Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment Hold down one second there. (Score 1) 230

But it is possible to take someone with no experience and turn him/her into a code monkey in only 2 years.

And I think that that is the point with this. They aren't looking to educate new "engineers". They want cheap, fast labour. Code monkeys.

If one of those people goes on to learn more, on their own, so much the better.

If not, well the CxO's of those companies will claim that it is the fault of the workers.

Depends on what you mean by "no experience". Do you mean "no professional experience" of any kind whatsoever, or simply "no programming experience".

I ask because I know first hand of several schools (a new trend I'm witnessing) where they take professionals (teaches, business people, nurses, fine arts, and what have you), put them on a 10-week bootcamp, 8AM to 8PM, monday through saturday, going through the grind of software development topics (sans theoretical CS such as diving into the purely mathematical analysis of algorithms or automata theory).

And I've seen them making a good transition into competent software developers (junior level, but still very much competent), certainly not code monkeys.

And what I see is that people with a 4-year degree (but could also be a 2-year degree) and some professional experience of any kind already have grit to dive into things and get proficient. They already know how to study, internalize and categorize things. They already know how to divide and conquer problems, and they already know how to see patterns of work.

That is the stuff a degree, be it 2 or 4 gets you. Those people already went through that, regardless of the degree. So for them, taking a 10-week, 6-days-a-week workshop from dusk to dawn is just another do-or-die project, which they complete.

So yes, you can take anyone without prior experience and turn them into software developers in short order, provided they have educational maturity.

A lot of people complain that half of the classes in a BS, AS or AA degree is not related to the main topic of graduation. And they are missing the point. Unless you are exceptionally gifted, you need to go through the grind of things, to learn how to study, how to apply yourself. The actual subjects of graduation come on top of it.

This is no different from a craftsman apprenticeship program. A master plumber just doesn't learn from books. He gets hands-on practice on a medium that is fundamental to the type of work he is expected to perform.

Same with a person hoping to work on the subject of a 2 or 4 year degree. What people call "irrelevant" curricula is that medium.

On another note, I agree that we do not need a 4-year degree to do software development. I got my first job with just a 2-year AA degree, and it served me well. I did get my 4-year degree in CS while working as a developer (and then went to grad school). But for 90% of my work, what I learned in the 2-year AA degree was more than fine.

It was only on the areas of large scale software engineering and algorithm complexity (which I did end up having to confront) that I relied on my seniors. And that area of lacking got resolved once I got my 4-year degree.

We insist too much not just on having a 4-year degree, but a 4-year CS degree, when most programming jobs can be done with just a 2-year AS program, or an apprenticeship program for people coming from other professions. There are a lot of jobs that do require a 4-year CS degree, but they are not the majority. And I think we are doing a disservice to the industry in insisting to fill every programming job with 4-year CS graduates.

Comment Re: You mean a vocational school? (Score 1) 230

Unfortunately many computer science departments at universities are so focused on theory they forget to teach common development practices. For example most students get exposed to agile development methodologies only after they get to industry.

How is that at all unfortunate? Computer science doesn't really have much to do with practical programming, and the curriculum certainly shouldn't be bogged down with teaching development fads. Agile is more about management and basically zero about writing code, so even if CS was about writing code, Agile would still be untaught.

Perhaps what you are looking for is a degree in Management?

Define practical programming. You mean web pages and such?

Comment Re:And nothing changed (Score 1) 37

I buy most of my ammo from Jack's Trading Post, down in Farmington, and do a lot of plinking. In fact, the sidearm I have with me is "just" a Mark II. I've never seen them completely run out of .22LR and I've even ordered whole cases of the stuff - even after Obama's election. I keep hearing people say there's a shortage and whatnot but I've not really seen much in the way of this shortage. I am not sure where the discrepancy lies.

It's obviously true that some people are experiencing shortages but, even when it was on the news and heavily covered, I didn't have any real problem with any shortages. There was about a month where the stock was pretty low on the shelves. Being the goober that I am, I already had plenty of my own stock so I didn't worry about it and just didn't buy any while the stock was that low.

That was for a period of maybe a month and only during the peak of the news cycle. So, while I saw it, it was a limited scope and didn't really last long and I've not noticed it since. It's not like I live in an area where we don't have a lot of enthusiasts. They're a pretty small store so it's not like they have special ties with the manufacturers or anything.

I must also admit that I've not asked other people in real life about it. I've not asked the owner for more information about it. I have no idea what their volume is (they're often pretty busy) nor do I know about their supply chain. I can only share that none of this has really impacted me. During the one month where there were only a few boxes on the shelves, I simply skipped buying any. It's not like I was in danger of running out or anything.

Interesting. The supply/drain could be location specific. I'm in South Florida (and Florida is as gun-land as it goes.) I try not order online unless I'm buying in bulk. I'm trying to find just two boxes of 22LR CCI for my NAA, but every time I go to Walmart they have none (plenty of 9mm, though.) And the gun stores when they carry they charge more than what it should be (supply and demand I guess.)

But during the last election, Jesus Christ, I couldn't find any 38SP or 22LR unless in bulk. Single boxes where nowhere to be found and I had to rely on or to get some.

Comment Re:And nothing changed (Score 2) 37

You'd think the market would have responded with more .22LR ammo, but it hasn't. It suggests something more sinister than Obama's agenda, which was the original reason given for the run on ammo. I think ammo manufacturers have taken a lesson from Enron and gasoline refiners in California and engineered themselves a little shortage to drive up prices.

Me no think so. I think it is emotion-driven demand that constantly clears up the aisles off any box with 22LR (and to a lesser degree, 38SP, regular load or +P). For as much as guns are popular in this country, we have a shitty supply-chain. To make it worse, you cannot easily reload 22LR, which makes scarcity even worse. With almost every other ammo, you can reload your own (either as a hobby, to weather shortages or, if you are a crazy lunatic, preparing for the Obama/UN/Jade Helm apocalypse.)

With 22LR, there is no reloading option, so your only option is to grab what you can and stockpile. And every other 22LR afficionado (or crazy lunatic) has the same idea. It's been months that I've seen a 22LR box in Walmart, for example. Crazy!

Comment Re:What? (Score 2) 159

How is this any different than calling them up and telling them what is broken?

We could say the same about people using for shopping instead of calling a telemarketer or, snail-mailing a purchase form tore up from one of those Sears shopping magazines of old.

Voice calls are not parseable or amenable for categorization. They are certainly not traceable from root cause/complaint to action teams. You can't autonomously prioritize.

Form data is. Welcome to the world of automation.

Comment Re:Cultural? (Score 1) 479

That's why You always ask for such orders in writing. And always make copies. Bureaucracy is the process of constant preparation for an eventual litigation. If You don't get the orders, get out while You still can, because You WILL be held responsible for it. Be happy if You only get sacked, and not sued into oblivion.

Depending on the corporate structure, you doom your career with the company if you ask for such orders in writing.

Career =/= career with a company.

Comment Re:We Are Fucked (we'll, depends.) (Score 1) 278

Oh for fuck's sake, haven't we been competing with third world workers for 2.5 decades now?

Yes, and losing. Our industry is falling apart and unemployment is through the roof.

Then welcome to humanity. This has been going on in other countries. And people cope. And adapt. And in many cases, actually thrive.

Those among us that are nimble and are always learning new things, trying to stay ahead are still living well. And when push come to shove, one would always have a choice to work in a 2nd-world country as a professional and still live a relatively comfortable life.

So I guess, you have no problem with young workers being replaced with H1B, or you yourself eventually being replaced.

Of course I do have a problem. But I just don't bitch about it saying "we are fucked". No matter how you cut it, we are a million times better than some poor bastard drinking polluted water in Somalia. We have venues with which to cope, skills with which to adapt. We have options. Not necessarily the options we want, but they are there.

We might be in a pickle, but we are not fucked.

After all, your degradation in standard of living is only slight, right?

No slight. I'm actually trying to see if I can find a gig on the side to make ends meet. My benefits are getting smaller. Health coverage is ridiculously unpredictable, so with 2 small children, we pretty much have to assume we have 4K less of income a year, at least, just in case. And so on and so on.

But we are not fucked. We can always adapt somehow. This is what happens to the likes of you who have never truly seen poverty. Oh, degradation of living, we are fucked. Give me a break.

People like you always have no problem with outsourcing as long as it doesn't affect you, but you're giving the entire country away.

I work in software. It affects me. For 20 years of professional life, 2/3 of it I've had to deal with temp jobs and contracting gigs without benefits because outsourcing and the shift of perm hiring to contracting. It affects me. But I don't bitch about it. I adapt.

People like you act like if this 3rd-world competition is something new. And this makes me wonder what kind of work you do, or under what rock you have been living.

It's the tightening of thumb screws on the American worker. Not everyone can be an engineer, and not everyone can be an indispensable engineer. This is the nature of the game. No, third-world competition is not new, but it should end because it hasn't done any good.

Not everyone can be an engineer, true, but not everyone can expect to get a job back in a conveyor line just pushing a lever to mold a piece of plastic either. People adapt. I've seen it. Shit, my first job 25 years ago was in a factory in LA, just the exact type of factory that went to China. I worked my way flipping burgers and driving forklifts. It took me 8 years to get my BS in CS, all the while learning a new language and being 110lbs because I barely had enough to eat three meals 2-3 days a week.

What's the excuse for everyone else? I know people who lost their factory jobs, and adapted. Bought a lawnmower and started clipping people's grass, and from there, little by little, built up a landscaping company.

I've known a person from a 3rd world country that came as a refugee, she could barely read and write, and needed a calculator for anything above addition. And yet, she worked her ass off, 70 hours a week doing deliveries for florists till the point she had her own business.

What's the fucking excuse to those people who 30 years later are still carrying signs blaming the Chinese and illegals? We are not fucked unless we want to.

Comment Power Management Software? (Score 1) 42

The batteries are not software defined, their usage is. Get it straight. I understand that its very 21st century to make things "Software Defined", but they just aren't.

How is this different than dropping clockspeed, or dimming the screen?

Hint: not all computing activities require the same amount of power.

It's different in that they propose multiple batteries, each optimized for different usage scenarios. The software decides which battery is active based on user activity. I would imagine this would be combined with today's standard lowering clock speed, etc.

Power management then?

Comment MMM is not about technology (Score 1) 281

I don't know how broadly it can be applied(if it in fact works as well as they claim at all); but it would appear that the whole point of these 'microservices' is to produce smaller 'projects' so that you have more room to scale before complexity eats you alive. It's not so much a disproof of the 'mythical man-month'; but an adaptation to cope with it.

In other words, divide-and-conquer meets software project management. That is how it has been done to deal with these issues, for a long time before micro-services. And microservices would not help if the project, the totality of the project is late. The issues related to MMM's postulates are, for the most part, technology agnostic.

And in fact, the fundamental problems are not technology-based, but organizational/political ones. I love microservices, but they are, in the great scheme of things, a technical detail. No amount of technical silver bullet will help subvert organizational/political forces.

Comment Rigelmann Effect (Score 3, Informative) 281

MMM is largely used by software professionals as a bullshit soundbyte.

Yes, in the 1% chance you have a sufficiently advanced project requiring intimate knowledge of very funky code, MMM holds true.

Meanwhile, every other jackass is spouting, "Hurr, MMM!" for things like freaking CMS sites, where domain knowledge is widespread, easily attained, and frankly, not at all difficult to comprehend with a quick couple hours of looking at the code if you have any talent whatsoever.

And yet we still have people fucking it up and delivering late and/or the wrong CMS site functionality. And we still get managers throwing bodies at the problem that is already late/wrong (despite being conceptually simple.) It happens all the time regardless of system complexity.

MMM has nothing to do with projects requiring funky code. It is simple a software management rule: throwing more bodies to a late project won't make it go faster (in fact, it will make it default deadlines even more.) Whether is is a 1-man shop cobbling together a website or a 100-team developing a OS, if you are late, you are late, and no amount of additional manpower will change that.

That is what MMM is about. You complaining about it (or claiming it is a bs sound byte) shows you don't understand the meaning of it.

This is not even a software specific problem. Any type of complex project - from medical trials to inventory reconciliation, they all will suffer a bottleneck due to communication complexity.

Shit, even tomato picking gets affected. You have 100 laborers picking tomatoes, and you are late. Great, now you throw 100 more. But then, you do not have the logistics in place to handle the throughput within the given deadline. Depending of the severity of lateness, MMM (can't get shit late not being late with more bodies) will also hold.

It is simple and fundamentally a logistics problem, unless you actually think this is also a bs soundbyte. Google "Ringelmann Effect".

The opossum is a very sophisticated animal. It doesn't even get up until 5 or 6 PM.