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Dot-Com Work Culture Making a Comeback? 456

Posted by Zonk
from the brace-yourselves-lads-you-know-what-comes-next dept.
jeebus writes "This week a Deloitte study has shown that high on the agenda of CEOs around the world is the shortage of tech talent. Is a shortage of talented geeks in the market seeing a return of the dot-com culture with foosball tables, beanbags, and inflated salaries used to entice talented workers? Welcome to Web 2.0 work culture, the future of yesterday. 'Global recruitment companies were telling prospecting employees that they were no longer going to be employed just because they were a technical guru. They were going to have to learn to dress, communicate, and adapt all the traditional corporate ideals that IT has been exempt from during the dot-com boom. Fast forward to Web 2.0 and while workplaces aren't as cheesy with their decor as they were were in the late '90s, and developers aren't getting paid $100K for being HTML and JavaScript jockeys, geeks just aren't chuffed with corporate culture.'"
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Dot-Com Work Culture Making a Comeback?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @09:48AM (#19729827)
    I'm an excellent slacker... err superstar geek programmer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by angus_rg (1063280)
      Ah yes, there are more jobs availible now then were at the first dotcom bust. The first bust made people fear getting into IT because of job stability, and less and less are studying computer science/information systems as a result.

      Enter Cash Cow 2.0.........
  • sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wwmedia (950346) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @09:49AM (#19729837)
    yea cant wait for DotComBurst 2.0
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mgabrys_sf (951552)
      re:"yea cant wait for DotComBurst 2.0"

      You must be a barrel of kicks at parties:

      "Happy Birthday. You're closer to death now you know. Can't wait."
    • I thought the dotcom bust came because it was an artificial build-up to begin with - venture capitalists and other investors just throwing bunches of money at companies whose own prospectus said the company had little chance of succeeding.

      I'm sure there are natural cycles, but the retiring of baby boomers should should not really lead to an eventual "bust."
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by EggyToast (858951)
        Yeah the problem had to do with CEO business culture, not tech culture. You know, the "make as much money as possible at any cost" idea, regardless of how poor of a long-term strategy it is. I don't think "able to play foosball during lunch or after long coding sessions, and wear shorts to work in the summertime" contributed much to the bubble bursting.
        • Re:sigh (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Hijacked Public (999535) * on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @12:18PM (#19731935)
          To say that any given thing was 'the' problem with the dot com bust is doomed to be wrong and accomplishes little more than letting everyone know what your particular gripe is when it comes to business in general.

          There was plenty of pointless excess to go around. From the people who generated the ideas to the people who funded them to the marginally skilled grads who took the $100k jobs ($50k of that is going to be in the form of stock options.....which could be make us all billionaires BTW!) Ask ESR, who publicly counted the money he didn't have. Or Commander "What kind of car does a wealthy young geek drive" Taco.

          Plenty to go around.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Brad Eleven (165911)
          Yes. These are two separate effects, which are still being actively conflated. The dot-com bust was all about irrational exuberance, e.g., anything with a trailing ".com" became a target for the extra capital floating about in the late 90s. You didn't even need a business plan, just a catchy name. The absence of a plan, in turn, led to silly work environments, with a few extremes that got press (recall that there was a whole new press industry being born at the same time, e.g., online publication).

          The other
    • yea cant wait for DotComBurst 2.0

      Not like the big one of '99. There's not enough in the geek production pipeline this time and talent in formerly developing markets are managing to stay employed right where they are. IT was so out of favor as a career choice five years ago that some colleges started scaling back their IT programs. Not only a fall off in production but many schools scrapped their production capacity.

      Even if they could get their IT programs back online tomorrow and overcome the still

  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @09:49AM (#19729845) Journal

    It's going to come up, so let me save you all some time:

    From The English to American Dictionary [english2american.com]

    chuffed adj. Someone who describes themselves as being chuffed is generally happy with life. You can also get away with saying you are unchuffed or dischuffed if something gets your back up. Make sure you only use this word in the correct tense and familiarise yourself with the meaning of the word
  • I really haven't seen any hard evidence that all that many 'web jockeys' were getting some $100k salary, unless they lived in the valley, where cost of living is so bad that 100k is practically minimum wage unless you take the bus 2 hours to work. Does anyone have any stats to back up what the average dot-com era 'web jockey' salary was compared with today?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by timeOday (582209)
      I won't be feeling guilty about "inflated" salaries anytime soon. Productivity and profits have been soaring while compensation is stagnant [epinet.org] for years now. There's still plenty of caterwauling from bosses about worker shortages and jobs people won't take (...for what we want to pay, of course), but I've realized that's just normal and not indicative of anything in particular. Bosses will always want lower wages.
      • by cavemanf16 (303184) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:22AM (#19730273) Homepage Journal
        Correction: The average, below average, and just-plain-dumb "bosses" will always want lower wages. The smart "bosses" are more concerned about the holistic profitability of their business, not just how cheap they can get with their workers. Harvard Business Review has a pretty good article [harvard.edu] on this facet of American business.
      • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:45AM (#19730579)

        Indeed. What these management types think of as inflated salaries is a perception problem on their part, not the developers'. It is well documented that a really good developer can be at least an order of magnitude more productive than the average. Do they get paid 10x as much for their time buy a business employing them? Of course not, that's "not the market rate"...

        ...Unless you take a leap of faith and go self-employed or start your own business. Now if you're a talented developer, your greater productivity benefits you directly or a company that you own, and you really can get the financial benefits that your skill level deserves on merit.

        Realistically, most managers aren't smart and knowledgeable enough to understand this and offer salaries that really are attractive to people good enough to have the other option open to them. That's why they keep bitching about a shortage of talent, yet in the next breath refer to the "inflated" salaries of the dot com boom (where despite all the failures, quite a few small companies made an awful lot of money very fast using good people).

    • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:14AM (#19730173) Homepage Journal

      I really haven't seen any hard evidence that all that many 'web jockeys' were getting some $100k salary, unless they lived in the valley

      I'm guessing that's what they're referring to. Though it's kind of amusing that they'd be using the example of HTML and Javascript, seeing as how those two are a cornerstone of Web2.0. In fact, Javascripting has gone from a simple thing that you assign to juniors to a full-up development language that now you need sophisticated developers to wrangle. Welcome, Web2.0.

      Of course, I'm also bemused by the idea that the Dot-Com "culture" belonged to the Dot-Coms. The Dot-Commers got the idea from the Valley technology companies back in the 80's. Back when Atari stomped the earth, Microsoft had to actually compete, a B&W Macintosh was the height of technology, and new microcircuit inventions were popping up every other day. While those companies didn't go to the extremes that Dot-Com companies went to, they were still well-known for their coddling of developers. Loose dress-codes (shocking!), arcade machines in the office (gasp!), flexible working hours (aka 24x7), comfortable environments (dibs on the bean bags!), and just a general attitude of "do what comes natural" were the way that Valley offices were run from the day that Nolen Bushnell founded Atari on forward to today. (Minus a few wrong turns for "seriousing up" of such companies. Yar, I'm looking at you.)
      • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:46AM (#19730593) Journal

        Yar, I'm looking at you.
        Yar! right back at you, matey, but what does piracy have to do with this?

        Also, please stop looking at me, I haven't had the chance to put my eye-patch on today.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Infonaut (96956)

        The Dot-Commers got the idea from the Valley technology companies back in the 80's.

        Indeed. The money to fund exorbitant play activities like foosball tables dried up after the Dot Bomb, but the relaxed dress code, flexible hours, and "it's what you do, not how you look" attitude of Silicon Valley entrepreneurism never changed. I can't think of the last time I saw a suit in a meeting, and that includes gatherings with VCs.

      • by jafac (1449) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:53AM (#19731535) Homepage
        I worked at a larger dotcom in the late 1990's, and sure, they coddled developers with all this nice stuff.

        But you should see what they did for the salesweasels:

        One year, they had an offsite conference - in South Africa. They went on a hunting safari, and each got a commemorative, engraved, gold Rolex watch, for the occasion. I think that was the most extravagant offsite I heard of; but they had a big one like that, every year, and additional quarterly ones that were at local (Bay Area) country clubs or resorts.

        I think that, in light of what the idiot salesweasels do, as opposed to, you know, the smart people who actually produce the products, create IP, and innovate, I would say that you can't coddle developers enough. I understand that without sales people, there's no market, no revenue. But these are the people closest to the money, and the people whose professional skillset revolves around lying and cheating to get the most money, and frankly, that sort of coddling is far more corrosive to the health of a corporate budget than a fucking fooseball table, or letting someone come to work in shorts and sandals.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by illeism (953119) *

          One year, they had an offsite conference - in South Africa. They went on a hunting safari...

          Did you notice that they came back with one less Salesperson (worst performing) though? I know how these things work, I've read "The Most Dangerous Game"...
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Maltheus (248271)
          This really is the entire reason I regret choosing a career in software. Sales and marketing types have all the power, even down to telling us what our level of effort will be for incoming projects, and then they don't get the requirements even close to the ballpark. They inflate usage figures to get larger commissions and then waive the development fees, claiming that recurring service fees will make up the shortfall. Of course, since the usage figures were inflated, we ended up losing a lot of money. Thes
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Stochastism (1040102)
      No, I don't think the average salary is 100k USD. But I do think that companies like Google, MS, Yahoo, Amazon, are massive contributors to the shortage of good technical people. Just think, Google will just about on principle employ any computer science graduate from the top 10% of the good universities. Yes, they have to pass some tricky interviews, but that is what discriminates the top 10% from the others. Google don't need a position for them to fill, they just want to hire them, and for more that 100k
    • Small point, and maybe not pertinent, but the article is from Australia, so their might be some exchange rate and other issues.
    • by hkgroove (791170) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:28AM (#19730347) Homepage
      It wasn't just the salaries if that was the main problem at all. It was more general mis-management of money and lack of responsibility by upper management or project managers. I made 40k right out of the gates, but in about 3 months I expensed nearly that in travel (first class), hotels (The W in SF, HoB in Chicago, etc). I had no limit / per diem for food placed on me. Instead of returning home on the weekends we would take trips to Vegas or Tahoe or LA. Other project managers would fight to goto lunch with us and normally we'd end up with a group of 10 and daily lunch bills of nearly $400. It was one big college party with catered breakfasts and dinners, fully stocked bar and kegs (usually of Guinness) refilled once a week.

      I heard stories of people asking for books of cab receipts and filling them out randomly just to get an extra $10 or $20 here and there.

      Multiply all that by the 5 or 6 people they would shuffle around to create the team it adds up.

      When you add that to all these companies wanting to get the big accounts / clients and ignoring the smaller ones that could keep them afloat, yes, you're going to bleed money. $150 million in funds gone in 17 months. I still can't fathom it.
      • Bingo! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tacokill (531275) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:36PM (#19733817)
        Yep. You nailed it.

        It wasn't the culture that brought these places down, it was the spending. I *was* a project manager during 1997-2001 and I, personally, had hundreds of $100/head dinners during that time. I flew (mostly) first class to client locations (Chicago, LA, San Fran, NYC, Houston) and I stayed at some great hotels (W, Hiltons, Marriotts, Sheratons, etc). I just got lucky on my project assignments being in great cities but that's another story. Since I was in Dallas, we had plenty of 4-star and 5-star restaurants and we definitely used them! Del Friscos, The Mansion on Turtle Creek, 3 forks, etc.

        In all of that time, I can't remember a single instance of anyone questioning how much money was being spent. As long as (some) money kept coming in the door, this cycle continued until - duh - the company went out of business. It was no shock to ANYONE who saw the actual books and what we were spending. It was truly astounding (ie: $1300 of wine in one meal at the Mansion on TC, 8 ppl attending, not including food)

        I will never understand, no matter how hard you try, why someone would spend $50K to go win a project that would make $15K in profit. It's kinda like selling dollar bills for $0.95 and making it up on volume...

        So yea - poor management is the reason most of these companies failed. And by poor management, I really mean "just plain old bad business decisions". There is a reason 80% of startups fail. It's not because the market can not handle the supply, rather, it is usually because of a fatal business decision made early on. And the #1 culprit is: over spending.
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:50AM (#19730655) Homepage
      Problem is they want to pay the other way. Almost ALL Tech jobs I see are incredibly underpaid and the managers in charge of it wonder why they cant keep the position filled.

      guess what, $18.99 an hour is ENTRY LEVEL, yet these guys want to pay $13-16 an hour and then wonder why they only get high school kids or fresh college grads that only work there for 6 months and leave.

      If you want good tech people then you have to PAY for good tech people. Yet this incredibly basic bit of understanding seems to elude Americas CEO's and managers.

      Hell the job I left 2 years ago is STILL open because they refuse to pay for what the position demands and only get under qualified people because of the pay offered.

      the whole article is nothing more than posturing by Executives whining there is a shortage of cheap and competent labor.

      I complain that there is an incredible lack of competent executives running the companies out there.
  • Cost (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GWLlosa (800011) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @09:52AM (#19729883)
    You see this kind of thing happen whenever demand for IT professionals goes up because of the common perception that IT people are 'geeks/nerds' who are willing to take compensation in the form of casual wear and beanbag chairs instead of in salary... Given that the company is interested in its own bottom line, which is cheaper, a pinball machine or giving everyone a raise?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Despite everything else, it's getting harder to find jobs, especially with all the outsourcing to (stereo-type) India. I wear casual clothes to work, something comfortable (which, incidentally, includes suit pants), but the only reason I'm on the wage I am on and not something higher is because if I didn't cut the wanted rate, I wouldn't have gotten the work. Even if the demand is up, there's almost always someone willing to undercut you a few grand to get the job you're trying for.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by umghhh (965931)
        and this somebody is as good as you? Can you improve then? If they are merely at your level it usually does not pay for the company to employ somebody else only to get 1k savings on your salary. There are of course exeptions - the moron manager getting bonus for a 1k$ saving and moving along before the competence gap hits etc. But if they act in a responsible way they usually need experienced people to do core activities. Such experienced people do not grow on trees and tend to piss off if treated badly.

        I a
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by yog (19073) *

          1.ask the boss:"can I get more money? "
          2.if answer is yes CONTINUE

          else find another JOB.
          3.work a little
          4.GOTO1

          I suggest first lining up a job offer, then going to your present employer to see if they are willing to match. It's better not to reveal the job offer, however, because it makes you sound like you're halfway out the door and have little loyalty. Just say something like "I have reason to believe that I am worth $XXXXX in this market. Are you able to give me something close to that?" and settle for something a little less in exchange for keeping your seniority, vesting, etc.

    • Clothes are a cost (Score:4, Insightful)

      by paladinwannabe2 (889776) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:07AM (#19730061)
      Having to wear nicer (read: more expensive) clothing is a cost, both in terms of purchasing clothes and the time it takes to put them on and iron them (it takes more time to button up a shirt and tie a tie than to toss on a T-shirt). Plus, it's more comfortable. It's probably worth 1-2% of my salary to avoid wearing such things. (Of course, it's a personal preference- it's probably worth 10-20% for my boss, who's picky about such things, and ~0.5% to another coworker, who doesn't mind dressing up, but still sees a slight advantage to not doing so).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Imsdal (930595)
        I'll grant you that it takes slightly longer to button a shirt and don a tie than to put on a t-shirt. However, the huge time sink is the ironing.

        Fortunately, there are excellent non iron shirts nowadays. They are no longer your grandfather's nylon shirts, but high quality 100% cotton shirts. In particular, I can recommend Brooks Brothers (a bit more expensive but quite affordable from outlets) and Lands' End. (No links. I'm not that much of a shill...)

        My best estimate is that I make 20%-30% more now th

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      the common perception that IT people are 'geeks/nerds' who are willing to take compensation in the form of casual wear and beanbag chairs instead of in salary.

      I don't think that perception is entirely true. I think IT professionals are a bit more demanding than your average business folk. We want our beanbag chairs and our big salary, "because without us, you are nothing".

      The one thing I've heard from business folk time and time again is that IT professionals "Don't know the business". That is, we deep-dive so much that we don't come up to see the "big picture" and are then seen as low-level in the eyes of the business. In that way, they often don't know h

      • by tf23 (27474) *

        The one thing I've heard from business folk time and time again is that IT professionals "Don't know the business". That is, we deep-dive so much [...]
        Yes, but the deep-diving, isn't that what they're paying us for?
      • "because without us, you are nothing"

        Is a defeting mind set. Becasue you are replaceable. The replacement may not be as good but they will be cheaper and get what is needed to get done. If you are getting the fabled $100k a year Programming job and you do a good job and your code is perfect. It still may be better for the company to dump you hire a less experienced programmer at $30K and deal with loss in productivity from poorer quality work. Or what could happen is like right after the Bubble Popped is
    • by arivanov (12034)
      This dress code on/dress code off is more or less a US specific phenomenon. We never saw it on this side of the pond. Very few companies tried it and all of them tried it for the sole reason of underpaying their workers by 25%+, not for the reason of bringing "talent".
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:00AM (#19729983)
    Any company that won't let me bring my bong to work isn't worth working for.

    Thank God Sony gave me this great job developing games for the PS3.

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd...bandrowsky@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:01AM (#19729989) Homepage Journal
    I worked at a DOT BURSTER in 2000, in big wide open space in the burbs, and they had free pizza every Fridays, everyone could wear jeans, I could roll in more or less whenever I wanted, and we all had potentially millions of dollars in soon to be worthless stock options. When hired they asked me if I wanted Linux, or Windows, or both. All of our servers were named after Transformers.

    Now, I have a little cubicle, a company issued notebook running Windows XP, and no stock options. All of our servers are named based on an established IBM numbering system. I get to work from home a bit more but that's only because I commute 4 hours a day.

    Sure, this gig pays more, but the work environment is not nearly the same. There's no heady optimism about the future, and that, really, when you think about it, the collapse of the dot net boom and worse, the later ruling about expensing stock options, and then the war, this decade has been utterly depressing.
    • by Kainaw (676073) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:07AM (#19730067) Homepage Journal
      There's no heady optimism about the future, and that, really, when you think about it, the collapse of the dot net boom and worse, the later ruling about expensing stock options, and then the war, this decade has been utterly depressing.

      In my opinion, it all depends on perspective. During the dot-com boom, I was sitting on a stool in a tiny backroom doing electronic repairs on video equipment. To make ends meet, I spent all my free time going house-to-house doing computer repairs. Somehow, I found time to take college classes and get my B.S. in Computer Science. The entire time, I was continually told that I needed to move to California and get in on the big paychecks. Now, I have a nice office at the top of one of the tallest buildings in town, looking across the city and into the bay. I work pretty much when I want to - as long as the work is done, nobody complains. I make enough that my wife doesn't have to work and she can stay at home and raise our son. I don't work evenings or weekends. I'm still taking classes here and there to get my PhD. For me, there is optimism.
    • by epiphani (254981)
      I dont know. I worked for a dot-com back in 2000, and I was bored and slacked off a lot. They wasted huge amounts of money - but it was fun for me. Not very fun for our investors, I bet.

      Now I work for a larger company, but I still wear shorts, sandals and a t-shirt in. I get paid well but not excessively. My hours are flexible an hour or two in either direction, and we get free breakfast on fridays.

      My work is far more interesting, more challenging, and my management is technically competent and not ove
    • by router (28432)
      About those server names, I _like_ that there is a standard. I always chuckle when I think of the University/.com naming standard (Tolkien/anime chars, flowers, etc). Can you imagine running an outage call? Ayukawa is up, Hikaru is down, Kyosuke can't figure out which one to send the requests to and Komatsu and Hatta are still load balancing requests?
      Actually, that is pretty cool, now that I think about it...*cackle* Wouldn't sound very "business" tho.

      andy
      • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy&gmail,com> on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:50AM (#19730653) Journal
        I've worked at a number of places where they used oddball naming conventions. as long as they're grouped correctly, and LABELED, what does it matter?

        I mean sure, if you take greek gods and name every fricking server after one and don't label them, you're going to have problems.

        But if you name the accounting servers after demons, the web servers after presidents, the file infrastructure after animals, etc, then label them clearly, set them up in alphabetical order within their category, you're good to go. The names are easy to remember, the "role" of the machine is obvious from the name, and you don't forever have to recheck the name you scrawled on your hand while you're wandering through the server room looking for a machine with a hugely unpronouncable name.

        Now this only flies if you don't have to worry about 1000 machines all doing the exact same thing...That's really what the "standard" naming system is meant for. But since most businesses aren't in that situation, it doesn't make sense to get all gestapo on the naming conventions for a few dozen machines.
  • I still do good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Saint Stephen (19450)
    I can get as much done as 20 Indian outsourcers. They let me work from home.
    • Re:I still do good (Score:4, Insightful)

      by stonecypher (118140) <stonecypher@gmai l . com> on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:17AM (#19730209) Homepage Journal
      And when you start costing 30x as much, suddenly you'll be able to out-do 35 of them, right?

      One thing I've learned is that when someone starts saying they're better than programmers from (insert country here,) they're just trying to tell me either that they've never worked with programmers from that country, or that they have wildly inflated notions of self worth. I'm curious: given that among 20 programmers you'll have two or three successfully completed large projects, where are your fourty to sixty? ... or, hell, even just where's your one big project? Anything? I mean, if you're worth 20 of them, surely you have something to show for all that enormous skill?

      When you have some numbers to back up that you're actually worth 20 of them, let us know; until then, it's hollow dishonest bragging. The only people you're impressing are other people like you.
      • by Xinef Jyinaer (1044268) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:10AM (#19730915)
        He actually just hires 20 Indian Programmers to do the work for him.
      • Re:I still do good (Score:4, Insightful)

        by aldheorte (162967) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:29AM (#19731221)

        I will take the onshore guy who claims he can be 20x productive over 20 offshore resources any day of the week because, if he is passionate about technology and has the confidence to make that statement, which could be quickly determined, he is probably right. You probably come from the school of thought that a new resource can only add productivity to a project. In your line of thinking, even if they are not very good, they will at least marginally increase productivity. In reality, most developers are net negative to project productivity and the median developer falls below zero.

        It's not that offshore people are inherently inferior. It's that most offshore technical resources have little or no interest in technology. They simply want to make money. This is not bad in and of itself. However, like their onshore counterparts who are driven solely by the same interest, their technical skills are generally quite poor. As a result, hiring a scatter shot of 20 offshore programmers and incurring the managerial overhead will generally result in less overall project productivity than where you started, especially when you consider long term costs.

        • Re:I still do good (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Speare (84249) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @12:52PM (#19732395) Homepage Journal

          I will definitely concur with your observations, from my work both with "offshore" Indian teams and "near-shore" Puerto Rican teams. The median developer on the team can definitely be counter-productive, so it takes a couple of miracle-workers to bring the mean developer positive and make things crawl along on the positive side of zero.

          I will also concur that a great indicator of a highly-positive developer is a developer who is really interested in technology. It's not a litmus test, but it's a cumulative benefit. I always ask other folks if they code things in their spare time. In many cases, it's really easy to see the folks who will not benefit the team-- they have no imagination or creative urges to solve problems, they simply took the courses with a paycheck in mind.

          However, I won't quite go so far as to say that this is a truism or even anything more than a stereotype with some "truthiness" to it. I have found some very determined, even dogged, worker-bee personalities who couldn't solve their way out of a paper bag if given a sharp sashimi knife. There are a LOT of this personality available in the workforce, and it's these types of workers that the average manager tends to hire for those offshore/nearshore teams. There is a way to get value from them: don't have them solve the problems. Demonstrate to them how to cut a paper bag with a sashimi knife, and then point them at the seven thousand paper bags that need cutting. If you can organize them in such a way as to not require too much problem-solving, they'll execute your job requirements deep into the night while you're at home with the kids.

          In short, an outsourcing services team isn't for solving problems, it's for executing plans. If you have a local resource who behaves this way, see how you can make them part of the outsourcing services team, instead of the core team. If you have a great problem-solver in the remote team, ask your Legal department how you can poach them.

  • by Skee09 (987325) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:08AM (#19730081)
    Goodbye, pants!
  • by IndieKid (1061106) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:09AM (#19730091) Journal
    I've been working in IT since just after the bubble burst (I graduated in CompSci mid-2003 and joined a corporate graduate scheme at a time when you were grateful for any IT job at all) and to be honest the corporations can keep their bean-bags, I'd just like my salary to be brought in line with those who survived the crash and are still on incredibly inflated salaries.

    Here in London, a web expert (read: someone who knows a bit of HTML/CSS/Javascript and has been working in IT since around 2000) can easily be on £60k-£70k, which equates to $120k-$140k, as a result of being in the right place at the right time during the last boom. Someone just starting out in the profession with the same skills would have been lucky to get £25k after a couple of years experience until recently. The recent Web 2.0 boom and a shortage of people with the right skills means that the salary gap is now closing, which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned.
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:09AM (#19730095)
    Then there will be a corresponding increase in salaries to attract good employees... Which strangely hasn't happened, so it can't be much of a shortage.

     
  • Bah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Renraku (518261) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:11AM (#19730111) Homepage
    "They were going to have to learn to dress, communicate, and adapt all the traditional corporate ideals that IT has been exempt from during the dot-com boom."

    IT was never exempt from communication, as IT is all ABOUT communication. Learning to dress usually means adhering to an arbitarily strict dress code that interferes with the nature of IT work to begin with. Ever try to set up a work station while wearing a suit and tie or something similar? You end up fighting your clothes more than the probelm at hand.

    And corporate ideals aren't exactly something that I feel good about taking part in. Corporate ideals, for the most part, are trying to figure out how to save the company millions while keeping your mouth shut about anything shady the higher ups are doing. If we went by what people do rather than say, most corporate ideals could be summarized as 'looking for the golden parachute' or 'going to the company picnic to weasel my way into a promotion'.

    There's a good reason the dot com companies didn't adhere to most of these. One, if you're working with an open minded crew, dress code doesn't matter aside from a few very basic rules. Two, ideals mean NOTHING if they aren't followed. You can bitch about how its all for the workers all you want, but when you give yourself a nice fat bonus over your workers, all of that just went out the window.

    I call it breaking tradition. Tradition is you sit down, shut up, and do your job and whatever else they can trick you into doing. You're to dress up like good little sheeple and make sure not to look any of the higher ups in the eye.

    IT people by nature are used to being different. They're used to thinking for themselves, because its probably the only reason they've survived into the IT field far enough to be employed for it. We aren't used to keeping our mouths closed while being treated like shit, or putting on four layers of expensive clothes just to dirty them up by rewiring the networking cabinet.

    I wish it could be a wakeup call for all jobs that don't deal with customers/clients face-to-face. Just because the person processing your invoices is wearing a suit and tie doesn't mean he isn't forwarding your account information to his shady cousin. Nor does it mean he isn't talking smack about his co-workers or fantasizing about the new girl down in Advertising. All it means is he's wearing a suit beacuse someone made a policy saying that he had to.

    It doesn't even look better than business-casual.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cowscows (103644)
      Don't pretend that geeks are somehow special in a way that no one else ever was. Your average early twenties liberal arts major is no more interested in dressing up in a suit and a tie every day than you are, it's just that by that age, most people have realized that for better or worse the world works in particular ways, and while you can try and fight it, some fights really aren't worth the struggle. That doesn't mean that everyone who's willing to wear a nice pair of pants to work is some roll-over drone
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Renraku (518261)
        Don't get me wrong. I dress nicely for my job, but I would dress more casually if I had to be around the building a lot. I certainly would dress more casually if I were in IT and were digging around under desks, in wiring closets, or above ceiling tiles on a regular basis.

        Of course the world works in certain ways, but I think the dot com boom created quite a stir. There were people getting things done efficiently and effectively, they were happy, and they were getting paid. Suits and ties weren't the no
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gad_zuki! (70830)
        Don't pretend that geeks are somehow special in a way that no one else ever was.

        Very true. The problem is that slashdot caters to HS/college age people who have all sorts of rebellious attitudes (see the the rant posted by gp). At the end of the day most places have given in to casual dress, work is not as bad as you think, and life gets easier when you start shedding your inflated ego/snobishness/chip-on-shoulder.

        If someone feels so strongly about work structures I suggest they attempt to start their own
  • Where are these high-paying IT jobs with fun working conditions?

    Is it still the case that every job offering in IT requires "minimum 15 years AJAX experience" (or something equally stupid) as was the case when I graduated a few years ago?
  • IT (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gullevek (174152)
    the blue collar workers nowadays. In the old days it were only coal miners, poor factory workers. But nowadays its the IT too. Not very high pay, long working hours. Very seperate sitting place, never included in most normal activities. Always stick together, etc etc.

    I think going into IT was the worst decision I could have ever made.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bytesex (112972)
      More like those little engineering companies that do various odd jobs for whoever pays them. I used to work at one of those - long before I was an IT person; blue collar & jeans, roll-up cigarettes and smelling of the soldering iron, paint, welding and metal greese. Sorry, but I stacked a prepared batch of whatever-they-do-boxes on your desk today. Got a few bits of electronic wire sticking out of a breast pocket somewhere. Got calender girls on the wall. Only men work here.

      Contrast with today, as
  • by grapeape (137008) <`moc.rr.ck' `ta' `7epopm'> on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:14AM (#19730161) Homepage
    The reason there is a shortage is that those who were burned the first time wont go back and those that haven't been burned yet have been forewarned by those that have. Very few outside the upper echelons of the .com companies of the 90's saw any real benefit from the .com era the vast majority got hosed. Empty promises, foosball and free juice worked the first time but I can't see many falling for it again. Everyone I worked with in my two experiences with the .com era have moved out of the corporate world and are either with small companies or working as consultants, a few have left the field entirely.

    I recently received a call from the Recruiter that hired me on to my last corporate job. I was told the company I was laid off from was looking to hire me back. I told me the whole dog and pony show was starting back up, that the culture had changed and this time would be different and this time it wouldn't be a complete waste of five years of my life. I thought about it for five seconds and told her that I would just as soon bathe in hot lava than go back. She sounded a little upset, and proceeded to tell me that so far she was 0-12 in trying to lure back the folks I worked with. Guess I wasn't alone.
  • Oh PLEASE GOD NO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eno2001 (527078) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:14AM (#19730169) Homepage Journal
    If there's one thing that bothered me about the dot-com culture, it was all the wasted money on crap like foosball tables. I don't like corporate culture either, but for god's sake people have some perspective and MODERATE! Here are some plain truths that few people want to admit to:

    1. Someone who actually knows what they're doing when it comes to computers is not a business person or an executive. A lot of people who dream about jobs in the technology sector always imagine that it somehow leads to the top of the glass tower and a corner office. It doesn't and it shouldn't. If you want that and you have middling to poor technical skills, then you're not cut out for technology. Instead you should go straight for that MBA now. Sure, there's the very rare and occasional individual who is very good with computers and also has business acumen, but you really have to look far and wide to find these strange hybrids. Most business people just aren't that good at computers other than using Office, maybe some SQL and that's about it. (This is not meant to insult anyone BTW)

    2. A good software developer writes applications that are meant to be run as binaries. Sorry web folks, you're not software developers. At the very best, you are WEB application developers. At worst, you're still coding static HTML pages and trying to get that six figure job. Yes, web developers are necessary. Yes, web developers are quite talented. But web developers are rarely well versed in C or C++. However, many web developers have a leg up on software developers in the visual department though. Not always, but more often than not.

    3. Everything I said about the web developers above? It all applies in reverse to the software developers. As always, there are some exceptions, but they are rare. Software developers should typically not try to write web applications. At best, you'll wind up re-inventing something some other web developer has already done that's ten times better. At worst, you'll wind up with some ugly monstrosity of a web page that isn't user friendly and while the backend might be super efficient, it won't actually do a lot. Stick to software development, it's a different creature altogether. If you are dead set on becoming a web developer, then try REALLY hard NOT to bring much of what you know about UI design (which tends to be little) to the web app side. Remember that the web is primarily a visual medium, including the text. It has to look at least as good as it works.

    4. Microsoft based developers are totally different animal. A lot of you are quite talented within your own realm and can whip up some fantastic stuff much faster than your Java and Unix based C using counterparts in terms of look and feel and reusable objects. (The only possible exception being the QT/KDE folks in Unix land) And the subsets of development apply to you as well. There are those of you who develop web apps and those of you who develop applications for use on the desktop. Once again, it's a rare person who can cross those boundaries and do well on both sides. So stick to your side of the development space, unless you want to make a major career change and can actually let go of what you know and take on a totally different mindset.

    5. IT computer and network admins are also not executive or "office" positions. A lot of people seem to think that working in IT means a clean office, and you get to wear suits or at the very least business casual. You're wrong. Computer and network admins tend to be the grunts who crawl under desks in a lot of small to medium sized businesses. If you happen to be lucky enough to work in a large or global business, then it's possible that your position will be considered close to but not quite "suit"-ish. Again, if that's what you want, you're better off focusing on the MBA with a minor in CS.

    But the bottom line here is that people who really know what they're doing with computers are rarely business people. They are rarely cut out to function within c
    • They want you to know that points 2 and 3 won't be valid in a couple more years, unless you insist on writing web apps with 1999 technology.
    • by joss (1346) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:54AM (#19730703) Homepage
      > A good software developer writes applications that are meant to be run as binaries.
      er.. wtf ?

      > Software developers should typically not try to write web applications
      well who should ?

      Ok, you seem to think that there are two distinct species of developers,
      scripting and compiled, where a software developer writes in compiled languages
      and a web developer writes using scripting languages. It's not that simple.
      Any decent developer knows a selection of tools. A web developer is a particular
      type of software developer. If by web developer you mean someone who knows
      a little javascript/php/asp and some design stuff but not enough about software
      development to be considered a software developer [and that's a fairly common
      useage of the term] then they should not be writing web applications.
      They can customise/configure existing web applications, or collaborate with software
      developers in the creation of web applications, but writing web applications
      definitely needs people with enough knowledge to be considered software
      developers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eno2001 (527078)
      You're all missing the point. I've never once met a decent desktop application developer who was a good web developer. And I've never met a decent web developer who could write a desktop application to save his/her life. Period. End of story. There might be a very very few rare people who can cross between both worlds, but as a rule web devels can't code for a Windows desktop, KDE or Gnome and guys who write stuff in C, C++ or even VB can't make a decent web app. Whenever they try, they fail every time
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rycross (836649)
        You must work with exceptionally unskilled developers. Most devs I know are quite capable in both web and desktop development. Its just a matter of learning which architectures and patterns work well for different situations.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cerberusss (660701)

      Yes, web developers are quite talented. But web developers are rarely well versed in C or C++.

      What are you trying to say? Is one better than the other?

      I'm in a dev team that does C. I'm pretty well versed in Perl and PHP as well, but my colleagues aren't. So, should I say something snobby like:
      "Yes, C developers are quite talented. But C developers are rarely well versed in PHP or Perl."

      Of course not. It implies one is better than the other. And it's NOT.

  • All travelers are prone to over-estimate the promise and potential of what is merely new to them.

    It is said that the first men to visit America believed that they had accidentally found Paradise, a second Garden of Eden. In the narrative of his third voyage, for example, Christopher Columbus wrote: 'For I believe that the earthly Paradise lies here,' and fifty years later the French essayist Michel de Montaigne was even more effusive: "In my opinion what we actually see in these nations surpasses all the

  • As an engineer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by minorproblem (891991) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:15AM (#19730183)
    I am not an IT person but an electrical engineer and all I can say is why would you care about beanbags and pinball machines? It is more about the attitude of the people you are working with as well as the company. I would rather work hard, enjoy my work and come off with some sense of achievement than dick around all day.
  • The comming screw (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anon-Admin (443764) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:19AM (#19730229) Journal
    Lets face it, many of the IT people were burned during the dot com bust (I still think it was the Y2K bust more than dot com's) We have grown and learned from our mistakes. Many of us have learned how business works, where things can go wrong, and just how the system works. Now it is our turn ;)

    I know I have a list.

    #1) Do not take options in place of pay.
    #2) Do not accept the 50% of your salary now and 50% based on a bonus when the company is profitable.
    #3) Do not accept titles in place of raises. Titles are useless.
    #4) Make sure the company has a business plan, funding, and a clear way to become profitable.
    #5) If something smells funny in accounting, RUN!!! ( If we pay you 45% of your pay as an employee, 40% as a 1099 contractor, 10% in stock options, and 5% in cash, you get to keep more of your money. Or my favorite your pay is $93,000 and your first check comes in and the math only comes up to $85,000. When you ask you find that it is $93,000 - ($1788*3 weeks vacation) - ($1788x 1 week sick leave) In other words, they are not paying for your vacation or time off but offered it when you were hired. )
    #6) Do not work more than 55 hours a week unless they are paying overtime.
    #7) Document EVERYTHING! Every offer they make needs to be in writing, every promise, everything.
    #8) If you want it, negotiate it when being hired!

    Any one want to add to this list?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sedman (210394)
      #3) Do not accept titles in place of raises. Titles are useless.

      While I agree with most of your list and mostly agree with the above statement (the in place of raises part). I can't agree that titles are useless (even they they should be). Turns out when I was called a Senior Network Administrator, I could not get people to return my calls. Once they started calling me the Network Services Manager (same pay, same job...) I started being able to get information and sales people would respond with yes sir t

    • Loyalty (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Colin Smith (2679) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:36AM (#19730469)
      Is paid for in cash.

       
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aceticon (140883)
      #9) If there's a high emphasis when selling the job on soft rewards such as "relaxed work environment", "casual wear", "group outings" then they're probably trying to pay you less than average for the same position and trying to compensate for it by throwing you some cheap bones.
      #10) "Opportunities for career growth", the "Potential for significant future increases in income" and in general any promises of future promotions are worth as much as the paper they're written on.
      #11) "Flexible working hours" = "W
  • What I wear is the least of my [and my employers] worries. I show up, work a mostly honest full day, and get results. All that matters. How I'm dressed, how many free sodas are in the fridge, etc, shouldn't matter.

    And honestly, there is nothing wrong with perks at the office. You spend 1/3rd of your day there, might as well be a place you feel comfortable and can relax when need to.

    Wish my office had an air hockey table :-)

    tom
  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:25AM (#19730309)
    and developers aren't getting paid $100K for being HTML and JavaScript jockeys

    Yes, now they're being paid $100K for being HTML and CSS and JavaScript jockeys. What a huge difference.

    I hope the author recognizes the differences between a taxi cab driver and F1 driver. Because HTML/JS has low entry bar doesn't mean you can pay 50 bucks to a random college kid and have Google maps with draggable/adaptable routes in a week.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kozz (7764)

      Because HTML/JS has low entry bar...

      I've been doing web programming for about 8 years -- and it gives me a certain perspective; it may be "easy" to learn HTML and JS, but it takes a LOT LONGER to do it well and deal with browser rendering inconsistencies, JS engine differences, and so on. I work with people who don't test in multiple browsers, don't use JS try/catch, put SCRIPT tags after the closing BODY tag, put INPUTs between a pair of TRs, and so on. Seriously, wtf!?

      /rant off

  • As a general matter of principle, I really do not see how it would matter if the employees in your 'geek pit' wear a tie or not. If they are not seen by clients or customers, then what does it really matter?

    The excesses of the dot com boom were a result of companies spending money on things that did not really help (like expensive Aeron chairs that they did not really need). As the capitolists among us will happily point out, if this is a bad idea, the company will pay for it in the end.

    END COMMUNICATION
  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @10:48AM (#19730625) Homepage Journal
    i wonder why web 2.0 hype comes up in every piece of crap about IT.

    let me tell you what i see that creates the talented tech shortage - internet is a freeing medium - it has given much opportunity to anyone.

    almost all programmers, developers, techies go set up their own small, even home-based shops and work from there for themselves, after getting screwed in a corporate environment for 5-10 years and getting fed up with it. the newcomers are just taking the example of their older peers, and directly going to self-employment after short stints.

    and also theres the booming internet business - everyone is wanting some internet store, some tailored cms, some web presence and stuff. it is on the increase, and even in l.a.m.p. scene where there are many 3rd world country located developers doing work for $3 hourly rates, the tech supply can barely meet the demand. more developers coming into the scene, yet more work is coming. so its not 'web 2.0' or whatever crap that is involved in making web pages more widgety and doohickeyish - its a silent, people's boom in business in contrast to company/startup boom of the 90s, which was more traditional business than the small business boom that is on the net nowadays.

    no sir, the reason thats creating the shortage is in internet business is booming, and what is booming is small businesses. small businesses do not put any restraints on the contracted or full time developers they work with or employ. hence people are escaping the clutches of stuffing, stressful corporate structure and setting up their shops.

    and this is going to be like this increasingly, unless the corporations understand the need to reform and change the corporate philosophy to a more human oriented one rather than a "man in black suits" / "welcome to the world of career bitches" one.
  • by rAiNsT0rm (877553) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:18AM (#19731049) Homepage
    In college I worked for a company who did 10 hour days, Monday/Tuesday, Wednesday off, and then Thursday/Friday. It was pure heaven. It makes life into short little two day weeks. Tuesday night becomes like a Friday since you don't have to work the next day, and then you get a weekday to either wear off what you did the night before or get errands and stuff done during the week when things are less busy. Then Thursday/Friday and the normal weekend. The only two days that kind of suck then are Monday and Thursday.

    Absolutely the best work schedule ever, plus it cuts down on commuting since you are missing the standard rush hours, and since you are already at work the extra hour or two is no big deal when the reward is a full day off. I could care less about fluffy crap and I don't need to be treated like a superstar or anything, just let me work smarter and have an equal amount of time for my real life.
  • by athloi (1075845) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:19AM (#19731059) Homepage Journal

    As a learned poster pointed out, it's cheaper to offer beanbag chairs and free soft drinks than it is to compensate people well, but it seems compensation is also rising somewhat. The real issue here is that quality minds detest the narrow appearance-based logic of corporate culture, and they're always cutting out toward the frontier. The same thing is true of writers, of space pioneers, and inventors as it is of computer geeks. When too many people get into the room, the job at hand becomes a secondary function to how it appears to others.

    If geeks are smart, they'll channel FOSS ideology into corporate culture as a right and a demand. We want:

    • Comfortable dress requirements
    • Reasonable comfort food
    • Sensible workweeks
    • Some of what we do to be open IP, or FOSS-styled learning for the good of humanity

    Right now, the corporates are hoping to buy us off with a bolt of fabric and a foosball table. Who's going to step up and articulate what all creative minds really want, which is a chance to work on interesting projects for the good of humanity, with all the fear, uncertainty, doubt and boring ties left behind?

  • by MrBandersnatch (544818) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:29AM (#19731213)
    Having mainly worked part-time since the dot-com crash in order to look after my kids I recently started to think about returning to proper employment (Ive been consulting/freelancing mainly) on the 3 days a week that I now dont have responsibility for my children. You'd think that in 2007 a good proportion of employers would have worked out that family friendly working conditions (flexitime, part-time, telework) would be the key to getting and keeping skilled (20 years IT experience, 1st class honours degree) employees. However (from cwjobs) :-

    - 11,607 jobs listed in London.
    - 9 Jobs listed as part-time.
    - 0 Jobs listed as offering flexitime.
    - 3 Jobs listed as job-share.
    - 0 Jobs listed as offering teleworking.

    If pizzas and pool tables ARE making a comeback due to skill shortages; I'd suggest the skill shortage actually lies with HR who are unable to recognise the benifits they need to offer to get us "more mature" employees back into the marketplace.
  • by unfortunateson (527551) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:33AM (#19731293) Journal
    I don't know about most geeks, but I don't care to compete on foosball -- I'm a loner (now a Defender box, that's another story).
    I've been working from my home for three years now for a software firm 600 miles away... and I'm not just a code-hacker (in fact, I'm supposed to start weaning myself from coding all together), I'm a product manager and direct the product management group and set strategy for the company.

    First off, dress code: the HQ office is reasonably casual (although they've had an anti-jeans-and-sneaks backlash lately, it doesn't get enforced), but hey it's 10:30AM and I'm wearing my bathrobe. If there wasn't a nice cool breeze and I want the windows open, I might not be wearing that (don't want to scare the neighbors).

    Second, commute: I haven't calculated the carbon footprint change, but I'm sure driving less than I did three years ago. I'm sleeping later than I did at the previous job, and spending more time with my family.

    Third, health: No flickering flourescents, no cube noise, I've had fewer headaches and I'm more productive. I've managed to not gain weight even with a pantry full of gourmet food downstairs. I'm also getting mid-day exercise and don't care if I come back needing a shower -- there's one right over there!

    Yeah, I miss out on picnics and friday pizza (somebody's got to get on that Wonkavision stuff, or at least a pizza-capable fax -- no wait, that must be what Domino's uses already, I could skip that)

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