Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Don't be a Programmer

My advice as a software engineer since 1999: Get out of programming as fast as you can. Go into Server Admin or Network Security.

Programmers are the ditch diggers of IT. In my experience, at least working in the large corporation world, they are treated like crap, constantly saddled with unrealistic expectations and time lines, and inevitably take direction from someone who has absolutely no experience or knowledge of programming. Even if your immediate manager is a Good Guy, his boss won't be, or his boss.... point being sooner or later as you go up the chain you run into that guy who thinks all programmers are liars and are way overpaid, and everything is easy and should only take 1 day. And testing? We don't have time to test! We need to DELIVER!

Sales people will promise the clients anything to get the sale, then dump it in your lap, take their fat commission, and go on vacation, leaving you to eat the shit sandwich they just made.

Customers will want more more more faster faster faster and, since they write the checks, that's what you'll have to produce. Scope creep? More like scope sprint. And forget about getting extra time. You don't need extra time! It's just a few additional features. How hard can it be?

You'll bust your ass for 8 months to build an in-house accounting system that saves the company 3 million a year and your bonus will be a shitty free breakfast with the CEO. And then the programmers start disappearing because guess what? The system is built and we don't need all those programmers any more!

That's right, programmers are the first to go. They're over paid and no one understands what they do anyway. Beside, you only need carpenters when you're building the house. Once the house is built....

But guess what. The Network still has to Network and be secure, and the Servers need to Server.....

So bail on programming NOW, before it's too late.

If you absolutely, positively are convinced things will be different for you (and they won't) and you want to stick it out, got for a hybrid like database development/admin. You can do database development and design to satisfy your desire to create, but when there's no development to do and all the programmers are getting fired, they'll still need a DBA to keep the Database up and running....

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amen brother!! Thanks for this article.

Touristguy said...

That's all sad but true :(

Anonymous said...

you obviously work in the wrong insustry \ secotr. Have you heard about expectation management, BA's, and scoped requirements. this is really narrow minded or you are not as good as you think you are!!

TabaTrixie said...

I think the second Anonymous isn't in this field or is in IT management, cause I think it is true of IT across the board. Always being managed by someone who doesn't see the value in what you do and thinks you are dispensable if you do your job well. I once had a manager who said "As long as I continue to surround myself with good people, why do I need to know anything?" Meaning: we do the gruntwork they get the glory. It's nuts.

IGV Systems said...

Programmers and developers are at best underappriciated!

Dave said...

Yeah, I've heard about expectation management, BAs, scope documentation and all that. Almost all the compnaies I've worked for have their processes documented out the ass.

But when the check is being waved in front of their faces, all that goes out the window.

And even if you do work for a company that understands and actually implements these controls, you'll still be nothing more than a glorified nail banger, and you'll only be kept around as long as their are nails to be banged.

Dagan said...

You are so right it is unbelievable, but you forgot one thing.

Not all of us are programmers by choice - unfortunately programming is in my blood...

Point being - I can't be anything else