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Job woes, cont.

Also, the Wittgenstein cult grows.

Regarding “Giving up on IT” (Feedback, March): It may not be good for the future business of ComputerUser to encourage techies to move away from high tech, but there are thousands of us that need to move on. Workforce centers are fine if you’re a receptionist, machinist, or construction laborer. They offer nothing but inaccurate or misleading information if you’re any type of professional (especially in high tech). We need to advertise ourselves as hard-working, self-reliant technicians available for work. We have a lot to offer employers in areas other than high tech.

I have been a UNIX administrator and IT professional for 10 years, self-taught in UNIX/IT from DNS and e-mail to Apache, PHP, and security. I also have a certificate in Electronics from a technical college and five years’ experience repairing electronics down to the component level. Yet I cannot even get an interview these days for low-level soldering jobs, let alone an IT job. There are two ways to approach this problem. 1) Take issue with human-resources departments and try and avoid them (hard these days with blind-box e-mail addresses, which leave you no choice but to deal with HR), or 2) move on. Let’s get on with moving on. — G. Oxenreider, [email protected]

Thanks to Nelson King for his careful review of database management systems (“One size doesn’t fit all”). Some minor comments: Oracle9i does run on IBM’s z/OS (formerly OS/390) mainframes, and also supports Linux/390 on the same hardware; and a Mac OS X version is under development. Also, as of v8.1, IBM’s DB2 no longer supports OS/2.

In many cases, Oracle Standard Edition will provide a better solution for less money than the Enterprise Editions of either IBM DB2 or Microsoft SQL Server. Finally, for open source, PostgreSQL is far superior to MySQL. PostgreSQL offers a viable alternative to the “Big Three” mentioned above, whereas MySQL is just beginning to emerge from the toy stage. For instance, MySQL does not yet support nested SELECT sub-queries, stored procedures, triggers, or views, and has only very recently added support for transactions. — Mark Wallace

This is in response to your April question about Ludwig Wittgenstein (“Wireless caution signs”).

At least one of us knows of him. He was one of my favorite thinkers. And he stimulated G. Spenser Brown’s “Laws of Form” which applies, according to some, the power of a single distinction into computing. Brown’s is another great but not commonly understood voluminous work. — David Spitzer

To Joel Phillip (“Giving up on IT”) , who rails at getting “sucked in” to the MCSE program: Experience is a very good thing. And I agree that the MCSE curriculum does not teach anything resembling real world problems. However, it does one thing very well. It is a form of proof of knowledge. It may be limited, but it’s still proof. I know more about system admin than my current employer’s official sys admin, but it’s not my job, therefore it’s not real experience. Not to the HR person doing the filtering. It used to be that one could lie on a résumé with impunity, if one could back it up with good work. Today, HR people check. If what you say does not match what your current or previous employers say, you’re outta there. No matter how good you are. Yes, there are exceptions, but that’s exactly what they are, exceptions to the rule.

The bottom line is this: If you can get a job with what you have, you need nothing else. If you cannot, and in this job market, many of us cannot, you take whatever avenues are offered to get your foot in the door. If the MCSE cert or any other cert gets me past the HR department and into the realm of the real decision maker, I’ll get that cert. — Lin Daniel

to start a discussion or ask a question, e-mail [email protected] letters may be edited for style, length, or content. no anonymous letters will be published.

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