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How to Keep Your Job         Dave ThomasThe Pragmatic Programmers, LLCwww.pragmaticprogrammer.com
“For people who view this as a career, engineering is in worseshape now than it’s been in years”              LeEarl Bryan...
Our Future is at Stake•   Look at threats to our livelihood•   See why large-scale solutions won’t help us•   Look at a lo...
TheThreats
at hre eT n   O      Things Move Too Fast
at hre eT n   O      Things Move Too Fast“The half-life of engineeringknowledge, the time it takes  for something to becom...
The Graying Developer• Younger folks:  – grow up with the new technologies  – are cheaper  – say “no” less often  – don’t ...
The Graying Developer•   Younger folks:    •   are often more attractive to employers
atThre o   TwReliance on a Sector
at  Thre o     TwReliance on a Sector• I’m an XYZ programmer.
at  Thre o     TwReliance on a Sector• I’m an XYZ programmer.• Or, the special case:  • I’m a Java programmer.  • Start de...
Reliance on a Company•   Companies such as:    •   Digital Equipment    •   Tandem    •   Honeywell    •   and Sun...
Reliance on a SectorTwo Year Historical - Sun Microsystems. 01/06/03
Reliance on a SectorTwo Year Historical - Sun Microsystems. 01/06/03
Reliance on a SectorTwo Year Historical - Sun Microsystems. 01/06/03
Reliance on a SectorTwo Year Historical - Sun Microsystems. 01/06/03
Reliance on a SectorTwo Year Historical - Sun vs. Microsoft
at hre eT re  Th      The Market
at               hre e              T re                Th      The Market(CNN) -- Just as Fridays new Labor Departmentrep...
at               hre e              T re                Th      The Market(CNN) -- Just as Fridays new Labor Departmentrep...
Nearly 1 million IT-related jobswill move offshore over the courseof the next 15 years, according toa new report released ...
WHY?
Reasons to Move
Reasons to Move•   Sometimes political
Reasons to Move•   Sometimes political•   Sometimes cost    •   same as “young developers are cheaper”
Reasons to Move•   Sometimes political•   Sometimes cost    •   same as “young developers are cheaper”•   Often quality…
Overseas developerscan write good code
Capability Maturity Model
Capability Maturity Model•   Measures sophistication of software    development organizations
Capability Maturity Model•   Measures sophistication of software    development organizations•   Acts as a set of targets,...
Capability Maturity Model•   Measures sophistication of software    development organizations•   Acts as a set of targets,...
CMM Levels
CMM Levels• Level 1 (initial): little or no rules. Heroic effort
CMM Levels• Level 1 (initial): little or no rules. Heroic effort• Level 2 (repeatable): Basic project  management, differs...
CMM Levels• Level 1 (initial): little or no rules. Heroic effort• Level 2 (repeatable): Basic project  management, differs...
CMM Levels
CMM Levels• Level 4 (managed): Management use precise  measurements for effective control of  development.
CMM Levels• Level 4 (managed): Management use precise  measurements for effective control of  development.• Level 5 (optim...
CMM Level 4             USA             41%Overseas 59%                 Source: http://www.sei.cmu.edu/sema/profile.html
CMM Level 5           USA           17%Overseas 83%                 Source: http://www.sei.cmu.edu/sema/profile.html
This is the new world, and failing torecognize it is no different than IBM failing torecognize in the 80’s how important P...
I think its largely an arrogance problem:“They” cant be better than “us”.Were too smart.
Threat Summary  The gravy train isrunning out of steam.
Solutions
tion  olu :     ne Rely   on GovernmentS   O
tion  olu :     ne Rely   on GovernmentS   O• Legislate against outsourcing   – e.g. NJ Senate bill 1349
tion  olu :     ne Rely   on GovernmentS   O• Legislate against outsourcing   – e.g. NJ Senate bill 1349• Reduce H1B cap
tion  olu :     ne Rely   on GovernmentS   O• Legislate against outsourcing   – e.g. NJ Senate bill 1349• Reduce H1B cap• ...
Protectionism
Protectionism• Doesn’t work!
Protectionism• Doesn’t work!• Economic reasons: protectionism hurts us as  a country
Protectionism• Doesn’t work!• Economic reasons: protectionism hurts us as  a country• Practical reasons:   – companies suc...
H1B Quotas• 195,000 H1B’s in 2003• 65,000 thereafter• Failed to reach cap this year•
H1B Quotas• What happens if we dramatically cut the  quota?   – jobs move abroad   – we lose access to experience•
tion  olu :S    Two Rely   on our Companies
tion  olu :S    Two Rely   on our Companies  • What is their motivation?    – new graduates are cheaper, and will work    ...
• Our government isn’t going to do it
• Our government isn’t going to do it• Our companies aren’t going to do it
• Our government isn’t going to do it• Our companies aren’t going to do it• It’s up to each of us
tion  olu :     Rely on OurselvesS   Three • Our government isn’t going to do it • Our companies aren’t going to do it • I...
Invest   inYourself
Lessons from          Personal Finance• Good investors:   – have a plan   – diversify   – look for value   – are active, n...
Knowledge Portfolio•   Value comes from:    •   what we know    •   knowing how to apply it
Have a Plan• Consider pace of change• Look beyond current fads•                             !   √!   have a plan          ...
Have a Plan: Example 1• You believe:  – outsourcing will increase over time  – your technical skills may become eclipsed
Have a Plan: Example 1• You plan:  – Now: to become familiar with distributed    project implementation tools  – Next Year...
Have a Plan: Example 2• You believe:  – coding will be gradually eclipsed by    modeling  – you have better than average  ...
Have a Plan: Example 2• You plan:  – Now: start learning about MDA. Read    books, subscribe to ML  – Next Year: find an an...
Have a Plan: Example 3• You believe:  – you are an great, intuitive, developer  – you enjoy coding challenges  – you want ...
Have a Plan: Example 3• You plan:  – Now: identify areas that will not be    outsourced (core business, emerging    techno...
Diversify• Don’t have all your eggs in one technology  basket• Across multiple dimensions   – languages   – techniques   –...
Diversify• Mixture of risk/return profiles   – have some low risk, low return      • e.g.: .NET, Web Services, mobile      ...
Diversify• Remember:   – almost all investments have some return   – learning AOP, Haskell, … will always     make you a b...
Look for Value• Value is long term• Time ≠ value  – the EverQuest syndrome• Applicability  – but don’t forget diversity• N...
Active Investor• Periodically evaluate your (knowledge)  portfolio   – performing as you’d planned?   – have external circ...
Invest Regularly• Invest a minimum amount of time each  month• Helps to have a ritual  – whatever works for you• Plan time...
Pragmatic Investment Plan   • Invest minimum two hours each week       – good times and bad   • Combines individual and gr...
PIP: Possible Schedule• One week/month:   – spend the time in a user group meeting   – plan to give talk every two years  ...
PIP: Possible Schedule• One week/month:   – spend the time learning a new language or     environment      • make it diffe...
PIP: Possible Schedule• One week/month:   – spend the time reading a high-quality     book.   – avoid low-level recipe boo...
Non-Technical Books Gold-mine of applicable information. Eg:• How to Open Locks with Improvised Tools. Hans  Conkel.• From...
PIP: Possible Schedule• One week/month:   – work on your personal plan
Pragmatic Investment Plan•   Work with others•   Reflect on your plan every 4-6 months•   More time is better than less•   ...
In The Long Term…• Things will continue to get more complicated• Competition for work will increase• Externally imposed co...
In the Long Term• We have to look out for ourselves• We have to invest in ourselves• We have to plan 5-10 years out•
In the Long Term•   We have the control•   We have the responsibility•   We have the opportunity
How to Keep Your Job         Dave ThomasThe Pragmatic Programmers, LLCwww.pragmaticprogrammer.com
ExtraBuild a career portfolio
How To Keep Your Job
How To Keep Your Job
How To Keep Your Job
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How To Keep Your Job

This is an old talk from 2003/4, but I was asked to post it in 2012.

Perhaps the outsourcing issues have changed, but the idea of investing in yourself is as important now as ever.

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How To Keep Your Job

  1. 1. How to Keep Your Job Dave ThomasThe Pragmatic Programmers, LLCwww.pragmaticprogrammer.com
  2. 2. “For people who view this as a career, engineering is in worseshape now than it’s been in years” LeEarl Bryant President, IEEE 2002
  3. 3. Our Future is at Stake• Look at threats to our livelihood• See why large-scale solutions won’t help us• Look at a local solution that will
  4. 4. TheThreats
  5. 5. at hre eT n O Things Move Too Fast
  6. 6. at hre eT n O Things Move Too Fast“The half-life of engineeringknowledge, the time it takes for something to become obsolete, is from 7 to 2.5 years” William Wulf, President, National Academy of Engineering
  7. 7. The Graying Developer• Younger folks: – grow up with the new technologies – are cheaper – say “no” less often – don’t have as many other commitments•
  8. 8. The Graying Developer• Younger folks: • are often more attractive to employers
  9. 9. atThre o TwReliance on a Sector
  10. 10. at Thre o TwReliance on a Sector• I’m an XYZ programmer.
  11. 11. at Thre o TwReliance on a Sector• I’m an XYZ programmer.• Or, the special case: • I’m a Java programmer. • Start depending on technologies and the companies that back them
  12. 12. Reliance on a Company• Companies such as: • Digital Equipment • Tandem • Honeywell • and Sun...
  13. 13. Reliance on a SectorTwo Year Historical - Sun Microsystems. 01/06/03
  14. 14. Reliance on a SectorTwo Year Historical - Sun Microsystems. 01/06/03
  15. 15. Reliance on a SectorTwo Year Historical - Sun Microsystems. 01/06/03
  16. 16. Reliance on a SectorTwo Year Historical - Sun Microsystems. 01/06/03
  17. 17. Reliance on a SectorTwo Year Historical - Sun vs. Microsoft
  18. 18. at hre eT re Th The Market
  19. 19. at hre e T re Th The Market(CNN) -- Just as Fridays new Labor Departmentreport shows the United States unemployment ratesoaring in August to 4.9 percent from 4.6 percent, anewly released, federally funded study reveals thata significant number of production jobs are shiftingfrom the American workplace to China.
  20. 20. at hre e T re Th The Market(CNN) -- Just as Fridays new Labor Departmentreport shows the United States unemployment ratesoaring in August to 4.9 percent from 4.6 percent, anewly released, federally funded study reveals thata significant number of production jobs are shiftingfrom the American workplace to China. "What makes it worse," she says, "is that some of these are higher-wage jobs, the type jobs that U.S. cities have been fighting to win. And now theyre leaving. Many of those jobs were held by people whod been working in them for many years, and in some cases their whole lifetimes."
  21. 21. Nearly 1 million IT-related jobswill move offshore over the courseof the next 15 years, according toa new report released by Forrester Research, Inc. Source: http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/career/article.php/1503461
  22. 22. WHY?
  23. 23. Reasons to Move
  24. 24. Reasons to Move• Sometimes political
  25. 25. Reasons to Move• Sometimes political• Sometimes cost • same as “young developers are cheaper”
  26. 26. Reasons to Move• Sometimes political• Sometimes cost • same as “young developers are cheaper”• Often quality…
  27. 27. Overseas developerscan write good code
  28. 28. Capability Maturity Model
  29. 29. Capability Maturity Model• Measures sophistication of software development organizations
  30. 30. Capability Maturity Model• Measures sophistication of software development organizations• Acts as a set of targets, each better than the last
  31. 31. Capability Maturity Model• Measures sophistication of software development organizations• Acts as a set of targets, each better than the last• Five “CMM Levels”
  32. 32. CMM Levels
  33. 33. CMM Levels• Level 1 (initial): little or no rules. Heroic effort
  34. 34. CMM Levels• Level 1 (initial): little or no rules. Heroic effort• Level 2 (repeatable): Basic project management, differs between projects.
  35. 35. CMM Levels• Level 1 (initial): little or no rules. Heroic effort• Level 2 (repeatable): Basic project management, differs between projects.• Level 3 (defined): Development across the organization follows same rules
  36. 36. CMM Levels
  37. 37. CMM Levels• Level 4 (managed): Management use precise measurements for effective control of development.
  38. 38. CMM Levels• Level 4 (managed): Management use precise measurements for effective control of development.• Level 5 (optimizing): Quantitative feedback from previous projects used to improve next generation of projects,
  39. 39. CMM Level 4 USA 41%Overseas 59% Source: http://www.sei.cmu.edu/sema/profile.html
  40. 40. CMM Level 5 USA 17%Overseas 83% Source: http://www.sei.cmu.edu/sema/profile.html
  41. 41. This is the new world, and failing torecognize it is no different than IBM failing torecognize in the 80’s how important PCs andcommodity hardware were going to be…orfailing to recognize for some time that theyhad “lost” the PC market and forging aheadwith OS/2 and the PowerPC chip. -- a senior manager...
  42. 42. I think its largely an arrogance problem:“They” cant be better than “us”.Were too smart.
  43. 43. Threat Summary The gravy train isrunning out of steam.
  44. 44. Solutions
  45. 45. tion olu : ne Rely on GovernmentS O
  46. 46. tion olu : ne Rely on GovernmentS O• Legislate against outsourcing – e.g. NJ Senate bill 1349
  47. 47. tion olu : ne Rely on GovernmentS O• Legislate against outsourcing – e.g. NJ Senate bill 1349• Reduce H1B cap
  48. 48. tion olu : ne Rely on GovernmentS O• Legislate against outsourcing – e.g. NJ Senate bill 1349• Reduce H1B cap• Perhaps… • Tariffs on imported software • Legislate randomly
  49. 49. Protectionism
  50. 50. Protectionism• Doesn’t work!
  51. 51. Protectionism• Doesn’t work!• Economic reasons: protectionism hurts us as a country
  52. 52. Protectionism• Doesn’t work!• Economic reasons: protectionism hurts us as a country• Practical reasons: – companies such as GE, EDS, IBM have offices around the world – how could it be enforced anyway?
  53. 53. H1B Quotas• 195,000 H1B’s in 2003• 65,000 thereafter• Failed to reach cap this year•
  54. 54. H1B Quotas• What happens if we dramatically cut the quota? – jobs move abroad – we lose access to experience•
  55. 55. tion olu :S Two Rely on our Companies
  56. 56. tion olu :S Two Rely on our Companies • What is their motivation? – new graduates are cheaper, and will work longer hours – offshore programmers are cheaper, and offer good quality – tools are more reliable than those funky people anyway
  57. 57. • Our government isn’t going to do it
  58. 58. • Our government isn’t going to do it• Our companies aren’t going to do it
  59. 59. • Our government isn’t going to do it• Our companies aren’t going to do it• It’s up to each of us
  60. 60. tion olu : Rely on OurselvesS Three • Our government isn’t going to do it • Our companies aren’t going to do it • It’s up to each of us
  61. 61. Invest inYourself
  62. 62. Lessons from Personal Finance• Good investors: – have a plan – diversify – look for value – are active, not passive – do it regularly
  63. 63. Knowledge Portfolio• Value comes from: • what we know • knowing how to apply it
  64. 64. Have a Plan• Consider pace of change• Look beyond current fads• ! √! have a plan diversify look for value active, not passive do it regularly
  65. 65. Have a Plan: Example 1• You believe: – outsourcing will increase over time – your technical skills may become eclipsed
  66. 66. Have a Plan: Example 1• You plan: – Now: to become familiar with distributed project implementation tools – Next Year: to look at becoming involved with outsourced project management – Coming Years: learn a foreign language
  67. 67. Have a Plan: Example 2• You believe: – coding will be gradually eclipsed by modeling – you have better than average communications skills – you like a varied job
  68. 68. Have a Plan: Example 2• You plan: – Now: start learning about MDA. Read books, subscribe to ML – Next Year: find an angle. Start contributing articles to management press. Implement a simple trial project. – Coming Years: speak at management conferences on MDA. Become high-paid international consultant on MDA application
  69. 69. Have a Plan: Example 3• You believe: – you are an great, intuitive, developer – you enjoy coding challenges – you want to stay technical
  70. 70. Have a Plan: Example 3• You plan: – Now: identify areas that will not be outsourced (core business, emerging technologies, defense, embedded, infrastructure). Research technologies and players. – Next Year: start developing code in these areas (open source if no jobs available). – Coming Years: write articles, speak at conferences, become recognized expert
  71. 71. Diversify• Don’t have all your eggs in one technology basket• Across multiple dimensions – languages – techniques – industries – non-technical ! ! have a plan √ diversify look for value active, not passive do it regularly
  72. 72. Diversify• Mixture of risk/return profiles – have some low risk, low return • e.g.: .NET, Web Services, mobile devices, MDA – have some high risk, high return • e.g.. Aspects/Intentional programming, functional programming • spend time identifying (and join the effort early)
  73. 73. Diversify• Remember: – almost all investments have some return – learning AOP, Haskell, … will always make you a better developer – don’t forget the non-technical axis
  74. 74. Look for Value• Value is long term• Time ≠ value – the EverQuest syndrome• Applicability – but don’t forget diversity• Not just theoretical – look for opportunities to apply and get feedback ! ! have a plan diversify √ look for value active, not passive do it regularly
  75. 75. Active Investor• Periodically evaluate your (knowledge) portfolio – performing as you’d planned? – have external circumstances changed? – is it time to rebalance? ! ! have a plan diversify look for value √ active, not passive do it regularly
  76. 76. Invest Regularly• Invest a minimum amount of time each month• Helps to have a ritual – whatever works for you• Plan time in advance – don’t just sit down and wonder what to do ! ! have a plan diversify look for value active, not passive √ do it regularly
  77. 77. Pragmatic Investment Plan • Invest minimum two hours each week – good times and bad • Combines individual and group work • Growing national community R CEM BEDE • 8
  78. 78. PIP: Possible Schedule• One week/month: – spend the time in a user group meeting – plan to give talk every two years • set aside 6-8 weeks of PIP time to prepare
  79. 79. PIP: Possible Schedule• One week/month: – spend the time learning a new language or environment • make it different (e.g. Java folks could learn C# and .NET) • free software is available for many languages and environments • see if you can put together a local study group
  80. 80. PIP: Possible Schedule• One week/month: – spend the time reading a high-quality book. – avoid low-level recipe books • look for concept books • don’t forget non-technical books
  81. 81. Non-Technical Books Gold-mine of applicable information. Eg:• How to Open Locks with Improvised Tools. Hans Conkel.• From Novice to Expert: Excellence and Power in Clinical Nursing Practice. Patricia Benner.• And the old favorite: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Robert M. Pirsig.
  82. 82. PIP: Possible Schedule• One week/month: – work on your personal plan
  83. 83. Pragmatic Investment Plan• Work with others• Reflect on your plan every 4-6 months• More time is better than less• See if you can get your company to agree to alternate Friday afternoons as study time: – show them a plan
  84. 84. In The Long Term…• Things will continue to get more complicated• Competition for work will increase• Externally imposed constraints won’t help
  85. 85. In the Long Term• We have to look out for ourselves• We have to invest in ourselves• We have to plan 5-10 years out•
  86. 86. In the Long Term• We have the control• We have the responsibility• We have the opportunity
  87. 87. How to Keep Your Job Dave ThomasThe Pragmatic Programmers, LLCwww.pragmaticprogrammer.com
  88. 88. ExtraBuild a career portfolio

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