Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Wow, So Much Hate ... I've Been There, Ignore Them (Score 4, Interesting) 279

by machineghost (#48612757) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

I know that people who worked hard for their Engineering degrees will naturally be suspicious of anyone who seems to have done less work than them, but even so I was rather amazed at the amount of ignorance and hatred in the responses here. As a Literature major who now makes six figures programming, please do ignore them.

My advice would be to enroll at Hack Reactor or a similar coding boot camp. We've hired two programmers from them: one was a Biology PhD, the other just had a Chinese Literature undergraduate degree. In both cases we didn't really care what their degree was, we cared about their abilities. Based on what I've seen, the best of the graduates of Hack Reactor are WAY better hires than an average CS graduate (and they're a lot easier to hire; the Googles of the world snatch up the top CS graduates before smaller companies like ours even have a chance).

Of course, I personally didn't take the boot camp approach. I graduated, spent a year unemployed, then managed to get a position as a web designer for a small company. It was a terrible company: they wouldn't even pay for water for employees! But as annoying as their cheapness was, it was that very cheapness that got me hired. Because I was willing to work for $15/hour and could do the work (I'd taught myself web development) I was able to get that crucial first job. You may have to hold your nose in a similar way to get your first job, if you don't take the boot camp approach.

Once I got my foot in the door by working their a year I moved on to a junior programming job, worked my way up to being a team lead, and then moved on to my current company (a start-up). I'd imagine you could do something similar, but going through a boot camp will give you that "foot in the door", which is really the hardest part for someone in your position. After the boot camp gets you your first job, that job will get you all your future jobs.

So, ignore the negativity here. Silicon Valley really is, at least to a large extent, a meritocracy: what matters is being good at your craft, not where you came from.

Comment: Re:XSS - Google in a Frame (Score 1) 400

I don't think Yahoo actually wants to be a search engine. I think they just want people to look at their ads.

Yup, which is why they've licensed someone else's tech to power the searches for most of the company's history.

By partnering with a browser: they can run searches through Google's servers but strip the Google Adword adds and replace them with Yahoo Ads.

Wait, what? You think Yahoo is going to use Google to power their search engine, without paying them? And you think Google's lawyers (let alone their technical team) would really let that fly?

Comment: Re: Like the world needs more web monkeys ... (Score 1) 226

by machineghost (#48411305) Attached to: Coding Bootcamps Presented As "College Alternative"

... and what do any of the things you just mentioned have to do with typical JavaScript programming? Just because someone wouldn't be good at doing your particular job doesn't mean they're bad at other programming jobs: you could just as easily dismiss any Java programmer, no matter what their skill level, for not knowing how to manage memory.

Comment: Re:Like the world needs more web monkeys ... (Score 1) 226

by machineghost (#48407387) Attached to: Coding Bootcamps Presented As "College Alternative"

I'd say at least 80% (maybe 90+%) of the stuff you listed has no applicability for a front-end JavaScript programmer. Which isn't to say JavaScript programming is easy: there's a whole lot of art and craft to being a good JavaScript programmer, and a boot camp won't teach it all. But as for all the traditional CS bits you listed, almost none of them contribute to being a good JavaScript programmer.

What a good front-end programmer needs is understanding of the JavaScript language, of how the DOM works, of how browsers render pages, etc. And for serious JavaScript programming you need to know object-oriented programming and all that good stuff too ... but you don't need "database theory", "microprocessor systems", or "artificial intelligence".

Comment: Re:Lovin' that smell of BIAS (Score 1) 226

by machineghost (#48407315) Attached to: Coding Bootcamps Presented As "College Alternative"

Self-taught programmers are motivated by curiosity; webmonkeys are motivated by "oh shiny" - which is why they concentrate so much on "oh shiny". And when they get stYuck because they're way out of their depth, who do you think they call ... (hint - not another web monkey).

I'm sure that's based on lots of empirical evidence from your experience working with bootcamp graduates, and not just you spouting your own prejudices, right? Because I would think that someone who's worked with a boot camp graduate for 6+ months and is about to hire another one *might* just know more than someone who's never even met a bootcamp graduate ...

Of course, we never recognize paradigm shifts until they're almost over.

People are moving away from browsers without even noticing it

So, what are they going to do? Take another boot camp to learn XCode? Java? C/C++ (yes, back-end services use c and c++).

You're completely right: the web is just a fad, JavaScript is going away soon and there will be no more jobs for JavaScript programmers in a few years.

Comment: Re:Like the world needs more web monkeys ... (Score 4, Insightful) 226

by machineghost (#48405825) Attached to: Coding Bootcamps Presented As "College Alternative"

You're assuming such boot camps only produce "monkeys", which is false. These people work twelve hour days, seven days a week, for three months: compare that to your typical CS graduate who's maybe had a month total of relevant programming experience.

In fact, we hired a boot camp graduate about half a year ago, and she's been awesome. WAY more knowledgeable about programming than other candidates we considered, including CS graduates.

Comment: Re:yaaaaaaay... (Score 1) 226

by machineghost (#48405799) Attached to: Coding Bootcamps Presented As "College Alternative"

Actually, we're a serious thick-client shop with a single-page all-Javascript application powered by Backbone, and we've had great success hiring a Boot Camp graduate. She definitely does *not* just copy/paste code snippets without understanding how things work. To the contrary, she knows far more about the language and basic theory than most other applicants we've seen (including ones with CS degrees), and we've in fact had so much success with her that we're planning to hire another boot camp graduate shortly.

Comment: Re:I like the idea.. (Score 1) 74

by machineghost (#48353761) Attached to: Mozilla Launches Browser Built For Developers

This, except the part about giving it a try. Firebug revolutionized everything when it first came out, but it's failed to improve in the way Chrome Developer Tools ... and Firefox's own developer tools have remained far behind both the entire time.

After ignoring the web development community for so long, I have a hard time seeing myself ever going back to Firefox unless they get some *seriously* rave reviews.

Comment: Duh (Score 1, Informative) 328

Police have been collecting finger prints for decades, and they have caught thousands, if not millions, of criminals they otherwise wouldn't have caught as a result.

All this judge said was that you using your fingerprint on your phone doesn't give you a "get out of fingerprinting free" card when you get arrested. If it did every criminal in America would lock their phone with a fingerprint so they didn't have to get fingerprinted.

Comment: Re:OOOOooo "dozens warned they MAY need to flee" (Score 3, Interesting) 64

by machineghost (#48242345) Attached to: Lava Flow In Hawaii Gains Speed, Triggers Methane Explosions

I care and I don't even have an uninsured house ... though to be fair my uncle and aunt do :-( Pahoa is so remote you can't even get cellphone coverage there, but it's a beautiful area (it's on the island's rainy side so everything is lush and green). Houses cost in the 100-200k range, and while that is pretty cheap it still sucks to see it all melt away.

Comment: Re:needs rebranding (Score 3, Interesting) 64

by machineghost (#48242297) Attached to: Lava Flow In Hawaii Gains Speed, Triggers Methane Explosions

No rebranding needed. The Big Island has never exactly been the key to Hawaii's tourism industry (most of the island, especially on the volcano side, doesn't even have sandy beaches.) Plus, just about everything tourist-y on that island already is lava-themed anyway. They've got a lava forest, lava tubes, steam vents powered by underground lava, the giant volcano itself ... heck they even had a highway that got overrun with lava and instead of fixing it they turned that in to a tourist attraction!

Comment: Re:Cool Idea, Bra (Score 1) 269

by machineghost (#48218151) Attached to: We Need Distributed Social Networks More Than Ello

Altrag already answered this very well, but I just wanted to make one other point: in lots of industries the consumer can already "defect" to a competitor with absolutely no impedance. It doesn't matter if I'm buying a computer from Dell or a box of Cheerios from Safeway: nothing stops me from buying a computer or cereal from a different manufacturer the next time I want one.

However, the "defectability" possible with all those products hasn't caused Dell or General Mills to go bankrupt; quite to the contrary both companies (and many others) have found ways to make the user want to continue purchasing their goods. Similarly here, even if a social network with almost no cost of leaving were to exist, it wouldn't necessarily mean that any company operating it would go out of business. Instead, it would just mean that company has to figure out how to please its customers.

Comment: Re:Idiotic premise (Score 4, Insightful) 269

by machineghost (#48215049) Attached to: We Need Distributed Social Networks More Than Ello

If you create a service, and price it reasonably, you can charge a subscription / membership fee, and have a perfectly profitable business.

I pay for services all the time, why should an online service be any different?

There is very little evidence that that is true if you look at services on the web today. To the contrary, ads very often are the only way entire industries can profit on the web. Take newspapers: with only a handful of exceptions like the WSJ, every major newspaper in the country has had to switch to an entirely ad-supported model on the web, abandoning all their old subscription profits.

I'm not saying a paid Facebook-like service is impossible, just that there's (relatively) scant evidence that one could succeed.

It appears that PL/I (and its dialects) is, or will be, the most widely used higher level language for systems programming. -- J. Sammet