Sunday, August 6, 2017

But what about... the problem with the tech industry

Over the process of attempting to secure another full-time position in the technology field I've reached an impasse of 'no return' considerations. Online and paper job applications are sent out, sixty to a hundred at a time (over the course of a couple of weeks), and there are replies. The phone screen, the phone interview, the in-person interview, the committee interview, the HR interview, the phone calls with status inquiry, the final interviews with the manager, the weeks of waiting with no response, I've seen and done it all. Several times over. And yet, I've not received any offers to my liking. Why would I want to work for a company that mistreats me during the interview? Yes, this has happened. However, the most common phrase I've heard during interviews is, "But what about..."  Fill in the blank.

It could be anything.  And this, in my opinion, is the problem with the tech field. There's always something else. So you're an expert at PHP, or writing Javascript. So what?

What about CakePHP and Zend, and Elastic Beanstalk, and Bamboo, and CodeIgnite, and Perl, and Python, and C++ and Informatica, and Unit Tests in C? Mulesoft? You can literally go on forever with endless flavors of technology as components (and their subcomponents). Platforms, code languages, stack varieties, specializations... Are you an expert in VOIP and subnets? How about traffic masking, or sub-routing IP tasks through a LAN? Are you able to generate visual data with R? What are some alternatives to database replication? Splunk? What is your experience with high-traffic, forward facing dynamic pages that are based on transactional frameworks?   How about consumer-based technology, e-Commerce? Re-clustering of a Virtual HPC stack? What about SDKs? Are you an expert with Java? What about Mobile technology? Know how to write in responsive design? Experience with Machine Learning? How about Cocoa? Digital image optimization and the Adobe Suite? Have you performed a RAID recently? Drupal? Wordpress? Dealing with clients? Our company is very stressful, how can I be sure you are able to deal with this? Writing authentication modules with LDAP? Federations? Editing CPP files? Can you provide database snapshots? AWS, Virtual Machines, Akamai, NodeJS, Load balancer performance tuning... Shall I keep going? Docker, Chef, Puppet, stacktrace, udap... Salt...

Let's say you can do all of this. Great. And... you have experience with all of it. Still you're left with a potential response of, "But what about..." And you're expected to not laugh. I actually created a meme recently but removed it from the Internet for fear it was too risqué. It was a photo of Albert Einstein with the caption, "We regret to inform you we have selected another, more qualified candidate. We were looking for someone with more experience with Amazon Web Services." Oh! The irony...

No one can know everything. It's a virtue to admit you know nothing at all. And yet, in the tech world you are expected to have experience with and know everything about everything. It's simply unrealistic.

How are you to gain experience with everything if your past positions were limited in any way? Surely you're looking for a new opportunity for some sort of progressively-tinged reason?

Gone are the days a man can put on his best suit, get a shoe shine and walk into a proper office building with a resume and receive a job offer the next day. We're in the age of information overload and it's going out of control at an alarming rate.  Notice how fast the Internet is now? The speed has increased in the past year alone. Wait, there's something faster than dial-up? ...Just kidding. Still, how about those sorting algorithms? Are they working for you to find any small thing you might want on the Internet? And the sheer amount of content? It's mind boggling and unnatural. Nothing seems special anymore, but I believe this assertion is incorrect. There are still special things out there, but you must work to uncover them, in your psyche and in your natural life. Peace and serenity come from within.

I'm not sure if I will be able to land another job in technology and it seems as though I may not be able to, but I won't lose any sleep over it. I've been there and seen it, at a high level and from various angles and contextual involvements. Too many hands in the kitchen and nothing gets done. Incomplete instructions yield poor results. Often times in tech you'll hear something along the lines of, "We want to use this new software but we're not really sure what it is or how it's going to work or anything about it all really, but I want you to figure everything out about it and present a report, so we can potentially implement it." I'd like to include a metaphor that likens ordering a sandwich at a deli with software management, but I'll skip it and summarize my thoughts.

Automation is taking over. The necessity of a back-end web developer may no longer exist in the space of a few years. At least their vitality will have depleted. The Internet may reach a state of diminishing returns wherein all content is so heavily automated we won't need people to rearrange any back-end stuff on any web application anymore. We will be forced to ask ourselves, "What do I really want to consume via the Internet?" and will have to act accordingly, or be subject to the "mind control" tactics of large corporations to color our digital existence.

The answer to a 'True or False' question is not subjective, so long as it's already written into memory. Where probability is concerned it's not much for Math.

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