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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 ?"
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+ - 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 ?"
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+ - 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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+ - 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 ?"
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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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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."

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Comment: Likely there is no option in this situation... (Score 1) 332

by nerdyalien (#43623215) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Handle a Colleague's Sloppy Work?

Here is my story... I work as a web developer at a SME somewhere in far east. So far I have worked in couple of small to large scale Agile projects. And yes, I had company of college interns, developers, senior developers, consultants and architects alike. To be brutally honest, I abhorred my senior's work with a passion. I always pondered how this kind of incompetent, useless people end up handling multi-million dollar worth mission-critical projects.

Based on my so far analysis, this is how I see it:

1. Most of these seniors have survived simply because of a historical reason you might not know.

In my case, most my seniors survived during the 2008-2009 retrench season. Some survived totally through political clout; some by sacrificing their salary and other benefits. So in management's point of view, these are really valuable employees, and they should retain them at every cost.

2. They were there at the right time.

Around the time they were promoted, may be there weren't anybody to around to challenge them. After all the good crop leaves a firm, there is a window for all the sloppy bafoons to inflate their ego, convince management and climb the promotion ladder without much external challenge.

3. They know how to find scapegoats efficiently and effectively pass the buck.

How do I know about this ? I was a victim ! My firm practiced this 'Russian roulette' style of assigning task, such that everyone ends up get to work in every module of a project; or, bugs get assigned to you, even though you never worked on that module before. Most often, these experienced developer's work break down spectacularly, and I am the one brought in to clear their mess; and when I fail to fix, I end up in prison-cell meeting rooms to receive the brunt of senior management. Over the time, these seniors painted this nice picture of me as a lazy, unreliable, incompetent developer. And the funny thing is, most of these code bases, I didn't write a single line of code and I have absolutely no idea what's going inside. And these code bases are poorly documented/commented, making troubleshooting is a mini-IT project it self (call it "reverse engineering feature XYZ")

Sadly for most of us in junior positions, it is an arduous task to challenge the existing establishment. But at least you can dampen or insulate your self from the shocks from these stupidos. Here's what I do:

1. Don't volunteer to amend their codes.

I made this mistake many times as mentioned. Find who originally developed it in your team. If he/she is there, get him/her to work on it. If he is in a different team, ask project manager to bring him/her back. And importantly, if you are taking up these kind of responsibility, have a written understanding with your project manager that "You are doing your best effort to fix the issue, and if it fails, it is not your fault, it is due to poor implementation of the original developer". Stand up for your self ! in corporate world, nobody is there to stand up for you after all.

Trust me on this, "it is good a senior doing a bad patch that temporarily fix the problem and eventually breaks in future, than you failing to do a perfect job in fixing it for posterity"

2. Give seniors a chance !

Don't bother helping them out of your kindness. Let them shoot their own foot. You entering the picture is the biggest disservice you can do to your self, by becoming the dummy they can shoot.

In my current team, I have a tech lead, who was doing an important module. I had plenty of time to help him, as I finished my module early. Instead, I sat down and watched him failing brilliantly and had a silent laugh. Maybe I could have helped him in many ways, but I digressed and let him eat his own dog food.

3. Promote yourself often

I am not very good in this either. But in this world, hardly people pay attention to other individuals. So if there is an opportunity to shine, or talk about your work... just do it! And if management is still deaf and doesn't acknowledge/appreciate your contributions, move to another firm !

Comment: I feel like 'YES'.... (Score 1) 470

by nerdyalien (#42810273) Attached to: Is the Era of Groundbreaking Science Over?

I have two points to back up my answer.....

1. We are living in the most peaceful period in the entire history. As much as I hate to say this... I am in the opinion "War accelerates innovation". Let's face it, without wars such as WW2 and cold war, most technologies would've either never evolve into the sophisticated stage there right now, or never would've thought of. Until another major war dawns upon us, where contemporary weapons are inadequate for one party to dominate... most technologies will evolve at a slower pace. (at least that's my prediction).

2. Academic research now rewards people who write more papers, not people do genuinely innovative work. I've been in academic research, and I have first hand experience on "publish-or-perish". Most academics I see today, they do research with the mindset "Save my career, family and future first", rather with the noble intention of serving the knowledge sphere. Most research now-a-days geared towards "publication generating exercise"... rather true down-to-earth investigations. I don't think we will return to golden age of research, where funding doesn't demand things like "X number of publications", "Y number of patents" and "business plan to sell million units".

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