Monday, September 08, 2008

More pros and cons about I.T. as a career


Jeffrey Hiner continued his discussion on the pros and cons of information technology as a career this morning on his blog, with five more reads that IT, well, -- I won’t repeat his expletive. The link is here. He says that these additional "five things" were supplied to him by readers.

The most important observation is that users tend to think of information technology as “magic,” literally like the driving force between Clive Barker’s 1991 novel “Imajica.” Indeed, one could think of the world of broadband, wireless, and search engines (along with all the Web 2.0 and 3.0 gizmos) as “magic” that corresponds to Barker’s “in ovo”. I wonder if Barker would have written his fantasy novel differently had the Internet and especially the Web been “public” (other than just available in pieces like bulletin boards and user groups) when he wrote his novel while still in Britain.

Hiner is right that you can work yourself out of a job. Even as far back as 1980, when I was at a Combined Medicare Project that would eventually fail, one of the people whom we hired and moved down to Dallas from Iowa said, he had been laid off after finishing a mainframe state government project there because “we got done.”

Another idea is that often, “you are on your own” in solving problems, often when taking over someone else’s work. I worked in support the last two years before “retiring” in 2001 and found it challenging to fix “somebody else’s” bugs in a technology (Java, Powerbuilder, C, etc) where I have never developed a system from the start, as I had with mainframe disciplines like COBOL, ALC, and JCL. In earlier mainframe days (when "structured programming" was supposed to be all the rage), you didn't want to tell an interviewer that you were turned off by looking at other programmers' "spaghetti code".

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