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+ - Ask Slashdot: Are general engineering skills undervalued in web development ? 1

Submitted by nerdyalien
nerdyalien (1182659) writes "Reading a recent post about developer competence, I can't help but to ask the question "Are general engineering skills undervalued in web development ?"

I am an EE major. The course I completed, and the professors who taught it; mainly emphasized on developing skills rather memorizing reams of facts and figures. As a result, I have acquired multitude of skills such as analytical, research, programming, communication, project management, planning, self-learning, etc.

Little over 3 years ago, I made the fateful decision to become a web developer in a small SME in SEA. Admittedly, I have an unstructured knowledge about CS theory. Still, within a short period of time I picked up the essentials of web development craft, and delivered reliable web applications. Most of all, I made good use of my existing technical/soft skills, despite the lack of my CS pedigree.

Lately I went through couple of job interviews in MNCs, SMEs and start-ups alike. All of them grilled my CS theory or Java knowledge. Almost no interviewer asked me about my other skills (or past experiences) that could be helpful in the developer position.

In my experience, web development is a cocktail of competing programming languages, frameworks and standards. Rarely a developer gets exposed to a single technology for a substantial period to learn it inside-out. Even still, in web development world, deep in-depth knowledge in anything will be outdated in few years’ time as new technologies roll out.

So, what matter's today? Knowledge on a particular technology or re-usable engineering skills ?"

Comment: I was there.... (Score 2) 479

by nerdyalien (#47978731) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

I completed my PhD in EE/CS 4 years ago. Right after submission, I was unemployed for 6 months and during which time, I applied for 1000+ positions. Only on my 3rd interview, I was offered a junior dev position with minimum compensation in a SME.

Initially, things were good. I paid my bills and was doing many things I couldn't do as as a grad student i.e. going on holiday, fine dining, drinking binges. Work wise, I enjoyed the first year or so learning and coding new languages/platforms.

After a while, I woke up to the fact that my firm has deep problems in terms of work flow and project management. Almost 90% of the web projects we completed in last 3 years were failures. Perhaps I was too naive, I fed them back to the management and highlighted that the problem is with our SDLC and some incompetencies in mid-layer management and tech people. This did not rhyme well, I was kicked out from dev team and transferred to a different department; and my promotion was denied while every other fresh grad was promoted before me.

Overall my experience is, PhD can work against you. For a start, bosses are always intimidated with your superior intellectual brain and over the top communication skills (and don't forget, most bosses will be at your age too). Other aspect is, rest of your co-workers been there or has cut-teeth in corporate politics, so in an event of political power-struggle, quite literally you don't know what to do. Also most firms has no idea what to do with a PhD qualified human resource, let alone having a boss who can manage one. Lastly, not being mastered in some technologies (like Java) can be a disadvantage.

As of today, I'm feeling quite dejected and unappreciated at my firm. Lately I am looking for a new job (preferably something outside IT). I don't know what the future holds for me. As much as I regret taking up above position, on the hindsight, I landed on that position during recession years and helped me to sail through those critical years.

+ - Ask Slashdot: Have you experienced Fear Driven Development (FDD) ?-> 1

Submitted by nerdyalien
nerdyalien (1182659) writes "Few years back, I worked for a large-scale news-media related web development project in a South-East Asian country. Despite formally adopting Agile/Scrum as the SDLC, development was driven based on fear imposed by managers, and architects who were proficient in ADD — A**hole Driven Development. Project ran 4x over its initial estimation, and not to forget those horrendous 18 hours/day, 6 days/week shifts with pizza dinners. For better or worse, I was asked to leave half way thru the project due to a row with the manager; which followed with poor performance reviews and delayed promotion. Are FDD and ADD here to stay ?"
Link to Original Source

+ - Does "Scientific Consensus" deserve a bad reputation?->

Submitted by nerdyalien
nerdyalien (1182659) writes "From the article: Fiction author Michael Crichton probably started the backlash against the idea of consensus in science. Crichton was rather notable for doubting the conclusions of climate scientists—he wrote an entire book in which they were the villains—so it's fair to say he wasn't thrilled when the field reached a consensus. Still, it's worth looking at what he said, if only because it's so painfully misguided:

As a STEM major, I am somewhat bias towards "strong" evidence side of the argument. However, the more I read literature from other somewhat related fields i.e. psychology, economics and climate science; the more I felt that they have little opportunity in repeating experiments, similar to counterparts in traditional hard science fields. Their accepted theories are based on limited historical occurrences and consensus among the scholars. Given the situation, should we consider "consensus" as accepted scientific facts ?"
Link to Original Source

+ - Is there a creativity deficit in science?->

Submitted by nerdyalien
nerdyalien (1182659) writes "From the article: "There is no more important time for science to leverage its most creative minds in attempting to solve our global challenges. Although there have been massive increases in funding over the last few decades, the ideas and researchers that have been rewarded by the current peer-review system have tended to be safer, incremental, and established. If we want science to be its most innovative, it’s not about finding brilliant, passionate creative scientists; it’s about supporting the ones we already have.""
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+ - How Microsoft dragged its development practices into the 21st century->

Submitted by nerdyalien
nerdyalien (1182659) writes "As a web developer who joined the industry few years back, I had to practice Agile from day one. Despite the years of expereince and what I heard/learned in Agile related events (i.e. workshops, conferences), I always maintained a firm opinion that Agile would not scale in large projects. For me, it was the simple fact that there weren't enough strong case studies to explain how a large organization or a project successfully adopted Agile in their daily business. It seems tide has changed, and the Redmond giant has embraced Agile to deliver one of its flagship products. Is this the turning point for large scale Agile ?"
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+ - New html element <picture> to make future web faster->

Submitted by nerdyalien
nerdyalien (1182659) writes "At some point or another, haven't we all web developers spent unjustifiable number of hours trying to optimize a desktop site for mobile devices ? Responsive Web Designs (RWD) has given us the solution "develop once, works in every device"; however, still it downloads multi-MB images and resize them based on device screen resolution. Retrieving optimized images from the server, based on device (desktop, tablet, mobile) and its internet connection (fiber, mobile), has always been an open problem. Recently, number of freelance developers are tackling this with a new html element <picture>, which informs the web browser to download optimized image from the server. This tag to be featured in Chrome and FireFox browsers later this year. Will this finally deliver us faster web browsing on mobile devices, and pain-free web development experience ?"
Link to Original Source

Comment: for the love of god... (Score 1) 274

by nerdyalien (#46916501) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Joining a Startup As an Older Programmer?

Please don't !

Short answer:
I made a similar horrible mistake... and only now I'm regretting.

Long answer:
After my graduate studies, I joined to a SME, which was supposed to be in between start up and IPO (this is in far east in Asia). Though the company rolls financially, human resources are what I called "Sub-par" quality. Simply because they don't have any real competition, they think they are the best and ignores all other good ideas coming both internally or externally. In addition, there are no standard workflows to handle situations. So working in such environments is analogous to running around with your head on fire. Lately we have done few projects that are, by all means, text-book quality death marches. Finally, as everyone is pretty young (& not to forget, dumb!), it is pretty hard to get them on the same team spirit and work ethic... which is a major problem when it comes to running projects. And one final thought, it is highly unlikely you will learn anything much from peers... and most likely you will not have time to improve yourself because of above reasons.

Good luck !

Comment: looks promising (Score 1) 96

by nerdyalien (#46219129) Attached to: A Dedicated Shell For Git Commands

Web developer here and used git for last 2 years on a daily basis.

Gitsh looks promising, but I will hold my verdict until I use it for an extended period, and see how it can improve my work life.

Currently I use a combination of SmartGit and Git Bash. SmartGit is mainly used in visualizing branch history, resolve conflicts, tagging and do some odd jobs here and there e.g. edit message of the last commit. Git Bash is used for checking out branches, merging, pulling, pushing sort of stuff i.e. any operation that is more straight forward on the command line, which I happened to feel "clunky" on SmartGit.

Overall, my underline philosophy is, developers should not spend lot of time in version control related tasks, rather should resort to many tools if necessary to expedite it and move on with tackling big problems i.e. features, bug smashing, optimising.

Comment: Re:Yes, because moderation is oh so hard to do (Score 3, Insightful) 384

by nerdyalien (#45796343) Attached to: Internet Commenting Growing Away From Anonymity

FYI, I work in far east in a country where total population is about 5 million (40% are immigrants).

Recently I have worked for the top news broadcaster in the country to revamp their website. As part of the support duties, I had the pleasure of sitting in their news room. I met a guy there, whose 9-5 duty is to 1) update news organization's official FaceBook account with up to date news updates, 2) Remove any comment with obscene words; sexist or racist remarks; and other comments alike them. He was telling me, he has to act ASAP for any comment that is beyond acceptable levels. Also he was telling me, he received 500+ emails a day questioning or criticising the moderation policy.

On the same work floor, there was another girl doing exactly same work for the Twitter account. And they have to hire 3 people per account to cover the 24 hours a day (this is not including other expenses like travel, F&B etc.). So, it ain't an easy nor cheap operation.

Later on, when we proposed to implement a commenting system to their new website, they were rather reluctant due to the man power need to maintain it. So they opted out with FaceBook commenting within web pages. such that they are not liable for any comments as it is a 3rd party application. (Note: However, we ended up implementing out-of-the-box comment moderating with the FaceBook, such that they could remove comments when necessary)

+ - Why agile development failed for Universal Credit->

Submitted by nerdyalien
nerdyalien (1182659) writes "Agile software development is at the heart of the coalition government's plan to reform public sector IT. Universal Credit, the government's £2bn flagship welfare reform programme, was meant to prove it worked on major projects. But the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has ceased all agile software development on Universal Credit. Did the DWP ditch agile because it was not up to the job? Or was the DWP not up to agile?

Agile development experts say the problem was with the DWP. Universal Credit failed on agile, they say, because it was never really agile in the first place. A former principal agile consultant on Universal Credit, who asked not to be named, said the programme got off on the wrong foot. "The fundamental problem was procurement," he said. "Our hands were tied because of procurement. If you don't set up the contract properly, you are on a hiding to nothing." Universal Credit could never have been agile, he said, because of the way the DWP let £1.12bn of contracts with the programme's major suppliers, including HP, Accenture, Capgemini and IBM. "We were effectively on a waterfall project, because it was a waterfall contract," he said."

Link to Original Source

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. -- Albert Einstein

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