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The decline of programmers in the U.S.

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    #16
    Originally posted by SCIfor55yrs. View Post
    Programming is a great career for wheelchair users. It is sad that even many in the CC struggle to find a viable career and yet these jobs are sitting there begging to be filled. It is not that difficult to learn. All my programming skills have been self-taught. Once you master one language, it is not that difficult to move on to the next. It seems that the tech schools and the universities are offering the training but mostly the foreign students take advantage of it.
    I totally agree that this is a great avenue for SCI sufferers. We have a guy in a power chair at work who programs with a combination of mouth stick and voice. I'm really impressed with him. He comes to the office in a medical transport, has lunch in the cafe with friends and appears to be quite independent in what he does. I respect that. If I hadn't had this kind of job when my accident occurred, I'm not sure I'd have gotten back to work.

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      #17
      I have been programming for the same company since 1995 and the problem here is that our systems are primarily based on languages that are viewed now as obsolete (jcl, COBOL, etc). While I agree that once you know how to program in one language you know syntax enough to pick up another language, object orientated programming adds another level of skill and knowledge to overcome.

      We have had hit or miss results with people we work with offshore. The demand is so high for their services over there that they rarely stay in the same job for more than a year or two, and it takes that long to teach them what they are coding for (since we administer pension plans, 401(k) plans, and health plans...this is something mainly foreign to them).

      I also agree with T8....when you are looking to get into some industry, your goal should be to get those people who can hit the ground running...not ones that need their hands held.
      "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing's going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Seuss

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        #18
        Originally posted by truly View Post
        I totally agree that this is a great avenue for SCI sufferers. We have a guy in a power chair at work who programs with a combination of mouth stick and voice. I'm really impressed with him. He comes to the office in a medical transport, has lunch in the cafe with friends and appears to be quite independent in what he does. I respect that. If I hadn't had this kind of job when my accident occurred, I'm not sure I'd have gotten back to work.
        One of the nice things about programming is that it is usually not data input intensive. Using a typing stick does not place one at a competitive disadvantage. Writing reports and grants is a chore. There is an inherent danger for SCIs. If one gets so engrossed in the coding that he or she forgets to shift their weight regularly, it can be a fast track to a pressure sore.
        You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @
        http://www.rstce.pitt.edu/RSTCE_Reso...imb_Injury.pdf

        See my personal webpage @
        http://cccforum55.freehostia.com/

        Comment


          #19
          Originally posted by SCIfor55yrs. View Post
          One of the nice things about programming is that it is usually not data input intensive. Using a typing stick does not place one at a competitive disadvantage. Writing reports and grants is a chore. There is an inherent danger for SCIs. If one gets so engrossed in the coding that he or she forgets to shift their weight regularly, it can be a fast track to a pressure sore.
          This is so true. There is software out there for free that is designed for people with RSI that I used to remind myself to weight shift. In Ubuntu a feature actually built into Gnome that will lock the keyboard every 15 minutes or so. There is also a program called workrave. I am sure there are similar things on windows.

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            #20
            Originally posted by t8burst View Post
            With all due respect don't tell me how to do my job. You have no idea what you are talking about.
            With all due respect in return, do your job any way you see fit.

            As to knowing what I'm talking about...I've worked both sides of the table. I've been a consultant and an in house manager. My projects have been succesful. But I've watched others fail, and in almost all cases, the failures have been caused by poorly conceived requirements, miscommunicated to "rockstars" who are more enthralled with the shiny new hardware/software than with understanding the needs of the client.

            I've seen companies get involved in the "too big to fail" project, where they've already spent millions on out-sourced or off-shored "talent" that throwing a couple more million at it to try another outside company seems logical because the fault lies with the parade of managers who think the guy before them just didn't "manage" the project right, when, in truth, the fault is in the design.

            A successful project needs ONE "super programmer" in the Yourdan/Constatine definition, and a cast of support staff to fill in the blanks. Sometimes, you can make that work with the super programmer as your employee and an outside support staff, but, once the project is done, you'll need somebody to maintain it. That's where the entry level trainees come in.

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              #21
              Originally posted by truly View Post
              I'm a software project manager and work with people around the world. Things sure have changed....and pretty quickly. I have to say that I've had pretty good luck with offshore technicians and QA folks. We still keep our business analysts and PMs onshore.
              Also a software project manager here - I've sort of missed out on the whole offshore controversy as I'm in a domain (aerospace) that must use US citizens, so we don't even get into that. All our programmers, techs and QA are local. And we've found the youngsters coming out of college with CS and AE degrees to be very sharp, very innovative.

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                #22
                For any of the younger CCers thinking programming might be for them, what language would you start with? I am assuming COBOL, Fortran and Applesoft are a bit old.
                Tom

                "Blessed are the pessimists, for they hath made backups." Exasperated 20:12

                Comment


                  #23
                  Originally posted by TomRL View Post
                  For any of the younger CCers thinking programming might be for them, what language would you start with? I am assuming COBOL, Fortran and Applesoft are a bit old.
                  Depends on what sort of industry you're interested in.

                  COBOL is alive and well in the financial industry (banking, credit systems, etc).

                  Fortran is likewise in the scientific community.

                  Applesoft you can have :-).

                  In my business, we're looking for C, C++ and Ada programmers (no, I'm not joking), but that's because legacy and testability are more important to us than cutting edge-ness.

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Originally posted by hlh View Post
                    My Dad used to say that a desk top PC these days has more computer power then existed in the ENTIRE WORLD, when he started programming. Something like that..... Crazy.....
                    Noways you could replace desk top PC with mobile phones as having more computer power than existed in the entire world back then. I know mine has more than my first computer I bought in college back around '98.
                    Most everything I say is

                    Comment


                      #25
                      Originally posted by Katja View Post
                      Also a software project manager here - I've sort of missed out on the whole offshore controversy as I'm in a domain (aerospace) that must use US citizens, so we don't even get into that. All our programmers, techs and QA are local. And we've found the youngsters coming out of college with CS and AE degrees to be very sharp, very innovative.
                      A lot of colleges and universities accept computer languages as meeting their foreign language requirement. I certainly would have done that if I had the chance.
                      You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @
                      http://www.rstce.pitt.edu/RSTCE_Reso...imb_Injury.pdf

                      See my personal webpage @
                      http://cccforum55.freehostia.com/

                      Comment


                        #26
                        in the field of science i'm in, python, perl, java and c are the ones you need to be fluent in. i've only seen one person use fortran... and it was a joke. his programs NEVER worked.

                        i have friends that work with amazon and that's perl intensive. ruby seems to be gaining more popularity but we'll see
                        "Smells like death in a bucket of chicken!"
                        http://www.elportavoz.com/

                        Comment


                          #27
                          Originally posted by crypticgimp View Post
                          in the field of science i'm in, python, perl, java and c are the ones you need to be fluent in. i've only seen one person use fortran... and it was a joke. his programs NEVER worked.
                          When I worked at NCAR, we scripted in python, perl, etc...but the climate forecasting codes are all written in Fortran (running on supercomputers).

                          Comment


                            #28
                            Originally posted by TomRL View Post
                            For any of the younger CCers thinking programming might be for them, what language would you start with? I am assuming COBOL, Fortran and Applesoft are a bit old.
                            C++ and Java. I would start with Java then move to C++

                            Comment


                              #29
                              Originally posted by willingtocope View Post
                              With all due respect in return, do your job any way you see fit.

                              As to knowing what I'm talking about...I've worked both sides of the table. I've been a consultant and an in house manager. My projects have been succesful. But I've watched others fail, and in almost all cases, the failures have been caused by poorly conceived requirements, miscommunicated to "rockstars" who are more enthralled with the shiny new hardware/software than with understanding the needs of the client.

                              I've seen companies get involved in the "too big to fail" project, where they've already spent millions on out-sourced or off-shored "talent" that throwing a couple more million at it to try another outside company seems logical because the fault lies with the parade of managers who think the guy before them just didn't "manage" the project right, when, in truth, the fault is in the design.

                              A successful project needs ONE "super programmer" in the Yourdan/Constatine definition, and a cast of support staff to fill in the blanks. Sometimes, you can make that work with the super programmer as your employee and an outside support staff, but, once the project is done, you'll need somebody to maintain it. That's where the entry level trainees come in.
                              I love talking about how to manage software projects. This is not a good format to have that conversation. One comment on your post, it looks to me like you work on large established projects in big companies. The software I am currently working on has no "client", isn't installed on any machines outside our firewall and the most glorious part is our company has no marketing or sales people. It is software heaven.

                              I have been in a couple startups, one went from 5 programmers to where I had a product dev group of 120 people. How you manage 5 people (you don't manage at the size you collaborate), how you manage 30, 60, 100+ are all very different and the transition is hard and often painful.

                              Anyway, too complex a topic to discuss in the format. Too bad we aren't local it would be fun to have a cup of coffee and discuss the various theories of how to build software.

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Originally posted by Katja View Post
                                When I worked at NCAR, we scripted in python, perl, etc...but the climate forecasting codes are all written in Fortran (running on supercomputers).
                                When I was a fresh out of college my first job was at NASA-Ames working on a large FORTRAN code base. I was talking to one of the old timers there about how I need to solve a heat transfer problem where the heat transfer co-efficient of the material varied with temperature, which took the problem from an ordinary differential equation to a partial differential equation. The guy was like "no problem, I have code for that I will bring it in tomorrow". Foolish me I was expecting some sort of floppy disk. Guy shows up with a shoe box of punch cards! I may be old, but I am not that old. I cracked up and asked him what the hell am I going to do with that? Took me a couple days but I actually found an old card reader hooked up to a VAX in another branch and got it all loaded.

                                I miss those days.

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