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Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 8:33 AM


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Eric M Russell (4/18/2014)
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.

+1 That kind of reminds me. I got a Christmas present from my daughter this past year that fits this scenario perfectly. It is a T-Shirt that reads "Business runs the world. The database runs business. I run the database."




Everything is awesome!
Post #1563055
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 8:35 AM


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I agree, but it's the fantasy of becoming the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Mark Zuckerberg that gets kids fired up and fills the ranks of the next generation of IT people. The truth is always the best approach, but it's not lying to accentuate the positive. Of course, dissuading the power seekers from IT might be just what humanity will need in the future.
Post #1563056
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 8:36 AM
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When it comes to kids, I think about their desire to create things -- draw/paint pictures, write stories, play an instrument, take pictures/videos, teach a pet to do a trick, help arrange a party with friends... These aren't just fun things to do, but are actually fun with a purpose. Often times, these activities in themselves are self-rewarding.

Some kids, like Taylor Wilson (the boy who created a nuclear reactor in his garage) are light-years ahead of any child/adult regarding what excites us -- unfettered by the nitty gritty details or reason.

So, it seems to me that reaching out to kids about what they like to create can be a bridge to other professions like IT where there is often the opportunity to make some "thing" or to make something happen.

When I was in junior high in the late 1970s, a classmate of mine described how his dad had just finished creating some sort of computer program on a TSR-80 to calculate the probability of various events. That was the first time I'd heard about a personal account about someone using a computer -- my only other source of knowledge of a computer was from the original Star Trek tv show. Ultimately, my classmate's story was enough for me to investigate about computers. I deteremined that I'd choose between an Atari vs an Apple. In the end, I begged my parents to get an Apple II+ --> my goal was to create my own programs, not play video games (which the Atari seemed to be mostly about). I wanted to see what I could create using a computer.


Now, do young adults possess the same sort of "look what I made" or "look what I can do" level of enthusiasm that children express? Possibly. Can an adult harness the intrinsic rewards of doing a job that is personally inspiring, or at least seen as a means to supporting other activities that do inspire? I'd like to think so.

But, as Steve Jones mentioned in his article, sometimes you need to figure out what you don't like to do. Here in lies a trap, however, of "I'll know it when I see it." -- it can become a passive, persistent stance of merely ruling out opportunities. A trap of waiting for something wonderful to come to you, instead of seeking it out. Thus, Steve's first point seems to come true -- reach out to others, get to know people and what they do (and hopefully enjoy doing).

--Pete




Post #1563057
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 8:53 AM


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IMHO (4/18/2014)
I agree, but it's the fantasy of becoming the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Mark Zuckerberg that gets kids fired up and fills the ranks of the next generation of IT people. The truth is always the best approach, but it's not lying to accentuate the positive. Of course, dissuading the power seekers from IT might be just what humanity will need in the future.

The IT industry needs a handful of people like Gates, Jobs, and Zuckerberg.

However, regular Joes at the cubicle level seeking power and prestige are less useful... and also kind of annoying.
Post #1563066
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 9:01 AM
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Every parent I talk to I tell them to get their kids interested in tech. There's a shortage, even today, of quite simply, _resources_.... much less quality resources across all things IT.

There's young adults out there that can

-understand how to run benchmarks and manipulate config files for games so the game runs smoother. Isn't that performance tuning?

-play online games and tell developers of the games they bought where the bugs are and/or how different things should work in the game. Isn't that business analysis and QA?

Meanwhile most of these young adults have had it pounded in their head that tech jobs are for nerds, geeks, and losers. They work dead end, oversaturated jobs/careers in sales, marketing, and the service industry and major in things like English and History which will get them nowhere; or they major in law or med and flunk out with thousands of dollars in loans unpaid when they had no business being in those majors and were only in them because they thought they could make a lot of money.

As all this happens, underqualified offshore resources are hired to work remotely since they are hired at a bargain price compared to solid, legit resources. They're still making more money than the young adults mentioned above in their dead end jobs.

It's frustrating but I tell every parent I see to get their kids into tech. It pays well and is challenging but rewarding work.
Post #1563068
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 9:18 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......


I can't agree with Andy on this one - We let our kids, one boy - one girl, choose what studies they wanted - we even home schooled the two of them from about 3rd grade through high school... Both made poor choices (in my book) for college studies - but they choose what they love to do. As a father, I'm quietly concerned how they are going to make a living (she in theater; he in jazz music) because both require an artistic talent that I don't have and probably will never understand...but THEY do. {I would have loved to have seen them choose career paths that would be better suited to being able to provide for themselves in an "easier" fashion - getting started in either of these fields will be a challenge for them.}

They will make it, I hope. My eldest, the daughter, graduated with honors from Central Washington University two summers ago and, as I predicted, has had a bummer of a time getting her foot in the professional door of the local theater groups in our area. But she took on a part-time job that paid a pittance and TWO theater internships (non-paid) and has slowly been working on what she wants to do. My son will be graduating from college this fall and I wonder what he is going to do to "break into" the local jazz scene. I hope it isn't too rocky of an experience for him.

As for getting up in front of 12 year olds and talking about careers, I agree about networking with your peers, finding something that you love to do, and don't get stuck in a job you don't like. Several other bits in info I would pass along: If you ARE in a job you don't like, find a replacement job before you quit the lousy position. At least a lousy position will allow you to feed yourself! Don't chase the money. Just because you get the idea that some position pays a lot, doesn't mean it is something you will like, or even be able to comprehend. And don't expect to make $100 K as soon as you graduate. May not happen until you have at least three or four years experience in your chosen field. Working your way up is part of the post-schooling learning curve. Oh, and lastly, you will never be done learning at any point in your life. If you stop learning, you can get too complacent, lazy, stuck in ruts, etc. If your life does get boring, learn something else while you are working. Take up a hobby - stay busy with some volunteer work! The idea here is that besides working, there are other things to do that can give your life fufillment while you are "working" your way through life.
Post #1563070
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 9:22 AM
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Back in the 90s I used to encourage kids to get into software development, but not anymore, but for a different reason than others listed.

I don't encourage folks to get into software development because IMO 'thanks' to the free software crusaders of the 90s, it is easier to make a living today putting up sheet rock than writing software.

If your ultimate career goal is to write software used internally in a corporation (which is an honorable and sometimes exciting career for many), then go for it, but if you want an opportunity to exercise your creativity by creating software solutions to various problems of our world, and be able to make enough money to be able to devote the best hours of your day to this work, then you might be better off buying lottery tickets, because your odds are probably about the same.

While many folks (especially younger folks who don't know any different) might think that getting software for free is a wonderful thing (which it is if you only view the world from the perspective of a consumer) and are big fans of crowd-everything, the other side of the crowd focus is that the only software that gets built is the software that 'the crowd' happens to fall in love with, and in a world where you are expected to give away software or charge a dollar for it, popularity becomes the prime directive, and so you end up with millions of porn sites and 5 folks who get lucky enough to have written the program that happens to become the 'thing' this year, or get bought by Facebook or Yahoo for a billion dollars, while everyone else ends up coding as a hobby or quitting altogether once they have real bills to pay.

In the 90s, I wrote a few shareware programs that I sold just a couple of thousand of for $20 per registered user, and was able to quit my first tech job form them. IMO if it was commonplace for folks to drop $10 or $20 (i.e. a few visits to Starbucks) on software products they liked, then I think that there would be enough incentive for there to be many independent software developers out there putting out a variety of products that would do things a whole lot more useful than to help you share pictures of your cats more easily.



Post #1563074
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 9:28 AM
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When attempting to achieve a goal make decisions based on reasonable risks, expect to make mistakes along the way, make them, in fact make as many mistakes as fast as you can and share the knowledge gained with your associates so they don't have to make the same mistakes. Then, most importantly, never give up until you have succeeded in finding the right solution or proving that there is no solution within the given constraints. And tell that to a 12 year old, in just so many words, you will be surprised at how much they actually understand.
Post #1563076
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 9:48 AM


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Today's young generation (not all of them but enough to matter) grow up with a sense of entitlement. Many get this message, perhaps inadvertently, from public schools that you get credit just for showing up. That's a bad message.
As parents, it's up to us to teach kids that the only successful career path, regardless of occupation, is to match our talents and desire with other people's wants and needs. That means occasionally upgrading our skills and reassessing our alignment with the opportunity that's out there.
Losers think the world was made for them and soon discover that the world doesn't give a damn, but winners think they were made for the world and soon disover they have a lot to offer the world and world has a lot to offer back in exchange.
Post #1563085
Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 10:01 AM


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I would tell them to be nice to people. Recognize the small and big players you encounter everyday. Being helpful doesn't ever hurt you. Regardless of what you chose to work at, being nice is never a wrong choice.

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