The decay of the IT industry

I’m writing this post just for solidarity with those who share my nowadays not so popular opinions. There’s most likely zero chance of anyone else changing his mind.

Job Interviews

Back in the days when I was still working as an employee, I only experienced interviews in the shape of conversations aimed at establishing whether or not I had the necessary knowledge for the job.

I am grateful that I’m not looking for a job today, because those times have gone. Today, job interviews are made of questions and tests which can only establish whether the guy wasted enough time exercising for the interview. In fact, there are even books(!) to prepare someone for these interviews. This tells nothing about the person’s real skills and fitness for the job. There’s people specializing in passing job interviews… That’s the people you want to hire, yeah.

Many clever IT guys won’t even bother with such nonsense. I know I wouldn’t. Instead, I would just continue to look for a company which is smart.

What I’m saying is that important companies are missing out on real talent based on these ridiculous interviews. Don’t get me wrong, for me or people like me that is just perfect, because whenever we need to hire a brilliant software developer, it’s very easy. There are many talented people around who are easily captivated by a serious job interview.

Agile Development

I don’t have much to say about the subject, because I have never had the misfortune to work for a company which used agile development, but I want to recommend an excellent post by Michael O. Church, namely “Why β€œAgile” and especially Scrum are terrible”, which I read a few years ago.

At the time I was searching for a funny rant against agile development and that’s how I got to this very funny and insightful read. I found many of my own views represented in his writing.

I really haven’t got anything to add to Michael’s post, because, being a low-level guy, any contact with agile development is unlikely for me.

Back in the old days, the retarded bullshit we had was called UML. Then, apparently, someone thought that UML wasn’t nearly retarded enough and came up with agile development, which is a million times more retarded.

What I think is funny is that some people defend agile as not being entirely bad in certain regards, because agile tries to claim for itself common sense and basic principles. Developers who actually need to be told these basic principles should gain experience before developing major projects in the first place and managers who need it shouldn’t manage anyone at all.

Quoting Michael:

Like a failed communist state that equalizes by spreading poverty, Scrum in its purest form puts all of engineering at the same low level: not a clearly spelled-out one, but clearly below all the business people who are given full authority to decide what gets worked on.

This is because agile development gives the illusion to managers who don’t understand the technology that they are in control of the development process. That’s the reason why it has become so popular. Just like open-space offices give to the same managers (and owners) the illusion of productivity. “Oh, it’s buzzing! I’m getting value for my money!”.

Open Spaces

Another brilliant idea which became trendy. I’m late at criticizing it, because there are already many articles / studies / polls saying that open spaces are terrible. Anyway, it’s a good example of how something stupid got popular and still is. I have worked in open spaces myself and it’s extremely stressful and ineffective.

“How can we make people who have to think for a living more productive? I know! Let’s put noise and people moving around them!”

Open spaces force you to look busy even if you’re not. Whoever thinks that it’s possible to write code for 8 hours a day, every day, for a long period of time has never programmed in his entire life. I can program intensively 5-6 hours a day for a sustained period of time, but even that is a lot. Four hours is more realistic. And I have always been an over-achiever. Forcing people to waste their time on social media and YouTube to look busy is just stupid.

Quoting Bill Hicks:

“Hicks! How come you’re not working?”. I go: “There’s nothing to do”, “Well, you pretend that you’re working”, “Why don’t you pretend I’m working? Yeah, you get paid more than me, you fantasize!”

That’s why people who work for me are completely free to organize their time as they wish. Companies should hire talented people and talented people don’t need a baby-sitter. Unless she’s hot.

Diversity

New definition of “inclusion”: let’s treat people differently because of what they are or represent, either on the workspace or on social media. And let’s over-praise their achievements. This will be fair to the people outside of their group and to the people who are really clever and which belong to that group. Whatever minority that is.

People should be hired, promoted and awarded based on their merits. Not because of what they are or represent. The current trend is the result of a culture which favors good intentions and feelings over reason and logic, which in a technical field is even more ludicrous.

The pyramids were built on the sweat, blood and tears of many men. Not by singing Kumbaya while holding hands in a circle.

Making complex things is hard.

Having said that, I absolutely encourage neuro-diversity. Many companies should hire someone who isn’t an idiot for a change.

10 thoughts on “The decay of the IT industry”

  1. Hi Daniel
    my quick thoughts πŸ™‚

    * Job Interviews. Before “reaching” the techical interview, you have now to pass those “stupid” tests. You have no way to show your knowledge … unless you “play” their “games” beforehand πŸ™‚

    * Agile Development. Agile is just a way, IMHO, to ignore/avoid real work planning, with the illusion, as you rightly wrote, to have one πŸ˜‰

    * Open Spaces. I work in an open space … and hearing other people moaning about their issues and/or speaking with customers at the telephone is not a way to make me productive! πŸ˜‰

    * Diversity. Considering merits is away light years from our managers … those who keep telling that are busy (without doing anything at all πŸ˜‰ ) are far better, in the eye of a manager, than the ones who keep quiet but do the real work.

    Best Regards,
    Tony

    P.S. Nice to see you Kurapica πŸ™‚

    1. Hey tonyweb,

      that’s the issue, you may not even reach any meaningful interview and in many cases there isn’t any other interview. πŸ™‚

      Cheers

  2. I Agree. Bit sad … but true πŸ™‚

    If I were a talented guy, I would have tried my luck with your company … at least to have an honest and valid techical interview πŸ™‚

    Best Regards,
    Tony

  3. Ciao Daniel,
    thank you very, very much!
    I just had the pleasure of using CFF Explorer for a while and just came along because I had a question…and stumbled across your article. I feel a bit shaken now. I used to be working on customizing a great piece of software: massive, brilliantly designed and responsive in any nook & cranny you get your fingers in. Above all: transparent. There wasn’t really anything apart from the license verification you couldn’t immediately see working right in front of your eyes as a developer.
    Enter the first rider of the apocalypse: modernism.
    We couldn’t really be seen using such an old platform any more. It had to be service-oriented. Multi-layered. The process of renewal was slow and painful and to get the performance up to the level of the old stuff proved to be difficult. But right on the heels of the first rider came the second: the software architect. They came in to replace the senior developers who were in charge of how to do things up to now, and were beginning to leave the company. The architects had never done anything but some supposedly “cool” stuff on their desktop. Which mainly consisted of achieving something you’ve done for ages in a completely weird and roundabout way. Wireframes and in-memory tables got to do it. And indeed, the software got nearly usable again. If you threw four times the memory at it. But if something went wrong, even the guys who designed it didn’t have a clue were to look. That didn’t matter because writing “code” was considered somewhat “filthy” already. The 3rd horse, with arrogance firmly in its saddle was galloping in, and here to stay. “Clean-Programmers” turned their noses up at “brown-field-projects” and “Scrum-Masters” came to their aide. This wasn’t about writing software any more, this was dungeons & dragons. On a different planet. Now, they decided to do everything “from scratch” in an “agile” kind of way. The fourth horseman can be seen already when the nights are clear. There were enough idiots among our customers who happily bought into this crap and were initially happy to be “tied” into the “development-cycle”…they used to be unhappy when they found (or thought they found) a minor issue in the old software suite: now they were jolly to accept the whole system being down for the afternoon. They aren’t even close to a tenth of the functionality and some of the issues require you to restore your database. And no-one is “responsible” for this mess. Because that’s another dirty word. It implies “hierarchy”. I’ve got 17 long years to go before retirement. I started 25 years ago, but these years went quickly. We worked long hours and spurred each other on. We had Pizzas together when it got later (again!) than we thought. Now, after 8 hours, this brand new huge office is deserted. Fun had taken a half day off, anyhow. It’s really not what I set out to do…and sometimes, when a reflection in the full sized windows plays a trick with your eyes, you get a glimpse of the fourth horseman. And his name is: Doom.

    1. Dear Thomas,
      thank you for your beautiful comment! I really enjoyed reading it and can fully comprehend what it means. It’s incredibly sad when a vibrant startup where people have fun working, becomes a monster crushing the time of your life. Your story shows all the typical signs of mismanagement, like jumping on a bandwagon such as “service oriented” without any actual vision or reason behind it.
      Thanks again for sharing and perhaps it would be a good idea for you to look for another job if possible, although a jump in the dark is not always easy.

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