Also, open-source is the way to go.
I am a computer professional with a degree in computer engineering, an M.B.A. in accounting, and eight years of experience building financial software using everything from SQL Server to DB2, COBOL to Visual Basic, and JSP to ASP.
In the past five years, I have been given the following excuses as to why I am supposedly not qualified for a job:
— “Your experience is in SQL, and we need someone who knows Sequel.”
— “We require seven years of Java experience”(this at a time when Java had existed for only five years).
–“Your experience is in C++, and we need someone who knows just C.”
— “If you know C++, you can’t learn Java because Java is object-oriented.”
— “You didn’t mention that you know Excel on your résumé, so clearly you have never used Excel.”
Throwing a list of dream specs at an HR person merely encourages them to either nit-pick perfect candidates to death or allows them to add arbitrary experience requirements that have no basis in reality. HR people get paid not to screw up. They prefer to hire nobody and not fail as opposed to taking a risk in hiring someone who might not be perfect.
Jim Cline’s argument (Feedback) that programmers with accounting background do not exist is totally without merit. I exist, and I haven’t been able to work in the field for nine months. I hope to pass the CPA this spring and exit the software field.
Eric Todd, [email protected]
Your article, “Might as well jump”, gave compelling reasons to abandon the floppy drive. I think, however, that the floppy drive has hung on as long as it has because in an emergency it is still one of the best ways to boot a system and commence maintenance on a PC. I’ve not yet heard of a system BIOS that supports a bootable USB drive device. Until that happens, the floppy drive is here to stay a while longer yet.
Regarding open-source software (OSS): I am one of the few that has not been sucked into the MCSE certification program. I have something better: experience. OSS is about obtaining experience and the MCSE does not teach what is required for the real world of systems administration.
I find more and more Web hosts supporting Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP (LAMP), and PHP is growing in usage over ASP. PHP is faster and easier to deploy along with the simple learning curve and it runs on systems including Linux, Windows, all forks of UNIX and Mac OS X.
The only reason people do not implement OSS stems from the lack of education about OSS. Some IT guys have no knowledge of installing Linux. Being a Webmaster or Adminstrator requires learning more then one OS other then Windows.
When I can administer several remote servers from the shell of my Mac and obtain my knowledge from a $30 book, a degree cannot count over experience. Degrees tell us that you have the ability to limit yourself in one area of expertise. And you are good at taking tests.
OSS has definitely created something for the Universe, a community that demands quality over quantity. Having a choice and freedom to use what you want and best of all, everyone can afford the price tag.
I was impressed with your interview of Tom Kelly and Kevin Warner, both of Cisco. I am a senior engineer at Worldcom working in Network Operations but I also teach Linux and Unix at 2 local community colleges (both sponsoring Cisco Academies). I was interested in particular by what Tom had to say about future trends, the use of video and games for training.
I saw a recent issue of COMPUTER USER. 20 years already! I was a contributing editor for CU in 1983-84, and am glad to see you’re still chugging along. Congratulations!
Patrick J. O’Connor, Associate Dean, Electronics & Computer Technology Program, DeVry University, Chicago Campus
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