Skip to comments.Software Engineers Will Work One Day for English Majors
Posted on 04/28/2012 12:48:55 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
This is an article from Bloomberg, but since Bloomberg articles cannot be posted here, another website summarizes the article.
Original article here:
To summarize the article: Although entry level software engineering jobs are extremely attractive for young graduating college students, their employability often starts to decline at age 35. There are two main reasons for this: 1. older employees may no longer be up-to-date with the latest technologies 2. they're too expensive. Statistics show that most software developers are out of the field by age 40. Moving into management roles can allay this problem, but these jobs are limited.
Something to think about if you're considering a career in software development.
Click above link for the complete article.
The original article starts with this question:
Which of the following describes careers in software engineering?
A. Intellectually stimulating and gratifying.
B. Excellent pay for new bachelors degree grads.
C. A career dead-end.
The correct answer (with a your mileage may vary disclaimer) is: D. All of the above.
READ THE PROVIDED LINK TO KNOW WHY.
If you plan on developing cutting edge games until you are 65, this article is probably true. If you move on to more mature pursuits as you age, you can keep up with the younglings.
But, the money part is very true. Software development is not a high-paying job anymore unless you are a “rock star” game developer. But, the same skills and talents can lead into system administration or information security and you’ll be able to find decent work for life...as long as you keep those skills and technologies current. Get stagnant and you become a “Netware guru in a MS Server world”. Been there. Did that. :(
English majors who natively speak English will still be asking "would you like fries with that".
These days you can’t really stay in middle management in your 50’s and its getting very hard to stay in middle management in your 40’s. You have to move up or out to form your own business.
Well, $65 games are pretty much a dead end as it takes millions in research alone. (I used to work for Rockstar as an intern years ago), but just like in business, if you are 40 plus you should be able to head your own department. My brother’s pal used to work for EA and from what he told me, they pay sh*t (less than 12/hr on texture rendition as an example) and the only reason why dudes work for EA is the culture. After you hit 30, you are pretty much ostracized.
yawn. the quantnet people are a good bunch. FE is a fad.
B. Excellent pay for new bachelors degree grads.
C. A career dead-end.
With A and B, who cares about C? I don't buy the early exit theory.
Plus, software engineering is always best as augmentation to something else.
Such as an accountant that can build reports and extracts is way better than one who has to write a specification to be developed after long meetings.
Getting personal. I'm that guy above, I'm 60. I have more offers for jobs and projects than ever before.
My son in law, with art training, not even a degree; is in high demand in California. However, he is relied on to go into the server room and troubleshoot issues; as well as render a tour through a virtual refinery.
If he wants, he can do this indefinitely.
That’s what I meant by “more mature pursuits”. You can’t be a game developer at age 40. You need to be doing something boring like databases, industrial apps, or analysis long before then.
As for running your own department, you aren’t going to do that in today’s world if you are a white male.
Written by someone with no experience in the industry.
I write software for a living, and have been doing it for over 25 years- so I know a little about this.
If you want a young college grad designing your embedded systems controllers for your hardware inside an F-15 or a railroad signalling system or some battleship hardware then be prepared to watch a lot of expensive hardware crash and burn and melt
I used to worry all the time that younger and less expensive kids fresh out of school would replace me, but then I get hired all the time now to fix their mistakes, often having to re-write their stuff from scratch...
You don’t know what experience is until you get some.
I am working on some software right now that had a young kid wth 5 years experience as the ‘system architect’ (the lead designer) Once I figure out what they WANTED to do I will be able to fix it all. It is a mess, and it is what the government is paying $millions for, to sort out the foreclosure mess.
It all looks like it was written by a beginner.
“As for running your own department, you arent going to do that in todays world if you are a white male.”
LOl roger that. I still remember the time I was answering to management in India and his name was Poondang.
Maybe he wanted to be something else.
I have been in IT (DP as we called it back then) since 1977 — I am in my 50s and my field is begging for people with a good solid software background who can do technical management.
I agree a pure coder is passe — I can get a roomful of programmers for $20 an hour. Getting someone to tell them what needs to be done and in what order: there’s the rub.
Connecting problems to technology — especially before the problem is even known — that won’t go away for quite some time.
Of course it is up to the individual to stay up on what is happening and keep their toolkit “sharp.” I’ll always be hands-on” but that lets me know how to keep all the hands productive.
The only reason software engineers are considered overpriced past 40 is the outsourcing of coding work. Yet the debugging is often an American pursuit, given the mediocre quality of international coders.
Youngest is a Comp. Sci. major, looking at Software Engineering. I’ll have to send him a link to the article, then let him read these comments when he gets home for the summer.
Yeah, let’s hate on English majors! They’re stupid!
After all, the study of language and literature only develops reading, writing, and analytical skills, that’s all. Just the skills you need for just about anything — including science.
Most people don’t know it, but lots of doctors — good ones — were English majors. Similar analytical skill sets needed to succeed.
One of the problems I see in “keeping up to date” in software is that much of what is recently deemed as “progress” is nothing more than some PhD candidate’s re-hash of stuff we had before.
How many languages used today could we eliminate... if we just told the people who whined about the non-C/C++ syntax of Lisp and Smalltalk to STFU and get to work? It appears to my curmudgeonly eyes that most modern interpreted languages are just as re-hash of Lisp or ST-80.
Further, none of the “innovations” in software recently are addressing the most expensive and embarrassing elephant in the room: Security, and by extension, reliability. Everyone wants to address issues like rapid deployment, reusability, etc, but no one wants to address security from the metal upwards - at least, no one has since MULTICS.
I agree that keeping one’s skills up to date is a necessary part of being a professional. However, in software, I assert that much of this effort is being sunk into bottomless pits of irrelevance.
Others got into programming, etc.
However, when it comes to drafting de novo instructions about how to do things, or how they must or should be done, or regulations with the force of law (meaning 10 to 16, or 16 to 21 years with $100,000 fines), that's a different situation and you rarely find systems engineers or English majors doing either.
That's a field where you have to have native talent and the good (or bad) luck to find yourself in line to do that sort of writing and study.
It's not something you can do until you're 60 ~ or even 40 ~ eyesight problems get in the way, or, as Tony Wiener so aptly demonstrated, you can just go nuts!
So there's a career giving you maybe 15 years, top, to do the hard work, and maybe another 10 as an "editor" or manager. Whatever you are going to do you will do in that narrow gap in life.
Probably more long term work available to English majors but no one hands over power like that to any of them.
I don’t know what to think of this. I was a software developer; now I’m a database/data analyst; and, I’m a mid-50’s person with an English degree. I’m so confused.
So India is now importing Koreans!
You are missing something huge if you think you need to put in effort to get a degree in English. Getting a degree in English proves nothing. They may become doctors, but that is only because the system is set up in such a way that you can waste your time to get any degree while you accumulate pre-med credits before you apply to med school. Getting a degree in English is the path of least resistance. The system was set up this way to encourage more women to get college degrees.
Compiled ones, too. You may have heard of Greenspun's Tenth Rule:
Any sufficiently complicated C or Fortran program contains an ad hoc, informally-specified, bug-ridden, slow implementation of half of Common Lisp.
I believe it was C.A.R. (Tony) Hoare who once said,
“Algol was a significant improvement over most of its successors.”
I encourage everyone to believe this nonsense. I am well over 40 years old, but I get about 6 to 12 emails a week from recruiters BEGGING me to at least TALK to them.
I am utterly, madly employable.
I stay current, of course.
But, everyone: Please believe this article. The fewer people in the field, the more $ can command!
Like you say, more projects, more contacts from would-be employers, than EVER.
Coders are a dime a dozen. A Software Engineer, however, is worth his weight in gold.
“You are missing something huge if you think you need to put in effort to get a degree in English. Getting a degree in English proves nothing. “
Your statement may be true now (and applying to most other degrees, by the way), but it wasn’t always so. And, it depends on where you acquired it. There are still some schools that give away nothing.
And as far as deployment? Hell, squirt, move over and let daddy do it for ya.
I now realize that the first two or three jobs I had out of college, were charity.
“They may become doctors, but that is only because the system is set up in such a way that you can waste your time to get any degree while you accumulate pre-med credits before you apply to med school.”
Yeah, um, you were clearly not an English major. Because that sentence reads like something out of Michelle Obama’s Princeton honors thesis. To wit, unparseable. I have no idea what you’re talking about and neither does anyone else.
English majors must demonstrate proficiency in composition, which most people can’t do (see your first paragraph predicate); grammar, which most people can’t master (ibid); and a foreign language, either a classic like ancient Latin or Greek, or a modern.
And Latin is more difficult than calculus. Ask anyone who’s taken both.
This is all in addition to reading the best thoughts from the best minds Western civilization has produced.
P.S., the real “path of least resistance” is to mock something you can’t do.
Ping for later. Great discussion.
No need. This is a message board, not an article to be published. So there are bound to be errors, especially when you change the sentence and do not bother with editing.
In any case, you do not need a college degree to learn how to compose a message. That knowledge can be imparted in middle school.
I'm 63, and I'm also going strong in software. I design and program embedded microcontrollers in special purpose instrumentation. I do the electronics design, printed circuit layout, and the software for those devices. The prototype devices are generally made in my basement machine shop. I then write the documentation and take the photographs for inclusion in those manuscripts.
There are few people these days who know software right down to the register level and know how to interface with custom hardware. I find that I am in more demand as time passes.
I don't do Java or web stuff. I leave that to the kids who don't know an ADC from a toad stool.
Yep, us old farts are pretty well positioned to stay as long as we want.
I’m 61, doing Software QA for 23 years and don’t expect a slowdown until code is written perfectly the first time.
Oh, now isn't that the truth! Mother Nature sure does cling to those hidden flaws!
“In any case, you do not need a college degree to learn how to compose a message. That knowledge can be imparted in middle school.”
Middle school doesn’t go beyond simple compound sentence structure. But when you’ve completed an English degree, however, you can juggle multiple subordinate clauses.
A simple sentence is one thought; a compound-complex sentence is one thought giving rise to others. Learning to write is learning to think. That’s why it’s so important to study English. When you’ve learned to think, you can pursue anything you want. Like medicine. Or law. Or string theory.
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