Comment On It’s How Everyone Builds It

The transition from computer technician to software developer can be pretty rough. Not only does one have to give up the chic company car (and, of course, all the hot dates it guarantees), but he has to land that rare technician job that has just enough programming work to stretch his job title on a résumé to “programmer.” Garret was lucky enough to find that job at a small computer repair shop we’ll called “AAAA Computers” [expand full text]
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Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 14:52 • by AC (unregistered)
I'm working at a job like that right now...

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 14:53 • by Fisted? (unregistered)
For some reason the names Bill, Steve and Redmond come to mind.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 14:54 • by Holy Roller (unregistered)
Geek Squad jobs are only occupied by the desperate - or - the totally incompetent.
CAPTCHA: sanitarium (where I would be if I was forced to work at best Buy)

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 14:54 • by RH (unregistered)
Let's hope Garrett has acquired a *real* programmer job now that he's mastered PHP, VB6, and VB.NET all in a year.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 15:05 • by Unixcorn (unregistered)
I think we have the same boss..."Don't overcomplicate things" is what I hear all the time. He cut his teeth on the green screen, central computer back in the day. He didn't have to deal with stateless, disconnected systems like we use today and unfortunately, his expectations can be somewhat unrealistic.But alas, he is the owner so I STFU and collect my money....

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 15:08 • by gabba
Where's the wtf? Sounds to me like everyone ended up happy.

His boss ought to hire an H-1B programmer; he can point out that the going rate is $22k.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 15:08 • by el jaybird (unregistered)
A team of complacent (not competent?) programmers for $30,000.

Wow.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 15:09 • by m0ffx
Submitter evidently doesn't need his boss. If he had any sense he'd have managed to slip his retaining copyright on his work past said boss, and could take his code and start his own business with it.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 15:09 • by ParkinT
Garret's boss sounds like many of the salespeople I have supported. The attitude is, "don't confuse me with details, just GET SOMETHING I CAN DELIVER". And often it was already promised to the customer; without any consultation on who/how/when it could be built!

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 15:09 • by Rob (unregistered)
161088 in reply to 161081
RH:
Let's hope Garrett has acquired a *real* programmer job now that he's mastered PHP, VB6, and VB.NET all in a year.


The sad thing is, is that he probably does have a "programmer" position somewhere, and he is probably providing the half-assed software he wrote back at the other place.

Now I don't want to make assumptions about Garrett, or go on some sort of stupid rant, but this sort of thing really irritates me. I love how any sort of business will leap upon any sort of computer janitor that knows a little VB, and actually ENCOURAGE such a person's ego to the point where they think they're an actual developer. The name Pinocchio comes to mind: the doll that wanted to be a real boy, only in this case this such a person actually believes the lie he was told.

Capcha: craaazy. No doubt.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 15:12 • by guids? lol? seriously? (unregistered)
I had a boss just like that. They think awesome programmers are fine with making 25K. Hilarious.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 15:19 • by KattMan
161090 in reply to 161088
Rob:
RH:
Let's hope Garrett has acquired a *real* programmer job now that he's mastered PHP, VB6, and VB.NET all in a year.


The sad thing is, is that he probably does have a "programmer" position somewhere, and he is probably providing the half-assed software he wrote back at the other place.

Now I don't want to make assumptions about Garrett, or go on some sort of stupid rant, but this sort of thing really irritates me. I love how any sort of business will leap upon any sort of computer janitor that knows a little VB, and actually ENCOURAGE such a person's ego to the point where they think they're an actual developer. The name Pinocchio comes to mind: the doll that wanted to be a real boy, only in this case this such a person actually believes the lie he was told.

Capcha: craaazy. No doubt.


Yeah but I actually have hope for Garret. he questioned every decision yet he had the desire to do it right. He asked for training, he even asked for a senior developer to learn from. He has a lot of promise and with the right company that would be willing to let him take the necessary courses could be an excellent developer.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 15:20 • by Bruce (unregistered)
"Not fully licensed"? After shafting a dedicated employee, it sounds as if that boss should be the subject of a BSA sponsored Polyp hunting party!

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 15:23 • by DavidN (unregistered)
An anti-spyware program that silently searches for and uploads log files? Extra irony bonus!

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 15:31 • by fzammetti
"While Garret isn’t too thrilled about the fact that he helped build a horrible anti-spyware program and helped launch a second-rate software outfit, at least he could now put “programmer” on his résumé."

I can think of something else he can put on there: ACCOMPLICE.

He knew the owner was doing something illegal using unlicensed software (whether licensing software is right or not in the first place0 and didn't just walk away after his half-a**ed attempts to stop it failed. He's now in the wrong too IMO. That doesn't even consider the other shady things that were going on!

FYI, I left a job during my first few years of employment when I found out my boss was doing some naughty things... probably set my career back a good bit and certainly made life tough for a few months financially (it wasn't as easy to get a new job then as it is now), but it was the right thing to do, as it would have been for this guy. You can try and stop the activity from happening, or you can just walk away, but if you do anything else you become a party to it, which you can't ever do. I don't care how much you want the experience and are trying to break into an industry, right and wrong don't ever get outweighed by your desire to enhance your career, not if you have morals anyway.

Come to think of it, he can also put wuss on his resume... anyone that lets themselves get pushed around and turned into essentially slave labor like that deserves whatever they get. It's of course HIS choice, which is fine by me, but I'm still calling him a wuss for it anyway. I'm as scared of losing my job as much as anyone, and I have a career I'm trying to advance too, but try and take too much of MY time away, especially when I'm not going to be properly compensated for it, and forget it, I'm going elsewhere, I don't care how much I want the job, it's not worth it. I also got fired from my first real job because my manager tried to get me to work very nearly the entire weekend one time after I'd put in long hours all week and I flat-out refused (of cource, being 18, I didn't do it in a respectful manner, which looking back is more likely why he fired me). And that's when I was hourly and got a TON of overtime pay, so it wasn't even as bad as this guy.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 15:32 • by Rob (unregistered)
161095 in reply to 161090
Yup, and that's why I didn't criticize Garrett specifically, just the thing I see too much of that follow the same lines. I will give him credit that he wanted to learn how to better himself, and that he kept telling his boss that it was a bad idea, etc.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 15:34 • by Anonymously Yours (unregistered)
161096 in reply to 161086
m0ffx:
Submitter evidently doesn't need his boss. If he had any sense he'd have managed to slip his retaining copyright on his work past said boss, and could take his code and start his own business with it.
Which piece of work, the multiple copyright-infringing anti-spyware program developed in an unlicensed IDE or the broken embarrassment developed in an unlicensed IDE that still haunts him to this day?

;)

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 15:35 • by AGould (unregistered)
161097 in reply to 161090
KattMan:
Rob:
RH:
Let's hope Garrett has acquired a *real* programmer job now that he's mastered PHP, VB6, and VB.NET all in a year.


The sad thing is, is that he probably does have a "programmer" position somewhere, and he is probably providing the half-assed software he wrote back at the other place.

Now I don't want to make assumptions about Garrett, or go on some sort of stupid rant, but this sort of thing really irritates me. I love how any sort of business will leap upon any sort of computer janitor that knows a little VB, and actually ENCOURAGE such a person's ego to the point where they think they're an actual developer. The name Pinocchio comes to mind: the doll that wanted to be a real boy, only in this case this such a person actually believes the lie he was told.

Capcha: craaazy. No doubt.


Yeah but I actually have hope for Garret. he questioned every decision yet he had the desire to do it right. He asked for training, he even asked for a senior developer to learn from. He has a lot of promise and with the right company that would be willing to let him take the necessary courses could be an excellent developer.


Agreed - he knows what he doesn't know. He knows the code is bad, but it's the best he knows how to do, and he wants to learn to do it better. (As opposed to the people who don't know their code is bad, which I think is the OP's concern.)
All he needs is time and training and he'll be at least OK.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 15:38 • by Trask (unregistered)
That sounded like a very stressful situation for him to be in. I'm in a similar boat, but I'm still just a technician waiting for a chance to show off some programming skills to get that on my resume.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 15:39 • by GeekMasta (unregistered)
161099 in reply to 161080
While this may be true, I did work for the GeekSquad... however I was a prodigy in my own right. The desperate and totally incompetent actually come hand in hand, incompetent leads to desperation and desperate usually reflects lack of knowledge.

I enjoyed my stay at the Geek Squad and being that I was making $15/hr without a college degree at the age of 21 I was quite happy until the remaining good workers at the GS were replaced with goons who said buzz words like "Computer" and "Windoze."

It did lead to a successful job in the software industry and I don't regret it.... with that being said.... DO NOT TAKE YOUR COMPUTER THERE... they will rip you off :-D

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 16:01 • by b0b g0ats3 (unregistered)
FIST!@!#!#@

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 16:02 • by moralityPolice (unregistered)
'at least he could now put “programmer” on his résumé.'

Too bad he can't put "ethics" on there too.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 16:11 • by bighusker
161102 in reply to 161101
moralityPolice:
'at least he could now put “programmer” on his résumé.'

Too bad he can't put "ethics" on there too.


Why would *anyone* write "ethics" on their resume?

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 16:18 • by Jon W (unregistered)
It takes 10 years to make a competent senior developer. Sounds like Garrett has 9 years to go.

However, the real WTF is that Garrett didn't have the inter-personal skills to make his proposal to the owner without sounding like a complainer. It's more important to get things done, than to vent your own frustration (although I'm sometimes guilty of doing so, too).

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 16:21 • by IvyMike (unregistered)
And then Garrett called the BSA and reported the flagrant piracy violations, getting a cash reward in the process.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 16:21 • by snoofle
161106 in reply to 161101
In an ideal world, he would have walked away as soon as the manager insisted on using not-quite-legit software. Sometimes you don't have that luxury.

Personally, I put up with it to a point (like porn, I can't define it but I know when someone has crossed the line), then get another job, then attempt to force the issue, and then walk out if they don't budge. I may change jobs more often than most folks, but my conscience is clear.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 16:23 • by Cynic (unregistered)
161107 in reply to 161102
bighusker:
Why would *anyone* write "ethics" on their resume?

Based on my experience, having "ethics" on your resume would greatly reduce your desirability to an employer...

"OK, I need everyone in the department to request a 30-day free trial key, and forward the key to me. I need a year's worth of trial keys."

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 16:32 • by seymore15074
161108 in reply to 161099
GeekMasta:

I enjoyed my stay at the Geek Squad and being that I was making $15/hr without a college degree at the age of 21 I was quite happy until the remaining good workers at the GS were replaced with goons who said buzz words like "Computer" and "Windoze."


Computer is one hell of a buzzword...

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 16:52 • by Vlad Patryshev (unregistered)
161112 in reply to 161085
el jaybird:
A team of complacent (not competent?) programmers for $30,000.

Wow.


I'm trying to figure out which country this could be... Mongolia? Tadjikistan? Not sure.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 16:59 • by uhh (unregistered)
161113 in reply to 161102
ethix? isn't that some kind of operating system?

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 17:23 • by Soviut
What I don't understand is why people tolerate this sort of thing. I put just as much responsibility on the employee to speak up and be heard as I do on an employer for fair treatment. If you're not being treated fairly, say so, and don't just go "oh, ok" when they tell you you're out of line. The "what can I do? he's my boss" remark is so defeatist is just begs the employer to keep walking all over that person.

Sure, there are exceptions, but if these cheapskates/swindlers aren't made aware that they're brutally exploiting people, they'll go right on doing it.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 17:39 • by RH (unregistered)
161118 in reply to 161088
Rob:
RH:
Let's hope Garrett has acquired a *real* programmer job now that he's mastered PHP, VB6, and VB.NET all in a year.


The sad thing is, is that he probably does have a "programmer" position somewhere, and he is probably providing the half-assed software he wrote back at the other place.

Now I don't want to make assumptions about Garrett, or go on some sort of stupid rant, but this sort of thing really irritates me. I love how any sort of business will leap upon any sort of computer janitor that knows a little VB, and actually ENCOURAGE such a person's ego to the point where they think they're an actual developer. The name Pinocchio comes to mind: the doll that wanted to be a real boy, only in this case this such a person actually believes the lie he was told.

Capcha: craaazy. No doubt.


Yeah, but he seems like the type who's totally willing to learn and said that he is doing this in order to get his foot in the door to a real job. That indicates to me that he has the right mindset and can adapt to a good environment as much as a bad one.

How familiar

2007-11-15 17:43 • by Kozz (unregistered)
A sadly kind of familiar tactic. When you're a programmer with several respectable successes under your belt, expectations can become unreasonable.

I've had many instances where I created valuable and innovative solutions to a client's needs. Afterwards, "the boss" (I've had more than one boss like this) decides that you can do anything. It's nice, at first, to think they've got so much faith in your abilities.

But then they get another idea and say, "Let's do X." You say, "But that would require me learning FOO and BAR, and besides that, my college degree didn't have an emphasis on TCP/IP networks (etc). How much time do you really want to dedicate to this idea?"

Then you're told that you're a quitter, a nay-sayer, being negative, and so on. YOU are the guy (or gal) with the education in the field and understand far better what challenges you'd be up against. When you express this to the boss, they seem only to demand that they're "right".

Seriously, wtf?

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 17:54 • by m (unregistered)
I think Garrett did damned well with what he was given. It's damned hard to stand up to a owner especially when you have that 1 on 1 thing going on. Garrett's ethical lapses are FAR FAR less than the owners.

I'd be mighty tempted to either make an anonymous call to some of those companies who are getting ripped off, or, explain to the owner that a severence package is required or phonecalls will be made.

/is threatening to report illegal activity in exchange for money blackmail? what if you collect the money and still report it?

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 18:24 • by Franz Kafka (unregistered)
161122 in reply to 161104
Jon W:
It takes 10 years to make a competent senior developer. Sounds like Garrett has 9 years to go.

However, the real WTF is that Garrett didn't have the inter-personal skills to make his proposal to the owner without sounding like a complainer. It's more important to get things done, than to vent your own frustration (although I'm sometimes guilty of doing so, too).


Anyone who's willing to fire someone who wants more than $22k/yr after bringing in $200k isn't worth bothering with. learn to schmooze (and call the hospital up offering support) and cut the boss out.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 18:25 • by Franz Kafka (unregistered)
161123 in reply to 161121
m:

/is threatening to report illegal activity in exchange for money blackmail? what if you collect the money and still report it?


That's standard BOFH protocol.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 18:27 • by Torajirou (unregistered)
Am I the only one to know that the preterit (and past perfect) for "to lead" is "led", and not "lead" ?

goddammit, I'm not even an English speaker !

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 18:32 • by Sigivald (unregistered)
161125 in reply to 161104
Jon W:


However, the real WTF is that Garrett didn't have the inter-personal skills to make his proposal to the owner without sounding like a complainer.


Alternatively, there are some people that take any attempt to get them to modify their position or activities as "complaints".

Maybe Garrett has average or great skills and his boss was simply, well, a dick?


Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 18:59 • by bighusker
Even if his boss was doing everything "by the book" and not operating illegally, there is absolutely no way I'd do all of that for $22,000/year (about $10.58/hour). I knew of internships that paid more than that in Omaha, Nebraska, which has a fairly low cost of living compared to the national average.

$10.58/hour is probably a normal "salary" for an inexperienced bench technician in a small computer store, but if you start expecting an enterprise-level developer on top of that, then you're reaching absurd heights of WTF-ery. People need to stand up to these idiots and demand more money or find another job. I understand it can be a tough job market, but I can't imagine many people having trouble finding a job that paid at least that much.

The most ridiculous salary I was ever offered was $25,000/year for a web developer position with experience in PHP, mySQL and Flash. I didn't think I'd see that one topped so easily, but this one wins handily. At least my crappy job offer came with a week's paid vacation and health insurance, and they didn't expect me to fix and sell PCs on the side. I'm guessing Garret wasn't so fortunate.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 19:00 • by Steve (unregistered)
161127 in reply to 161083
Unixcorn:
I think we have the same boss..."Don't overcomplicate things" is what I hear all the time. He cut his teeth on the green screen, central computer back in the day. He didn't have to deal with stateless, disconnected systems like we use today and unfortunately, his expectations can be somewhat unrealistic.But alas, he is the owner so I STFU and collect my money....
Of course, sometimes "don't overcomplicate things" is the way to go.

I started my career in the middle 1960s on a computer that didn't even have an operating system -- the IBM 1620 -- and things have gone downhill (in the industry -- not my career) since then.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 19:52 • by caffeinatedbacon
161129 in reply to 161094
fzammetti:
FYI, I left a job during my first few years of employment when I found out my boss was doing some naughty things...
And Garret left his after one... wouldn't that be what you call 'better'?

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 19:54 • by dsharp
161130 in reply to 161083
"He cut his teeth on the green screen, central computer back in the day. He didn't have to deal with stateless, disconnected systems like we use today and unfortunately, his expectations can be somewhat unrealistic"

Actually many "green-screen" applications were completely stateless. CICS transactions are almost identical to web apps. The only difference is that web apps use the CGI protocol and CICS transaction use some other protocol.

When you run a CICS transaction screen, it's not sitting there waiting for your input. It runs, sends the screen, and finishes. Then when the user hits the enter key, it restarts, reads the fields off the screen, processes, generates a response, sends the response, and ends, and so on and so forth.

CICS and CGI apps so similar in fact that you could "webify" a CICS app with a simple gateway app that translates back and forth between CICS screen maps, and web pages.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 20:45 • by Steve Parker (unregistered)
161132 in reply to 161102
Because some of us value "ethics".

Strange people we are, to be sure.

CAPTCHA: ninjas

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 20:46 • by flukus (unregistered)
I'm always amazed there are so many people the would rather pirate Visual Studio than user one of the several arguably better IDEs/languages.

If you don't want to pay the MS tax then use something else.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 21:08 • by Anon Fred (unregistered)
http://attrition.org/errata/sec-co/foundstone-02.html

"They've stolen pretty much everything when it comes to software," says a founding employee who asked not to be named. The company even cracked Microsoft's operating system, Windows XP, says Dan Kuykendall, a former Foundstone software engineer, "so you could install it on multiple computers without any problems." The founding employee estimates that only 5% of the software used at Foundstone was paid for. (Foundstone's lawyers say that only 5% was unlicensed and that the company has spent more than $1.5 million on software.) Foundstone also trained thousands of corporate and government security personnel on software that it duplicated in ways that avoided triggering license fees, according to Kurt Weiss, a training coordinator until last year, who says it was part of his job to copy software packages onto the drives of 40 laptops per class.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 22:07 • by saywhat (unregistered)
161135 in reply to 161133
Even more so conEven more so considering Visual Studio is free. Going out of your way to “pirate” something you can download for free doesn’t make much sense to me. But I agree that there are other better ide’s out there (Eclipse is my favorite ide).

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 22:12 • by eyespy (unregistered)
161136 in reply to 161135
Visual Studio is not quite free. There are those lite versions downloadable from MS, but the full IDE is a pretty penny to purchase.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 22:32 • by LTO_Moe (unregistered)
161137 in reply to 161117
"Sure, there are exceptions, but if these cheapskates/swindlers aren't made aware that they're brutally exploiting people, they'll go right on doing it."

What makes you think "these cheapskates/swindlers" are not already aware of it?

There are four kinds of people in the world:

1. Those who accept the brutal facts and look for solutions.

2. Those who don't know the brutal facts, because they aren't paying attention.

3. Those who refuse to acknowledge the brutal facts.

4. Those who ARE the brutal facts and are busy manipulating those around them.

It is very easy to manipulate/steal from someone by offering them the chance to earn money for doing what they love. Just look at the music industry.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 22:36 • by Matt (unregistered)
161138 in reply to 161078
The past tense of lead is led.

Re: It’s How Everyone Builds It

2007-11-15 22:37 • by D5 (unregistered)
161139 in reply to 161135
saywhat:
Even more so conEven more so considering Visual Studio is free. Going out of your way to “pirate” something you can download for free doesn’t make much sense to me. But I agree that there are other better ide’s out there (Eclipse is my favorite ide).


Visual Studio free??? Where??? As for poking Garrett on not quitting after forced to basically rip-off software and work with basically pirated dev tools, well, when you live on your own, and there are few to none alternatives for job-switching, you just have to hang on. $22k/year might sound "low", but that's my salary, and its *high* compared to 90% of my peers. And I can relate to Garrett because, except for VB shite (which I have *never* touched, nor will as long as I live), I have had the same ugly experience.

I worked in ... say ... Initech Solutions, while still a college student. It was a part-time job, as a "senior developer", the "senior" being that I was the only one with serious development experience... and the only one still in college. This was a job that gave me a whopping $3000/year salary. I was made to work into far murkier jobs, ethically speaking, than Garrett ever did. For companies that may have been even doing illegal stuff. The software made would not be illegal, but it would have "special" stuff in there to secretly alter data, and well, it was a financial application. Go figure, it smells like Enron.

So why did I go for that? Having to pay the bills by myself, *including* college, well, you can't just throw away jobs. And no other job had the schedule constraints I required for college, or the income. So I stuck there until the last minute. Fortunately, I no longer have to deal with that kind of stuff anymore. But I can understand anyone in my position, you can't just quit without having a job waiting for you.

Oh, and I've also been victim of "he can do it all" syndrome. Imagine my face when I was told that I had to build a fingerprint-recognition software *in two weeks*. Oops!
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