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Comment A research faculty member's perspective (Score 1) 918

I'm a research faculty member at a top 10 computer science department. I work with a lot of undergraduates as researchers and older students compare very favorably to their younger peers. In general tend to be much more diligent and focused. Most older students also seem willing to work through harder tasks without giving up. My sense from talking to employers is that I am not unique in my assessment.

Comment Badly... (Score 5, Informative) 426

I was in the Army for about 7 years (including a stint in the Persian Gulf in late 2003). The Army has deep, fundamental problems with how they treat techs.

I could go on for pages, but I'll just give one quick example. Promotions in the Army are based mostly on the amount of time you've been in your job. There are also "schools" that are for the most part mandatory to be promoted to the ranks of Sergeant and above. Attending one of these military schools, requires that you leave your unit for about a month. So within my job (74B) it was typical that 75% or more of the soldiers knew absolutely nothing technical. The problem was that there might only be 1 or 2 really savvy people in a unit and they couldn't afford to lose them for any point of time. So a friend of mine who ran the mail server for a large base, wasn't able to go to a military school so he got promoted much later than his non-tech savvy counterparts despite the fact he was a really good soldier as well.

This is a very common practice for the Army. The good techies (like my friend) leave the military instead of reenlisting because they have make 10x as much. Almost all of the high ranking enlisted people used to be infantry or medics or other non-technical fields who switched because they would get promoted faster in this job classification. For the most part they don't know or care about tech.

Comment Re:Enforcing the license? (Score 2, Insightful) 173

Of course, as an academic myself, not citing the paper for some software that I used, is sloppy anyway.

So you cite the paper for every piece of software you use (ssh, Linux, gcc, etc.)?

As a member of the networking / distributed systems community, researchers certainly don't cite all of the relevant tools they use. Testbeds (like Emulab and PlanetLab) and simulators (NS2, etc.) are cited in the results section because the reader needs to understand the methodology of experimentation. However many researchers use tools created by researchers to run their experiments (CoDeploy, PLuSH, PLMAN, Stork, etc.) and these are rarely cited because they do not alter the results.

The unfortunate reality is that citations are a metric of "credit" in the academic community and the lack of citations presents a problem for researchers who build tools.

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