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Comment: Re:TALK to them (Score 1) 467

by swright (#39024253) Attached to: Dealing With an Overly-Restrictive Intellectual Property Policy?

As an employer yourself, would you be willing to sign-off on that if that meant you might eventually lose him as a result? Actually, don't answer that. Even if you agree to that, because you're a reasonable manager, a better question would be, do you think your HR department and legal in-house counsel (assuming your company is big enough to have those) would agree to something like that with an existing employee (when unlike you, they don't have a relationship with the employee in question, they probably don't even know him all that well, except for the fact that he's probably a valuable employee and that it may cost the company money down the road if they were to agree to such an exclusion)??

I'll be frank - but these are my opinions only.

Yes I would employ them with those caveats in place (and yes signoff can be sought from the other depts involved) - but I do see that as the employee saying "I'll work for you, but only until something else comes along" and to be honest that is a negative. If an employee is borderline at the hiring stage, this would not count in their favour for being hired.

We want people to be committed to us and for us to be their career, for as long as they choose to remain with us. The perception this gives is that they can/will leave at any time, and while they are with us they won't put in the effort to make it work anyway because they'll also be focusing on their home projects. Some people can make this work, keep the two separate and still give 100% in the day job. Many can't.

probably a valuable employee

This is the key bit. On hiring them it is very "probably". Taking on someone new is a risk for the employer as much as it is a big step for the employee, especially for small business.

The honesty of being clear that they want to do side projects is appreciated (and important!), but to be frank it is a negative. Sorry.

You may also be right that many employers probably wouldn't...I can only speak from my experience.

Comment: Re:TALK to them (Score 1) 467

by swright (#39024129) Attached to: Dealing With an Overly-Restrictive Intellectual Property Policy?

They aren't intended to own your soul. I believe (again IANAL) they are intended to start from a position of legal clarity regarding the ownership of software produced by the employee that *may* make its way into company software products.

Obviously the company has to be clear that it does actually own what it thinks it owns (including its software). The clause prevents cases where the employee may write a nifty library at home, and use it at work as well, before subsequently deciding to sell it to someone else and denying the employer any legal right to use it - or even the choice of whether to use the '3rd party' code.

I agree there should be processes and people in place to avoid this happening in the first place (not least of which is a code signoff process) - but the 'default' position, as reflected by the contract, is for legal clarity. A reasonable employer should be able to exclude you from it, on the proviso that there are clear ownership rules around what employees write in their own time (plus no-compete rules).

I would like to reiterate; these clauses are - at least as far as my organisation is concerned - NOT about "we own your soul". Any reasonable employer should be able to come to a mutually agreeable agreement with you if you TALK to them. If they won't....well they probably aren't people you want to work for anyway...

Comment: Re:TALK to them (Score 1) 467

by swright (#39023945) Attached to: Dealing With an Overly-Restrictive Intellectual Property Policy?

hehe, if you feel like that then you will find employers won't care about you...

but fwiw you're wrong. A great many employers care hugely for the welfare, wellbeing, personal development, skills development and happiness of their employess. But you won't find one to work for while you have that attitude.

Comment: Re:ask a lawyer (Score 3, Insightful) 467

by swright (#39013555) Attached to: Dealing With an Overly-Restrictive Intellectual Property Policy?

Oh no, not another "ask a lawyer" question.

As a general rule, this is mostly unenforceable and/or is trivially worked around.

That may be, but life is a lot simpler for everyone if we can all work by mutual prior agreement.

*all* contracts start in the favour of the people who wrote them. It's a game to make it mutually fair as much as it is to do a decent tax return or haggle for goods at the market. You may not like that it's a game (I don't!), but it is one.

Comment: TALK to them (Score 5, Informative) 467

by swright (#39013535) Attached to: Dealing With an Overly-Restrictive Intellectual Property Policy?

Yes - explain why you don't like this, and what you intend to do in your spare time that you wish to retain ownership of.

These clauses usually come from a desire that employees don't misappropriate company IP and use it to write something competing. Or for a competitor (where the 'who owns what' question becomes murkier).

Any reasonable employer will write you an exclusion, but likely with a no-compete clause, which is fair enough.

IANAL, but I write the above as an employer, running a tech team of 21.

Comment: Re:The problem for UK IT graduates (Score 1) 349

by swright (#37339434) Attached to: British CS Majors Doing Badly In the Jobs Market

For what its worth, as an employer I'm equally put off by candidates who list a massive long list of things they are "expert" in. Nobody can be expert in all those things.

Especially "equivalent" technologies like PHP / Java / VB.net / ASP (yes I know they are different - but nobody can actually be expert in all of them!)

Edit: transferrable skills are important, and understanding the underlying principles is important and leads to it being much easier to learn other platforms/languages. Nevertheless they all have their own idiosyncracies and 'right' ways of doing things.

Comment: Re:Companies bring in foreign secondees (Score 1) 349

by swright (#37339280) Attached to: British CS Majors Doing Badly In the Jobs Market

Actually its not quite as straightforward as that....to have staff in India counts as having a commercial presence in India. That renders you liable to Corporation tax in India, as well as in the UK.

Ofc there are ways people get around that by having *contractors* in India through umbrella agencies, or by straight outsourcing, but its not quite as simple as "get the Indians in".

Comment: Re:Most IT jobs dont't need a degree. (Score 1) 349

by swright (#37339254) Attached to: British CS Majors Doing Badly In the Jobs Market

I don't necessarily have the best view of the overall market, but as an employer my view is different here...

I feel more people are taking CS, since it's become more mainstream. Having a CS degree, however, doesn't make you a good developer or a good techie. Employers want good people, nee great people!

There are many people who have a degree (even a masters!) and just aren't that good.

What I would say, is that the degree should teach principles; an underlying approach and a way to think. However, peoples' ability to absorb that part is - IMO - not necessarily reflected in their final grade.

For me, demonstration of practical experience (whether done commercially, at home for fun or part of a course) is far more valuable in ascertaining someone's skill set.

Comment: Re:Minimum experience required... (Score 2) 349

by swright (#37339222) Attached to: British CS Majors Doing Badly In the Jobs Market

As an employer, of a tech team of nearly 20 who's actually hiring now as well I would very much like to agree with AmiMojo.

The single biggest contributor to whether we will hire someone or not is whether we are convinced that they are actually really good.

Qualifications and degrees to NOT say that. Having a shiny last job does not say that.

What says it is two things;
- code we can see that is good, whether from our aptitude test or code that you wrote and can show us (legally, without breaking NDAs)
- an obvious love for the subject, enough to do it in your spare time at home (not work, just tech things)

Personally I don't care whether a candidate has a degree or not. I care that they know what they are talking about, have good problem-solving skills, can communicate to some degree, and that they have a can-do attitude.

I don't know what unemployment is like in my region (Hampshire), but I do know there's lots of candidates...just most aren't particularly good.

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