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Comment All that glitters is software. (Score 5, Interesting) 450

I think there are many talented and smart developers in India (as anywhere else). The biggest issue is that they mostly want to work for very large companies (prestige), they are in a hurry to be promoted to managers (many are not good at managing anything but it's all about the title) and thus good developers become weak managers. This depletes the software developer pool so they have to hire people less and less qualified to do the coding.

Another is that there are a lot of "software consulting" companies that handle outsourced work, they tend to have some good developers and a lot of "junior" developers, so when they sell themselves to a customer they can say they have a staff of 100 developers ready to go. This is compounded with the problem of developers trying to get promoted into management (again, title and status are very important to people).

I am not sure if 95% is an accurate number (seems a bit high), but the problem exists nevertheless.

I have read that a lot has to do with sociological issue of being used to a caste system, and while it's not as prevalent as it used to be, rank and status are very important. While this is also true in many other countries (I have worked with many Eastern European and Far East companies), India remains as the place where every developer seems to be looking for a promotion. Some companies placate the developers by giving them over-inflated titles like chief architect or senior staff engineer; but in a company with dozens of chief architects the title no longer has a significant meaning.

Anecdotal evidence: I worked with a developer who was young and his mom kept emailing him to get promoted to a manager so that when she went looking for a wife she could pick from a nicer "deck" because he was a manager ( a deck of pictures/bios is how moms and matchmakers and astrologists get together to determine who gets to marry whom, it's very complicated from what I have seen). I thought it was funny, but he was very serious that the "quality" of a wife his mom could get depended a lot on where he worked and what his title was. At one point he lobbied to get a temporary title and we put him on a short term support project where he was handling issues for one single customer and had a temporary title of a "Senior Customer Manager". He was married within 3 months.

Comment Re:Don't tie the green card to the company (Score 5, Insightful) 318

It's not whether they find out or not, the real issue is that most employers have a "waiting window" for new H1B hires. Nothing stops you from moving to a new company but you will have to put in that initial time (which many HR heads blame the legal team for taking a long time, and in many cases the legal team can "lose" your paperwork or it can get rejected on technicality due to a law change). So this has nothing to do with you (as employee), but more to do with profits. While you are in this waiting period you will work hard and I have seen people pretty much live at work. This is pretty much indentured servitude. And if they don't like it they can leave anytime, and start this process again with still no guarantee that they will get a green card. People in charge (usually head of HR and whoever is doing payroll/finance, CFO or CIO depending on company), know that they are getting a good thing, why not get the most of it.

I have worked in this industry for over 3 decades and met many good people who were stuck in this process, some lucky ones got their green cards after 5 years because they were very good (and often had to threaten leaving to "hurry" the legal process) and the company could not afford to lose them. I have worked with people who were on it for over 10 years and some just went back home because they got tired of the hours and low pay and missed their families; QA, support and IT people had it worst, as they were worked for very long hours and I felt that there was no urgency to get them green cards because they could be easily replaced. Software developers (especially good ones) had a significantly easier time.

It's a well intentioned system that as always gets abused for profit.

Comment Asking for too much. (Score 1) 44

If he asked for 6 good developers (the key work here is good which people at his level can't tell apart from the janitor) to get it built up as a prototype and prove it as s concept and then hire whatever more is needed (30-50 keyboard monkey), it may have been received a lot better. This Katz guy seems quite out of touch with the development process.

Comment Old hardware (Score 1) 162

Just fired up my 2600 only to find out it no longer works.. at least I still have Stella (2600 emulator). My Atari 130XE with 1050 disk drive still works and the floppies from 1980s are still booting... amazing.

Comment Amiga is a bigger Atari (Score 1) 162

Amiga was really the next generation Atari machine, the guy who designed it was the same guy who worked on the Atari 400/etc. I have written code for Atari 8bit/16bit, Commodore 8bit/16bit and I can tell you that Atari 8bit -> Amiga and Commodore 64 -> Atari ST from the architecture and hardware design point of view.

Check out the history of Atari on WIkipedia, interesting read.

Comment My language experience (Score 1) 530

First you should learn the language that seems the most fun to you as that will make you use it more. But here is my brief experience with languages over last 30 years.

C/C++: low level, complex syntax, compiler based, good for really anything but development can be a bit lengthy. Very mature IDEs and good debugging.
java: very popular in corporate world, in my opinion best suited for large teams or server side programming, lots of libraries, can be overwhelming. Easy to profile and debug. IDEs are very mature. Android development.
ASM: only if you are hand optimizing some non-portable code or for fun or for some embedded cases, not very useful otherwise given efficiency of C compilers.
python: nice scripting language I prefer using for writing tools and deployment scripts, got burned a few times when team grew big. Can be hard to debug, IDEs not mature yet.
ruby: has a large faithful community.
PHP: another scripting language that can be hard to scale on large sites, great way to get started in web development. Easier than writing CGIs. Can be a pain to debug. Good IDEs cost money, free IDEs not as mature as they should be. Large community. Good compilers not available (Facebook is not releasing theirs as far as I know), so runs interpreted.
Javascript: Good to web based UI using jQuery or extJS. nodejs fun for prototyping server side. VMs are getting better at running it, but not as good as a compiled language on the server side.
perl: good for string processing, can produce extremely difficult code to read and support. Rabid fanbase that has been poached by ruby and python lately.
C#: similar to java (some people feel it is better some do not), Visual Studio is a nice IDE.
ObjectiveC: iPhone development.

This is from my experience, YMMV. It all depends on what you want to do. Pick the right language for the job and you should be fine.

If I was to recommend languages to you: python for scripting and java for everything else... again, this is my opinion, others have presented compelling cases for their choices.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 2, Informative) 316

I think the problem is that people are always trying to reach the max level without actually having fun and when they get to max level people complain that there is nothing to do. 60-70 are very interesting levels if you spend time on the Outlands, there are like 10 zones with hundreds of quests that have a lot of story behind them. I did 6 levels in 2 zones by turning off the XP bar and actually reading the quest text and trying to have fun doing quests rather than just trying to get 70 so you can move to northrend and repeat.

The grind is your choice, try to stop and smell the flowers, there is a lot more to WoW than getting to max level in the shortest possibly time.

Comment The reason for Skype (Score 4, Informative) 282

At the time of the Skype purchase, eBay was desperately trying to break into the China market against TaoBao (or something like that) that was beating them. Meg The CEO, in yet another display of ineptitude, after a long business trip (a.k.a vacation) in China got a hold of a rumor that Chinese auctioneers preferred to talk on the phone rather than email via anonymous email (which is how eBay was able to keep potential gray market auctions low) and that Skype was going to allow the buyer and seller a better route of communication and allow eBay to dominate China. How no major executive foresaw that once the buyer and seller could communicate by Skype then would just close the auction and negotiate offline and avoid seller fees; everyone but the powers that be saw this coming.

The asking price of 2.8 billion + 2 billion (or something ridiculous like that) if they met some internal goals (it was as insane as it sounds and at the time every blog, publication, news source was laughing outloud). Needless to say Skype missed their goal gloriously, did not get 2 billion and at that time it came out that in yet another stroke of brilliance by Meg the underlying technology was not part of the 2.8 billion. The only people who benefited were the founders of Skype who must still be laughing.

If I am buying a chat program for 2.8 billion I better be getting everything... anyhow, all this is public knowledge and a sad chronicle of how incompetent CEO can keep making mistake after mistake and be seen as successful because the company was hugely profitable despite their best efforts. For the record I sold my stock in eBay as soon as I read about this mess and it was at 44$usd at the time, it fell to almost 20$usd when Skype was reported as a write-down (a.k.a. complete loss) in the 10Q and never quite recovered.

Comment Soloing (Score 1) 601

I am a solo developer on several projects and run into this often. I find that switching to another project for a bit or exploring new technologies and how they can be used helps, then after a short time you will get the urge to go back. You can also see what new feature you can add that requires doing something completely new (embed a scripting engine, add an exotic data structure, write a new parser, whatever fits) and see if that re-ignites it.

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"There is no statute of limitations on stupidity." -- Randomly produced by a computer program called Markov3.