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Old 08-04-2011, 11:05 AM   #41
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I can tell you from 3+ decades of experience that, in general, there is no comparison between someone who has had a formal introduction to a programming language and someone who just "picked it up". Formal introduction does not necessarily mean college, but it could be employer provided training (in the day, EDS was really good at this), or structured self-study. Of course this comes from someone with the formal introduction, and the person who just "picked it up" would probably disagree.

Assembly language just "picked up" is probably the worst. High-level languages usually not so bad.

I would suggest there is less domestic demand for programmers and more offshoring of it than most people realize. Generally Java programming is considered a commodity. Most of the domestic work seems to be temporary and project-related. End of project, end of job. Of course, there are exceptions.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:01 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Rustward View Post
I can tell you from 3+ decades of experience that, in general, there is no comparison between someone who has had a formal introduction to a programming language and someone who just "picked it up". Formal introduction does not necessarily mean college, but it could be employer provided training (in the day, EDS was really good at this), or structured self-study. Of course this comes from someone with the formal introduction, and the person who just "picked it up" would probably disagree.

Assembly language just "picked up" is probably the worst. High-level languages usually not so bad.

I would suggest there is less domestic demand for programmers and more offshoring of it than most people realize. Generally Java programming is considered a commodity. Most of the domestic work seems to be temporary and project-related. End of project, end of job. Of course, there are exceptions.
Funny you mention EDS. I went through their 10 week "bootcamp" for developers that they called "Phase 2" in my days. It was the most brutal 10 weeks of my life. It was like have college finals for 10 weeks in a row, only worse! We were expected to work 16 hours per day, 7 days per week with only the 5th weekend off as a break. At the end of the 10 weeks, you either passed and got to keep your job or failed and lost your job. Those were the only two outcomes! Once you completed this training, you then were essentially obligated to stay with the company for another 2 years or you had to pay for the total cost of the program.

Ross Perot apparently liked to put people through such a tortuous experience because he thought if you could do that, then you could handle any business situations/deadlines that would arise. They had to eventually soften the rules and modify the program quite a bit because people were suing them and winning.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:02 PM   #43
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Funny you mention EDS. I went through their 10 week "bootcamp" for developers that they called "Phase 2" in my days. It was the most brutal 10 weeks of my life. It was like have college finals for 10 weeks in a row, only worse! We were expected to work 16 hours per day, 7 days per week with only the 5th weekend off as a break. At the end of the 10 weeks, you either passed and got to keep your job or failed and lost your job. Those were the only two outcomes! Once you completed this training, you then were essentially obligated to stay with the company for another 2 years or you had to pay for the total cost of the program.

Ross Perot apparently liked to put people through such a tortuous experience because he thought if you could do that, then you could handle any business situations/deadlines that would arise. They had to eventually soften the rules and modify the program quite a bit because people were suing them and winning.
. . . and while I never experienced it personally, I was told by multiple people that at one time the hiring process included a visit to your home and interviews with your neighbors!
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:15 PM   #44
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. . . and while I never experienced it personally, I was told by multiple people that at one time the hiring process included a visit to your home and interviews with your neighbors!
That sounds like just a security clearance procedure. When I took my job working for the federal government, part of the security clearance involved the FBI interviewing neighbors and others. No visits to my home - - - no reason to do that, since I was grilled interviewed by the FBI for an hour or so at work. No big deal, at least to me. The guy who interviewed me was just a kid in his early 20's, wet behind the ears IMO and I did not feel at all intimidated.
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:07 PM   #45
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They had to eventually soften the rules and modify the program quite a bit because people were suing them and winning.
Exactly how does that happen, getting a job is not a right, if you don't like it you can walk away? I think they weren't being sued, they were just losing prospects to other companies.
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:42 PM   #46
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That sounds like just a security clearance procedure. When I took my job working for the federal government, part of the security clearance involved the FBI interviewing neighbors and others. No visits to my home - - - no reason to do that, since I was grilled interviewed by the FBI for an hour or so at work. No big deal, at least to me. The guy who interviewed me was just a kid in his early 20's, wet behind the ears IMO and I did not feel at all intimidated.
It was part of the selection process. They may have been filtering out people who would not qualify for clearances, though.

Over the years I have known and w*rked with probably two or three dozen x-EDSers -- and probably some more that I am not aware are x-EDSers. You don't have to look far to find one around here. As a group, they did stand out as better employees.

I heard the same things from all of them.

Perot did things in the 60's and 70's that an employer could never get away with today.
  • The interview process.
  • Required suits and white shirts for men, suits or dresses and heels for women. (May have been modeled after the IBM dress code in that era.) Some that operated machinery were allowed to work in their shirtsleeves but had to tuck their tie in the shirt opening.
  • Prohibited employees from disclosing compensation.
  • Absolutely no facial hair on men.
  • Coat and tie required in company cafeteria (IIRC free steak every Thursday).
  • IIRC cohabitating outside of marriage was either discouraged or prohibited. This might have been the reason for the in-home interview.
I know this must all sound unbelievable, but it happened up through the 70's.

And a similar theme among most of the x-EDSers: "Anything to get out of there." They did have a major retention problem. People would hire on to get the training (which was excellent) and then leave. That happened until EDS made their employees agree to reimburse the company a pre-determined amount for the training if they did not stay for an agreed length of time after receiving the training.

Perot preferred x-military applicants.

From: Presidential Candidate H. Ross Perot - The Dark Side
"At the same time, the relationship he creates is one where Perot is all-powerful, and bestows his generosities from on high. He works people extremely hard for little money, and subjects them to instrusive scrutiny, including private investigators, wiretaps, drug tests and lie detector tests.

In this regard, he bears a striking resemblance to Ralph Nader, of all people, who also inspires great loyalty, pushes himself at least as hard as he pushes his employees, burns people out for little money, and seems to feel he has a right to monitor and control their lives.

For example, discussing salaries has been an immediate firing offense from the first days at EDS, Perot's company. The company dress code, up into the 1970s, required white shirts only for men (he considered blue shirts effeminate), no pants or flats for women, and no "mod looks," as the contract put it. But the intrusion went much further.

EDS tapped phones and used detectives to investigate its own employees, . . ."

Apologies for going on a tangent.
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Old 08-04-2011, 06:59 PM   #47
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.
  • Absolutely no facial hair on men.
yet women were allowed full beards.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:48 PM   #48
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yet women were allowed full beards.
Spew!
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:51 PM   #49
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:52 PM   #50
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yet women were allowed full beards.
"He he", maybe I didn't look for it, but saw a little on some women, but it was probably not detected on their part, or ignored, and a gentleman just pretends it is not there -- not limited to EDS employees. Hey, I am not perfect either. You? Yep, you were just joking -- weren't you?
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Old 08-05-2011, 12:34 AM   #51
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That sounds like just a security clearance procedure. When I took my job working for the federal government, part of the security clearance involved the FBI interviewing neighbors and others. No visits to my home - - - no reason to do that, since I was grilled interviewed by the FBI for an hour or so at work. No big deal, at least to me. The guy who interviewed me was just a kid in his early 20's, wet behind the ears IMO and I did not feel at all intimidated.
When I reported aboard my first submarine, we were about to depart on our next patrol. I had enough time to move into a condo and fill out the Navy's security-clearance paperwork before we left the country and disappeared for 118 days.

While I was gone, the investigators had put cards on all my new neighbors' doorknobs asking them for a phone interview. Of course nobody knew nothin' about me, which was regarded with suspicion. But the good news is that they managed to figure it all out without my involvement, which probably saved me a couple hours of explanations.

From what I saw between 1982-2002, the quality of the security-clearance agencies and their investigators went steadily downhill. They seemed to get younger, dumber, and more officious with each update to our clearances.

Perhaps that was a compliment to us for not having anything of concern in our records.
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