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The Dot Com Bust - Part 2


The Dot Com Bust - Part 2

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Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the content posted at http://www.sqlservercentral.com/columnists/sjones/thedotcombustpart2.asp

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I do laugh at the last thing about DBA's lasting longer. find where I work and a few other large corps around here that the job title DBA is a joke. Most "DBA"s around here do nothing more that handle access issues. They do not even troubleshoot issues nore do they setup maintainence. That is generally left to the developer and the NT sysadmin folks to handle. They don't even have a hand in setting up SQL. Oh well, if anyone starts loping in my area they generally start with the titled DBA group, we lost about 15 over the past year for cut backs. Fortunately it was done thru attrition instead of layoffs. Means you quite or move they just don't backfill the position. I would have to say DBAs may or may not be safe depending on what you actually do.

"Don't roll your eyes at me. I will tape them in place." (Teacher on Boston Public)



Andy Warren
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I think Steve makes a good point about spending your political capital wisely. Along with that make sure you're visible, not sequestered in a dark corner office somewhere! Perceived contributors will also generally last longer.

Andy
http://www.sqlservercentral.com/columnists/awarren/

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jon,

Creepy!! I am looking atround th office right now to see if you are here & writing in cognito!!

I've always thought that certain people ge t promoted out of the way, but never thought about who they may take on!! The other problem with the corporate way is that the demarcation of areas of responsibility are too rigid. Everyone wants to do things in a way which suits them without a thought for the bigger picture.

Still, at least we get 25 days holiday a year! I hear that in America and Canada get a lowly 10 to 15 days!!



Jonr
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Excellent article Steve, we're seeing a way worse situation in Britain, especially in the development sector where there's 50% of programmers out of work.

This is mainly as a result of our woefully out of touch government thinking there's a skills shortage, and opening the flood gates for anyone who's seen a PC to come into the country.

Sadly, older, way more experienced, quality people are being ignored by recruiters here, because companies can get someone who isn't up to doing the job, cheaper. All good old fashioned false economy. But then idiots never learn, by definition. And they wonder why their projects fail.

We're also seeing alot of Visual Basic developers who have maybe used Enterprise Manager a few times applying to be DBAs, in the hope that they can pull the wool over the interviewers eyes.
I've interviewed two dozen people for three DBA positions in the last 18 months, and I've asked them some VERY simple questions first which every DBA should know in order to warm them up, and guess what? 8 out of 10 can't answer them. And that's after we've rejected the obviously hopeless CVs. We had one guy who was apparently an MCDBA, who didn't even know what the two types of indexes are that you can create on a table !! <And for those developers who are reading this and about to look it up for your next interview, that one's off my list now Smile >

Now I know rates drop in a recession, but we're getting many unscrupulous, major IT recruitment agencies and companies advertising jobs at £10-£15/hr, where £35-£40/hr would be usual. Because they know that if they can't fill the position within a month, our immigration rules say we can then advertise it outside of the western european union area. And guess what? No one on home soil bites. They'd be better off working a check-out in the local supermarket. So we end up paying lots of social benefit to unemployed IT people, whilst the companies get someone "cheap", who in my experience of interviewing them, hasn't got the first clue. Really worrying situation, and going by what happened in the 1970's, many qualified, experienced IT people will leave Britain permanently in another brain drain and never come back - myself included.

The other problem we have here is incredibly stupid management. Scott Adams would have material for life. In Britain, if good technical people want more pay, they have to move into management (d'oh), so the company looses their technical skills and invariably gains a not-too-hot manager. Or, if you can't stomach the politics, you move elsewhere and your company quite justifiably looses your company-specific knowledge and has the cost of finding someone else. We also have a corporate culture where we promote people based on how dangerous they are - ie : techies who are clueless or incompetent get moved swiftly into management, where they can't touch anything critical, and because their management are in turn too spineless to sack them. In their new role, they then become the incompetent who does the hiring and get the wool pulled over their eyes by even more incompetent "technical" people who can interview well and can talk the talk rather than do the job, exacerbating the problem even more. So we end up in a vicious downward spiral. Hope you guys in the US do it better, because this country's on a steep downward dive which we're not going to get out of. As a piece of advice, if you've got a brain, forget coming to Britain, you won't be appreciated or paid well. If you can get a job in IT that is.


Jon Reade


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Robert W Marda
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I switched jobs in May 2000 from a good size stable company to a dot com called bigdough.com. At the time people at my previous job were concerned that I'd soon be out of a job. As for me, I just saw the $13,000 more a year in salary and the extra challenge the job would give me and took the job.

As life turns out, it was a good decision. I still work for bigdough.com as a SQL programmer and don't feel my job is in danger. The company has stopped hiring, except to replace people as they leave. A couple months ago, our other SQL programmer left. Our company took one of our VB programmers and designated him as a VB/SQL programmer. He now spends most of his time doing SQL stuff and on occasion works on VB. We then hired another person who is also designated a VB/SQL programmer. He hasn't worked on any VB stuff yet, since we have been very busy with new SQL developments.

Robert Marda

SQL Server will deliver its data any way you want it
when you give your SQL Programmer enough developing time.



Robert W. Marda
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My story, for what it's worth...

Got laid off in March. Went on active duty with the Air National Guard 3 weeks later, so that took me out of the job search. Now, I'm two weeks from going home and I'm starting up my job search.

I've sent out my resume, made a bunch of phone calls and I've found a few possiblilites. I live in the Minneapolis - St. Paul, MN area, which wasn't killed by the Dot-Com meltdown. So that is a good thing but I'm not getting my hopes up. I'm expecting to have to put in some serious work and time to get my next job.

One thing I have noticed is how many SQL Server positions here in the Twin Cities want someone with OLAP experience and of course I don't have any (But I would love to learn!)

One thing about getting laid off...companies do use it to clean house, but many times it may have nothing to do with you. Even if your boss really likes you, if he has less power than his peers, you could still be out the door.

Diane



Herve Roggero
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This is a great article. Certain DBAs are reevaluating their skillsets as a result of the next release of SQLServer, Yukon. Yukon will be deeply integrated within the .NET Studio Development environment, and will be built around the CLR. For instance, it will be possible to write stored procedures using C#.

Some DBAs could become obsolete quickly if they decide to ignore the software development implications of Yukon. Suddenly, developers that are simply playing with SQLServer 2000 today, could slowly become the best positioned DBAs of tomorrow.

Now is the time to investigate on how to use .NET, how to develop basic applications in Visual Basic .NET for example, and get ready for the wave that Yukon is about to bring to the DBA community.

Herve Roggero
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I totally agree with Herve Roggero comments above about .Net. I've picked up a Beginning VB .net book and have started to work with it. All SQL Server DBA's and developers need to learn about .net...or get left behind.

Diane



Lee Dise
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> All SQL Server DBA's and developers need to learn about .net...or get left behind.

Okay, I'll bite. There are a couple of posts in this thread urging me and other DBAs to "be there or be square" with regard to .NET. Who knows, maybe this time the doomsayers are right. Unless I get on the bandwagon NOW!!!! and get with the program on .NET, I'll be selling apples on the street corner in three years, while some pimply teenager gets stuck maintaining my databases.

But first, a word from reality...

1. The principles of database design and SQL are not likely to change that much in the next twenty years. Incrementally, yes. In a revolutionary manner? No.

2. Database is a big enough chunk for most people to bite off. Lord knows it keeps me busy. It's likely I'll learn a few things about .NET that a database guy needs to know, and leave becoming an expert in it to those with a need to know.

3. Most programmers do not find database very interesting, and thus have mixed results when designing schemas. It isn't likely that .NET is going to make programmers love database more. Which is fine... more work for me.

4. The rush to learn the latest technologies can keep one way busier than necessary. I've been in this business since 1984, and here, in capsule form, are some of the highlights...

a. Learn DB2 or you'll be unemployed in two years.

b. Learn Unix or you'll be unemployed in two years.

c. Learn to program in C or you'll be unemployed in two years.

d. Forget C, learn to program in C++ or you'll be unemployed in two years.

e. The real wave of the future is top-down structured design. Pretty soon, we'll be forced to adopt it, and those who don't will become dinosaurs.

f. Scratch that, all real programmers are learning Warnier-Orr diagramming. It's catching on -- EDS uses it -- and pretty soon all programmers will be forced to learn it.

g. Object-Oriented Design will soon replace all procedurally-oriented code, and those programmers who can't learn the new paradigm will find themselves out of a job.

h. Distributed client-server applications (i.e., "fat client") are the way things are going, and woe to the programmer who can't understand the concepts of networking.

i. Client-server is an outmoded architecture, as the configuration costs are too high. Thin client is the latest thing....

And ditto: Ada, Pascal, Java, Perl, object-oriented database, AI, code generators, OLAP, Power Builder, C#, etc., etc., and etc.

Some may counter that I'm enshrining ignorance. Hardly. I just have a healthy enough respect for what I do that I know I must pick my battles.






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