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Re: [hackers-il] "Lots of bad IT Workers" ?

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  • 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 1 of 10 , Jan 4, 2003
      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 2 of 10 , Jan 4, 2003
        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 3 of 10 , Jan 4, 2003
          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 4 of 10 , Jan 5, 2003
            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 5 of 10 , Jan 5, 2003
              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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