Always go to lunch with coworkers, and chat with them about... anything, or just hang out while they chat if you can join a group doing so. If they want to talk work, ask them what they're working on; if something in what they say is actually interesting to you, ask 'em about it. If they don't want to talk work, where do they live? Where did they go to school? What do they think of both? What did they do this week? Ideally, they want to talk work at least part of the time, as that's likely more useful.
At lunch, if you find yourself talking more than a fair share, work on talking less. If you find yourself talking not at all, work on talking slightly more.
Much more useful than seeing code with someone's name on it is hearing that person describe the code. If someone calls you on it, offer to explain the design of the code, the decisions and tradeoffs made along the way, and what you'd improve next, or how you left the code in a state to be more easily maintained (by you or others) in the future. That would feel *much* more useful than seeing your name on it, and would take you a fraction of the time invested to get it done.
Avoid technologies that don't easily transfer to other technologies; VB is hellishly rough for being a bit of a dead end, albeit terrifically useful at what it does. Leverage the
.NET part of your resume, and spend a few months learning C#. It's not terrible, and will make you a better VB developer at the very least. At the most, you can pivot out, and do a wider variety of tasks - for better pay - in C# than in VB.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I moved here three years ago looking at staying 10-20 years. So far, so good. We have a thriving tech community, a low cost of living, and low crime. Due to this being the steel making capital of the world 100 years ago, we have a lot of old and awesome cultural institutions much larger than would be expected of a city of this size, but houses cost next to nothing compared to larger cities. We're in the middle of a natural resources boom; we export quite a bit of energy. We sit at the junction of three rivers, and west of a mountain range; we rarely have droughts. Winters are reasonably mild. Summers are reasonably mild. There's an enormous education center here. Healthcare is great. And we certainly have jobs, as well. Take a look at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, the Software Engineering Institute, and the National Robotics Engineering Consortium; pghtech.org lists quite a bit more. Education, medicine, finance and software tend to be the dominant industries here, which are (not coincidentally) more recession-proof than most. Best small city I know.
The technology doesn't work. Five seconds win a nail file rendered it useless. 100 rounds at a practice range *also* render it useless. It simply does not work; it was proposed as a roundabout way of banning guns entirely. From the side, revolvers also don't leave casings at a crime scene. At best, it's going to alter gun sales, but not slow them.
(Digs) SPSS seemed to be hugely used around NIH/Bethesda, if it helps. Tossed your resume into the system here at work as well, can't hurt.
Keeping up with your profession and keeping your skills recent doesn't take a whole lotta time; call it a five hour a week investment that's the difference between "having trouble finding work" and "can quickly find work in any major city in the world". If that's an hour a day after work, it's arguably a pretty good spend of an hour of time. On the managerial front, I've met very, very few managers who worked a 40-hour workweek; they're not doing managing outside the office, but they're certainly stuck *in* the office more than most. Or, for white collar jobs, the 40-hour workweek is often a myth; 45-50 seems the absolute norm in America.
Science degrees are rough, honestly; many of the physics majors I've met have wound up doing math or software.
I assumed you were talking about "glut of unemployed factory workers". My bad. Where is there a glut of unemployed software engineers? To be fair, "years of language X" isn't a great sign; "years of languages X, Y, and Z, with nonprofessional experience in A, B and C" is *much* more likely to find work.
The glut of people have the wrong skills, and can't always be retrained, and certainly can't finish training now. H1-B visas don't go to unskilled laborers; the temporary visas go to people who have the skills we need, and have them now, and are likely to gain *more* skills in the future.
Junk degrees in college are an issue here, and they aren't helping much of anyone. College loans are available to all, but they're not quite enough to pay for a top-tier engineering school. College loans are available to all, but they subsidize comparative medieval literature majors just the same as electrical engineers. We need more of certain professions, but we aren't actively helping people go into those professions any more than a random pick on a dartboard. We also explain to high school students "you can do anything!", when in the real world, some careers are *enormously* harder to pursue than others.
Temporary, no. Permanent, yes. We should be stapling green cards to every engineering degree with a 3.0 average granted by an accredited US university. We don't have enough highly skilled folks to fill these jobs, and these jobs are leaving and not coming back. If a company in America wants to hire you to do work for more than the average *household* income in America, and it's not a profession with a lack of job openings, we should be doing our best to convince you to become a permanent citizen. Average household income is under $50k, FWIW.
Gun control can be about control, but often, is about a kneejerk reaction to something people just aren't familiar with. I grew up (in America) in a fairly rural area. Long guns were commonplace. Pistols were a bit odd, but not a problem. I moved to a large city, and guns are viewed as a completely different thing there, some for good reasons, some not for good reasons. Dunno. Much like most problems, it's an issue of communication and spin, and not an actual issue. Much like most problems in America, I'd blame the media.
I'd believe guns kill people if gun bans in other countries had successfully reduced crime, instead of just changing it. The majority (2/3rds) of gun deaths in the US are suicides. We'd be most successful reducing *deaths* by having better support for depressed people, for instance.
The United States has more guns than people. If the guns were causing the crime, we'd live in a post-apocalypse already.