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posted by n1 on Tuesday August 19 2014, @05:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the put-your-business-head-on dept.

Jon Evans writes at TechCrunch that some extremely successful companies, notably Facebook and Google, are famously engineer-centric, and many, many engineers go on to become successful CEOs. But at many companies engineers are treated as less-than-equal because they are often viewed as idiot savants. "We may speak the magic language of machines, the thinking goes, but we aren’t business people, so we aren’t qualified to make the most important decisions. That’s for the analysts, the product people, the MBAs. They might throw money our way, but they don’t take our opinions seriously, at least not the ones they understand."

Michael O. Church, describes the different experiences of the same candidate applying for a position of “Senior Software Engineer” vs. “VP of Data Science,” a managerial position. "As an engineering candidate, he faced five gruelling technical interviews and was arbitrarily vetoed by the last interviewer. As a managerial candidate, he essentially chatted his way through behavioral questions–and was offered a lucrative position with a generous relocation package. Church argues that this difference is because engineers have low social status, whereas even managerial candidates, one they’ve proven they can talk the talk, are viewed as equals."

Evans says it’s an inevitable side effect of companies who boast completely non-technical managers. "People who have never written code or soldered diodes, who don’t really understand what and how engineers do what we do, have no alternative but to have blind faith in us. Which, paradoxically, leads to less respect, because it’s the root cause of idiot-savant syndrome," writes Evans. "f you’re an engineer who’s treated as automatically lesser than an business graduate or MBA, or worst of all, treated as a cloistered savant, that’s a warning sign. Consider your future carefully if so."

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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @10:03PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 20 2014, @10:03PM (#83714)

    I think this is why programmers are seen as glorified, disposable typists nowadays.

    The REAL programmers like Mel [] did the HEAVY LIFTING moving computer technology:

    from a large nest of interconnected wires and vacuum tubes

    to bundles of wires wrapped around magnets

    to spinning metal drums (see above link)

    to paper [] tape [] and punched cards

    to mechanical switches that had to be togled in a PRECISE manner or NOTHING happened!

    to the creation of the first computer programming assemblers, compilers, and interpreters from machine code.

    After that, it was all 'downhill' as programming tools could now be created easily as modifying them and having the previous version compile [] the source code to the next version to become its replacement.

    This is an iterated process that is a standard operating procedure in the computing industry and eventually led to the current version of Visual Studio, [] the most powerful and easiest to use computer programming environment I have EVER used! :D I only use a TINY FRACTION of what it is capable of and have used it in the past to code some incredible software!

    Nowadays, most programming is not HARD anymore...except for cutting-edge theoretical computing that is (far) beyond the 'mundane' PEMDAS [] stuff that powers business and the rest of the planet.

    The beancounters know this and are NOT WILLING to pay serious coin for software developers unless their moneyspinners are at risk like they were around 15 years ago due to Y2K. [] The Y2K problem itself was caused by the beancounters being TOO CHEAP to spend the additional money to allow 4-digit year values in dates to be stored inside databases inside computers. Had they spent millions back then on the extra storage allocation, they would NEVER have to spend BILLIONS hiring programmers to fix such a simple problem that could have been avoided.

    Of course all that was done was to kick the can about 8 MILLENIA down the road for the inevitable 'Y10K' crisis.... :P

    And there is Y2K38 [] still around 24 years away to deal with.... :(

    The beancounters also know that all that is REALLY being done is basic math, (simple) business logic, and reading and writing files. Doesn't matter if the file reading/writing is being done through SQL [] (a programming language itself) or over a computer network through Winsock, [] a previously designed and coded 'network stack' put together by real programmers.

    Basically, the beancounters paid the big bucks to real programmers to create the hardware and software needed to operate their moneyspinners efficiently. After that, they only need occasional tweaks to the existing codebase. In their eyes, why should they pay real programmer wages to make small, incremental changes over a long period of something that already is known to work?...

    Because of this, today's programmers either endure such unfair treatment or go into business for themselves and take a lotto-jackpot-sized chance to try to program the next ANGRY BIRDS, FLAPPY BIRD, or CANDY CRUSH and make 'a ton' of money!... :P

    Back in the shareware days of the 1980s and 1990s things were the same way--really only ONE piece of shareware from that era is STILL in use today: []

    The rest are either too obscure and known only by a 'handfull' of people or effectively forgotten about and permanently lost for good.

    Sadly, PK-ZIP outlived its creator may he rest in peace.... (-_-) ;_; []

    Can we all just forgive him of running afoul of System Enhancement Associates and remember him for creating something that we all still use everyday to this very day?

    When I found out he died years ago, I bought a PK-ZIP license as a belated way to say 'thank you' to him because I used the shareware version all the time back then. The Windows version I got was LIGHTNING FAST!!! o_O; perhaps before he died, he PERSONALLY wrote the (de)compression code in assembler for MAXIMUM PERORMANCE! o_O; :D (^_^) \o/ Without a doubt, he was A MASTER at identifying speed bottlenecks in program code and coming up with faster algorithms coded in assembly language to break through the bottlenecks!

    Phil Katz...was a REAL PROGRAMMER....

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