Re: Guidance

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Screw you, Heebie!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 2:19 PM
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is there a class of programming jobs that are reasonably interesting but still have family-friendly hours?

Very rare for junior tech workers.

Even most not-interesting software jobs are vulnerable to management-imposed "crunch time"; basically a declaration that your earlier hopes for work/life balance will be forcibly crushed in favor of a demonstration of resolve intended to save your boss's ass.

When you've developed mastery of a specialty and can give up regular employment to consult in that specialty, you can then balance your desire for billable hours X rate vs. A Life. This is not that unusual for programmers in mid-career who make it an objective early-on. It is not a rewarding path for below-average programmers.


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 2:28 PM
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There are companies that are coding-based and keep sane hours, sure. My office of Google is OK on this front, but I tend to think it's a combination of (a) the company is grotesquely profitable, and can in practice afford some slack and (b) we're not in insane Silicon Valley, so the local social pressures are very different.

I'm not sure what to recommend in a positive way; in a negative way, I think you'd do well to avoid (a) startups and (b) game companies.

(I also feel like many companies that use computers - which is to say almost all of them - could make use of a few staff programmer types, to help program and automate regular business processes. But convincing a company that they need those people is a tall order.)


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 2:29 PM
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(I also feel like many companies that use computers - which is to say almost all of them - could make use of a few staff programmer types, to help program and automate regular business processes. But convincing a company that they need those people is a tall order.)

One way to get such a position is to already be working at such a company doing non-programming stuff, and then gradually demonstrate how your programming skills can make everyone else's jobs easier, until that becomes your job. Not the most direct route, but it works.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 2:37 PM
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3.last: being the only (or only one of a few) technical person in a non-technical environment is IME a recipe for sadness. Nobody understands what you do, so they're often suspicious when you try to give them a reasonable estimate of how long it'll take to get things done. And there's no one else to bounce problems off or commiserate with.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 2:42 PM
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(I also feel like many companies that use computers - which is to say almost all of them - could make use of a few staff programmer types, to help program and automate regular business processes. But convincing a company that they need those people is a tall order.)

It's nice to hear somebody else say that. I feel like if I left my current job something like that would be the best fit for me, but I assume it would require talking somebody into creating that position, because it just doesn't seem like a common thing, and certainly not as common as it should be.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 2:45 PM
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Yeah, my main example of this is my wife's workplace, which is large enough could use a whole department of such people (distinct from the existing email-and-file-server IT roles they have). They successfully realized that they need to have staff blacksmiths/machinists; I view this as needing to have software blacksmiths.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 2:45 PM
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I would *guess* that contributing in a serious way to open-source projects--actually having pull request that get integrated into the codebase, etc--would be the best way to prove yourself that's compatible with set-your-own hours, but 1- that's just a guess, and 2- I'm still unemployed (but going in for a second on-site interview tomorrow), so what do I know?

As for family-friendly hours--maybe places that are unusually extreme about working remotely? The folks who do Wordpress, for example. Or this random place. I think it'll be hard to find a "real" engineering job that's less than full-time, but working from home will give you more flexibility to move those 40 hours around, I'd imagine.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 3:05 PM
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Full time is fine. 60 hours is not.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 3:09 PM
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Honestly, why not apply to the job in my second link right now? You've already written multiple iOS apps, right? (Or did you mean by "about a year out" that you won't have time, because of the kids, until then?)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 3:11 PM
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Actually, no, better idea. Spend a little time reworking the whole blog, using Wordpress, with attention towards the mobile experience, and then when you've got something to show, apply to this position.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 3:15 PM
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11 is a horrible idea. CHANGEBAD.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 3:17 PM
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Heck, maybe I should work with you on a blog redesign, and angle for a position there, myself, given the real possibility of my having to relocate. Except that everything about my past suggests that working from home would be an absolute disaster.

And hrmm, one could run multiple versions interacting with the same database, so that luddites like Josh would still have their comforting old school Unfogged.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 3:19 PM
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you won't have time, because of the kids, until then?

Correct.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 3:25 PM
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But that second job posting is pretty great. How did you hear about it? (Also, I've done just one app so far.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 3:30 PM
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multiple versions interacting with the same database

Oh yeah, this sounds like fun.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 3:31 PM
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Yeah, sure, take the blog with one of the most congenial and long-running active commenting communities on the internet and start fucking around with its design. What could go wrong?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 3:32 PM
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Relax, relax, there will be no changes to the blog. I was going to sell the domain name to pornographers, but apparently not even they have money these days.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 3:39 PM
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Most congenial, huh.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 3:44 PM
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Not even the infinite archive by weeks and the outdated blogroll?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 3:46 PM
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Not even that.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 3:52 PM
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OK then.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 3:54 PM
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But that second job posting is pretty great. How did you hear about it? (Also, I've done just one app so far.)

The Automattic/Wordpress one? I think I must have looked into how they do hiring, back when I was first thinking about jobs, because I'd heard of the product. (I haven't applied, both because I don't know any PHP--although now I see they have, e.g., JavaScript openings--and because I think I'd be a disaster at remote work.)

Given that you're not in any hurry, it might well be a decent strategy to look up ideal jobs like that one, and prepare a portfolio that would make you look great for it. But again, I don't know anything.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 3:54 PM
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Actually, I meant the buffer job.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 4:02 PM
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"Interesting" is relative and subjective. Conventionally interesting jobs also have a tendency to be hard to get or otherwise shitty. See video games and uber-trendy startups. But you can probably dig up a line of work that you find more interesting than most people do.

Preparation? Write programs. Even simple ones, just write lots of them. Learning a second language gives useful meta-knowledge so consider that at some point but in the meantime just write programs. Stuff like an app to record how many times your kid poops. And post it to twitter. And show daily summaries. Etc.

It'll be hard to pick up much of the theoretical background in a year, but you can get the basic skills down reasonably well in that time. So just practice.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 4:05 PM
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Also, good luck with the interview, x.trapnel...


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 4:12 PM
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x.trapnel >>>

If you want to play to with a WordPress starter theme for developing sites that is mobile friendly, I would recommend

http://themble.com/bones/

That Automatic job seems to be geared towards building native Android/iOS mobile versions of the WordPress back-end/admin interface for blogging, rather than actually building mobile-friendly WordPress sites, though.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 4:23 PM
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I'm now wondering if there is a blog that's basically just a database that you have to write your own applications to interact with.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 4:26 PM
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I've decided to make a goal to contribute to some open source project in the next two years. But it's likely to be something domain specific, not widely-known like wordpress.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 4:30 PM
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One thing I worry about is that I'm putting myself in something of a ghetto with iOS / Objective C. Obviously, there are going to be plenty of jobs for the foreseeable future...and maybe that's as far as anyone can see...but it's early enough for me that I feel like I should pick the direction that will give me the most flexibility.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 4:35 PM
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I'm teaching myself R and it's pissing me off.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 4:41 PM
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Hey, can any of you computer people point me to a short, authoritative, preferably online explanation of email spoofing?


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 4:50 PM
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32: I don't really know an authoritative reference but I could explain to you at whatever level of detail.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 4:52 PM
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30: eh, Objective C is similar enough to other useful languages that I wouldn't worry excessively about that. You could download Eclipse and try messing with some java for Android, in theory.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 4:53 PM
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Ogged should get on the dependent types bandwagon and learn Idris.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 4:56 PM
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I don't know about authoritative, but >>> https://support.hostgator.com/articles/specialized-help/email/problems-with-spoof-spf


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 4:56 PM
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34: I'd disagree with that insofar as Java is too similar to Objective C. If ogged's going to pick up another language, better to make it a dynamic one so he gets a better sense of the advantages and drawbacks of both approaches.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 5:01 PM
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31: No joke.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 5:08 PM
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Because, what the fuck is an object? Or, what isn't an object ?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 5:31 PM
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Speaking of computers (by which I mean, this is really off-topic), is there any recent information on whether this blog is accessible from behind the great firewall?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 5:34 PM
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Never mind. I just googled and there is a website that claims to test, and it looks like Unfogged is fine.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 5:36 PM
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We haven't talked smack about Mao in a while.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 5:37 PM
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Doesn't Britta post from there?


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 5:38 PM
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fuck to object?


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 5:41 PM
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Or, what isn't an object ?

A procedure.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 5:48 PM
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37: I don't disagree. I was more thinking of a way he could be reassured he's doing something relatively transferable. Also probably not a bad second language for an app programming job.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 5:51 PM
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One thing I worry about is that I'm putting myself in something of a ghetto with iOS / Objective C.

Probably true. The app gold rush is likely over, and mobile frameworks are going to become more and more commodified. There will be jobs, but great jobs will be hard to find.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:05 PM
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Java would be useful because (a) there will always be Java jobs, and (b) being able to do server-side Java will enable him to move to full stack development, which is a nice compliment to the iOS front-end skills.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:09 PM
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The app gold rush is likely over, and mobile frameworks are going to become more and more commodified.

This is exactly what I thought about client-side web development in 2001. Ha ha! Clever am I!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:11 PM
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Is a client an object?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:13 PM
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In a different context, I have tried to make the argument that there are no such things as objects.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:14 PM
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I was thinking that the gold rush is mostly over, but there are a lot of companies that will still be wanting their own app or mobile presence, which is to say, there will still be jobs there, just not get rich jobs. But this kind of market reading is precisely what I'm hoping to avoid. I hadn't considered Java; I'll look into that. I was mostly trying to decide between Objective C and Python (which I started learning before moving to ObjC). But I have zero math background, so I feel like I'd be shut out of a good chunk of the python jobs.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:18 PM
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Money is no object and a procedure isn't either. Everything else is but somehow "object" is a useful category of computer effluvium.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:19 PM
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Isn't an object just something that's defined by its elimination rules rather than by its introduction rules?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:20 PM
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Shit, I even like the bits of C I've learned as a prelude to ObjC, but I have no idea what the C jobs are; again, I'll bet they're mathy.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:21 PM
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54: I thought the method-containing-ness was the key thing, but what do I know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:22 PM
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54: Must every thread be a poop thread?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:22 PM
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I was thinking that the gold rush is mostly over, but there are a lot of companies that will still be wanting their own app or mobile presence, which is to say, there will still be jobs there, just not get rich jobs

I suppose this could just be quibbling about what you mean by "gold rush" and "mostly over", but around here, I'm seeing an apparently inexhaustible supply of web developer and mobile developer jobs, all of which seem to be 80-120k even for junior devs. I mean, yeah, you won't get rich from that, but I thought that was what your wife was for, right?

Why not


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:25 PM
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Oops. I was going to break this into a separate comment anyway:

Why not go with Ruby? Maybe folks will have moved on in two years' time, but my guess is that the Ruby/Rails community is unmatched as far as resources out there to help you teach yourself, and it is pretty different from ObjC (right, folks who actually know?). This class seems like it would be very worthwhile. And you could easily switch over to Python and the various Python web frameworks if you felt like it.

Again, we're mid-bubble, and I'm living a few blocks from the epicenter of it, but from where I'm sitting it doesn't look like "zero math background" limits one all that much.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:30 PM
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At some point investors are going to stop handing piles of cash to VCs to hand it to companies that use it to buy trinkets like bright 20-something programmers to impress the investors and VCs.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:31 PM
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Again, we're mid-bubble

At some point investors are going to stop handing piles of cash to VCs to hand it to companies

Yes, but when does it end? Maybe one of you can tell me and we can all get rich on figuring that out.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:33 PM
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all of which seem to be 80-120k even for junior devs

There are some days when I wonder about the choices that I've made in my life. . . . Not really, but every time Trapnel talks about the salary scale for programmers in the Bay Area I do boggle somewhat.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:34 PM
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Just another two years, that's all I ask, please god.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:35 PM
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Just another two years, that's all I ask, please god.

"pretty good with a rod, but I need three more years before I can think like a fish."


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:37 PM
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At some point investors are going to stop handing piles of cash to VCs to hand it to companies that use it to buy trinkets like bright 20-something programmers to impress the investors and VCs.

Surprisingly, most developer job openings come from the need of established companies to build something they don't have the labor for, rather than this dynamic.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:40 PM
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every time Trapnel talks about the salary scale for programmers in the Bay Area I do boggle somewhat

Yeah, it's truly ridiculous, and it's not going to seem real to me unless and until I actually get a job like that. But programmer salaries and housing prices are two sides of the same coin, both powered by the same global savings glut. A cheap studio within walking distance of the tech company district will set you back at least $1800.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:43 PM
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A month?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:44 PM
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I'm seeing an apparently inexhaustible supply of web developer and mobile developer jobs

This has happened before. The jobs are in inexhaustible supply until suddenly they are nowhere to be found. Only a limited number of the jobs being handed out right now will be safe when the music stops.

Sifu wasn't wrong about the end of the gold rush in 2001. I went from being a $70,000+ junior developer to substitute teaching and selling satellite dishes.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:45 PM
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You're right, Spike, that I shouldn't be complacent about thinking that a few years' experience will shield me from that, and, yeah, it's only a matter of time before this bubble, too, bursts. But does anyone have any better suggestions, if one is looking to claw one's way back into the professional class? Aside from petroleum engineering and being a cop.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:49 PM
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I don't know California very well. Was that a lateral move?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:50 PM
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I'd like to avoid that! I guess there's no way not to do some prediction work. But I'm not looking for anything particularly sexy; I want to show up, do something that ideally would be making something rather than maintaining something, and then go home to my kids. So far, my categories of programming jobs are something like this:

webdev stuff
very mathy stuff that I'll never do
maintaining ancient code
automating business processes
other mathy wall street stuff that I'll never do

If that's an exhaustive list, fine, I'll make some decisions, but if not, what do I not know about?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:50 PM
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60 : you know, maybe? But it's actually been going on in one form or another for thirty years now. It has gotten bigger and crazier, but I dunno. Seems a little soon to start betting against it in a larger sense. There will be interim busts, of course, as per 68.last.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:51 PM
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71: I actually don't think "very mathy stuff" is a terribly large piece of the puzzle, and possibly contra those above "guy who works on niche apps for a company that wants an app" is I think not going anywhere for a while, although it might get subsumed into "webdev" on some level. Also "webdev" is a truly enormous category. Also I think some subset of a lot of your categories could get subsumed into "high performance server kind of stuff" which is not particularly mathy but which you will never do.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:56 PM
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So, learning R isn't going to let me earn millions.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:58 PM
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But does anyone have any better suggestions, if one is looking to claw one's way back into the professional class?

The international civil service. You get job security, interesting work, exotic locales, a housing allowance, and a pension.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 6:59 PM
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Oh right, "data scientist". There's that job.

I heard the other day that Nathan's employer is offering pretty much anybody with machine learning-related PhDs and some practical experience a cool half million a year, as part of their project of getting basically all of that expertise in-house.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:00 PM
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Jammies and I sometimes have this conversation - "is there a way for Heebie to support our lifestyle so Jammies can stay at home?" We conclude: 1. Write a math textbook that gets adopted by big schools 2. Go into finance. Neither of those are going to happen, so.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:02 PM
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77: what if it were a children's math textbook? huh, you think of that?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:06 PM
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Jammies won't do porn during your school breaks?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:06 PM
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If you mean the US Foreign Service--alas, I hate America too much; "no" and "no" to the first two questions here. If you mean international orgs--might be interesting, but I think I've fallen too far off the "has succeeded in previous endeavors" track for those.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:06 PM
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||Hey Pittsburghers, our bald eagles are more badass than yours.|>


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:08 PM
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what do I not know about?

embedded development
database wizzardry
systems integration
configuration management
"dev-ops"


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:09 PM
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There seem to be lots of cybersecurity jobs in the DC/Baltimore area, which sound awesome and sucky in their own way.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:10 PM
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Heh. If you want a cybersecurity job in Chicago, my friends' company is hiring!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:14 PM
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I think they're hiring in New York, too. Around Boston my other friends' company is hiring programmers to write vulnerability definitions, essentially. It's profoundly unsexy -- it's sort of glorified QA in a lot of ways -- but damn they need a lot of people to do it.

Ogged have you thought about QA? That can be more stable and attained with less in the way of technical programming chops.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:15 PM
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Also, in a job interview, does a sentence that contains the phrase "my 15+ years of experience doing [computer-related task]" ever end well? No, it does not.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:16 PM
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Let me be the first to recommend SAS. It keeps me from having to turn to porn or working hard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:17 PM
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Hah, I have a notoriously detail-oriented friend from grad school who now leads a QA team at Google. It's just an awesome match for his personal temperament. He's a nice guy, too.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:19 PM
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How much industry experience do I need to be a good fit for Matasano?
We're always happy to talk to anyone who can code and is interested in app security. We're almost always hiring both junior and senior staff. At times, we may need senior people in order to bring more junior people on; we'll always try to be up front about this.

Go for it, ogged!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:21 PM
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If you mean international orgs--might be interesting, but I think I've fallen too far off the "has succeeded in previous endeavors" track for those.

Yeah, that's what I mean. UN Secretariat, World Bank, ICC, IMF, UNICEF, FAO, IAEA, OPCW, CTBTO, etc.

Nice work if you can get it. Previous success would be helpful, but only to an extent. For example, a degree from Harvard is considered on the same basis as a degree from Palookaville State.



Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:24 PM
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86: My 15+ years of working with SAP installations have convinced me that apprenticing myself to you and learning cabinetmaking is a much better thing to do with my life.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:27 PM
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If you want to have a career in cybersecurity you likely need the top-secret clearance, because the US government is your #1 customer.

Of course, that ends up filtering out a lot of the best developers from the field, which maybe explains why things are so insecure.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:28 PM
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Spike speaks the truth. Based on my limited experience years ago, an int'l organization job was a great way to have job security, subsidized housing in a really nice place, various other benefits, and to work 2 1/2-3 hours a day. Why I didn't keep this in mind when planning my own career is a total mystery.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:30 PM
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92.1: not outside of DC? I mean, if my friends in the biz have top secret clearances that is a fucking broken-ass system.

(On the other hand I'm pretty sure mudge had or has a top secret clearance at some point given he was a fucking program manager for darpa and... ha ha! Anyhow.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:34 PM
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I don't know what SAP is, but it is mentioned in airline magazines. That's never a good sign.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:34 PM
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Oh! Enterprise software. That's a whole other world. There are those jobs, yeah. You could work for a company you've never heard of that is the fifth largest company in the world!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:36 PM
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if my friends in the biz have top secret clearances that is a fucking broken-ass system.

Frequently, it boils down to "are you ex-military?"


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:36 PM
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Which, again, they definitely 100% are not. This really seems like a DC/not-DC divide, maybe.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:38 PM
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77: There's also 3. Move to North Dakota.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:38 PM
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have you thought about QA?

I have! It sounds so...boring. Am I wrong?

embedded development
database wizzardry
systems integration
configuration management
"dev-ops"

Aha. I need to google some of those, others I do know about. ... Having googled a bit, they all seem to be more on the IT side of things, and IT is what I did for ten years while I was in the Bay Area, but, honestly, I didn't love it. Maybe I shouldn't be so choosy; those jobs are almost surely more secure and predictable than the product development side.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:40 PM
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I have! It sounds so...boring. Am I wrong?

Nope!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:41 PM
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I did 5 years of enterprise software for an insurance company. Aside from a few episodes of crunch time, it was an overall family-friendly place, with a decent amount of vacation time and not-unreasonable hours.

Insurance companies have huge IT departments, including mobile app development. Although, last I heard, a lot of those jobs were heading to India.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:41 PM
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To continue the int'l organizations conversation with myself, I knew a guy whose basically only job was to put out a monthly 5 page newsletter about shipping, plus travel to various conferences to talk about shipping. He probably earned a few hundred grand a year and got a nice apartment in a great city, raised his kids in good schools etc., plus the job was protected under some kind of civil service rule I don't understand. He'd start drinking at like 3:30 and that was probably an hour after her done all the work he needed to for the day. Dream job!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:46 PM
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IT is what I did for ten years while I was in the Bay Area, but, honestly, I didn't love it.

Its true that IT is dull compared to software development. The dev-ops thing is a bit of both worlds, though, and recognizes that programmers should be able to control the whole goddamn system, not just what IT chooses to share with them. Cloud-based virtualization technologies make this a lot more practical these days than it was in the past.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:47 PM
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He probably earned a few hundred grand a year and got a nice apartment in a great city, raised his kids in good schools

The few hundred grand is probably an overstatement, but they will pay 30% of your rent, and 75% of your kid's private school tuition. Through a bachelor's degree.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:51 PM
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Just for more concrete examples of what I would consider to be a fun, family-life friendly dev firm:

http://fourkitchens.com/careers


Posted by: They Know Me | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:52 PM
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UN Secretariat, World Bank, ICC, IMF, UNICEF, FAO, IAEA, OPCW, CTBTO,

Depending on whether you prefer being around diplomats, developing nations, war criminals, developing nations, starving children, foreign farm animals, nukes, chemical weapons, or nuke detectors.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:54 PM
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87 speaks the truth. Other languages come and go, but SAS endures.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:55 PM
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few hundred grand is probably an overstatement

Yes, that's right. This was 20 years ago so he definitely wasn't earning that much. But just looking very quickly on google you can get $100-200k plus a shit-ton of benefits plus nice locations plus job security plus super limited work. I'm talking myself into this but I can't leave LA!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:57 PM
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99: well, the major thing we can barely afford is flying to see family and taking trips. I don't know that the Dakotas solve that.

Also it's pretty dang cheap here.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 7:57 PM
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what I would consider to be a fun, family-life friendly dev firm:

That sounds like a great gig. PHP! I thought PHP was dying!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 8:00 PM
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looking very quickly on google you can get $100-200k plus a shit-ton of benefits plus nice locations plus job security plus super limited work

Indistinguishable from spam!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 8:01 PM
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If I had my druthers, I'd work for the nuke detectors. Where else do you get an opportunity to go to Yellowknife, Easter Island, and Tristan da Cunha, all on business?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 8:02 PM
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I'm talking myself into this but I can't leave LA!

You could totally land a job with WIPO.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 8:04 PM
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I thought PHP was dying!

If only. Stay the hell away from PHP.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 8:07 PM
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PHP is awesome!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 8:12 PM
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the major thing we can barely afford is flying to see family and taking trips

This. Well, we're in a pretty badass locale for driving trips but gah, the flying. We can camp in Yellowstone for 27 bucks a night but to go see my brother in Atlanta it's like two grand just for the plane tickets.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 8:25 PM
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No one is going to tell me to learn python, and all my problems will be solved. Fine, fine, I'll live in the real world.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 8:29 PM
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PHP is awesome!

That link is amazing. But this is a popular language! How did this happen?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 8:30 PM
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116: oh dear lord.

118: I thought we told you that already?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 8:31 PM
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My plan for what I'd do if I didn't get a job doing something related to my masters degrees, was to try to move into tech via QA. I had a list of things I was going to apply to in southern California when I got interviews and then a job out of the blue. Now that I've been hired for something that I'm probably more underqualified for than the people who hired me know - and they know I'm underqualified - I guess I could still go that route if I fail without failing too spectacularly.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 8:32 PM
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I thought we told you that already?

Really? I'm old and slow, you have to spell these things out for me.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 8:34 PM
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Maybe that was PCP.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 8:37 PM
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The following PHP code....

  $arg = 'T';
  $vehicle = ( ( $arg == 'B' ) ? 'bus' :
               ( $arg == 'A' ) ? 'airplane' :
               ( $arg == 'T' ) ? 'train' :
               ( $arg == 'C' ) ? 'car' :
               ( $arg == 'H' ) ? 'horse' :
               'feet' );
  echo $vehicle;

...prints "horse".

The ?: operator is left-associative. Madness.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 8:43 PM
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But some blogger at an Oreilly website says PHP is in a Renaissance!


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 8:48 PM
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There is a new package manager for PHP called Composer which does a nice job of assembling dependencies from git repositories. This is an area where Python very much falls short, and I'm hoping someone steals that idea.

The PHP philosophy of "just get shit done" does have some advantages over Python's tendency to over-architect everything. Some advantages.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 8:59 PM
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Sifu's friends run Matasano?!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 9:00 PM
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PHP? C'mon. You can do better. Nobody deserves that.

Lemme see if I understand 124: $arg isn't 'B', so we compare it to 'A' which evaluates to false. That makes the entire first bit false, so we evaluate everything after 'airplane'. $arg is in fact 'T' so the next three become 'train', which is non-trivial so presumably true. The three after that hence become 'car', which, again, is true, and so we get 'horse'. Jesus.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 9:03 PM
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115: That's hilarious! "We have things like protected properties. We have abstract methods. We have all this stuff that your computer science teacher told you you should be using. I don't care about this crap at all."


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 9:07 PM
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the major thing we can barely afford is flying to see family and taking trips

Move to central PA! Everybody's doing it! Then you can drive to see your my family!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 9:11 PM
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This is a nice essay about "objects".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 9:14 PM
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But does anyone have any better suggestions, if one is looking to claw one's way back into the professional class?

Have you considered fields that have huge web presences but where most "professionals" aren't web professionals (yet, if ever)? I'm thinking of journalism, libraries, archives, museums, the instructional side of higher ed. Sure, some of those fields are supposedly dying, but I don't think the situation is as dire as people make it out to be and to the extent that the fields survive they're going to pretty much always need an online presence.

Libraries and their associated vendors like publishers, etc. need back-end and interface work for online catalogs or "discovery" systems, electronic resources, digital collections, etc. You could target only public institutions or only open access publishers, or whatever. If you look around, you'll see a fair amount of work for web developers, application developers, etc. Places using Drupal/Wordpress/Omeka or similar will look for PHP, but there's a Ruby community (see the open source Black/light project, for example), there's people using Python, and as far as I know javascript (or just jquery) is commonly asked for across the board.

You're probably not likely to get work in a traditional library without some established track record and without a library degree, but credentialism isn't all that strict for these kinds of jobs. They'll probably appreciate your academic background in an academic library too. Lots of people have similar histories of dropping out and looking for something else to do.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 9:24 PM
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I work in a library. According to my title, I'm "Chief Librarian", which the real librarians think is hilarious.

The current trend is creating "institutional repositories" of electronic documents, and getting them to share documents with one-another. There are probably a number of packages out there, the one we use is called DSpace. Its not the greatest stuff, but developing an expertise in customizing it might be a solid career move.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 9:37 PM
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Have you considered fields that have huge web presences but where most "professionals" aren't web professionals (yet, if ever)?

Yes, absolutely. In fact, I've been telling myself I need to apply for this job since November. (Actually, maybe I finally will--last time I looked, it was listed as "Python web developer", and I barely know Python, so I was all, "as soon as I relearn Python, I'll apply!" and then it became March.) And I'm going to be talking to people at the universities recruiting my girlfriend about what kinds of developer opportunities there are at the universities, etc.

But it strikes me that for a first job, when what I want to do is build up my toolbox, I'd ideally be at a consultancy or product company.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 9:39 PM
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I hadn't realized that. Maybe we can have a DSpace vs. Fedora* blogfight some day.

*Not to be confused with the OS. Or the hat.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 9:41 PM
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There are some days when I wonder about the choices that I've made in my life. . . . Not really, but every time Trapnel talks about the salary scale for programmers in the Bay Area I do boggle somewhat.

Don't worry, it's not about choices, it's innate, to be a Troo Programmer you have to have started at age 13 or age 9 or something. It's about being a generally superior being.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 9:44 PM
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I had no idea PLOS had so many jobs open. They must be a much larger organization than I had thought.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 9:48 PM
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So far DSpace is letting me down. We have a repository that is 3/4 Spanish and 1/4 English, and it doesn't seem to have great facilities for linking metadata in multiple languages. Or maybe it does, and we just don't know what they are. This is the kind of thing where a knowledgeable consultant would come in handy. Our consultant is not-so-knowledgeable.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 9:49 PM
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I don't really know anything about how DSpace works. That sounds like the kind of thing someone might have figured out how to do, but learning that's they've done it and how they've done it might be a matter of luck.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 10:00 PM
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131: haven't finished it yet, but that's a good read. I hadn't been exposed to the autognosis idea before, probably because it's mostly honored in the breach. Java lets you know some things about the internal representations of other objects, e.g. private fields of other members of the same class. However you can approximate autognosis by creating objects only via factory methods that call anonymous subclasses of interfaces. instanceof would then only give type info, not implementation info.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 10:18 PM
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Elsewhere Guy Steele and Matthias Felleisen pointed out that object orientation so understood (and in Felleisen's case he got approval from many OO gurus that the relevant understanding was correct) leads to a requirement for … supporting tail-call elimination!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 10:22 PM
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Well, not a requirement, but it does become more pertinent. Sometimes you run out of memory! If you expect you're going to need a set with ten million elements, a linked list representation isn't the best. But I do agree with the point that iteration assumes more knowledge than many interfaces should provide.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 11:01 PM
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But it strikes me that for a first job, when what I want to do is build up my toolbox, I'd ideally be at a consultancy or product company.

This is radically overthinking things. To build up your toolbox all you need is a job. There will always be a need for little tools to let you do your job better, and those little projects are perfect for trying out new things and expanding your skillset.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 5-14 11:30 PM
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Re: 132

None of our devs have a library degree and most had no previous library experience. A couple of the people at project or service manager level (e.g. me) are ex-academics tuned techies, though, and that seems common across the board both in the UK and the US.

Re: 135

Yeah, we are involved with Fedora futures work, a bit, I think. Although we use our own in-house Fedora-like system, mostly.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 1:33 AM
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100. My sister moved out of coding into QA and likes it fine. I think it may depend on the product. In her case QA is mission critical, so they give her resources and authority such that she can do a good job without having to be an arse to the coders.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 2:01 AM
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Programming jobs can vary a lot in terms of family friendlyness. My current job is interesting and pretty family-friendly most of the time, but there's always some crunch times when pushing to meet a deadline.

If you want formal limits on your hours, you might want to look into government programming jobs. The pay tends to be lower, but the hours are pretty regular. It might be more challenging to get in without a formal credential, though.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 2:38 AM
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There's more to mobile than just iFart apps for iOS and Android, and a lot more of it is in the US than it used to be. I mean, even I had never heard of this lot: http://www.air-watch.com/ until they booked a stand at MWC big enough to land a large helicopter.

(They have lots of software jobs open, but they're all in Atlanta.)


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:48 AM
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I recently heard that Apple makes about 1% of its revenue from the App Store. This makes me think that the consumer app market just isn't that big. There is likely more potential in enterprise app development - which is what the air-watch thing seems to be.

But I have a hard time thinking that enterprise apps are going to be dominated by iOS. The Android and HTML5 platforms - and even Windows Phone - seem a lot more amenable to meeting enterprise needs, where the priorities are cost, ease of deployment/updating/remote management. Apple's strength is in the slickness of the UI, which is not as important for enterprise apps as it is for consumers.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:21 AM
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That's certainly my sense. In addition, the consumer market is fickle/a lottery, while the enterprise market is a business: identify a need, sell to the decision-makers, make money. On the other hand, people don't like to carry two devices, and lots of people prefer iOS for their personal device. It looks like AirWatch supports whatever, which is probably the way to go.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:34 AM
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they're all in Atlanta

Then lets make sure my wife doesn't hear about them.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:37 AM
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Re: QA, Languages

One part of doing QA can be becoming the person who writes the tests. It's something "real" programmers hate to do, it can actually be fun (ObTruth: I have never been a QA engineer) and some kinds of tests, such as integration tests, require serious thought and design.

It sounds, ogged, like what you want is a reasonably creative job, rather than a rote job (that's what "I've done IT" says to me -- sorry, IT folks). This is what I usually think of as a straight "SW Engineer" job, rather than "Architect" or "Lead" or any of that stuff.

As for languages, I'd look at Java, which many other languages are "like" syntactically; javascript and python being examples. Even if the balloon bursts on the current bubble there will still be javascript development, web app development, etc. Also Java and/or javascript are both nearly minimum reqs for a huge number of programming jobs.

The biggest problem is that regardless of what language you learn, to do useful work with it you are going to have to get experience with the tools and frameworks that make it useful day-to-day. Some employers will let you learn these things on the job, some expect you to know some subset of (using the Java example) Eclipse, Maven, Git or Subversion, Spring/SpringSource, Tomcat, JBoss, Jersey/Jackson, and so on and so on until your ears bleed.

You could also go into academia and learn Haskell.

TL;DR: Look into Java and/or javascript.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:42 AM
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On the other hand, people don't like to carry two devices, and lots of people prefer iOS for their personal device.

This is why I think the choice will be HTML5 when BYOD is in place. That way the enterprise can support whatever phone the user has, even if the interface isn't as slick as it would be with native.

When the company owns the device, Android becomes a stronger option. My own interest is in data collection in the field, where internet connectivity is likely unavailable, and data collectors aren't necessarily expected to hold on to the device for an extended period of time. In that scenario, it would make sense for an enterprise to support a suite of apps on a customized Android tablet, which can be reconfigured to support whatever the current project is.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:53 AM
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Dude at the international organization was not earning a 'few hundred grand'. The effective salaries for middlish to highish level UN folks in Geneva back in the late nineties were on the order of $100-150K (P4-D1) at then exchange rates. They came with no taxes and great benefits including indexed defined benefit pensions and tuition subsidies. Also tons of vacation time and reasonable hours. However, you did not get rent subsidies unless it was a short term assignment. So if you want to do it long term you'll have to pay all your housing costs in places where LA housing costs seem like a bargain. On the other hand you'll be making a very, very nice tax free salary so I think you'll manage.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:56 AM
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re: 151

It's only one small datapoint, but we always struggle to get good javascript devs.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:59 AM
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Yeah, being specifically good at javascript has gone from being something I was sort of embarrassed about to actually quite a desirable skill.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:00 AM
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Look into Java and/or javascript

This is looking like solid advice. It seems that small companies can't afford true "entry level" positions like this one. Granted, that's an iOS job, but I've seen a lot more Java jobs in the enterprise, and that's where the hours are more likely to be regular. I have to say, I'm a little intimidated by Java, because the code looks so much more "complex" than python. I guess it's not necessarily harder to learn than Objective C. And I don't know a damn thing about javascript.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:13 AM
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javascript is on one level easy, but on another level stupid, and on a third level not at all easy to do well.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:15 AM
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I avoided learning it because everyone laughed, and now everything is made of it (and phonegap/cordova is the fastest way to whip up a mobile app that will justwork).

Does it do proper for loops yet rather than that fuckannoying thing where you had to increment a counter yourself?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:19 AM
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re: 157

Yeah, we need people to able to do clever/difficult(-ish) stuff with node.js and jquery and the like. Along with more basic stuff with OpenSeadragon, and similar things. I don't know if I'd describe it as super difficult or anything [I'm not enough of a javascript person to know] but it's certainly not basic level stuff.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:23 AM
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I don't think Java has any particularly great intrinsic difficult, but one of its virtues is that it makes it fairly easy to structure large code bases. That can be a vice in that anything written in Java will probably have a lot more structure to comprehend. (From a more negative viewpoint, it has a lot of boilerplate so it tends not to be used for little things where that's an intolerable overhead.) If anything, I think it's easier to learn than Objective C since you don't need to think as much about memory management or the underlying physical machine. The JVM is a useful abstracation. (YMMV and all that.)

157 is correct.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:24 AM
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However, you did not get rent subsidies unless it was a short term assignment.

"Short term" is the first four years, then it gets phased out after seven years. And they only chip in if rent exceeds a certain percentage of take-home pay, so there is incentive to live in a much nicer place than one would otherwise choose. It ends up being a case of "sure, you could pay $2000/month live in a $2000/month apartment, but for $2250/month, you could live in $3000/month apartment."


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:27 AM
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Now what I need is an actually useful job search engine. AirWatch has dozens of jobs open, but none of them show up on indeed or monster. That Buffer job trapnel linked likewise.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:28 AM
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158.2: that depends on what browsers you're aiming at, natch.

(Although obviously you are wrong to call those "proper" for loops since explicit counter management is a very useful property of traditional for loops but anyhow!)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:28 AM
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158.2, 163: Barebones Javascript doesn't (although ECMAScript 6 might have added them). But if you're going to be doing any real JS development you should be using JQuery anyways, and that's one of the things it adds.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:30 AM
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you are going to have to get experience with the tools and frameworks that make it useful day-to-day

I've certainly noticed this. The language itself is at best half the battle. I'm taking it as a given that I'll just have to build something on my own and demonstrate some ability to pick this stuff up.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:31 AM
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I have to say, I'm a little intimidated by Java, because the code looks so much more "complex" than python.

It's not, really, it's just more explicit. But if you're going to do any Java development, follow Tweety's advice and get Eclipse. You will be shocked at just how much code a decent IDE will write for you.

(This, incidentally, is one of the reasons I despise Java. So much fucking boilerplate.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:32 AM
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The trouble with Java is that, on the enterprise at least, it comes with libraries and frameworks of gargantuan complexity. EJB and Spring, for example. Learning those is worse than learning the language.

By contrast, learning the fairly lightweight commonly used JavaScript libraries is a delight. You will need to know jquery, which is simple and powerful, and beyond that, just whatever is specific to the domain you are working in or UI framework you have chosen.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:35 AM
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Oh yeah, and as far as QA goes: I did it for almost a decade. It's definitely a way to have (for the most part) a saner life than the product developers, but you have to be comfortable with being a second-class citizen. I got sick of it eventually, which is why I don't do it anymore.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:35 AM
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But if you're going to be doing any real JS development you should be using JQuery anyways

Bah, no. I mean, sometimes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:46 AM
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169: What's the counter-argument?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:49 AM
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I mean, don't get me wrong, I bow to no one in my enthusiasm for reinventing the wheel and banging my head against a brick wall, but even I broke down and started using it.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:50 AM
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Eh, for relatively lightweight stuff that needs to be pretty realtime it can add overhead that's not always easy to quantify since it does so much passing functions around. But sure, I will change "sometimes" to "often" or maybe "almost always". I just want to be crotchety and demand that people still have a grasp of the foundations.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:53 AM
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Some data on job demand.

Java is still huge, but declining. Javascript is big, declining a bit. Python with slow growth, having recently surpassed PHP. Ruby seems to be moving sideways.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:54 AM
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I just want to be crotchety and demand that people still have a grasp of the foundations.

Comity. Everyone should do one project without it, so they learn the fundamentals and understand precisely why it's so valuable.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:59 AM
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Is the market for HTML5 people just completely saturated? It does seem interesting. I guess it still doesn't count as a real programming language, and I have no design skills.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:07 AM
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"HTML5" as something that you use to build interactive applications actually means "javascript", or really -- as Josh says -- "jQuery and other javascript frameworks".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:15 AM
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Huh, ok.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:18 AM
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"HTML5" as something that you use to build interactive applications actually means "javascript"

For the control stuff, yeah, but you got to have decent CSS foo as well. And HTML, but that part is relatively easy.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:19 AM
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178: well, sure.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:25 AM
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If you're actually going to start doing Javascript, ogged, there's one basic thing you need to understand about the language: it was written by one dude over the course of about 10 days in the mid-'90s. It's both amazing and terrifying that it's as popular and widespread as it is.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:30 AM
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If you want to know two more things, you should know that 1. nothing makes sense and 2. it has nothing to do with Java at all (see point 1).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:34 AM
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Right, that I knew. At this point, it seems like an entry-level enterprise job might be the way to go, given my constraints, and if that's the case, I guess Java is my best bet. Yes? Or is that too pat?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:36 AM
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If you're living where I think you living it seems like there should be financial-ish enterprises that need lots of cog-type coders to do, probably, Java, yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:37 AM
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163: "proper" is defined here, as everywhere, as "the way it works in the language I know best".


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:54 AM
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It's not meant to be a secret, I'm in the Chicago area.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:54 AM
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Huh, I thought you were more in Thorn/Urple parts of the world.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:58 AM
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I don't know where they are, but if they're not in Chicago...nope!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:00 AM
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"Thurple."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:01 AM
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||

I am at a talk about the constructive nature of autobiographical memory. I'll be sure to hammer them with dozens of questions about Woody Allen.

|>


Posted by: President Burrhuss Skinner | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:05 AM
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184: and, indeed, criticized on the same grounds.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:06 AM
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re: 167. You can do a lot with lightweight javascript, but more and is being done in javascript app frameworks that are just as complex to learn and use as Spring et al.

re: 180. Javascript is not a "good" language as academic CS types categorize things (nor, godhelpus, is python). Still, it could be worse. (Perl, anyone?)

re: 156. Writing really excellent reusable extensible Java code is hard and complex, but day-to-day stuff is not that bad (and Eclipse will help, as was pointed out. Don't try to write Java in a plain ol' text editor). Also, the addition of generics made a lot more stuff that looks like boilerplate get added (for various reasons that seemed like a good idea at the time, I guess). They are trying to get rid of some of that boilerplate in the next version of Java.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:08 AM
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191 was me.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:09 AM
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181.2: Except in a few small, stupid ways, like Java's keywords being reserved for future Javascript keywords. (This is doubly secret awesome for "goto", which is a keyword in Java only because they wanted it to be forbidden)

Thinking about it with some caffeine in my system, how you do information hiding in Javascript is remarkably close to the theoretical description of objects in the paper nosflow linked to last night.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:09 AM
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So, javascript is mostly for client-side web stuff, right? What do people typically build with Java? I mean, everything, ok, but rough categories?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:11 AM
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191.last: I've been trying to write a lot of my code in a functional style (lots of map()), and I'm so damned happy that lambdas are coming and I can turn everything into one-liners. Also, "writing really excellent reusable extensible..code" is just generally hard and complex. If it was easy, we'd have written a program to do it.

The smarter catch block syntax is about eighteen years too late. I don't understand why that took so long.

I don't think generics are that bad for boilerplate if you're using > (which I usually don't, because we're behind a version). But so many other things are. @Override is great for verification but it's annoying to write (especially for the functional inner classes from above that are finally going away), and it would be very, very nice if there was a shorthand setter/getter syntax like so many other languages have.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:15 AM
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Probably the least useful learn programming online thing I've done was to stop learning JavaScript after completing the codecademy intro lessons. Unless successfully implementing a blackjack game played entirely through browser dialog boxes is a marketable skill. Also, the loops seemed fine.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:16 AM
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in 195.last "<" should be "><"

Big enterprisey stuff on the sever. Desktop applications. Android. There's an embedded subset of Java you can run on a Raspberry Pi and other small things. Client-side web stuff via applets.

(Not all of the above are recommended.)

Our main product was a Swing desktop application, currently running in a browser via an applet. We're moving away from it.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:20 AM
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I'm more stupid today than usual. "<>"


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:21 AM
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||

189 cont'd: cite

|>


Posted by: Burrhuss S. | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:21 AM
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A good entry into the Java world is becoming an expert at configuration management stuff. If you can understand version control, and write good build scripts, using Maven or Gradle or Python or Bash or whatever, you become a valuable component of any team. A lot of enterprise build-and-deploy processes are shit because most developers don't focus on those skills. But they are extremely valuable.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:33 AM
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I'd like to have my memory modified so I can recall participating in all those orgies I missed out on in college.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:35 AM
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200 is very true. (201 too). It's not the most glamorous role but a good build expert is essential. It might not be easy to learn if you don't already have a solid technical background, though.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:40 AM
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It might not be easy to learn if you don't already have a solid technical background, though.

This is true, but there are plenty of opportunities here for learning by working with open source. Find an open source project with a shit build process. Then, spend some time working on upgrading it to $modern_build_technology_of_your_choice. Repeat. Do that a few times, and it should be relatively easy to land yourself a spot doing enterprise consulting, where warm bodies are of greater importance than depth of experience. You will be sent to work on some enterprise project at $giant_megacorp, and, if you like the company and they like you, maybe they will take you on as a full time employee.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:57 AM
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The caveat is, you have to get all that done before the next time the economy falls to pieces, because if you haven't made the transition from $consulting_company to $giant_megacorp by the time the music stops, you are going to be out of work for an extended period of time.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 11:00 AM
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I almost got a job doing enterprise consulting (like, I would have gotten an offer if I didn't get a different job) despite having exactly zero relevant experience, to the point of (obviously) bluffing my way through the part of the interview where they asked if I'd heard of the very basic terms that tended to come up in their business. Kinda glad that didn't happen.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 11:02 AM
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What do people typically build with Java?

The server-side code. Two of the common server platforms (Tomcat, JBoss) are in Java. (Probably others are too; those are the two I've written for.)

195: I agree with pretty much everything you said here, especially the need for getters and setters a la C#, and waiting with bated breath for the introduction of lambda. Still, lambas are going to make the Java syntax even more baroque.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 11:17 AM
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Another very helpful thread. Thanks, all. I mean, except for the part where you tell me to go back to IT work.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 11:31 AM
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202 was me.

206: How exactly would they make Java syntax more baroque? By encouraging function passing?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 11:39 AM
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It's not the most glamorous role but a good build expert is essential.

See what I wrote up there in 5? That's what being the build/release engineer is like.

(It's entirely possible I just don't have the right personality for those sorts of jobs. I have the skillset, but I care too much about positive feedback to really be good at them. If you have a more detached attitude towards your job, they're going to be much more congenial.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 11:42 AM
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Nobody understands what you do, so they're often suspicious when you try to give them a reasonable estimate of how long it'll take to get things done everyone thinks you are a wizard with magical powers.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 11:48 AM
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I confess I'm going to aim for something slightly more interesting than automating software builds. I can't say I much enjoyed IT work.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 11:57 AM
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Enterprise might not be the route for you, unless what you felt like IT work was missing was more accounting.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 12:01 PM
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I don't know what you define as IT work, but there is plenty of coding involved in build engineering. And it will get you on the dev team, wearas QA will not.

I wouldn't suggest doing builds forever, I'm just saying that its a quick way in the door.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 12:08 PM
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Enterprise might not be the route for you

Oh, screw you. I thought I was close to an answer.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 12:11 PM
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206: "How exactly would they make Java syntax more baroque?"

The functional method syntax ("e -> sin(e)", etc., and the ">" instead of the full generic. Both are time and typing savers but Just Another Damn Thing To Remember.

But then I'm an old fuddy-duddy.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 12:11 PM
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Actually, there is probably quite a lot of demand for build skills in mobile enterprise development. If you can figure out how to get those one of those various cross-platform app compiler things to reliably produce stable apps for both iPhone and Android, people will pay you.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 12:16 PM
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If you can figure out how to get those one of those various cross-platform app compiler things to reliably produce stable apps for both iPhone and Android

This does not sound like beginner work.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 12:18 PM
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JADDTR is my favorite design pattern.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 12:24 PM
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This does not sound like beginner work.

Its pretty specialized, but its also fairly narrow if you focus on a single tool, and you have the iOS experience for credibility.

I guess I don't have much feel for your existing skillset. What does your "IT" experience bring to the table that could be useful in the programming world?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 12:25 PM
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215: I dunno, I don't think that's a lot to remember. It's not like this is Scala. If you forget, you can always go back to the old ways; if you see it in somebody else's code, it should be immediately apparent what they intend.

And lambdas are close to the oldest ways, unless you program Turing machines by hand. (It must be annoying when you need to stitch up some new tape.)

It would be cool if we could eta-convert "e -> sin(e)" to "sin". Or if we had currying. But Java's so far away from that that I'm happy with what we got.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 12:34 PM
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What does your "IT" experience bring to the table

Probably nothing! I was the sole IT guy for a 12-person firm, so I had to know a little bit of everything, but it was so small that I didn't have to do the one thing that would probably matter, which is scripting.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 12:42 PM
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Sprechen ze UNIX?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 12:45 PM
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Nope. Windows shop.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 12:46 PM
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This is how my interviews are going to go.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 12:46 PM
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Well, no wonder you hated IT. Supporting Windows users sucks.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 12:52 PM
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More seriously, what 12 years of managing a Windows shop prepares you for is troubleshooting problems, which is what programmers spend most of their time doing anyway. That's what you say at the interview.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 1:19 PM
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That's true and helpful, thanks. (10 years.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 1:21 PM
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Also, taking care of infants and toddlers is the best possible preparation for any job that requires quick thinking and troubleshooting skills!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 1:24 PM
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Communication skills? Let me show you the blog I started at my last job!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 1:28 PM
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everyone thinks you are a wizard with magical powers.

That too. IME people are not generally inclined to trust wizards.

there is plenty of coding involved in build engineering. And it will get you on the dev team

This is... not my experience.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 1:32 PM
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220: "And lambdas are close to the oldest ways, unless you program Turing machines by hand."

I prefer my lambdas in the One True Language: Lisp. None of this new-fangled syntactic sugar! Parens from here to infinity!

230: "IME people are not generally inclined to trust wizards."

For they are subtle and quick to anger.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 2:44 PM
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194 - It should be noted that a lot of people are doing back-end coding in JavaScript now (mostly using the node.js framework platform, which uses the JavaScript engine from Chrome to run fast), largely because JavaScript has replaced PHP as the lowest common denominator programming language if you want to hire a bunch of (relatively) cheap web devs.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 3:09 PM
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Speaking of interviews, mine went pretty well just now. They said they'd call with the precise numbers of the job offer tonight, but I'm expecting it to be low. (They said 80k, I said that was low, we'll see what they come back with.) Not super excited about the product or role, but being unemployed is really awful.


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 4:38 PM
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Do you have to kill somebody or something?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 4:47 PM
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Good luck, Trapnel.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 5:19 PM
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80k is low!

Someday I'll finish Opportunity Cost and rejoin the workforce.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 5:37 PM
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trapnel, have you had a job along these lines before? I thought I remembered that you were only recently learning to code for the first time. I'm just wondering if 80k is low even for a starting salary for someone with very limited experience. (Since I'm used to highly qualified people with PhDs having to spend several years working in lesser-paying postdocs before having any hope of being offered a salary above that....)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 5:43 PM
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237: software salaries in SF are haha cuckoo bananas.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 5:44 PM
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Like, 6 figures is really the norm for people just starting out, I believe.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 5:45 PM
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But even if you were part of a couple each making that salary, you wouldn't have a prayer of buying a house, so there's that.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 5:52 PM
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239 gets it right. OTOH everyone really underestimates how much of a difference inflation makes; the BLS says $100K today is equivalent to ~$71K in 1999 dollars, and nobody thought that was an insane salary back then.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 5:53 PM
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I'm going to go punch myself in the face now for not trying to buy a place when I got there in '99.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 5:54 PM
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240: Not true, as long as you had a down payment. (I'm presuming we're talking outside of SF. In the City, sure, you're totally right.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 5:55 PM
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240: Sure, but I'm comparing apples to apples. Salaries for people I know in the Bay Area generally start much lower.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 5:57 PM
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Yeah, I meant the city. Friends just bought a not bad place in Oakland for around $700k. A bargain!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:09 PM
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the BLS says $100K today is equivalent to ~$71K in 1999 dollars, and nobody thought that was an insane salary back then.

HAHAHAHA.

$71k for someone right out of school would have struck me, in 1999, as cuckoo bananas. It was double what someone in my profession would have been earning, and that's after 5 years of school. Personally, I've never earned 2/3 of that without adjusting for inflation.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:09 PM
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What is $71K in TODAY'S dollars? 99th percentile for jobs just out of college?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:10 PM
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Just to clarify, my comment about what starting architects earned in '99 wasn't just low-cost Pittsburgh. Maybe a few people in NYC were making $40k, but that was about it. And 3-4 years into your career, you generally don't make much more, either.

I mean, nobody gets into this business to get rich, I get that. But trying to normalize* $100k for kids right out of school isn't happening until we get another couple decades of inflation.

*that is, to say it's not a noteworthy or shocking amount


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:12 PM
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It was double what someone in my profession would have been earning

For reference, as a paralegal with no formal training beyond a BA, in 1998 I was earning $27K at a small firm. I think that says as much about salaries in your industry as anything else.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:14 PM
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Of course, back then movie tickets were $5.00 and a pack of American Spirit Blues were $2.50.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:17 PM
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Let's all post how much were spent on cigarettes in a week in 1998.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:17 PM
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Again, SF salaries should be thought of as reflections of the price of rent/real estate there, not as money being showered on young libertarian doofuses. That still makes them crazy, but not quite in the same way.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:19 PM
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Congrats, Trapnel.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:21 PM
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JRoth I don't think anybody is denying that architects make shitty money because the demand curve is terrible for you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:21 PM
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I here there's good money in opera houses in Australia.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:23 PM
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255: You're not kidding. Dress circle seats go for over 300 bucks.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:28 PM
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I bet Maya Lin is rich. Your A game, JRoth, where is it?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:28 PM
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Ditto 253. Hope you get everything you want out of the formal offer.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:29 PM
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SF salaries should be thought of as reflections of the tech boom. People don't earn more because the rent is high; the rent is high because they earn more, and then a vicious cycle sets in, until someone takes the punch bowl away. Which, maybe won't happen for a while, or maybe will happen next week.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:35 PM
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Yeah, Halford has it right in 259, I think. I mean, pay is higher in SF in general, but tech is just a different world; like Sifu says, "haha cuckoo bananas." I was temping for $12-15 an hour, and tutoring for $20-25; temps and tutors still have to pay the crazy rent. (I mean, *I* don't, because Grumbles and I have our sweet, sweet rent control, but most people do.)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:40 PM
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Getting back to the work/life balance, I would guess that boring, not-a-cowboy jobs like build management are going to be most likely to let you get home at a regular time. You'll be managing machines that inconvenience the developers, not the customers; and you want the kind of job that has no excitement if done well, because excitement leads to staying late.

Then it looks like you aren't doing anything unless you get exactly the right kind of problem and took the right precautions. Don't know how you get around that.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:47 PM
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239 gets it right.

:(


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:49 PM
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You'll be managing machines

Fuck that, my kids aren't that cute.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:49 PM
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People don't earn more because the rent is high; the rent is high because they earn more

To a certain extent. But don't underestimate, in SF proper, the extent to which rents are high because supply is so limited. And it's been that way since I moved to the Bay Area more than 15 years ago, so if we're chalking it up to "the" tech boom we're talking about a goddamn long boom at this point.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:49 PM
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Anyway, now that I'm home, some more details, because, hey, how very OP-appropriate, I need guidance:

I'll need to make a quick decision on this. (Well, maybe not *need* to, but: they'd really like me to start Monday, because there's going to be an all-engineering-team off-site planning session on Tuesday, which they'd want the new person to participate in.)

I'm pretty torn. It's not that it seems like a bad role, although I dislike all forms of marketing, and the company does referral-widgets; it's more that, aside from Thought\\/orks (where they took a month to review my code sample, then rescheduled my phone interview three times over 3 weeks, and only after they'd scheduled me for a two-day on-site interview said 'never mind, we're done with 2014 hiring'--can you tell I'm bitter?), I was too paralyzed to actually apply to any companies that excited me (Pivota|, Public Library of Science, a few others). It feels like an admission of defeat to take the first of the "sure, why not" companies that gives me an offer. In addition, like I said, the salary's going to be at the low end for what my fellow coding bootcampers were getting. In material terms, that's fine--my rent's tiny, and it's an objectively large salary, but it compounds the sense that I'd be settling.

On the other hand, being unemployed is really really awful. And I may well be leaving with my girlfriend in 6-10 months, anyway, when she takes a faculty job somewhere. It would make it a lot easier to talk to universities about programming positions in the next weeks & months if I could speak from the position of actually having a job. And finally, I don't have any real reason to think my paralysis w.r.t. applying to dream jobs will dissipate any time soon; it hasn't yet, and I'm getting more and more rusty as far as actual coding goes.

I mean, maybe I'm not really torn, maybe I know I'm going to say yes and I'm just trying to come to terms with that sense of settling, but there it is.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:55 PM
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Also, you know, you could take the job and continue to applying to the remaining exciting places.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:57 PM
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Settle. Don't overthink it. You hate applying for jobs.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:58 PM
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Oh, sure, supply of housing affects housing price, too, not just demand. I was just reacting to the idea that the high tech industry salaries in SF are a result of high housing costs in SF. They're not, programmer salaries reflect supply and demand in the market for tech workers. If the boom for hiring programmers collapsed, SF tech workers would get paid about as much as SF architects, which is to say not much.* But even if that happened you might not see a collapse in housing costs; the programmers probably still couldn't afford to live in SF proper because all the real estate would be in the hands of trust fund kids or whatever and new housing would still not be being built.

*Or, more likely, many laid off while wages stay sticky.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:58 PM
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Do it!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:59 PM
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265: Jesus Christ, dude, take the job.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:59 PM
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See how easy that was?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:59 PM
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268 to 264. 266 and 267 are good advice.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 6:59 PM
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Yes, the job, take it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:00 PM
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Jobs are better than no jobs. Lee has two interviews in the next week. I am so glad she didn't hold out when she was tempted to last summer.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:02 PM
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268: And in fact that's exactly what happened in 2002-06. (Well, rents declined marginally, but they didn't collapse.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:03 PM
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Yes, ok, ok. (Of course now I'm getting nervous because the hiring guy hasn't called yet with the official offer. How perfect would that be if someone there were a commenter, and was like, "Dude, you can totally lowball him, he's gonna say yes no matter what.")


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:04 PM
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Or worse! "I dunno, this guy doesn't seem very enthusiastic. And he hates marketing! Let's go with the other candidate."


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:05 PM
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270 gets it exactly right. Except it should be in all caps.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:06 PM
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Even if only from the perspective of "closing the gap on your resume" and not being one of the people who gets ignored precisely *because* they're unemployed, yeah, take the job.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:09 PM
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rents declined marginally, but they didn't collapse

And I don't remember house prices every coming down. I mean, yes, there's a ton of monopoly money sloshing around in tech, but the fact is that lots of people want to live in SF for obvious reasons, so it costs a lot to live there. You want to hire people there, you have to pay a lot. Having a lot to pay is a function of the tech boom; needing to pay a lot is...more complicated. But I'm not prepared to argue this to the death or anything.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:09 PM
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Shit, now I'm starting to freak out that someone at the company actually does read unfogged. Gaaah, why hasn't he called yet? He did say "tonight", not "this afternoon".


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:12 PM
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Please go do some drugs.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:13 PM
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Dude if someone there read this blog you wouldn't have gotten this far.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:14 PM
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Except it should be in all caps.

I was tempted to make an "Arbeit macht frei" comment based on an OPINIONATED GRANDMA classic. Would that have been too tasteless?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:15 PM
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Well, shit, if they don't call you it's because they're losers who can't handle nude selfies and you wouldn't have wanted to work for their peanuts anyway.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:16 PM
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On phone. 85k. Ok.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:18 PM
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Now go do some drugs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:19 PM
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And splurge on the nice kind, not the face-cannibal kind.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:20 PM
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Check first if you're going to have to take a drug test.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:20 PM
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I hear that you can rent an architect now to celebrate.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:23 PM
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Right. My bad. If you have to take a drug test, I think the face-cannibal kind are better because they aren't in the standard assays.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:23 PM
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With that kind of money, you could eat an architect's face.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:24 PM
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$71k for someone right out of school would have struck me, in 1999, as cuckoo bananas.

It was early 2000, and I had been making $20 an hour as a Java contractor at a well respected company. I was 23 year old, and had graduated not a year before with a degree in business administration from a third-tier university that most people haven't heard of.

This was the height of the .com boom, and I was having the meeting with my boss where I was being converted from contractor to full time. He asked me, "How much money do you want to make?"

I thought of the stupid highest number I could think of. "$70,000," I said.

That was the salary my father had retired at, and was way more than any of my friends were making, more than most of my older siblings. A ridiculous amount of money. Cuckoo bananas money.

The boss quietly wrote that number on the sheet in front of him, and paused. Then he looked up at me with a thin smile and said "Don't you wish you'd said $80,000?"

Those were strange times. I ended up quitting that job to move to Africa, and when I got back, the bubble had burst and there were no tech jobs to be had at any salary. It took me the better part of a decade before I ever made that much money again.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:28 PM
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Congrats for real!


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:28 PM
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With that kind of money, you could eat an architect's face.

Heehee. Whew. This has been an emotional day.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:29 PM
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I still need to go in to sign the contract tomorrow morning, but I'm basically employed. Sweet.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:29 PM
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Nice work, x.trapnel.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:31 PM
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Just remember, don't do anything I wouldn't do unless it pays at least $50/hour.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:32 PM
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I earn less than Microsoft offered me in 1999.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:34 PM
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Let's all share how much we make. Oh, wait. Let's all take the new SAT instead and share our results.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:36 PM
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Anyway, sincere congratulations, X-trap.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:37 PM
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Oh thank god. I was all ready to come back and be like "jesus, trapnel, take the fucking job"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:41 PM
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Congrats x


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 7:42 PM
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Congratulations!


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:01 PM
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YAAAAAAAY x!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:10 PM
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Congrats trapnel!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:12 PM
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298: Eh, if the man can get reasonably honest work for $85k/yr he shouldn't be compromising his principles for $50/hour. You've got to be proportionate about these things. $100 at a minimum, $200 for anything that would jeopardize future earning capacity.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:13 PM
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Congrats x.trapnel. Happy for you.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:18 PM
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Working really hard without commenting on the internet all day is something I wouldn't do.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:18 PM
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Yay, wiggles! to quote Standpipe.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:24 PM
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Congrats, Trapnel! Long-term unemployment sucks, especially now.

I was just reacting to the idea that the high tech industry salaries in SF are a result of high housing costs in SF. They're not, programmer salaries reflect supply and demand in the market for tech workers.

yes, but what determines the (local) supply of tech workers? The higher the rents, the more (all else equal) you have to pay tech workers to live in the SF area. There's a big economic literature modeling the question of how wages and rents are simultaneously determined, usually in terms of some underlying urban amenity that makes a place desirable to live in. E.g. you can't charge SF-level rents to live in Des Moines, because there just isn't the demand, but if you have SF-level rents you can't pay Des Moines level wages because no one can pay your rents.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:26 PM
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Thanks, everybody, for all the well-wishes and support. Y'all are great!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 8:33 PM
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Congrats, trapnel.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:03 PM
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(Coming in a little late as always, because time zones.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:03 PM
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Are you 2 hours later than PST? Who else is in that zone, Hawaii?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:10 PM
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1 hour earlier. I think there are a few obscure Pacific islands in the same time zone, but it's mostly just us. Hawaii is another hour earlier, along with the furthest parts of the Aleutian Chain.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:16 PM
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Congratulations, trapnel!


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:20 PM
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When I read 239 and similar, I really have to remind myself that the lower cost of living makes it worth it.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:23 PM
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So Dutch Harbor is in Palin time, but Kiska and Attu--which the Japanese captured because they love crossword puzzles--are in Hawaii time, right against the International Date Line?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:30 PM
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It?

(congratulations, x!)


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:31 PM
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Congrats, trapnel! xo!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:32 PM
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So Dutch Harbor is in Palin time, but Kiska and Attu--which the Japanese captured because they love crossword puzzles--are in Hawaii time, right against the International Date Line?

Yep. Except here it's called "Hawaii-Aleutian Time" and it's actually different for most of the year because Hawaii doesn't do Daylight Savings Time.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:34 PM
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The sub-archipelago of the Aleutians containing Attu is known as the Near Islands, because Russia.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:37 PM
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||

Bitcoin means money!

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:47 PM
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324: I think I might have figured out who you are on Twitter.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:50 PM
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All is lol. William Gibson just retweeted that link. I'm going to be rich!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:51 PM
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Want. Do you take bitcoin?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:54 PM
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Also on Hawaii-Aleutian Time are Adak and Atka, the only inhabited communities in the area. I don't know how common they are in crosswords, but they seem well suited to them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:55 PM
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I don't know! Dammit. I should have figured out which tshirt shop takes bitcoin.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 9:56 PM
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Woo hoo x. trapnel!


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 10:24 PM
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Is it really impossible to find housing for cheaper than Manhattan rates in the entire Bay Area? Like, I thought the "SF real estate boom" was just SF, not everywhere within driving or train distance.

In a normal urban area the rich people live where housing costs a lot, and the working-class live where housing is cheap.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 11:04 PM
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Ned, you're doing that annoying thing where you state an exaggerated version of what other people have been saying in a tone that suggests you think they're making it up. Nobody has said you can't find cheaper than Manhattan anywhere in the Bay Area. People do segregate by income/wealth and housing costs here, like they do elsewhere. But as in other urban areas that have insane housing costs, there is very little housing that is actually "cheap" -- and even the sort-of-cheap housing tends to be very far from where people work.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 03- 6-14 11:31 PM
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An apparently homeless woman, who happened to be dressed a bit like Bootsy Collins, told me earlier today that we spring forward tonight. She was sitting outside a McDonalds just south of San José* and offered her PSA as I left the restaurant, where I had purchased a CocaCola Classic to help me stay awake while driving. She had a strong European accent: perhaps German or maybe Austrian. Regardless, I was pretty sure she was just funning me, but it turns out that we do indeed spring forward this weekend. This is super-terrific news.

But not as good as the news that x-trapnel has shared. Mazel tov!

* And thus this comment isn't OT.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 12:15 AM
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Why were you driving south of San José?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 12:23 AM
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Heading to Pacific Grove.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 12:26 AM
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Okay. I was worried you were moving to Pennsylvania and were going the wrong direction.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 12:31 AM
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Yaaaaaaaay x.trapnel!


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 2:13 AM
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Hooray, x.trapnel! That's fantastic news!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 4:58 AM
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||
Ha! Got a sponsored tweet on twitter: Bitcoin Mining in the Cloud @[link] - no hardware to buy, no trade fees and no nonsense. Right, no nonsense.
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 5:08 AM
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The t-shirt I made made it into the "bitcoin times", according to a very spammy-seeming tweet mentioning me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 5:09 AM
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In a normal urban area the rich people live where housing costs a lot, and the working-class live where housing is cheap.

That's not quite how London works. As there is nowhere where housing is cheap. It's all relative, of course, but even the 'cheap' areas aren't actually affordable on normal wages.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 5:24 AM
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Congrats, x!


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 6:39 AM
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The Bay Area rental housing market is probably the thing that worries me most about moving back there. I'm just hoping for luck in getting a reasonable commute + rent combination.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 6:42 AM
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I'm late to the party, as usual. My opinion on the original question is that there are plenty of jobs like that; you just need to find places that aren't full of kids just out of school who have a macho attitude towards overwork.

The median employee in my group at Google is married with kids since it's a reasearch-y group where most people have a PhD and a decade of experience. The office is abandoned by 5:30pm. My friends are MSR, Oracle Labs, etc., report the same experience. It doesn't have to be research, either. Last time I was out interviewing I found a handful of startups by groups of people who'd been together for over a decade, and those folks all seemed to work sane hours.

That was true of my last job, which was a barely profitable startup where the median age was about 50. As you'd expect from a place like that, the salary was great since they weren't naive about equity making them wealthy, and the insurance was amazing.


Posted by: sral | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 7:08 AM
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sral, it's helpful to hear that such offices even exist. Whether they want a forty-something newbie is a question for another day.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 7:19 AM
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The median employee in my group at Google is married with kids since it's a reasearch-y group where most people have a PhD and a decade of experience.

I'll take it!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 7:21 AM
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Actually I find 344 very comforting as well.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 7:22 AM
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Try Haskell is cool.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 8:10 AM
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ogged, I've met a number of people who have switched into programming, from age 22 to 60-something, and they've almost all done ok.

It's definitely harder to do as you get older, not because you're any less competent, but because a lot of employers won't even look at you. However, you only need one job, so it doesn't really matter that age discrimination is rampant at young, trendy, startups.

My sample is pretty heavily biased, because I met most of those people at this program; the people who run it have very good connections in industry and there's a strong alumni network, which helps a lot. But between unfogged and the non-imaginary-non-internet people you know, I suspect you know multiple people who know someone who knows someone who's looking to hire a competent and conscientious programmer.

BTW, if you can get get away to NYC for three months, I highly recommend that program and I'd be happy to answer questions about it.


Posted by: sral | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 9:08 AM
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349.3: hah! One of their current residents is an old friend of mine.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 9:12 AM
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Or I guess she's a future resident? She's not on the current or past residents page.

Pe/ter Nor/vig was there?? Wacky. Unless sral is Pe/ter Nor/vig, which would be even wackier.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 9:14 AM
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I bet Maya Lin is rich.

One of my earliest profs was a classmate of hers when she submitted her Vietnam Memorial entry. He didn't seem to be insanely jealous.

JRoth I don't think anybody is denying that architects make shitty money because the demand curve is terrible for you.

I don't actually know what you mean by this.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 9:18 AM
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352.last: I just thought it was funny that you were comparing salaries for just-out-of-school architects with salaries for wet behind the ears programmers, since architecture is rather famous for having a massive oversupply of qualified young workers despite an epically onerous credentialing system, and programming is rather famous for being something like exactly the opposite of that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 9:22 AM
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OK, that last bit is part of what I missed. I figured it was about there being too many architects, but didn't really know that programming is known for the opposite. The CSS people at CMU were the only ones reputed to work as hard as we did (although of course there's no credentialing), so I don't think of programming as an especially accessible field.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 10:14 AM
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I know nothing about architect workloads except that when the rest of us got "graduating in year 20XX" shirts at orientation, the architecture students got "graduating in year 20XX+" shirts. Intimidating! CMU CS is not representative; there's a lot of trial by fire. Also, CS and programming are somewhat orthogonal in that you can be good at one without being good at the other.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 10:32 AM
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349.3 amuses me for reasons I can't discuss without breaking confidence.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 10:48 AM
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AFAICT CMU is one of the few CS departments that takes an explicitly theoretical/mathematical approach to the subject.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 11:06 AM
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Wasn't the UofC like that? I had no direct experience, just sort of assumed on the basis of Ryerson being connected to Eckhart.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 11:13 AM
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Not in the same way, in my experience, though I didn't really take any actually advanced undergrad CS classes. Certainly the discrete math and algorithms courses (which involved no actual computers or programming languages) were not exactly geared towards real implementations. But I've looked at the sorts of questions Bob Harper has put on his final exams for not-very-advanced CS classes and they're significantly harder, and more theoretical, than anything I remember encountering in the intro sequence at Chicago.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 11:16 AM
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It is true that Chicago's curriculum, as I remember it, was not exactly geared toward turning out Java engineers.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 11:17 AM
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359: Bob Harper is awesome. Kind of a dick, but he's awesome and I like his ideology. But his insertion into the low undergrad is a very recent change at CMU: when I went there, the principal programming language was Java, unless it was a low-level systems course (C) or a PL-ish course (SML). The only exceptions to those rules I remember are C++ for graphics and Prolog for logic programming. Functional programming was a sophomore course and Harper's PL course was junior year (and not required). The bifurcation they have now where they start first-years with SML and minimalist C in parallel only started two or three years ago and sounds like a great improvement.

It was still definitely mathematically based, and there was a huge overlap between classmates I knew in advanced CS and advanced math courses. I only had one CS course that could be said to be "geared toward turning out Java engineers" and that was a (new) software engineering elective I took my last semester (when it occurred to me I might want to have some skills more directly useful for employment).


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 11:27 AM
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Harper's post on polarity in type theory is what I was (very vaguely) thinking of in comment 55. I also like his views about dynamically typed languages!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 11:33 AM
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Nosflow you are Ben, right? Turntable tip for you buried in that road trip thread.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 11:36 AM
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My rightways-round name must never be spoken! Also I have actually acquired a turntable (used Technics 1200 from ebay-land with an I actually can't remember but apparently quite reputable cartridge) so I hope the advice is "do what you've already done" but let's see!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 11:38 AM
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Apparently that was not the advice but that's ok! I am happy with the turntable I have!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 11:39 AM
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Awesome!!!! Sorry re name.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 11:49 AM
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I know nothing about architect workloads except that when the rest of us got "graduating in year 20XX" shirts at orientation, the architecture students got "graduating in year 20XX+" shirts. Intimidating!

I knew nothing about architect workloads when I arrived at Cornell for summer college the summer before my HS senior year. During the first couple days, before anyone had started classes, we were all milling about, meeting people and such. And when we'd tell people we were there for architecture, we'd get, "Oh, I'm so sorry", or "Well, I guess I won't be seeing you again." All the architects were in 3 old dorms (everyone else was in ugly new ones, so that was cool), so we'd get together and ask each other, "Do you know why they're saying that? What's going on?"

And then we found out it was pretty much true. We worked so much harder than any of the other students, who had tons of free time and so on. We'd come down for dinner and then go back up to studio until curfew, while the other kids were recreating and socializing (slackers, the lot of them). And that turned out to be a very realistic preview of actual college (although of course the non-architects had much heavier workloads than in summer college). What we did in 6 weeks was almost exactly what 15 weeks of freshman studio includes, plus a drawing class and some sort of classroom instruction. Crazy.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 1:55 PM
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We worked so much harder than any of the other students, who had tons of free time and so on.

You know who else thinks that? Most people.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 2:30 PM
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368 -- not me. I was drunk 4 days a week.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 3:10 PM
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I was too busy worrying about how I wasn't working to have free time.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 3:12 PM
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I always worked less hard and had more free time than my fellow students. It was frustrating to me in college to have more free time than others in my social group and hence no one to spend said free time with.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 3:14 PM
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I worked harder than my friends but not as hard as the other honors program people. My friends mostly graduated but often took five or more years.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 3:24 PM
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I was going to write something like 371 but worried it would sound like bragging.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 3:32 PM
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I studied just the right amount.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 3:38 PM
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I didn't have a really clear set of free time boundaries in college. I enjoyed most of what I was doing, so doing it didn't seem like it was detracting from anything. Also I studied with friends, so it was a pretty mellow kind of thing. There were phases of intensity, but everyone experienced them at around the same time. There was obvious free time when there was nothing to be done, but there wasn't a clear delineation between time spent doing work and time spent messing around.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 3:51 PM
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You majored in humblebrag.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 4:05 PM
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ogged: also, think carefully if there is any field that you know intimately. IT consulting basically exists as an industry to explain other people's businesses to programmers and vice versa. you could be "undifferentiated Java guy" or you could be "the Java for precision farming/psychiatric records/televibrators/artisanal toast guy".


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 4:12 PM
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"yhe Java for the coffee industry guy"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 4:18 PM
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368: Again, really not. It's not as if I didn't speak with non-architects. They freely acknowledged having a lot more free time than we did. Hell, our in-class time was 50% more than anyone else's (I'm pretty sure we had 4.5 hours/day, and the norm was 3).

In regular college, we had 21 hours of in-class time* per week for all 10 semesters. That's equivalent to 7 courses, which I'm given to understand is not the typical undergrad load.

* 9 of it studio, and studio attendance was mandatory - it wasn't the sort of thing you blew off, or showed up significantly late to. There were exceptions, of course, but I probably was present for a higher percentage of studio hours than I was for my combined classroom time


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 5:12 PM
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Let's all post how much time we spent studying! I spent more time on coursework in history than in the couple of math and physics courses I took before switching majors. It basically came down to trying to do all assigned reading vs. just enough to rush through problem sets and make it through exams.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 5:27 PM
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I remember having to ask my Greek prof if I'd ever be able to really read Greek as if I were just reading the way I could sit in the bath and read a French novel, and it was sort of encouraging that he couldn't even though probably some people could. I had a lot of spare time, but spent it running student organizations and reading various journals and whatnot. In retrospect, should have been drinking and sleeping around.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 5:46 PM
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379: Heh, I was just going to calculate what I did, then remembered that I finished in three years, so my workload was artificially inflated.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 5:57 PM
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I was a "vocational," in the sociological typology of college students that Murray Sperber uses, although he didn't invent it. I went to college as if it were a job, and came home and went to a paying job, or else studied. Never met girls, my jobs were way too rough for that, then. Must have had excess energy, because I played pickup basketball with high school friends and took long rides on my bike, out into the country. Worked out a lot. Watched movies on TV after midnight; classic movies that were part of film history surveys, recent ones from the fifties and sixties, like the late John Ford Westerns, or the Paul Newman movies or Hitchcock. Never went on a date until the last couple of months of college, had first sex maybe a month or less before graduation.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 6:14 PM
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I should have studied just a little fucking bit. There were at least two years that I played an average of six hours of pool a day. Some days we spent twelve hours down there. Basement, everyone (but me) smoked. My god.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 6:15 PM
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384: Well, that's the Lur student center for you.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 6:17 PM
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Oh hey, our employment situation got worse by the day this week. Before it was "you can have X people, choose who we need to let go to get to X" then it was "we can keep those people if we can propose a way to make another $1-2M per year" that I posted in the other thread and today it was "Actually some of the funding we have was assigned to a different group, can you get quotes for outsourcing this subgroup and figure out how much it might save?" I'm not sure I'll have much left to run if I do stay around. I have a sort-of interview next week with a VC firm, 1 hour with their HR person to get to know them but not actually applying for anything in particular.


Posted by: Herbert Hoover | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 7:07 PM
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I should have studied just a little fucking bit.

Me tooooooo. And look at me today! (Lord.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 7:16 PM
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I think I must have studied at some point.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 7:44 PM
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I honestly can't think of what I was doing other than studying, but I wasn't studying much, certainly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 7:47 PM
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I occasionally tried to play pool but the tables were always monopolized by phil majors. True story.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 7:48 PM
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I remember having to ask my Greek prof if I'd ever be able to really read Greek as if I were just reading the way I could sit in the bath and read a French novel, and it was sort of encouraging that he couldn't even though probably some people could

My wife was taking a class at U of C with Jamie Redfield in the 70s, and he read out a passage, so fluently and poetically that she assumed there was a side-by-side translation of the Greek, but when she got up she saw it was Greek on both sides of the page.

I honestly can't think of what I was doing other than studying, but I wasn't studying much, certainly

Everybody went to Regenstein after dinner in my day, but there was always a lot of socializing, coffee breaking, napping. Not as much studying as people may have thought they were going to do.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 7:55 PM
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Busy as I was, I spent a lot of time playing video games and learned a lot about pokemon


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 7:58 PM
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Oh, I spent an awful lot of time in the Reg reading things that had nothing to do with any of my classes. Not in any organized way, just browsing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 8:00 PM
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That is what I was doing in Regenstein also, but I was a grad student in my mid-twenties. And I learned a tremendous amount in those years; it was worth it and I wouldn't change it for the world.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 8:05 PM
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I honestly can't think of what I was doing other than studying, but I wasn't studying much, certainly.

In my case, I know exactly what I was doing: hanging out on Usenet, watching SportsCenter, and playing video games. Benefits of a classical education.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 8:31 PM
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I spent 7 out of 8 semesters stoned, and that other semester I was drunk.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 8:50 PM
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And the rest of the time you just wasted.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 8:54 PM
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I've never watched more college basketball and college football than I did while in college. I must have started watching the pro versions around then too, partly because I was familiar with all the college players going pro. There was a year when I may have watched every ESPN/ESPN2 college basketball broadcast, except for the ones that conflicted with other ones, during which I'd flip back and forth.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 8:54 PM
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I also took a year off, to focus on being both stoned and drunk.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 8:56 PM
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I didn't study very much. I did fine anyway, by taking a mixture of easy courses and courses in things I was good at.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 8:57 PM
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I finished college at one of the places Sarah Palin dropped out of. The classes were super easy, so I didn't have to work very hard and I graduated with honors. Also, it was in Hawaii, which was nice.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 9:03 PM
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I finished college at one of the places Sarah Palin dropped out of

Vote Spike Governor of Alaska. --"I'll at Least Finish."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 9:11 PM
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I'm sure I'm repeating myself, but I was at or below the "minimum" units per term for four of my last five semesters. The only semester I was above the minimum was when I did a program where internship + course was considered one block and assigned to a unit value that put me over. I got a poor eval on the internship*, and fell asleep a couple of times at my desk but for short enough that no one noticed. I did write a decent paper.

*It was mutual. Pseud-employers, don't criticize your pseud-employees for not being outgoing go-getters who create work for themselves when you completely fail to set expectations at the start and actively discourage your pseudo-employee when actual work, even envelope and stamp work, is requested to fill up the dead time in your office. I did, memorably, demonstrate to them that one could search "Yahoo" for "names". This was 1998.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 9:15 PM
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"Pseudo-employers" and "pseudo-employees": like Google+, this was a "real-name" environment.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 9:17 PM
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Finding shit for interns to do can be a pain in the ass. But I'd have a hard time criticizing somebody who wasn't getting paid.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 9:27 PM
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I feel so guilty about our college student interns. I don't know why the office wants them, there's nothing at all useful for them to do. Law students can be useful, but there's really nothing we need undergrads for.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 9:30 PM
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My eval was almost literally: we'd like more interns from your institution, but not like [me]. That other guy you sent a year ago was great, though.

I've had two unpaid situations with poor evals. No one who's paid me has been negative, so it's not just me being unsupervisable. I hope.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 9:47 PM
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I studied too much, but not enough. Every semester was a cycle of intense focus followed by burnout; I'd generally start taking way too much on and drop a course or two that wouldn't fit. My social life greatly suffered in college. What free time I had would either be playing video games (still haven't beaten nethack) or visiting the long distance girlfriend (reader, I married her, but long distance relationships in college are a horrible idea). I failed a project class where my partner dropped and I thought I could do it myself. In the end, I ended up barely missing honors. Not a way I'd recommend anyone go through school.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 9:55 PM
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I may be in a position to supervise interns soon. Knowing what bad experience looks like, I hope I can do it right. I had some great experiences as well - though one veered way on the wrong side of labor law - but those organizations were taking real risks in trusting me to be able to do some of the things I got to work on.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 9:56 PM
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|| I received a LinkedIn cold call from a recruiter at a corporation named for the creepy spying (scrying) device from Lord of the Rings that corrupts Saruman by exposing him directly to the dark lord. They're probably cool and not evil, right? |>


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 10:26 PM
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410: My (seems-to-me)non-evil employer works closely with them on a few things, though I'm ridiculously far away from any details. I had the same sort of response to the initial press release.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 10:35 PM
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For a while there I thought everybody was going to claim to have been some kind of slacker.

When you don't know what to do, you divert yourself. Sometimes you find you want to do and are able to work hard, sometimes not. I've always been wary of patronizing my younger self: you don't know what you're doing nor where you're going. Sometimes it helps to make a game out of it, but not always.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 10:38 PM
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410: isn't that company rather notorious for various stupid and/or evil things?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 10:46 PM
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My (seems-to-me)non-evil employer works closely with them

We can trust Isengard LLC to continue being a good corporate citizen.

Reading about them, it seems like if they wouldn't exist, the government would just use crappier internally-developed equivalents; their scariness is only in how they facilitate bringing big data to big government.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 10:51 PM
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413: I think they showed up on that recent list of companies that pay their interns insane amounts of money, which I guess qualifies as more stupid than evil. In the evil column, I remember a lot of speculation that they were involved in various unsavory NSA programs that Snowden revealed, although I don't know if there was ever any actual evidence of that.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 11:18 PM
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Ah, now I remember; they were involved, though perhaps peripherally, in the |-|BG4ry brouhaha.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 11:28 PM
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410: I've also been contacted by their recruiters. Not only is their product kinda creepy, their corporate culture seems particularly cultish even by the standards of the Valley. (They pay a bonus for living within a mile of their offices, every so often they have everyone sleep at work, and they refer to some job roles with military-inspired titles, among other things.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 7-14 11:38 PM
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410: it is a nice product and I would be wary of working there. I am not decoding 416


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 8-14 5:50 AM
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418 nvm now I get it.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 8-14 5:52 AM
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very late, but Yay trapnel!


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 03- 8-14 11:18 AM
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We use the product, I like it. It's been very useful for addressing data issues created by stupid federalism. The valley/county here is a fairly contiguous population now of about a million people. It really should have one metro pd servicing it, maybe 1500 officers or so. But because of all the little individual cities and the love of local control what we have is a bunch of smaller depts plus varying areas serviced by "Unified Police" which is the rebranded sheriff. There's several different softwares being used and prior to Pal/an/tir coming in there was no way for us to see other agencies reports or data. Criminals are doing stuff in multiple jurisdictions all the time and it's crazy not to be able to share information. Their product has made that much easier.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03- 8-14 11:36 AM
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I had a great Moore-method class taught at 8AM by a retired Marine. It was so stressful that afterwards we would generally go down to the pool hall, fuss the all-nighters into leaving to get breakfast, and play a few games. Sometimes our prof would come play, but not often, as he always won.

That was about perfect, for thinking and faffing off.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 8-14 5:38 PM
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356: Well, I don't recommend all aspects of my experience in NYC.

410 / 417: seconding the creepy and cultish thing. In addition I've heard that their west coast office isn't so bad, but that people work themselves to death in the NYC and DC offices.

On the plus side, I often get positive comments on the shirt they gave me when I interviewed there.


Posted by: sral | Link to this comment | 03- 8-14 10:15 PM
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Thanks for all the comments. I'm fairly happy where I am and I don't think I'd interview anyway, but I'm glad to be more informed.

422: That sounds intense but awesome. I never did a Moore method course but wish I had.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 03- 8-14 10:30 PM
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MMMOOC?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-10-14 12:19 AM
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There was an article in The New Republic last year that was about 10,000 words about how the military was killing soldiers by insisting on using useless and unproven government data-analysis tools instead of the fantastic product produced by the hard-working and patriotic geniuses at P...r. This may all be true but the piece itself totally came out of nowhere (there was no ongoing media controversy about this...?) and doesn't seem to have been followed up by anything. A odd intrusion of corporate PR into investigativish journalism.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-10-14 5:43 AM
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A odd more heavy-handed than usual intrusion of corporate PR into investigativish journalism.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-10-14 6:03 AM
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// dropping pseudonymity to make this easier

Ogged,

I work in Chicago at Civis (http://www.civisanalytics.com/apply) and have been really happy, including with the work/family balance. We're hiring aggressively, including for junior / mid-career lateral roles, and I always tell candidates in interviews that I don't believe in language requirements. I do most of my work in Ruby and Go, neither of which I used before Civis.

I'd be happy to talk to you more off-thread about us or about general software careering. t r austin at gmail.

Also, we use Matasano and those guys are great, so +1 there too.

Trevor


Posted by: Trevor Austin | Link to this comment | 03-10-14 1:12 PM
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The blog was absolutely fantastic! Lot of great information which can be helpful in some or the other way. Keep updating the blog, looking forward for more contents...Great job, keep it up..


Posted by: supriya | Link to this comment | 12- 9-16 5:25 AM
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