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


Forgot your password?

Comment Re: The reality is more like this.... (Score 1) 138

Using cheap labor doesn't necessarily mean lower prices for consumer goods. It just means that more money stays in the business' pockets. They'll still charge you the price that they'll think you'll pay. Businesses don't base their pricing on how much it costs to make the widget, they base it on what they think you'll pay for it. When you hear "Buy American", what you're hearing is a business that doesn't want to compete on price, they're keeping their (more expensive) pricing in place and raising your "balk" price instead by appealing to your sense of patriotism.

Case in point: I was shopping for a compact car last year; one of the cars I looked at was the Ford Focus. I rejected it mostly based on price; it was about $3000 more than the other cars I was looking at. Now, Ford has posted record profits and recent years; they could price the product more competitively, but they'd rather base their pricing on the fact that your jingoism is worth another couple thousand bucks. (Ironically, while I did buy a Mazda, Ford owns a big chunk of Mazda and the 3 is based on a Ford platform.)

Comment Re:The reality is more like this.... (Score 4, Insightful) 138

This has nothing to do with skill and training, its more about saving money.

Bingo. Big Business doesn't like it when supply and demand works against them. Developers are in-demand, and usually when something is in-demand, the price for that thing goes up (in this case, salary and other compensation). They hate that. Money is for the executive golden parachutes, not the people who do actual work. So, by increasing the supply, you tend to lower upwards salary pressure. It's the same reason why they love H1-Bs so much; they'll accept lower pay, which has the effect of downward pressure on salaries.

However, it's all kind of based on a false premise anyway: the impression that they want you to have that there aren't any workers with the required skills to fill the jobs. This is bullshit. The problem is that there aren't enough workers with the required skills that are willing to accept the money the employers think they're worth (which is waaay below market). So, Big Business whines to their (wholly-owned) elected representatives to get more H1-Bs, and in addition they sponsor programs like this to give the students the impression that they "owe" them something in the form of taking a lower salary. It's all just about money; there's no philanthropy here.

The third thing is that these businesses don't feel your computer science degrees are all that important anyway.

Yes, and no. It's important to them that you have the debt that usually accompanies a college degree; the degree itself, as you indicate, is meaningless. People with huge non-dischargeable debt are more willing to put up with poor treatment by their employer. If you're debt-free, and your boss tells you you now need to do the work of three people, you can much more easily tell him to fuck off as compared with someone who owes $60,000 in student loans.

When it comes to technology... the feel they can get anyone to do this work.

The concept of the 'worker as interchangeable cog' meme is not specific to the tech world, as you probably know already. Case in point: The nurse population is rapidly greying in this country. Nurses that have four decades of experience tend to be at the top of their salary range. Hospitals look at that and say "Why are we paying this one person so much when we can hire three CNAs to do the same work?" The difference is that CNAs are intended to be assistants, which is what the A in the acronym is (Certified Nursing Assistant). They're not intended to provide care themselves; they're trained to do things like clean toilets and rooms in a care-ready way. But all management sees is dollars and cents; at the vast majority of hospitals, the administration has put patient care on the permanent back burner in order to focus on what they really care about: money. Hospital administrators typically are lawyers and accountants, they have no ethical responsibility to the patients. They also see nurses as interchangeable; they see nothing wrong with a nurse that's worked in oncology for twenty years being told to fill in in the ICU. After all, a nurse is a nurse, right?

Comment Re:Yes, moreso than others (Score 1) 641

I wasn't referring to incompetence among programmers, I was talking about society in general.

If a programmer can hose a production asset accidentally, that's a failure of management, specifically in providing adequate resources to create a "sandbox" environment that the programmer can completely hose, and can be restored in minutes. And if you think a properly resourced (ugh) developer is more dangerous to your app than the average (or, more-than-average, in the case of the CEO) idiot user, I don't think you're actually a programmer.

Comment Re:Absence of a test suite (Score 1) 641

By comparing the behaviour with what the specification says

HAHAHAHAHA.. oh, wait, you're serious about having a spec. Let me laugh even harder.

True story: $biggiantclient wanted us to create about 5 major features to add on to our existing site. $biggiantclient represented a ton of business for other departments. Management walked on eggshells around $biggiantclient as a result. I asked for a spec, I was told there was none. I protested, giving all the reasons I could think of why that was a suicidally crazy idea; eventually I was told to shut up and stop asking for one. So, I wrote one myself based on what I thought the client wanted, in as much detail as I could. I sent it to the PM. Eventually I had to start coding. So, some time later, I'm on a phone call with $biggiantclient (about 9 people from there on the call), the PM, and my boss. We're discussing the progress on one of the features, and they say that the way I did something was not what they wanted. I said "That's what was on the spec I provided; was that wrong?" Them: "What spec?"


There's no reason to assume that a test suite you got from the original author is more accurate than a test suite you write yourself.

When there IS no test suite, some testing is almost always better than none. Almost.

Comment Re:Stupid people (Score 1) 641

And then the client will bitch at you because their users got stopped for putting the wrong thing in that field. So, you protest, but in the end you end up removing that validation. Later on, when you go to send reports, and your data integrity is shit, you get blamed again.

Recently I got asked to remove the validation on a one-time-use security token, because people with previously-used tokens were getting blocked. THAT'S THE WHOLE FUCKING POINT, YOU IDIOT. That was one time that it was GOOD that I'm the only dev on that project, because they couldn't make someone else do it.

Slashdot Top Deals

There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom. -- Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923