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Advice for Newcomers Expand / Collapse
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Posted Thursday, April 17, 2014 8:38 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Advice for Newcomers






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Post #1562904
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 5:27 AM
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I would tell newcomers: Don't be afraid to ask for help. I've seen too many people (especially new graduates) struggling for what turned out to be days because they wouldn't ask somebody to help them. They are trained for 16+ years to "do their own work". Or even us older folks that don't want to appear dumb (I include myself). I realize it's hard sometimes to admit, but we don't know everything, and we have a job to do. If we can save some hours by asking somebody else a question, well, let's just swallow our ego and ask.

Now, how you tell this to 12 year olds, in front of their teacher, that's a different problem.

Cheers,
Tom
Post #1562971
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 6:52 AM
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I *have* told young kids to stay away from technology jobs in the 21st century, including my 2 recent college graduated children. I tell them to do what you like, and if you happen to enjoy creating custom mods in your video games, then you might like software development. But the business expectations in this day and age are INSANE. Long gone are the days when you could tell Finance that their new report will be available in 6-10 weeks. Today they want it in 6-10 hours (isn't that why we let you build the Data Warehouse?!).

Time after time IT projects stumble and fail because they were hurried, often needlessly, and the business continues to be shocked, shocked I tell you, that IT did not pull a rabbit out of a hat. Kids, enjoy the technology sausage, but don't get involved in making it if you can avoid it. The pride and fun in software/database development does not exist these days.



Post #1563007
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 7:24 AM


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andycao (4/18/2014)
I *have* told young kids to stay away from technology jobs in the 21st century, including my 2 recent college graduated children. I tell them to do what you like, and if you happen to enjoy creating custom mods in your video games, then you might like software development. But the business expectations in this day and age are INSANE. Long gone are the days when you could tell Finance that their new report will be available in 6-10 weeks. Today they want it in 6-10 hours (isn't that why we let you build the Data Warehouse?!).

Time after time IT projects stumble and fail because they were hurried, often needlessly, and the business continues to be shocked, shocked I tell you, that IT did not pull a rabbit out of a hat. Kids, enjoy the technology sausage, but don't get involved in making it if you can avoid it. The pride and fun in software/database development does not exist these days.


Sounds like somebody needs a vacation.

I can assure that the expectation of things being completed faster is NOT an IT only issue. All aspects of our lives move at breakneck speeds compared to even just 10 years ago. Everything is moving faster in all aspects of business.


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Post #1563018
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 7:31 AM


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Understand the basics, the theory that underlies the practical. And don't get married to a particular technology/programming language/vendor. However, if you do, then be the very best at it. (And then hope it wins out against competitors!)

Please don't go. The drones need you. They look up to you.
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Post #1563023
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 7:41 AM


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At age 12, the only type of computing that kids are interested in is video games. If you want to tell a group of kids about your job as an IT professional, you have to somehow frame it within that context, even you don't actually design video games. So, explain that you start with a conceptual idea and then storyboard it. At a bare minimum, it involves programming and graphic design. That's the cool part, and some kids can do it better than most adults. But for a video game to be successful in the real world, to turn it into an actual job that pays money, it also involves a group of people teaming together, capital investment, and marketing.

Really, IT is an easier sell to kids than accounting or proctology.
Post #1563032
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 7:59 AM


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My advice would be to pick a particular thing and learn it really really well--whether it's writing a program, setting up a server, or wiring a network. Even if the technology changes, you're better off having been really good at something than dabbling in too many things. As a one-person-shop developer for most of my career, I've worked with HTML, Javascript, CSS. .NET, PHP, MySQL, T-SQL, Excel, VBA, etc. etc. etc. Better, I think, to have learned one area deeply and to work on a team with others who also have learned their area of expertise deeply.
As for getting kids interested...some kids respond well when you tell them the story of how you became a techie. Some want to hear how much power and prestige they will have if they become an IT person. Others respond well when they learn how much they can help the world through IT. I'm sure there are other approaches too.
Post #1563038
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 8:18 AM


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Some want to hear how much power and prestige they will have if they become an IT person.



99% of newcomers entering IT looking for power and prestige will end up dissapointed. How about pouring your time and creative energy into a project for six months only to watch it get scrapped by exectuve management, sit unused by end users, or have someone else take credit for it's success?

Unless an IT professional develops the next Angry Birds or Candy Crush as a personal side project, it's highly unlikely they'll ever gain power and prestige.
Post #1563045
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 8:25 AM


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Tom Bakerman (4/18/2014)
I would tell newcomers: Don't be afraid to ask for help. I've seen too many people (especially new graduates) struggling for what turned out to be days because they wouldn't ask somebody to help them.

I agree. No one knows everything, but everyone knows something. It's more about team work and pooling resources together rather than being a one man/woman show. Don't get me wrong though, do what you love and be good at it; just don't forget your team. These are going to be people that you see nearly everyday and interact with a lot throughout your career and their areas of expertise will probably be a lot different than your own; teammates are valuable resources and building on those relationships can better yourself and others.

Now explaining that to kids, that's a tough one. I try explaining what I do to my own and most of the time I think that they think I run the company or something close to that...it's hard to say at times. My son is a 5-year-old gamer. He knows how to use a computer because of games. He knows how to go in and set up configs and settings to the way he wants them to be for his style of play. I'd hit on video games definitely to peak an interest. My daughter is all about social media though; I'm pretty sure that there are blogs, facebook groups, twitter feeds, etc...etc... dedicated to how cool technology is and how cool it would be to make it yourself. Give them some stuff to follow and research on their own; if they're interested, they'll continue looking.




Everything is awesome!
Post #1563050
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 8:31 AM


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A book on how to build video games or Facebook apps would make a good Christmas stocking stuffer for a kid, if you think they would be into that. I could picture a bright teenage girl building the next great 1,000,000 user Facebook app; not that I personally would ever use it.
Post #1563053
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