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"Lots of bad IT Workers" ?

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  • Shlomi Fish
    I once talked with choo about something, and then he commented that as a result of the IT boom and the high wages, we mainly got a lot of bad IT workers. Now I
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 4, 2003
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      I once talked with choo about something, and then he commented that as a
      result of the IT boom and the high wages, we mainly got a lot of bad IT
      workers. Now I spotted this Advogato diary entry:

      http://www.advogato.org/person/ib/diary.html?start=7

      (skip the initial paragraph)

      Jonas Luster there describes how his compant is looking for some clueful
      UNIX engineers and programms, and encounters some job applicants who are
      completely clue-less.

      Are there still enough jobs for competent IT workers. When I started
      working in Elpas (my first real job as a programmer) which was during the
      start of the IT boom (1997 or so), I only had experience programming with
      C, Basic and VBA on my home computer. Yet, I was still competent enough to
      be of value to them. Afterwards, when I switched jobs to Cortext, a
      web-publishing house based on UNIX and Perl, I had to learn all about UNIX
      and Perl there, yet I was still able to get my job done. I feel that I
      have greatly improved since this point in every area I did back then.

      Do you think the Shlomi Fish of 1997 could still find a job today?

      OTOH, I hear from some people who I know are competent and qualified who
      can't get any jobs. Is this part of the large system effect? (lots of
      companies looking for competent programmers, each with different skills,
      lots of resumes floating around each with different information or
      disinformation, all pretty much look the same)

      I know of a fellow student who graduated from EE (maslul "handasat
      machshevim vetochna") in the Technion and could not find a job because he
      claimed workplaces look for someone with more experience, and he has none
      except for his studies. I know him and he's a bright, and talented guide,
      albeit does indeed not have much real-world experience. I suggested him to
      take on open-source development while he's unemployed so he'll have
      something impressive to put in his resume/.

      I know of an American fellow, named Jay Glascoe, who has an M.Sc. in
      mathematics, and know Linux, C, C++, Perl and Python well, and could not
      get a job. He sent me a code he wrote in Python that displays the
      solutions of my fc-solve program graphicall and interactive. I did not
      take a thorough look of the code, but the program is working nicely. At
      the moment, he moved from New-York to Pennsylvania, has several job
      interviews in a week, and spends time working on a Dominoes game for KDE.
      Maybe I should match between him and Jonas Luster? (!)

      Have Hetz ben Hamo eventually find a job? He certainly knows Linux
      in-and-out, but naturally is not a qualified programmer.

      At the moment, I'm completely confused. And I'm almost sure there are many
      mediocre IT workers who have jobs now. (refer to the Linux-IL thread about
      the Israeli web-sites).

      Regards,

      Shlomi Fish



      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
      Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
      Home E-mail: shlomif@...

      "Let's suppose you have a table with 2^n cups..."
      "Wait a second - is n a natural number?"
    • Arik Baratz
      Shlomi Fish wrote: [snip] ... [snip] I can attribute from my experience. I have interviewed a system administrators which (supposedly) knows UNIX. As the
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 4, 2003
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        Shlomi Fish wrote:

        [snip]

        > Jonas Luster there describes how his compant is looking for some clueful
        > UNIX engineers and programms, and encounters some job applicants who are
        > completely clue-less.
        >
        [snip]

        I can attribute from my experience.

        I have interviewed a system administrators which (supposedly) knows
        UNIX. As the interview didn't go smoothly, the guy was answering my
        questions without volunteering much information, I decided on a
        different course of action.

        I went to the whiteboard, wiped it clean, and started scribbling UNIX
        terms on it, requesting their definition. I scribbled very simple stuff
        - ls, grep, chmod, chown, passwd. Things like that. The interviewee was
        struggling with the simplest of commands, not knowning what a chown was,
        or sort.

        I could tell where he got his UNIX experiene - from his first-year
        excercise in the university. This is not system-administrator material.
        I wouldn't have hired such a sysadmin were it the 1998 boom. I prefer
        teaching someone who is passionate about computers from scratch than
        having someone who lies about their skills, and who obvously went to
        university because of the 'high-tech rush'.

        -- Arik
      • Shlomi Fish
        ... You mean he was a University graduate? Of which university? Not that I expect a graduate of any university to have an adequate knowledge of UNIX. In any
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 4, 2003
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          On Sat, 4 Jan 2003, Arik Baratz wrote:

          > Shlomi Fish wrote:
          >
          > [snip]
          >
          > > Jonas Luster there describes how his compant is looking for some clueful
          > > UNIX engineers and programms, and encounters some job applicants who are
          > > completely clue-less.
          > >
          > [snip]
          >
          > I can attribute from my experience.
          >
          > I have interviewed a system administrators which (supposedly) knows
          > UNIX. As the interview didn't go smoothly, the guy was answering my
          > questions without volunteering much information, I decided on a
          > different course of action.
          >
          > I went to the whiteboard, wiped it clean, and started scribbling UNIX
          > terms on it, requesting their definition. I scribbled very simple stuff
          > - ls, grep, chmod, chown, passwd. Things like that. The interviewee was
          > struggling with the simplest of commands, not knowning what a chown was,
          > or sort.
          >
          > I could tell where he got his UNIX experiene - from his first-year
          > excercise in the university. This is not system-administrator material.
          > I wouldn't have hired such a sysadmin were it the 1998 boom. I prefer
          > teaching someone who is passionate about computers from scratch than
          > having someone who lies about their skills, and who obvously went to
          > university because of the 'high-tech rush'.
          >

          You mean he was a University graduate? Of which university? Not that I
          expect a graduate of any university to have an adequate knowledge of UNIX.

          In any case, with what Luster reported and with Chen's mention of the
          Sysadmin UNIX applicant who could not name any shell, it seems that some
          people believe they know UNIX more than they actually do, and think it's
          enough to work on it. Maybe it's encouraging because it shows that Linux
          is no longer a guru-only OS, and some relatively clue-less users can use
          it nicely enough.

          While I believe my knowledge of UNIX is good, there are some things I
          don't know or readily know. Things I don't know:

          1. Terminals, ioctl's, /etc/termcap and its ilk.

          2. Configuring sendmail. I know a litle qmail (as its current IGLU
          configuration) but would not call myself a qmail expert.

          3. X Internals and programming with X lib.

          4. Debugging GUI code. I tried it with a program I found on the net and
          liked a lot, and was unable to resolve the issue I discovered no matter
          what I did.

          5. I do not thoroughly know Python, Ruby and Tcl.

          6. I know about ifconfig and its networking friends. However, I many times
          resort to the scripts or front-ends provided in a RH/Mandrake system. I'll
          probably be especially clue-less in other UNIXes where these commands may
          vary.

          7. While I can work with processes, permissions and their friends, I do
          not claim to be an expert with the fine points of UNIX' internals as
          demonstrated in Steven's book.

          8. Super-secure and robust socket programming. All I did was a few clients
          and servers in Perl. (and one client/server pair in C for a homework
          assignment)

          -----

          When I started working in Cortext, my supervisor said that it takes 10
          years to learn UNIX, and that he expects me to learn it in a month. By the
          time I got there, I installed Linux at home but only played with it
          superficially. Still, my knowledge and what the others taught and
          explained to me there, was enough to get by.

          Of course, I was a strange UNIX worker. I wrote my shell scripts in Perl
          (in fact, I wrote almost everything in Perl), and I think I could not tell
          much difference between the FreeBSD workstation, the SunOs 4.1.3, and the
          IRIXes we had there. I was still able to compile and install
          source tarballs following the instructions in their readme's.

          Only later, when I installed Linux on its dedicated hard-disk and started
          seriously experiencing with stuff, I became much more knowledgable.
          Mailing lists like Linux-IL also were very helpful in gaining new
          knowledge.

          My point is that UNIX is so huge, that it takes most people a lot of time
          to learn "all" of it. And I doubt there's a UNIX guru somewhere who knows
          everything there is to know about it. But I think someone can survive
          knowing a relatively small part for it for day-to-day work.

          The problem may be that nowadays, there are higher-level abstractions
          about it (like KDE, GNOME, linuxconf, the Mandrake Control Center, etc)
          that makes doing most mundane tasks GUIishly without using the canonical
          tools. So many people start using Linux as if it was Windows.

          While this may be bad news for employers who are looking for real UNIX
          gurus and I flooded by a lot of point-and-clickers, it is good news
          because it means Linux is ready for the desktop, even for Aunt Tillie.

          Regards,

          Shlomi Fish

          > -- Arik
          >
          >
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          >



          ----------------------------------------------------------------------
          Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
          Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
          Home E-mail: shlomif@...

          "Let's suppose you have a table with 2^n cups..."
          "Wait a second - is n a natural number?"
        • Nadav Har'El
          ... You have to put experience in context. The Shlomi Fish of 1997 was (and I m just making up a story here, please don t flame me too much if I get the facts
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 4, 2003
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            On Sat, Jan 04, 2003, Shlomi Fish wrote about "[hackers-il] "Lots of bad IT Workers" ?":
            > Are there still enough jobs for competent IT workers. When I started
            > working in Elpas (my first real job as a programmer) which was during the
            > start of the IT boom (1997 or so), I only had experience programming with
            > C, Basic and VBA on my home computer. Yet, I was still competent enough to
            > be of value to them. Afterwards, when I switched jobs to Cortext, a
            > web-publishing house based on UNIX and Perl, I had to learn all about UNIX
            > and Perl there, yet I was still able to get my job done. I feel that I
            > have greatly improved since this point in every area I did back then.
            >
            > Do you think the Shlomi Fish of 1997 could still find a job today?

            You have to put experience in context.
            The Shlomi Fish of 1997 was (and I'm just making up a story here, please don't
            flame me too much if I get the facts wrong) a young guy, who did not think too
            highly of himself, and his (relatively) little knowledge was consistent with
            him being smart (it's not that he learned slowly, he just had only a few years
            to learn). So an employer was faced with a cheap smart employee: don't sound
            too bad.

            But the problem is that "we" (people involved in hiring other people, and for
            the last year I'm no longer one of those "we") don't just get "Shlomi Fishes
            of 1997" - we also get people who think highly of themselves and demand high
            salaries, but know very little.

            We got people who've been around computers for several years (e.g., spent the
            last 3 years in the Technion's CS department) and yet the amount of knowledge
            that has rubbed on them appears to be tiny.

            Imagine I talk to someone who has dwelt in computers and had all the resources
            (computers, books, network, people) imaginable, and still didn't learn
            anything beyond what was spoon-fed to him in class (and even that is
            questionable when he comes in with a relatively low GPA). Why should I believe
            that in my company this guy will be different? Maybe after 3 more years
            he'll work in (say) Linux he still wouldn't know anything I (his boss) did
            not explicitly tell him to learn (and it's not hypothetical, I know such
            people). Maybe it means this guy is not actually interested in computers,
            but is in it only for the money?

            Similarly, when you talk to a person who has just finished some course
            converting them from another profession to computers, the details are very
            important. I've seen, for example, two excellent people, with a biology
            degree, that have taken a CS course and successfully switched to computers;
            Both of them took serious 1-year courses (tought by Technion professors, and
            containing serious CS courses, not just C and HTML), got genuinely interested
            in their new profession, and their employers did well on gambling on them.
            But you get other people, who tell you how much they hate computers ("I
            prefer to work with people"), barely know anything ("Where's 'The Internet'?
            Isn't it some building in America?"), and don't care enough to change that.
            Nobody wants an employee like that.

            Returning to the Shlomi of 1997 for a moment, there is one downside that
            prevents some employers from employing "rookies" like you describe, even
            if they show a great potential and are very smart. This happens in three
            cases:
            1. The company (e.g., start-up) only has plans for the next year. It has
            no use for somebody who will only start really helping the team after
            6 months. It looks for people who can start doing real work NOW, and
            pours money on them.
            2. The company already puts a very high load on the low-level managers or its
            good technical employees. Employing a rookie means more load on the low-
            level managers who'll need to show him the ropes, or on the good
            technical employees who'll need to teach him what he still doesn't know.
            In some situtation, these employees are better off spending that time on
            completing the job.
            I've seen a *very smart* part-time-employee student get fired, for exectly
            this reason.
            3. In some types of job markets, you face a high risk of the rookie bailing
            out on you just when he has finally got enough experience to be truely
            useful. The army has a very simple solution for this problem: sign on
            people for 6 (!) years.
            In the job market of 3 years ago, I even saw a guy leave his job for a
            better paying one, after 2 weeks (!) in the job...

            > I know of a fellow student who graduated from EE (maslul "handasat
            > machshevim vetochna") in the Technion and could not find a job because he
            > claimed workplaces look for someone with more experience, and he has none
            > except for his studies. I know him and he's a bright, and talented guide,
            > albeit does indeed not have much real-world experience. I suggested him to
            > take on open-source development while he's unemployed so he'll have
            > something impressive to put in his resume/.

            Why doesn't he have any experience other than his studies? Did he ever program
            for fun, whether free software or just stuff he'd written for himself? Did
            he program before he went to the Technion, or program for fun during his
            studies?

            If the answer to all of that is no, it might mean he came from a poor
            family and didn't have time during his studies. But it might also mean that
            he's not genuinely interested in computers. Since he can't offer any examples
            of his work, why should employers believe that option #2 isn't the truth?

            This is why personal connections is the best way to get jobs. A personal
            friend of yours knows exactly what you're really worth, and doesn't have
            to make guesses based on your previous experience.

            > I know of an American fellow, named Jay Glascoe, who has an M.Sc. in
            > mathematics, and know Linux, C, C++, Perl and Python well, and could not

            The guy you describe certainly sounds better than a lot of people who do
            find jobs.
            Maybe there are other circumstances you don't know. Maybe this guy is
            asking for too much money, has other unrealistic expectations, or isn't
            as good as you believe. Maybe he's trying at the wrong companies. Or maybe
            he has incredibly bad luck.

            > Have Hetz ben Hamo eventually find a job? He certainly knows Linux
            > in-and-out, but naturally is not a qualified programmer.

            I don't want to discuss a specific person (whom I don't know well), so
            I'll say something general based on your premise that he is not a
            "qualified programmer" (I assume you mean he's not a good programmer,
            because there is no 'programming degree' to qualify).

            Indeed why should someone who's not a good programmer, and not showing the
            potential of being one, be hired to do programming???

            It's like I'm really crappy in sports. Do you think that if I hang enough
            time around soccer fields and in soccer mailing lists, and know the "ins and
            outs" of soccer, Maccabbi Haifa will hire me to replace Yaakubo Igabini?
            Of course not, I'll have to show some prospects of good soccer-*playing*, not
            just interest in soccer-watching and talking about it...

            But in the situation about, I might be able to get a job doing soccer-team
            PR, or something similar.

            > At the moment, I'm completely confused. And I'm almost sure there are many
            > mediocre IT workers who have jobs now. (refer to the Linux-IL thread about
            > the Israeli web-sites).

            Judging from what goes on around me, the number of mediocre IT workers who
            are getting high salaries (not kids who do web sites) is rapidly decreasing,
            being replaced by much better (technically) people brought from other
            companies. But, again from personal experience, this does not always make
            working in such an "improved" company more enjoyable.

            --
            Nadav Har'El | Saturday, Jan 4 2003, 2 Shevat 5763
            nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
            Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |I started out with nothing... I still
            http://nadav.harel.org.il |have most of it.
          • voguemaster
            ... If it were that simple. Sometimes (and this has happened to me) a friend s colleagues demand to see what you re worth too. A good friend of mine tried to
            Message 5 of 10 , Jan 4, 2003
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              04/01/03 18:50:38, Nadav Har'El <nyh@...> wrote:

              >This is why personal connections is the best way to get jobs. A personal
              >friend of yours knows exactly what you're really worth, and doesn't have
              >to make guesses based on your previous experience.
              >
              >It's like I'm really crappy in sports. Do you think that if I hang enough

              If it were that simple. Sometimes (and this has happened to me) a friend's
              colleagues demand to see what you're worth too. A good friend of mine
              tried to set me a job at his company but the head of the development team
              thought that I didn't have enough experience in programming with DirectX
              so they eventually took someone else for the job.

              It didn't matter that I had already more than 2 years of experience in programming
              (on Linux, but still) and had done some stuff with DirectX. They wanted someone
              who knew exactly what to do and needn't be taught anything. So even though
              I had a good chance because a friend introduced me, it's not always enough.

              Eli

              "There's so many different worlds
              So many different suns
              And we have just one world
              But we live in different ones.."

              - Dire Straits - "Brothers in Arms"
            • Nadav Har'El
              ... It also depends how this friend of yours introduced you. He could have said, hey, I know this unemployed guy that I used to play basketball with, that
              Message 6 of 10 , Jan 4, 2003
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                On Sat, Jan 04, 2003, voguemaster wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] "Lots of bad IT Workers" ?":
                >...
                > who knew exactly what to do and needn't be taught anything. So even though
                > I had a good chance because a friend introduced me, it's not always enough.

                It also depends how this friend of yours introduced you. He could have said,

                "hey, I know this unemployed guy that I used to play basketball with, that
                supposedly knows Linux (or whatever) - maybe you can take a look at his CV?"

                and he could have said

                "Wow, I know this great Linux (or whatever) person, he's probably one of the
                best in his field in the country, and I heard that he's looking for new
                opportunities. This guy taught me everything I know! He's exactly what we
                need. He's an incredibly smart guy. We must have this guy at any cost!"

                Also, there's a difference between you approaching your friends to pass your
                CV around (from my experience, these friends, not being HR people, will never
                really know what to do with those CVs), and when your friends remember you as
                the "really good guy in ..." and they call on you when they hear the company
                is looking for that thing you're good in.

                That being said, I admit getting contacts through friends doesn't always
                work. I had a bad experience like that once, where a friend was eager to
                get me to work for his company, but since it was a big company (one of the
                biggest hightech companies in Israel) I had to pass through several annoying
                layers of managers and interviewers who didn't know anything about me,
                standardized tests, and so on - they dragged me for a few weeks until I got
                annoyed and told them I wasn't interested any more, and that I had plenty of
                other choices at that time.

                --
                Nadav Har'El | Saturday, Jan 4 2003, 2 Shevat 5763
                nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |I would give my right arm to be
                http://nadav.harel.org.il |ambidextrous.
              • guy keren
                ... there are - for people with certain types of desired qualifications. if you have deep knowledge in some wanted area, which has too few good people,
                Message 7 of 10 , Jan 4, 2003
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                  On Sat, 4 Jan 2003, Shlomi Fish wrote:

                  > Are there still enough jobs for competent IT workers.

                  there are - for people with certain types of 'desired' qualifications.

                  if you have deep knowledge in some wanted area, which has too few good
                  people, you're likely to be able to get a job (or choose amongst several
                  jobs - depending on how many companies deal with this area).

                  not all companies are looking for employees - but there are quite a few
                  that do. some due to etting larger, and some - in order to replace
                  previous employees, who are either too costly (still getting the crazy
                  salaries from their contracts from 1999-2000) and/or not good enough to
                  keep.

                  during the bad years (1998-2000) - companies had to accept people for
                  unrealistic salaries (mostly in start ups) or accept people who were lousy
                  at programming (mostly in large companies, that needed to recruite people
                  en-masse). the good thing about those years, is that some wealth was
                  spread to a larger group of people (investors lost, certain employees won
                  that money - no money was _realy_ lost altogether, except for virtual
                  money - it mostly just switched hands).

                  currently, companies are doing the ugly move, of firing people that cost
                  alot, while recruiting people that are now free in the market, with a
                  lower salary, and often a better throughput. gone are the days where you
                  could see a mediocre programmer becoming a team leader after 1-2 years in
                  the field, and similar symptoms.

                  so, it is still possible to find a job - and even people with very little
                  experience can manage to find a job - provided that they are persistent in
                  their search (i know someone that took about half a year to find a job
                  just now - and almost gave up in the middle) and have some qualificatoins
                  that distinguish them from others, and have (or develope) good
                  interviewing skills. by the way, even during the crazy years, some people
                  found it hard to find a job. at my former company, we got a guy that had a
                  2nd degree in some medical area, that did a 'transition course' in sela -
                  and it took him about half a year to find a job.

                  and, yes, _good_ experience counts for quite a lot. it allows you to do
                  your work with much less bugs, much less not-understanding the
                  requirements, and much less time. thought this is mostly a matter of
                  character - a few (rare) people come with the right character to their
                  first job. most people gain the require characteristics during them
                  gaining work experience, and often because of being exposed to other
                  people's methods of working.

                  p.s. note that when i say 'knowledge in a certain area', i am not talking
                  about 'being a very good software engineer'. companies prefer now people
                  with real knwoledge with specific technologies and products, and
                  often under-estimate good software engineering skills - which IMO are
                  harder to aquire, and are rarer. examples? you have good knowledge of the
                  linux kernel, and programming for it - you'll easily and quickly get a job
                  if you look properly (i.e. not that many companies deal with it to find
                  via news paper adds - but enough do relative to the little ammount of
                  qualified people). the same goes for linux system programming. the same
                  goes to software verification (very few companies realy deal with it - IBM
                  And intel to name the two i know of, in israel - but also very few people
                  got the proper background for this). the same probably goes to embedded
                  systems development in linux, vxworks and few other systems.

                  thus, i'd suggest you choose an area or two in which you want to become a
                  real expert - and start learning them deeply. it'll help you alot.

                  --
                  guy

                  "For world domination - press 1,
                  or dial 0, and please hold, for the creator." -- nob o. dy
                • Shlomi Fish
                  ... This is more or less an accurate description of me than. I got the job by using contacts: my father was a good friend of that start-up s CEO, and he
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jan 4, 2003
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                    On Sat, 4 Jan 2003, Nadav Har'El wrote:

                    > On Sat, Jan 04, 2003, Shlomi Fish wrote about "[hackers-il] "Lots of bad IT Workers" ?":
                    > > Are there still enough jobs for competent IT workers. When I started
                    > > working in Elpas (my first real job as a programmer) which was during the
                    > > start of the IT boom (1997 or so), I only had experience programming with
                    > > C, Basic and VBA on my home computer. Yet, I was still competent enough to
                    > > be of value to them. Afterwards, when I switched jobs to Cortext, a
                    > > web-publishing house based on UNIX and Perl, I had to learn all about UNIX
                    > > and Perl there, yet I was still able to get my job done. I feel that I
                    > > have greatly improved since this point in every area I did back then.
                    > >
                    > > Do you think the Shlomi Fish of 1997 could still find a job today?
                    >
                    > You have to put experience in context.
                    > The Shlomi Fish of 1997 was (and I'm just making up a story here, please don't
                    > flame me too much if I get the facts wrong) a young guy, who did not think too
                    > highly of himself, and his (relatively) little knowledge was consistent with
                    > him being smart (it's not that he learned slowly, he just had only a few years
                    > to learn). So an employer was faced with a cheap smart employee: don't sound
                    > too bad.
                    >

                    This is more or less an accurate description of me than. I got the job by
                    using contacts: my father was a good friend of that start-up's CEO, and he
                    recommended they give me an interview. I went to the interview, and they
                    eventually decided to hire me. I eventually turned out to be their chief
                    programmer after the main programmer, a strange bird who started playing
                    computer games all day was fired, and I started doing his job anyways.

                    > But the problem is that "we" (people involved in hiring other people, and for
                    > the last year I'm no longer one of those "we") don't just get "Shlomi Fishes
                    > of 1997" - we also get people who think highly of themselves and demand high
                    > salaries, but know very little.
                    >
                    > We got people who've been around computers for several years (e.g., spent the
                    > last 3 years in the Technion's CS department) and yet the amount of knowledge
                    > that has rubbed on them appears to be tiny.
                    >
                    > Imagine I talk to someone who has dwelt in computers and had all the resources
                    > (computers, books, network, people) imaginable, and still didn't learn
                    > anything beyond what was spoon-fed to him in class (and even that is
                    > questionable when he comes in with a relatively low GPA). Why should I believe
                    > that in my company this guy will be different? Maybe after 3 more years
                    > he'll work in (say) Linux he still wouldn't know anything I (his boss) did
                    > not explicitly tell him to learn (and it's not hypothetical, I know such
                    > people). Maybe it means this guy is not actually interested in computers,
                    > but is in it only for the money?
                    >
                    > Similarly, when you talk to a person who has just finished some course
                    > converting them from another profession to computers, the details are very
                    > important. I've seen, for example, two excellent people, with a biology
                    > degree, that have taken a CS course and successfully switched to computers;
                    > Both of them took serious 1-year courses (tought by Technion professors, and
                    > containing serious CS courses, not just C and HTML), got genuinely interested
                    > in their new profession,and their employers did well on gambling on them.
                    > But you get other people, who tell you how much they hate computers ("I
                    > prefer to work with people"), barely know anything ("Where's 'The Internet'?
                    > Isn't it some building in America?"), and don't careenough to change that.
                    > Nobody wants an employee like that.
                    >

                    True.

                    > Returning to the Shlomi of 1997 for a moment, there is one downside that
                    > prevents some employers from employing "rookies" like you describe, even
                    > if they show a great potential and are verysmart. This happens in three
                    > cases:
                    > 1. The company (e.g., start-up) only has plans for the next year. It has
                    > no use for somebody who will only start really helping the team after
                    > 6 months. It looks for people who can start doing real work NOW, and
                    > pours money on them.
                    > 2. The company already puts a very high load on the low-level managers or its
                    > good technical employees. Employing a rookie means more load on the low-
                    > level managers who'll need to show him the ropes, or on the good
                    > technical employees who'll need to teach him what he still doesn't know.
                    > In some situtation, these employees are better off spending that time on
                    > completing the job.
                    > I've seen a *very smart* part-time-employee student get fired, for exectly
                    > this reason.
                    > 3. In some types of job markets, you face a high risk of the rookie bailing
                    > out on you just when he has finally got enough experience to be truely
                    > useful. The army has a very simple solution for this problem: sign on
                    > people for 6 (!) years.
                    > In the job market of 3 years ago, I even saw a guy leave his job for a
                    > better paying one, after 2 weeks (!) in the job...
                    >

                    Understood.

                    > > I know of a fellow student who graduated from EE (maslul "handasat
                    > > machshevim vetochna") in the Technion and could not find a job because he
                    > > claimed workplaces look for someone with more experience, and he has none
                    > > except for his studies. I know him and he's a bright, and talented guide,
                    > > albeit does indeed not have much real-world experience. I suggested him to
                    > > take on open-source development while he's unemployed so he'll have
                    > > something impressive to put in his resume/.
                    >
                    > Why doesn't he have any experience other than his studies? Did he ever program
                    > for fun, whether free software or just stuff he'd written for himself? Did
                    > he program before he went to the Technion, or program for fun during his
                    > studies?
                    >
                    > If the answer to all of that is no, it might mean he came from a poor
                    > family and didn't have time during his studies. But it might also mean that
                    > he's not genuinely interested in computers. Since he can't offer any examples
                    > of his work, why should employers believe that option #2 isn't the truth?
                    >

                    Actually, I think he mainly focused on his studies (Technion students are
                    given enough programming exercises), and just wanted to have non-computer
                    related fun (which is OK). Studying in the Electrical Engineering
                    department is very hard consumes a lot of time and concentration. I
                    somehow managed to find time to hack on free software, for E-mail
                    correspondence, reading Linux resources etc. Many times, it is done before
                    doing homework.

                    I don't think is family his poor. He seems like middle-class to me. Like I
                    said, he is a bright kid, and I'm sure he can learn new things if given
                    the chance. As far as programming is concerned he is higher than the
                    Shlomi Fish of 1997. As far as Electrical Engineering is concerned it is a
                    difference of heaven and earth.

                    Like I said, I recommended he works on open-source projects for the time
                    being, to gain some experience. Not only can he put something impressive
                    on his C.V., but he'll also be able to deal with a lot of real-world
                    situations, code, and hacktivity.

                    > This is why personal connections is the best way to get jobs. A personal
                    > friend of yours knows exactly what you're really worth, and doesn't have
                    > to make guesses based on your previous experience.
                    >

                    I noticed this myself in several occasions. The only serious job I did not
                    get out of personal connections was Smart-Link, where I was somehow
                    invited to a job interview, they were impressed by me, and accepted me. I
                    did not anyone from there up to this point.

                    > > I know of an American fellow, named Jay Glascoe, who has an M.Sc. in
                    > > mathematics, and know Linux, C, C++, Perland Python well, and could not
                    >
                    > The guy you describe certainly sounds better than a lot of people who do
                    > find jobs.
                    > Maybe there are other circumstances you don't know. Maybe this guy is
                    > asking for too much money, has other unrealistic expectations, or isn't
                    > as good as you believe. Maybe he's trying at the wrong companies. Or maybe
                    > he has incredibly bad luck.
                    >

                    I don't think he is asking for too much money. At the moment, he is
                    unemployed and will probably accept any job with a reasonable payment. He
                    sent me a code he wrote in Python that worked pretty well. I did not look
                    at the code too closely, but he also did things the hard way, and parsed
                    the output of fc-solve text-wise. At the moment he's trying at any company
                    that gives him a job interview.

                    In the past week-end I was able to get him 3 job opportunities. One of
                    them may hopefully prove useful.

                    > > Have Hetz ben Hamo eventually find a job? He certainly knows Linux
                    > > in-and-out, but naturally is not a qualified programmer.
                    >
                    > I don't want to discuss a specific person (whom I don't know well), so
                    > I'll say something general based on your premise that he is not a
                    > "qualified programmer" (I assume you mean he's not a good programmer,
                    > because there is no 'programming degree' to qualify).
                    >
                    > Indeed why should someone who's not a good programmer, and not showing the
                    > potential of being one, be hired to do programming???
                    >
                    > It's like I'm really crappy in sports. Do you think that if I hang enough
                    > time around soccer fields and in soccer mailing lists, and know the "ins and
                    > outs" of soccer, Maccabbi Haifa will hire me to replace Yaakubo Igabini?
                    > Of course not, I'll have to show some prospects of good soccer-*playing*, not
                    > just interest in soccer-watching and talking about it...
                    >
                    > But in the situation about, I might be able to get a job doing soccer-team
                    > PR, or something similar.
                    >

                    Exactly. I think Hetz (judging by the knowledge he shows in the mailing
                    list) can be a good Q&A person, or a system administrator, or something
                    like that. Maybe his problem is that he focuses too much on getting the
                    latest Linux news, instead of learning to program properly.

                    > > At the moment, I'm completely confused. And I'm almost sure there are many
                    > > mediocre IT workers who have jobs now. (refer to the Linux-IL thread about
                    > > the Israeli web-sites).
                    >
                    > Judging from what goes on around me, the number of mediocre IT workers who
                    > are getting high salaries (not kids who do web sites) is rapidly decreasing,
                    > being replaced by much better (technically) people brought from other
                    > companies. But, again from personal experience, this does not always make
                    > working in such an "improved" company more enjoyable.
                    >

                    OK. Web-design is probably not very hard. When I did it I worked on UNIX,
                    with hand-written HTML and Perl CGI scripts. I suppose learning HTML and
                    ASP or HTML and PHP or other adequate combination is not that hard either.

                    One problem my web-publishing company encountered is that we charged for
                    designing a web-page, which we then hosted on our server, and then kept it
                    there. I don't know if they charged for extra maintainance, but I suppose
                    most web-design houses do (and should).

                    Regards,

                    Shlomi Fish

                    > --
                    > Nadav Har'El | Saturday, Jan 4 2003, 2 Shevat 5763
                    > nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                    > Phone: +972-53-245868, ICQ 13349191 |I started out with nothing... I still
                    > http://nadav.harel.org.il |have most of it.
                    >
                    >
                    > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                    > hackers-il-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                    >
                    >



                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                    Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
                    Home E-mail: shlomif@...

                    "Let's suppose you have a table with 2^n cups..."
                    "Wait a second - is n a natural number?"
                  • Omer Musaev
                    Omer Mussaev Software Engineer, EMS team, APM R&D Mercury Interactive ... From: Shlomi Fish [mailto:shlomif@techst02.technion.ac.il] Sent: 5. januar 2003 09.58
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jan 5, 2003
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Omer Mussaev
                      Software Engineer, EMS team, APM R&D
                      Mercury Interactive


                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Shlomi Fish [mailto:shlomif@...]
                      Sent: 5. januar 2003 09.58
                      To: hackers-il@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: [hackers-il] Re: "Lots of bad IT Workers" ?

                      [ many text skipped ]
                      SF> OK. Web-design is probably not very hard.

                      Famous last words...


                      SF> When I did it I worked on UNIX,
                      SF> with hand-written HTML and Perl CGI scripts. I suppose learning HTML and
                      SF> ASP or HTML and PHP or other adequate combination is not that hard
                      SF> either.

                      Yet there are J2EE technologies, which are hard. And there are Web Forms,
                      which should be relatively easy, but the technology is new...

                      Regards,

                      Shlomi Fish


                      Best regards,
                      Omer Mussaev.
                    • Shlomi Fish
                      ... Indeed. CGI scripts can easily be made extremely exploitable. At least bare HTML is safe... for now. Regards, Shlomi Fish ... Shlomi Fish
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jan 5, 2003
                      • 0 Attachment
                        On Sun, 5 Jan 2003, Omer Musaev wrote:

                        >
                        >
                        > Omer Mussaev
                        > Software Engineer, EMS team, APM R&D
                        > Mercury Interactive
                        >
                        >
                        > -----Original Message-----
                        > From: Shlomi Fish [mailto:shlomif@...]
                        > Sent: 5. januar 2003 09.58
                        > To: hackers-il@yahoogroups.com
                        > Subject: Re: "Lots of bad IT Workers" ?
                        >
                        > [ many text skipped ]
                        > SF> OK. Web-design is probably not very hard.
                        >
                        > Famous last words...
                        >

                        Indeed. CGI scripts can easily be made extremely exploitable. At least
                        bare HTML is safe... for now.

                        Regards,

                        Shlomi Fish

                        >
                        > SF> When I did it I worked on UNIX,
                        > SF> with hand-written HTML and Perl CGI scripts. I suppose learning HTML and
                        > SF> ASP or HTML and PHP or other adequate combination is not that hard
                        > SF> either.
                        >
                        > Yet there are J2EE technologies, which are hard. And there are Web Forms,
                        > which should be relatively easy, but the technology is new...
                        >
                        > Regards,
                        >
                        > Shlomi Fish
                        >
                        >
                        > Best regards,
                        > OmerMussaev.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                        > hackers-il-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                        >
                        >



                        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                        Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
                        Home E-mail: shlomif@...

                        "Let's suppose you have a table with 2^n cups..."
                        "Wait a second - is n a natural number?"
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