Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:If it aint' broke (Score 1) 420

Who can hire a developer who works independently and gets a program out to customers without anyone else knowing what is happening?

I've done exactly that a number of times. I had a boss that let people take about 10% of their time and brainstorm new or improvements on existing stuff. It doesn't get put out to the customer without some review of feedback. But I didn't have to sit around and wait for a customer or product manager to tell me what to do.

Back when Al Gore invented the Internet, I was a part of a group that maintained a crusty old engineering data management system that delivered documents to the shop floor. Old 3270 terminals and an error prone text based interface. There was this new thing called the web people were talking about. So I asked my boss if I could try a few things out with it. A week, a copy of NCSA http server and Mosaic and I had a point and click interface on top of the database*. I showed it to my boss, who showed it to manufacturing management as some of the 'long term' technology we were pursuing. Management liked it so much they told him to get the system into production in two weeks. My boss got a promotion, I got a big raise and kept turning out more neat stuff.

Even if it's just improvements to your own work processes and tools, just sitting on your hands and waiting for orders from above isn't a very good demonstration of initiative.

*The sad part: I was a part of an engineering group while doing this. Our IT department got upset about how we were going around them, building our own stuff. And they asked me how I managed to keep all my HTML pages synchronized with the back end database (they didn't understand how 'live' web pages worked back in those days).

Comment Re:If it aint' broke (Score 1) 420

The hallmark of a typical programmer. Get in. Build a new app. Put it into service. Add it to your resume. Get out before the first wave of bug reports come in. Rinse and repeat.

If you don't see yourself as being responsible for a product or process, maybe this lifestyle is OK. But if you like to take responsibility for something and continuously improve it, you are more valuable to a company. And you develop a skill set that makes you even more valuable as you move from project to project. And that means more money and greater job responsibilities.

Comment Re:The world is messy (Score 2) 420

The humanities - ethnography, sociology, philosophy - have valuable insights to offer into the complexities of human society.

Now when I see thing like the blockchain I see projections of ideology, and very little real understanding of the complexities of politics, ethics and social norms.

Reading that another way: You need to understand the social interactions and interpersonal relationships involved with the current process before you can re-engineer it. That guy with the overflowing in-basket through which paperwork barely flows. And what the hell does he contribute to the work process anyway? What exactly is the value of his 'APPROVED' or 'DENIED' stamp? Answer: He's the division head's golfing buddy. And if you really researched the sociological reasons for his existence, you'd understand why going around him or agitating for his removal from the workflow is political suicide. You'd be better off waiting until the BOD gets so pissed at your division's slow response that they ship the whole process to Bangalore.

Anecdote: I worked with a guy who had 'automated' a parts approval process in an aviation company. To go through the new process, you had to submit all the proper test reports, engineering and FAA approvals before the new part could be used on an airplane. The resulting rage from manufacturing was palpable. "What do you mean I can't buy parts from my buddies' company and sneak them into inventory??!!" All of the people involved in developing the new process had committed career suicide and were basically laying low until retirement.

Slashdot Top Deals

Help stamp out Mickey-Mouse computer interfaces -- Menus are for Restaurants!