Thanks for the... homework?



  • Some developers here get "rotated" to tech support.  Developers who are transferred to tech support don't do much programming anymore.  These developers are not happy.  They want interesting and challenging problems to solve.  Management has decided that they will budget for these developers to pursue Microsoft development certifications.  Discuss.



  • It depends on how busy they are playing tech support. If it is somewhat slow and they can use the downtime to study, then it is a pretty good deal. If the developers wanted the certifications, they would probably have to study on their own at home. The nice thing is it sounds like the company is picking up the tab for the tests and training material. They could always get the certification from the company and then bail. :)



  • Is this the managers way of saying "You're not a good programmer"?  Or is this something  to gain experience in the company?  What's the motivation for this?

     

    @brettdavis4 said:

    They could always get the certification from the company and then bail. :)
     

    My question is, why not just bail now?  If I was moved to tech support and wasn't happy because I wanted to be programming, I'd be looking for a new job.




  • @taylonr said:

    Is this the managers way of saying "You're not a good programmer"?  Or is this something  to gain experience in the company?  What's the motivation for this?

    If that were the case, then presumably the developers will get rotated back to development eventually, and should stop complaining.

    If it's not the case, then they should definatly bail.




  • @taylonr said:

    Is this the managers way of saying "You're not a good programmer"?  Or is this something  to gain experience in the company?  What's the motivation for this?


    @brettdavis4 said:

    They could always get the certification from the company and then bail. :)
     

    My question is, why not just bail now?  If I was moved to tech support and wasn't happy because I wanted to be programming, I'd be looking for a new job.

     

    There are a few reasons for staying:

    • The company would be picking up the tab for the tests and maybe the training.
    • Maybe they'll go back to programming after they get certified. 
    • It depends on how long they've been at this job and past jobs.  If the person has a history of job hoping, it might hurt their chances for a job down the road.


  • Give them access to your source depository and call them 'problem management'. Teach the other developers that whenever a harrassed ex-dev tech support walks in with a huge smile it's time to run.



  • @djork said:

    Some developers here get "rotated" to tech support. [...] Management has decided that they will budget for these developers to pursue Microsoft development certifications.  Discuss.

    When you say developers, I assume that means they already have a degree in Computer Science, Engineering, or some other related post-secondary Science degree.  That's almost always true in Canada, and I would suspect it would be mostly true in Europe as well (yes, there are exceptions for this..).  If that is the case I would be insulted with their decision to move to tech support, and get MS certification.  I'd be looking for a new job too.



  • @skippy said:

    When you say developers, I assume that means they already have a degree in Computer Science, Engineering, or some other related post-secondary Science degree.
     

    Why? Since when is a degree required to be a developer?



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @skippy said:

    When you say developers, I assume that means they already have a degree in Computer Science, Engineering, or some other related post-secondary Science degree.
     

    Why? Since when is a degree required to be a developer?

    Are you serious? People without college degrees lack the proper mindset for good development. They haven't been taught the theory, just the practice, which makes them little more than parrots. They might know what do do, but they don't know why it's the right way.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Why? Since when is a degree required to be a developer?
     

    Someone without a college degree is not a software developer, only a "coder". He or she might know how to code and implement things, but probably lacks the ablity to see the "big picture".



  • @bstorer said:

    People without college degrees lack the proper mindset for good development.
     

    That's funny, I would argue people who are stupid enough to think you need to spend loads of money on college just to get a decent job, when other people don't spend the money and get the same, or better job would be the ones who lack the mindset. 

    Not understanding ROI is pretty common around here, but you would think more people in RL would have a better understanding.

    @bstorer said:

    They haven't been taught the theory, just the practice, which makes them little more than parrots.

    Yes, O notation is very valuable, and cannot be gathered from studying on your own. Anyone who believes this is pretty goddamn stupid.

    @bstorer said:

    They might know what do do, but they don't know why it's the right way.

    Interesting take. I see a lot more of exactly the opposite around this forum and in RL.



  • @DrJokepu said:

    Someone without a college degree is not a software developer, only a "coder". He or she might know how to code and implement things, but probably lacks the ablity to see the "big picture".
     

    Really? How valuable was that first degree you got?

    Hows that working out for you?



  • @skippy said:

    If that is the case I would be insulted with their decision to move to tech support, and get MS certification.  I'd be looking for a new job too.

    OTOH, a lot of developers (and managers of those developers) have a severe lack of perspective on the day-to-day problems faced by their customers.  And I don't just mean bugs, but "why did the product get built that way?  That's dumb."  Some people practically pride themselves on this lack of perspective... I have a lot of contempt for those kind of people.

    Plus, a good tech support person has an incredible breadth of knowledge about the product compared to most developers, who tend to develop a much deeper, but narrower, knowledge of some part of the product.  Until they move to a different component and forget much of what they know about the first component.  This isn't a criticism of developers, it's just the nature of the jobs.

    Doesn't mean I think devs should be rotated into tech support for a significant length of time.  But walking a mile in someone else's shoes (be it tech support, QA, or even (shudder) sales) can be very enlightening.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Since when is a degree required to be a developer?
     

    I didn't say it was required, but at least here in Canada it's by far the majority. Most resumes are ignored if they don't have a degree, or at least a suitable diploma; unless it is replaced with years of experience.  I'm under the assumption that since education is so important in Europe, that it is similar there too.  <oversimplification>We didn't have the dot-bomb that USA did, especially in Silicon Valley where in the late 90s they would hire anyone that still had a pulse. </oversimplification>

    Of course now with the dot-com boom over, there isn't the same demand in the USA anymore, and I imagine their standards have gone up accordingly.  Hell, even here in western Canada it's becoming a employee's market because of worker shortages right now.  This means that managers have to lower their standards to get enough people.  



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    when other people don't spend the money and get the same, or better job would be the ones who lack the mindset. 
    How the fuck does not having a college degree get you a better job? "Oh, this guy didn't go to college, he must be way better than somebody with the fortitude to get a degree!"
    @MasterPlanSoftware said:
    Not understanding ROI is pretty common around here, but you would think more people in RL would have a better understanding.
    People with college degrees earn, on average, nearly a million dollars more in their lifetime than those with only a high school diploma. Explain to me again who doesn't understand ROI?



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Why? Since when is a degree required to be a developer?

    Without commenting on the can-of-worms that is "do you need a degree to be a good developer", I'll just note that most development job postings require degrees.  As such, and otherwise, most people in those positions have degrees.  And that's Skippy's premise -- simply that they have the degree.  Whether that makes them a Better Developer (TM) is not the point here.



  • @AssimilatedByBorg said:

    Doesn't mean I think devs should be rotated into tech support for a significant length of time.  But walking a mile in someone else's shoes (be it tech support, QA, or even (shudder) sales) can be very enlightening.
    Maybe if the company makes it clear that this is a temporary thing just to give the developers some sense of understanding, but even then, you do it for like 3 days or so and then go back to developing.



  •  @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Really? How valuable was that first degree you got?

    In fact, one of the reasons I got my current job was my extensive knowledge of advanced mathematics I gained from my first, engineering degree.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    other people don't spend the money and get the same, or better job
    Hey take it easy.  I know I wouldn't have a job right now if it weren't for college.  I dropped out of college two times, but finally finished and now I have a good job. I just kept looking at my coworkers at the jobs I took to get through college (waiting tables, washing dishes).  I said "I don't want to do this at that age.  I'm finishing college," and I did.

    The skills weren't the issue.  I got the sk33ls.  It's the horrible couch potato laziness that I got over in college and couldn't have gotten over any other way.



  • @bstorer said:

    People without college degrees lack the proper mindset for good development. They haven't been taught the theory, just the practice
     

    Depends on where to you go to college/university.   Where I went, we were barely taught "practice".  The vast majority of what I was taught was theory.  And my school sucked compared to some of the other more renowned schools.

    And when you say college do you mean 2 or 4 year degree?

     

    Edit: I think I read your original post completely back-ass-wards.  Just ignore me :P



  • @skippy said:

    Depends on where to you go to college/university.   Where I went, we were barely taught "practice".  The vast majority of what I was taught was theory.  And my school sucked compared to some of the other more renowned schools.

    And when you say college do you mean 2 or 4 year degree?

    WTF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! YOU AREN'T MAKING ANY GODDAMN SEN--
    @skippy said:
    Edit: I think I read your original post completely back-ass-wards.  Just ignore me :P
    Oh.



  • @skippy said:

    and I imagine their standards have gone up accordingly.
     

    If your 'standards' include requiring a degree, than you are an idiot.



  • First of all, enlighten me.. what does a college educations has to do with a Microsoft Certification? This is a real question.. no sarcasm or anything.. I'm just ignorant, since I have never had any CS or  formal education on anything IT or computer. 

    Now about College-higher education, by itself only proves that one passed the institution requirements to get the title. So I do think that if they are "demoting" anyone, with or without degree,  from developement to tech support, there must be a good reason...



  • @belgariontheking said:

    The skills weren't the issue.  I got the sk33ls.  It's the horrible couch potato laziness that I got over in college and couldn't have gotten over any other way.
     

    This is usually the bigger issue, even if it isn't verbalized within companies.  A degree shows the ability of someone to stick with something for at least 4 years.  It shows that they are set on bettering themselves and it shows that they have a desire to learn.  

     

    /for extra credit, what should the grammar nazis be attacking me for on the above sentences?

     



  • @bstorer said:

    WTF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! YOU AREN'T MAKING ANY GODDAMN SEN--
    @skippy said:
    Edit: I think I read your original post completely back-ass-wards.  Just ignore me :P
    Oh.
     

    LOL!  Sorry man.  Brain can't grok boolean logic this morning.



  • @AssimilatedByBorg said:

    @skippy said:

    If that is the case I would be insulted with their decision to move to tech support, and get MS certification.  I'd be looking for a new job too.

    OTOH, a lot of developers (and managers of those developers) have a severe lack of perspective on the day-to-day problems faced by their customers.  And I don't just mean bugs, but "why did the product get built that way?  That's dumb."  Some people practically pride themselves on this lack of perspective... I have a lot of contempt for those kind of people.

    Plus, a good tech support person has an incredible breadth of knowledge about the product compared to most developers, who tend to develop a much deeper, but narrower, knowledge of some part of the product.  Until they move to a different component and forget much of what they know about the first component.  This isn't a criticism of developers, it's just the nature of the jobs.

    Doesn't mean I think devs should be rotated into tech support for a significant length of time.  But walking a mile in someone else's shoes (be it tech support, QA, or even (shudder) sales) can be very enlightening.

     

     Exactly, and if this is the case, the developer should be happy to be there and take the chance to learn from this situation to make better software.  HOWEVER, if that was the case, it seems odd that they'd pay for you to get certified.

     



  • @bstorer said:

    Explain to me again who doesn't understand ROI?
     

    They also spent more time and money to get there. Since your statistics undoubtedly contain McDonalds empoyees and janitors who would not have amounted to anything with or without college, they are incredibly flawed.



  • @AssimilatedByBorg said:

    most development job postings require degrees. 
     

    No. Most postings say they require a degree. There is a huge difference here.



  • @AssimilatedByBorg said:

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Why? Since when is a degree required to be a developer?

    Without commenting on the can-of-worms that is "do you need a degree to be a good developer", I'll just note that most development job postings require degrees.  As such, and otherwise, most people in those positions have degrees.  And that's Skippy's premise -- simply that they have the degree.  Whether that makes them a Better Developer (TM) is not the point here.

    I am still a little unclear with regards to what skippy meant by a 'related science degree'.  I will admit that a person coming from a university with a CS/IT degree is more likely to be better suited for a software development job than a person with a Chemistry degree from the same university.  The same is true for the reverse in a chemistry related job.  But a person with a physics degree might have spent a lot of time developing models, and might have learned a lot of good programming skills the hard way.

    For example, with my meteorology background, I quickly learned the value of good commenting and variable naming when faced with codes written by fellow students who would go ahead and use a variable named 'q' and never state what is is for (note that 'q' is often used in meteorology for many completely different things).  In a CS curriculum, you get told to do good commenting and variable naming, but until you see it for yourself why it is important, you can't truly understand how important it is.



  • @DrJokepu said:

     @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Really? How valuable was that first degree you got?

    In fact, one of the reasons I got my current job was my extensive knowledge of advanced mathematics I gained from my first, engineering degree.

     

    Hey, if you are incapable of learning math without going to college, sounds like you are a perfect candidate for college. I know I wouldn't want to work with you on my team though.

     "We need to learn how GPS systems work for this newest project."

    "Duh, ok, I need to go back to college though!"



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    They also spent more time and money to get there. Since your statistics undoubtedly contain McDonalds empoyees and janitors who would not have amounted to anything with or without college, they are incredibly flawed.
    You're forgetting the people who work at McDonalds and as janitors despite having gone to college.  aka philosophy and acting majors.  Surely they balance out their side of the equation.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    If your 'standards' include requiring a degree, than <font color="red">then</font> you are an idiot.

    FTFY. 



  • @belgariontheking said:

    The skills weren't the issue.  I got the sk33ls.  It's the horrible couch potato laziness that I got over in college and couldn't have gotten over any other way.
     

    So, just because you are a lazy piece of shit that couldn't be motivated to get a job means that people who don't go to college are not as good as those who do?

    Sounds to me like anyone with an 8th grade education could take your place.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    They also spent more time and money to get there.
    Really? They spent $900,000 on a college education? Time doesn't matter, because even with spending 4 years in school instead of working, they still earn more.
    @MasterPlanSoftware said:
    Since your statistics undoubtedly contain McDonalds empoyees and janitors who would not have amounted to anything with or without college, they are incredibly flawed.
    Who's to say that they wouldn't have amounted to anything with a college degree. It's hard to break out of your upbringing. If you come from a family where nobody went to college, and your family doesn't have the money to go to college, you're in a hole from the get-go because you'll never have the proper education to amount to anything.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    So, just because you are a lazy piece of shit that couldn't be motivated to get a job means that people who don't go to college are not as good as those who do?
    But college helped him overcome his laziness. Would he somehow be a better developer if he didn't go to college and instead was a lazy failure?



  • @taylonr said:

    A degree shows the ability of someone to stick with something for at least 4 years.  It shows that they are set on bettering themselves and it shows that they have a desire to learn.  
     

    Haha, congratulations, you have the stupidest post yet.

    Holy shit.

    While you were proving yourself 'capable of sticking with something for 4 years' some of us were working and doing those things for 4 years. What looks better? 4 years of actual, real world experience with a nice portfolio? Or a proven 4 year drinking binge?

    I would certainly hope the 'capability of sticking with something for 4 years' is just something you would expect from an employee... I mean... WTF?



  • @WeatherGod said:

    @AssimilatedByBorg said:

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Why? Since when is a degree required to be a developer?

    Without commenting on the can-of-worms that is "do you need a degree to be a good developer", I'll just note that most development job postings require degrees.  As such, and otherwise, most people in those positions have degrees.  And that's Skippy's premise -- simply that they have the degree.  Whether that makes them a Better Developer (TM) is not the point here.

    I am still a little unclear with regards to what skippy meant by a 'related science degree'.  I will admit that a person coming from a university with a CS/IT degree is more likely to be better suited for a software development job than a person with a Chemistry degree from the same university.  The same is true for the reverse in a chemistry related job.  But a person with a physics degree might have spent a lot of time developing models, and might have learned a lot of good programming skills the hard way.

    For example, with my meteorology background, I quickly learned the value of good commenting and variable naming when faced with codes written by fellow students who would go ahead and use a variable named 'q' and never state what is is for (note that 'q' is often used in meteorology for many completely different things).  In a CS curriculum, you get told to do good commenting and variable naming, but until you see it for yourself why it is important, you can't truly understand how important it is.

     

    I know a company that thinks long and hard before hiring any CS/IT people for development.  This is a result of 30+ years of developing software and seeing that Electrical Engineers are much better suited for their software, while CS have typically (but not universally) bombed in their environment.

    That's what is usually meant by a related science field.  For example, I imagine you would meet the qualifications for working at Raytheon on the jobs they posted for weather satellite systems last year, despite the fact that you don't have a CS/EE degree.  Perhaps even more qualified than I would have been with my EE degree.

     



  • @belgariontheking said:

    Surely they balance out their side of the equation.
     

    I doubt it. But since you claim it to be true, go ahead and prove it. Show us those statistics.



  • @bstorer said:

    Who's to say that they wouldn't have amounted to anything with a college degree. It's hard to break out of your upbringing. If you come from a family where nobody went to college, and your family doesn't have the money to go to college, you're in a hole from the get-go because you'll never have the proper education to amount to anything.

    WTF? Is this comment real? or am I missing some sarcasm tag somewhere????  



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    I would certainly hope the 'capability of sticking with something for 4 years' is just something you would expect from an employee... I mean... WTF?
    Sure, but not everybody can "stick with something for 4 years". If you get a degree, you have empirical evidence that you can.



  • @bstorer said:

    Would he somehow be a better developer if he didn't go to college and instead was a lazy failure?
     

    No, but we wouldn't have a lazy piece of shit as a developer, and I know that would help the field a lot.



  • @WeatherGod said:

    I am still a little unclear with regards to what skippy meant by a 'related science degree'.
     

    What I meant was Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, Computer Science... things like that.  They are all similar enough, with different focus.

    Hell, one of the best developers (and worst coder) I worked with had a degree in Civil Engineering.  He did amazing things... just don't let his code leave the research realm.



  • @taylonr said:

     

    I know a company that thinks long and hard before hiring any CS/IT people for development. 

     

    I have met/hired/fired an awful lot of degreeed people in my time, it is amazing how many are still completely useless no matter what piece of paper hangs on their wall.



  • @fatdog said:

    WTF? Is this comment real? or am I missing some sarcasm tag somewhere????  
     

    This is what happens when you spend a ton of money on college and then find out there are people who didn't go that make the same thing, or more and have had the benefit of doing it for four years more than you.



  •  @fatdog said:

    @bstorer said:

    It's hard to break out of your upbringing. If you come from a family where nobody went to college, and your family doesn't have the money to go to college, you're in a hole from the get-go because you'll never have the proper education to amount to anything.

    WTF? Is this comment real? or am I missing some sarcasm tag somewhere????  

    Sadly, there is a lot of truth to this.  I know Canada is really bad for this (not sure about USA), where you're lucky to get half of the student loan amount you ask for.  And if your parents have jobs, they assume your parents will pay for your education and just turn you down for the loans completely.  Doesn't matter if your parents are going to help pay or not... somehow that's irrelevant.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @AssimilatedByBorg said:

    most development job postings require degrees. 
     

    No. Most postings say they require a degree. There is a huge difference here.

    False splitting of hairs.  That was my implication, and exactly why I emphasized "postings require" rather than "jobs require".



  • @taylonr said:

    That's what is usually meant by a related science field.  For example, I imagine you would meet the qualifications for working at Raytheon on the jobs they posted for weather satellite systems last year, despite the fact that you don't have a CS/EE degree.
    True, I did consider them for a while, but decided to keep going for a PhD.  However, knowing my fellow students in the meteorology profession, I would also seriously think twice before hiring any meteorology student for a programming job.  I would want code samples and possibly even a quick quiz to make sure they realize what they are getting into.  Far too often in meteorology, students are introduced to some programing concept or environment and are only shown how to do very specific things.  This gives the students a very false sense of security, thinking they understand how computers work.

    Perhaps even more qualified than I would have been with my EE degree.
    Yeah, probably so, given the number of EE people I have met who believe that Matlab is an operating system, and that .mat files are a universal data format... ducks



  • @bstorer said:

    Sure, but not everybody can "stick with something for 4 years".
     

    Those people are worthless then. A degree wont help them not be worthless.



  • @bstorer said:

    People with college degrees earn, on average, nearly a million dollars more in their lifetime than those with only a high school diploma. Explain to me again who doesn't understand ROI?

    You, apparently.  For one, averages are useless when it comes to income and I think you are smart enough to know that.  Any useful study would look at median income.  Second, this study is across-the-board which really isn't what we are arguing about here.  You're essentially throwing all of this McDonald's employees into the "no degree" side even though that is irrevelent to the question of "does a degree result in more money for a developer?"  Additionally, it does not even imply causation.  People who go to college are more likely to come from middle-class, white families.  Statistically speaking, it would be odd to see this particular demographic not end up with more money, regardless of college attendance.  You might as well say buying a swimming pool makes you wealthy because wealthy people frequently own swimming pools.

     

    I don't have enough information to actually conclude whether a degree confers an advantage in terms of salary, but I would not be shocked if the opposite were true.  This is a gut feeling, but allow me to explain my reasoning.  The fact is, most software developers have degrees and this is frequently used as a benchmark for their abilities.  Developers without degrees are less common and have to do a bit more to prove themselves.  However, if they stay in the field for a significant period of time then it stands to reason that they have been more thoroughly scrutinized than someone with a degree since faking it would be a lot harder with no credentials at all.  This means that a developer with no degree and a solid, 5 year employment history is more likely to have succeeded through accomplishment than one with a degree, statistically speaking.  This means a non-degreed employee should be more of a sure bet, or at least that certain hiring managers will consider them more of a sure bet.  Obviously, they will never be able to get some jobs but they will still be able to get jobs with companies willing to take risks.  Companies that take risks are more likely to have rapidly growing financials which will trickle down to the employees.  Since there are far fewer "tenured" non-degreed software developers than degreed ones, they become a scarce resource which increases their perceived value even more.

     

    At the end of the day it's a very interesting economics question.  We essentially have a scarce resource the value of which is determined through a riskier means versus a well-established and widespread resource the value of which is more easily predictable due to third party certification.  Which market will have the higher median value per unit? 



  • @skippy said:

    Sadly, there is a lot of truth to this.  I know Canada is really bad for this (not sure about USA), where you're lucky to get half of the student loan amount you ask for.  And if your parents have jobs, they assume your parents will pay for your education and just turn you down for the loans completely.  Doesn't matter if your parents are going to help pay or not... somehow that's irrelevant.
     

    Maybe you should move to a real country then. Impoverished nations have issues like these, real ones don't.


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