FEE (the libertarian Foundation for Economic Education) has an interesting list “Ten Questions You Must Ask When Applying for a Software Job” (David Veksler), Job applicants should interview the employer, too!
The one that caught my eye was the first one, source code control. There was a lapse in an elevation on the job in the summer of 1991 that might have caused a catastrophe. But mainframe shops as a whole didn’t start taking this seriously until around 1988 or so.
I think it’s interesting that he says coders don’t make good QA testers. But in my environment three decades ago you tended to “own” your work and you had to be. I think this remark sheds some light on why Obamacare had so many implementation problems – the older professionals who understood the importance of very thorough testing had been laid off and moved on to other things.
He also says its important that companies have the latest toolsets. No more “you make do with what you’ve got” to evade a hostile takeover, like it was getting in the late 80s.