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Comment I always wonder how they define 'best' (Score 5, Interesting) 119

Whenever I read about tech companies trying to attract "top talent", I'm reminded of a guy that I used to work with. Actually sat right next to - we worked together in one of those "collaborative" open office nightmares. This guy seemed to know everything. Every time somebody had a problem they couldn't figure out, they brought it to him. He taught me how to read Oracle explain plans, how to use Excel pivot tables, and how to write Emacs macros. Well, since I sat right next to him, we ended up getting to know each other pretty well over the course of a year - turns out this guy was a legitimate genius. He taught himself to program in elementary school, started college when he was 12, had a master's degree in CS, had published a couple of books about cryptography... he even spoke like four languages. I finally got around to asking him, "no offense but... why on Earth do you work HERE?" He seemed surprised by the question - turned out he had been out of work for a year before landing this (relatively unglamorous) job working on insurance software. He listed some of the places he had interviewed and been rejected for - all "brand name" places, all places that insist that they're trying to attract "top talent". Now, he was an older guy (mid 40's I think) and personality-wise a little bit like Milton from "Office Space", but it didn't take much time talking with him to know that he was exactly the type of "tech guy" you'd want in any position, but he had major trouble finding any work at all. The kicker? They downsized him after about a year... but they still kept me. No idea why.

Comment And even if somebody does come up with something.. (Score 1) 397

Microsoft on Visual Studio, an IDE that costs $1,199 a year

Not that I think Visual Studio is helpful or useful or much more than bloat, but supposing that somebody did do the research and expend the effort to come up with something that actually WAS useful in taming software complexity, and it cost $1,199/year (or hell, even $199/year), the first question from management would be, "how do we get that for free?"

Comment Re:Then they're idiots (Score 1) 397

I can't count how many times I've heard other programmers suggest that obtaining requirements from stakeholders is like "pulling teeth". I get the analogy, too, because I feel the same way when I try to get somebody (who's paying me to write a program for them!) to tell me what the program is supposed to do. My best guess as to why this is is that the stakeholders usually think that the "business driver" is so obvious it can't be explained or that you should already know all this stuff, and they go into a bit of a panic when you make it clear that you don't already know all the details of how the business works. I've learned guerrilla requirements gathering and yes - a lot of that involves working on code first, showing the "stakeholder" a prototype, and then using that as a springboard for getting them to actually tell me what the hell it is they want this thing to do.

Comment Re:Then they're idiots (Score 1) 397

Then those software engineers are idiots

Yeah, but there are lots of them. When I try to get somebody to explain the actual problem they want me to solve, they don't even seem to understand quite what I'm trying to get at - mostly because their past experiences with programmers has consistently been "where should the buttons and drop-downs go?"

Comment Re:What's the point of this article? (Score 4, Insightful) 397

Hmmmm.... well, hang on - I don't think this is what you meant, but you seem to be implying (and certainly a non-coding reader would infer from reading your comment) that code is actually easy. Code IS hard, and it takes a lifetime of discipline to master, and when actual, human safety is on the line, it should absolutely be left in the hands of experienced professionals.

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