What Tech Jobs Are We Creating?

Posted by steve | Blogging | Wednesday 15 May 2013 6:59 am

When I read that US companies are complaining that they cannot find qualified technical people I wonder about a few things.

What are the jobs? Did the implied part get left off of the statement? See, when I hear the words “We cannot find qualified applicants”, I translate that to “We cannot find qualified applicants willing to work for the pay we offer.”

Search on the popular tech job sites and many of the jobs available right now have significant problems, in my opinion. A part-time job or contracting position is not a commitment by the company to hire and has many costs and hazards for the contractor. The job will end. And more than likely the job is out of town, away from home. Contract work usually means you have to pay for your own healthcare. What about the risks of purchasing a home with a part-time or contracting job? Yes, risks of layoffs are real in full time work too, and with the IT sector that brings up the next point.

What do these jobs pay? Many companies are outsourcing tech work offshore. This is done for a number of reasons. Pay is lower with offshore labor. Also there is less commitment. Again, the employer often believes that low-cost technical workers are easy to find offshore so contracts can be changed for the better deal. This works the other way too in these emerging offshore markets. So many corporations are working with offshore IT labor that, for these workers, the market is so hot that they change jobs frequently. The tech worker who truly understands the complex software being enhanced, modified, or fixed, are becoming a thing of the past. Do not make the make the mistake thinking that analysis and design is working code. Computer systems do not run documentation. They run programs. You need people that know the code intimately. They know where the real fragile bits are found.

We cannot blame the companies for this way of thinking. Well, yes we can, but it makes sense how we got here. In today’s world of high pressure for return on investment and quick payoff the incentives are incredibly high to reduce the labor costs. If you must answer to impatient stockholders and investors when it is pointed out that you could cut your IT hourly rates by 35 percent going offshore, do you reply that it is not good for America to outsource to fill the demand for Tech jobs? Is it sound business that your knowledge about the IT-side of the business is controlled by non-employees? How do you capture the metrics that show your total cost of ownership? This stuff can take years before it gets noticed. Often, the very senior managers that set the strategic agenda move on before the real long term impact of decisions are seen.

Short term investing also leads us to this situation. We are happy to make low payments, even though they may go on for twice as many years, than recognize the true cost of ownership of IT staff. Efficiencies in turn-around and responsiveness are much harder to sustain when your IT staff is not your own. Are we willing to finance a car over 7 years just so the monthly payments are $300? Never mind that the car may not be worth much after 7 years of daily use.

There are exceptions of course. But generally speaking, what incentive are we creating for young people to want to enter the IT Tech Sector in the US?



Posted by steve | Blogging | Tuesday 5 June 2012 8:55 am

This is a test.


Porsche in the cold

Posted by steve | Blogging | Sunday 19 February 2012 2:52 pm

Saw this guy driving with the top down in a classic Porsche 356 Speedster. You can see there’s still snow on the bushes next to the building in the background.



Updated version of WordPress

Posted by steve | Blogging | Sunday 19 February 2012 2:08 pm

I noticed that the version of WordPress I was using was pretty out of date. Before I could correct that I had to switch to using PHP 5.

All done.

Automatic cross-posting a link to my Twitter account is not working. Evidently it has not for several weeks. Oh well. Some more tech stuff to figure out…

Changed to use a secure twitter application. If this update posts a message toTwitter automatically, it worked.

Nope. Did not work. For now, I’m deleting the Twitter plugins on my WordPress Blog until I work this out.


Deactivated my Face Book account

Posted by steve | Blogging,General Commentary | Saturday 12 December 2009 4:55 pm

I’ve deleted, or deactivated, my FaceBook account. I know there has been a lot of Internet buzz recently about changes that FaceBook has made to its privacy agreement, but that really has no bearing on my reasons for deactivating. It just no longer interests me.

I believe that FaceBook has become the AOL or MySpace of the Internet. There is a lot of uninteresting junk, too much traffic, and I’m not interested spending mental bandwidth keeping up with it.

I have this BLOG space for sharing opinions, a personal web site, my board gaming BLOG for other hobbies, my Squeak Enhancements site for sharing specific technical stuff, and I still use Flickr for photos.

My preferred way of communicating daily status and thoughts is to utilize the micro-blogging tool Twitter. With Twitter I feel more connected with what I need to know and easily share with others.


Happy with WordPress

Posted by steve | Blogging | Friday 24 July 2009 6:12 pm

I switched my BLOG to using WordPress in October last year.

And I just realized how glad I am about it.

First off, the system is very easy to use.

Second, I think the themes and editing you can do to tailor a theme, make really good looking web sites. I’m quite happy with how mine has turned out.

Third, it’s very stable and easy to manage. There have been regular updates to the base software as well as plugins. Updating is very easy to do.

Fourth, there’s an iPhone app that makes it possible for me to easily create new entries directly from my iPhone. Very cool.

What triggered this post for me was that I just did an upgrade to 2.8.2. I was watching the upgrade install itself and realized how I had become so accustomed to the reliable easy to care-for nature of this Blogging software.


Executive / Programmer mismatch

Posted by steve | Blogging | Thursday 14 May 2009 8:41 pm

Quite a while ago I worked as a developer for a firm that employed about 1000 software analysts and developers. The company had a rich suite of software to offer and was operating a successful business. It was also true that, as a technical staff member, you regularly saw evidence that the folks several pay grades higher up the company ladder had no longer any reasonable understanding of how software was written. Make no mistake, this was a software company. It often felt like we were being operated by people who only understood finance. Or maybe manufacturing.

In a company of that size, and because of the deep technical nature of the products we were developing, it was common to work side-by-side with some of the brightest people in the software industry. Critical thinking and analysis skills were strong amongst the developers.

As happens in modern times, the senior executives were often “changed out”. I remember particularly how disconnected the CEO was from where the real work happened – within the development organization. We were facing some difficult times and the company was looking for ways to cut costs and do what it could to improve productivity. As is common in very large developer organizations like theirs was, the processes often got in the way of the work. And the backlog of defects was measured in the thousands.

So late one day the newest CEO had called together a meeting with all the developers for a “pep talk”. Morale was pretty bad already. We were gathered in the main entry foyer of the building where he had a podium set up with audio equipment for proper communication. It was a Friday afternoon, around 4:00 PM as I recall. Mind you, many of the developers I knew were “early birds” and came into work at 6:00. So they were already staying after hours on a Friday for this meeting.

I’ll never forget his attempt at getting the troops to pep-up morale and help pick up the overall productivity within the company. He did come from a manufacturing company before he became the CEO. For many developers, it just drove home a wholly different point.

He actually ended up his presentation by asking each developer to do their part to improve productivity by “writing one extra line of code every day.”

I remembered the old Refactoring approach where I was happy if I deleted lines of code everyday.


Helped a friend get his WordPress and iPhone app setup

Posted by steve | Blogging | Wednesday 8 April 2009 6:03 pm

Spent some time today helping an old friend setup his WordPress software and the corresponding iPhone application (for posting to WordPress while mobile).

That was fun. Once he sends me a link to the finished site I’ll add it to my Blog Roll.


RSS Feeds fixed

Posted by steve | Blogging | Thursday 13 November 2008 9:45 am

I think I have the RSS feeds issue resolved with the Blog.  Just a dumb configuration error on my part.  I forgot to turn it on.


Problems with RSS feeds

Posted by steve | Blogging | Thursday 6 November 2008 11:57 am

Blaine and I were looking at my Blog site and noticed that he was no longer getting any entries from my feed.

It seems that when I switched to the using WordPress, hosting by my web host Lunar Pages, something didn’t get setup correctly.

Not sure what’s wrong just yet.  Ideas are welcomed.

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