployment...

This table shows that U.S. long term unemployment as of 2012 was 29.3%

My understanding is that it was down somewhat, but that was based on preliminary numbers. Not renewing the Unemployment Insurance Extension in the last federal budget moved some people from short term to long term unemployed as they fell of the unemployment insurance rolls. My numbers were pre this event, so it's possible the number has gone back above 30% at this point in time,

Generally, politicians will avoid renewing Unemployment Insurance extensions prior to midterm elections, since it deflates the DOL statistics, and makes it look like the unemployment situation is getting better, when it really means that those who were counted in the prior accounting are now long term and no longer receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits.

In particular, this was intended to make the Democrats look better relative to the unemployment situation going into the midterms; the Republicans won anyway, so expect the benefits to be extended the next time, and potentially going into the presidential election (it really depends on whether it's more important to make the (now Republican Controlled) congress look bad, or it's more important to make a Democratic presidency look good.

If it's renewed going into the 2016 presidential election, it will mean that the Democrats expect to lose the White House to the Republicans, and the Republicans are intentionally eating a potential loss of congressional seats to attain the White House.

It's basically a balancing act by both parties, and I'd vastly prefer we just use the World Bank numbers, and be done with it, rather than playing political games with people's lives, but there you go...

Comment: Re:And as an employer... (Score 1) 370

by tlambert (#49353877) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

BGI = Basic Guaranteed Income

DOL = Department Of Labor

TPP = Trans-Pacific Partnership (See also the WikiLeaks page)

MFN = Most Favored Nation (in this context, it means no unfair labor practices or environmentally based tariffs)

Comment: Re:Invest in workers (Score 1) 370

by tlambert (#49353123) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

If you were older than a Millennial you will remember watching the chicken hatch from the dinosaur egg and KNOW that the egg came before the chicken.

It took a few years of MBAs telling companies to regularly abuse employee loyalty before employees learned to have as little loyalty to the company as the company has to them.


Loyalty is a two-way street. Corporate training programs are part of the quid, not job-hopping is part of the quo.

Regardless of who started touching who first in the back seat on the long road trip, both kids are now sitting on their hands until we get to the next rest stop anyway.

Anyone bitching about "invest in their workers" is deluding themselves that it can be done in isolation, and that said investment doesn't have to be part of an ecosystem, rather than something that can happen in isolation.

That ecosystem largely no longer exists, unless you want to go to work for HP Enterprise Services (the former EDS, founded by Ross Perot), and wear your monkey suit to work in exchange for a funded rather than a cash-balance pension plan, and all of the other 1960's/1970's ERA "job for life" exchanges between the worker and the corporation.

Any training you get isn't really going to be portable. Management training at IBM isn't going to buy you a management position at Apple or Google: it's non-transferrable, and therefore useless outside the context of IBM. Unlike a college degree, which could be just as equally worthless, if you just jumped through the hoops to get the sheep-skin, and didn't bother taking advantage of the situation to learn anything beyond how to pass the tests with a high enough GPA to graduate; at least it's transferrable, if your ass ends up in the unemployment line.

Comment: Re:finger pointing (Score 1) 370

by tlambert (#49353069) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

As long as it get launched into space, where the sunlight is 24/7. Otherwise, come up with a storage system for the 75% of the time ground-based solar won't work as a sole source, or piss off.

LOL. The clueless is telling the experts to piss off.

I'm telling an AC that, smart ass. I tell it to everyone who advocates Solar over nuclear. Solar Power Satellites would be a fantastic thing to build, and they would not have to remain geostationary, they could always be in sunlight, with only the downlink stations being geostationary, or relatively so.

Solar on the ground has two problems:

(1) Government subsidies which make it economical compared to grid power are being phased out; this leaves large thermal-electric solar generation stations like the one Apple is building (based on a "Solar One" style boiler design), and other large generation facilities as being economically viable long term

(2) There's a massive shortage, both politically, and in reality, for the solar-grade silicon (polysilicon) used to manufacture higher efficiency photovoltaic cells. If you don't believe that:

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM)announced duties of between 2.4% and 57% on solar grade polysilicon from the U.S. and South Korea, following on the heels of a similar set of duties imposed on the EU:

This is expected to lead to a 2007-style feedstock shortage:

Warning from GCL Leads to Polysilicon Shortage
(While this one is not current, it's an indicator that financial markets make this an extremely volatile commodity)

DumpWatch: Silicon Tariffs Will Change the US Solar Industry in 2015

By contrast solar cells for use in space can use lower grade materials and still achieve higher efficiencies than in-atmosphere photovoltaic cells, even after we consider microwave transmission losses from orbit to rectilinear ground antenna arrays which are unnecessarily spread out in order to keep the Sierra Club from having kittens.

And yes, we should be building more nuclear plants, for desalination in California, if nothing else.

Comment: Re: Congratulations! (Score 1) 370

by tlambert (#49352983) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

The *employer* isn't valuing the degree more than that. The degree holder (usually) worked very hard for it.

And guess which one has more bargaining power in today's job market?

Is it an English degree? Then the answer is obviously Starbucks.

Is it a CS degree from Brown University? Then you have a bidding war between Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google.

Comment: Re:Define "Qualified" (Score 1) 370

by tlambert (#49352921) 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."

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.

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?".

These may seem like trivial things to you, but on a 50 person team, you are going to drag communications to a stand-still, as people "Plain English" answers for you, or you give them plain English answers that they have to translate in their heads to the correct terminology.

At best, you will find yourself stuck in a junior or devops position as a result of this (and you will be lucky if it's devops, because that requires a lot more skill than just coding, and they will have to see those attributes in you).

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.

It also wouldn't hurt if you were to start an exemplary Open Source project in a compile language utilizing Linux or BSD style(9) throughout, so that you have a base of pretty code that they can look at before they talk to you, where they know that your code is at least readable, and not spaghetti.

This is in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, where you can supposedly just walk across Market Street and get a new job.

You can, for the most part, if you've already got experience, and you already have the cred -- either via a degree, or via Open Source, or via work history.

But contrary to what Mark Cuban is currently telling everyone, we are not in another tech bubble. If we were, companies would be hiring 3rd year CS students out of college for outrageous salaries so that they could demonstrate growth by the number of cubicle warmers hthey have sitting in their cube farm. Or, I guess, these days, sitting in their Open Plan office space.

Tech companies are not (yet) back to the days of hiring cubicle/seat warmers.

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 don't learn to code from those things.

You have to pay one of Dice's commercial partners out of your own pocket to get the qualifications

Certs are BS, with a few exceptions (Cisco Network engineer, Oracle DBM, etc.) and are really narrow scope, when they are of value. If I see a bunch of 1-2 week certs on a resume, I tend to put it at the bottom of the pile. Many companies, in fact, say that their initial offer to someone will go down, all other things being equal, if they *have* an MSCE cert.

. 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.

Starting your own company will solve your employment problem. It won't solve your vocabulary/communication problem, and unless you end up as an aquihire because your company itself is seen as valuable, and is aquired by a big player, don't ever expect experience at your own company, without a degree, to get you into places that have those requirements. If you had 10 years experience as a consultant, you're still going to face the same "jump through hoops to prove you would be a good team member" style interview.

The only difference that starting a company will make is that with a large block of work on your resume, you're more likely to make it past the online applications/recruiters who tend to grade on resume. Which takes us back to rule #1: Never apply online.

Comment: Re:Invest in workers (Score 0) 370

by tlambert (#49352831) 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.

Few people want to actually commit to a long term career at a company, People want to be paid as much as they can possibly get for a given job, and job hop constantly. No wonder so few companies are willing to spend money training workers that come to them with a degree, but huge holes in their actual ability to do the job.

See how that works?

Comment: I had a friend who tried this. (Score 1) 370

by tlambert (#49352823) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

If this trend continues, we're going to be awash in smart financial or medical people. Y'know, stuff that's harder to outsource so easily.

I understand why medical is hard to outsource, but I would think finance would be incredibly easy. I'm pretty sure Excel and calculators are plentiful in other countries.

I had a friend who tried this. He outsources his financial and retirement planning to someone else in another country. He wouldn't have done that, but the person he outsource to was a very religious person, and also royalty. Unfortunately, he still lost all his money, despite having invested it with a Nigerian Prince.

I hope you have better luck outsourcing your finance work to another country.

God Bless.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll