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Posts tagged 'psychology'

  • Personal Advocacy

    Continuing on the idea of identity, I'm starting to think that in any practice as personal as job hunting, it's tremendously challenging to disassociate yourself from the process of searching. Meaning, largely, that you're never not looking for work for yourself, you're always thinking about what you'll be growing into in the (near) future when you're looking for work.

    Perhaps the key, especially for someone as identity-sensitive as I am, is to pretend that you're looking for the sake of someone else. I can give good advice to others, and I know what I should be doing, but thus far I've been terrible at following through.

    I can't imagine myself at a lot of these places, but I have to credit that at least partially to my lack of imagination.

    In the meantime, I think my goal until I run out of ramen is to pretend that everything is about someone else, and that I've just been employed by this person to do the legwork of a hard-core job search, and that they're the one who is living in terror.

  • A shortage of talented engineers

    A summary of the majority of the postings I see:

    • We want a full-stack engineer
    • With skills in our exact tech stack (modulo one or two things)
    • With five years experience

    I'm not so stupid that I believe everything they say—with work that's important enough and with enough money coming in, they would find a way to make a non-ideal candidate work—but there is no way that there are enough engineers out there able to fit these criteria.

    In any industry (or endeavor) there's going to be some "limiting factor". In chemistry, for instance, you generally try to use excess of your cheap reagent to try to get the highest yield possible of your most expensive reagent. However, one has to wonder, where are all the jobs posting asking for engineers with 10+ years experience? (Note: I'm not looking at the "senior" positions, but even if those are looking for people with 10+ years experience, where are the 15 year positions?)

    This is the factor that makes me think, especially, that "5 years" is just a shorthand for "we don't want dummies". I doubt there's any industry where dead weight is as dangerous as it is in software; if you can get your foot in the door elsewhere, you can have a career as a mediocre … whatever… but there's not a lot of room for mediocre in software. If you can't understand the standard processes of abstraction, problem solving (etc), there's not much room for you in software.

    However, the career progression for engineers is a bit shady. Salaries go from (slave wages of) about $45k to a healthy median of $80-90, up to about $130… and then what? I know one guy who was a project manager and made a very large salary, but I don't hear a lot about a lot of others.

    That's an interesting thought, though: is the next level of abstraction above software engineer project manager? The thing that is more abstract than writing large projects is coordinating teams that write large projects, perhaps?

    Back to the point, though: no one wants to bear the responsibility for training, and no one wants to bear the risk of getting that one guy who just will never add value to the organization. So I assume, at this point, that the entry point for engineers is a convoluted process of signalling and trials: internships, pedigree, networking, taking chances on people who seem otherwise intelligent.

    So far there's nothing novel here. I'm curious, though:

    • Is there an overall model that would be able to take advantage of the (presumable) under-tapped pool of future engineers with aptitude?
    • Or, is there a model that would pull more people into the industry and train them to produce more?
    • Is there a language (paradigm?) that would make programming accessible to more people, or are we already close to peak utilization of programming-capable people in the population at large?
    • If so, is there a language (paradigm?) that would take the finite quantity of engineers and make them more powerful?

    What's the skill cap on an engineer?

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