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Has the Glory Gone Out of Working In IT? 623

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the good-old-days dept.
An anonymous reader writes to wonder if the glory has gone out of IT. One blogger remembered his first impression upon entering a profession in IT that made it seem like the place to be, with a new shiny around every corner. What experiences have others had? Has a more pervasive technical culture forced our IT gurus into obsolescence?
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Has the Glory Gone Out of Working In IT?

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  • huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:26PM (#29569343)
    Glory in IT? If that was the case I'd get more women I think. I think any glory you thought there use to be is simply delusions on your part. People don't work in IT for the glory. People rarely do anything for glory.
    • Re:huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jimbolauski (882977) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:34PM (#29569487) Journal
      I can never remember a time when shit hits the fan and I'm able to keep down time to a minimum and getting glory, just gripes about down time. IT never has glory because nobody cares about IT until something goes wrong then it's the IT guys fault, and every second of down time is because of their incompetence.
      • Re:huh? (Score:5, Funny)

        by Rei (128717) on Monday September 28, 2009 @02:13PM (#29570235) Homepage

        Ain't that the truth. When I first started work here, I thought it'd be really exciting, a way to be part of something big. But every day, it's just the same, "Where's my Death Ray command server?" this, "My patience grows thin!" that, "If I don't have my Death Ray command server up by midnight, I shall unleash my pretties upon you!", and on and on. Well, gee, Mr. Big Shot, perhaps if you didn't build the server room deep inside a freaking ACTIVE VOLCANO, perhaps we wouldn't have so many overheating issues.

        There's just no respect in this industry.

    • Re:huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid.gmail@com> on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:37PM (#29569533) Homepage Journal
      Was coming here to say pretty much the same thing. If we wanted glory, we'd have become firefighters or something. We like fixing problems, for the most part.
      • Re:huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by poetmatt (793785) on Monday September 28, 2009 @02:02PM (#29570067) Journal

        Agreed. IT is not a glory field, it's the bastard child of customer service (in the eyes of those who don't understand it). Basically because everyone needs it, nobody understands it, and it's usually undervalued.

        • Confusing IT (Score:4, Interesting)

          by mcrbids (148650) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:59PM (#29576575) Journal

          The glory of IT is not in IT, but in software engineering. IT is the dark, smelly, hairy underbelly of computing technology. Software engineering is the light, bright, wonderful topside, basking in sunshine and wonder.

          IT personnel are responsible for keeping crappy, obsolete, virus-laden servers working without enough money to get anything better. Any money spent on IT is considered an expense. "Good" IT consists of finding the cheapest off-the-shelf software to sorta do the job.

          Software engineers are given the challenge of a problem to solve, and the money and time to do it in. Good software engineering consists of designing the most elegant technical architecture to solve the problem.

          IT personnel are regularly yelled at as if they were barely more valuable than a "click next to install package" monkey because that's often what they are. Even when personally far more capable, the job only requires you to "click next" when installing somebody else's software, perform backups, and set passwords. IT personnel are relegated to the back store room and not allowed to see anybody, except accidentally on the bus on the way to the local Carl's Jr.

          Software engineers regularly meet with executives in fancy boardrooms with glass tables. They are there to design quality solutions that will be used by thousands or millions. They are treated with accord, respect, and often, mild deference. Lunch is often provided by hired caterers at design meetings.

          No matter how "senior" you are in IT, you are easily replaceable by anybody with the requisite MCSE certificate.

          There are never enough qualified software engineers - they are pretty much always in high demand and paid to match. When software engineers work in a field, they quickly acquire domain expertise that's almost impossible to replace.

          People who confuse IT and Software Engineering often wind up working in the wrong field. Put in the time to become a software engineer, and you won't ever regret it. Cram through your MCSE or CCNA, and become one of the faceless droids. (Yay! I know what an MSI file is! I can calculate a subnet!)

      • Re:huh? (Score:5, Informative)

        by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday September 28, 2009 @02:11PM (#29570213) Homepage Journal
        "Was coming here to say pretty much the same thing. If we wanted glory, we'd have become firefighters or something. We like fixing problems, for the most part."

        Hell, I'm only here for the money!!

        That's the ONLY reason I'm at any job whatsoever, it is nothing more than a means to an end...the end being my being able to live the lifestyle I wish. The job does nothing more than enable to me to do as I please.

        If I won the lottery tomorrow, I'd not even bother coming back here to pack anything up.

        Work for glory? I can't even fathom the concept...

        • Re:huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by PIBM (588930) on Monday September 28, 2009 @02:17PM (#29570315) Homepage

          If you'd find something you like doing, you could end up having fun at your job, and kill 2 birds with one stone, maybe ? At least, that's what the IT field is for me!

          • Re:huh? (Score:5, Funny)

            by mandark1967 (630856) on Monday September 28, 2009 @03:01PM (#29571127) Homepage Journal

            If you'd find something you like doing, you could end up having fun at your job...

            I tried that but "my" idea of "Condom Test Driver" and the Trojan corporation's version of "Condom Test Driver" didn't synch...now I repair computers

          • Re:huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday September 28, 2009 @03:01PM (#29571143) Homepage Journal
            "If you'd find something you like doing, you could end up having fun at your job, and kill 2 birds with one stone, maybe ? At least, that's what the IT field is for me!"

            Oh don't get me wrong, it isn't like this is a drudge or anything, I like tinkering around with computers and such, I do it some in my free time, but, if I were independently wealthy, no, I'd NEVER work again. I'd do what interests me, it would surely involve some computer geek activities,but, honestly, I found out a year or so ago when I had 7 months off between contracts. My day generally involved, getting up, walking the dog...hitting the gym for a couple hours, then getting on my motorcycle, and riding around New Orleans all day, exploring and finding fun things to do. At the end of the day, I'd meet somewhere with friends getting off work for a few beers, wash, rinse repeat.

            I would have no problem doing that for the rest of my life, while, of course, taking vacations off to travel somewhere caribbean to a beach on occasion.

            No, I learned there, that I could easily occupy myself with travelling, having fun in NOLA, doing things with friends and chasing women the rest of my days, and NEVER miss a day of work again if I were to get such an opportunity.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Rei (128717)

            If you'd find something you like doing, you could end up having fun at your job, and kill 2 birds with one stone, maybe ?

            So you're suggesting that they work on improving control software for a poultry slaughterhouse? I'm confused.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Yup, agreed, like the rest :D

        Been in IT for almost 15 years now, and I never recall there being glory. Maybe in the 60s or something - but I doubt it.
        I like to fix stuff. I don't like people. I like computers. I didn't do it for glory - I did it for a living, and for the fun of playing with new tech years before most people even hear of it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tsm_sf (545316)
          There was a period of time, between '95 and '99, when the IT industry (especially web related crap) was actually pretty sexy. It ended about the same time the craigslist used Ducati listings peaked, for some reason.
    • Re:huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:38PM (#29569559) Homepage Journal

      According to this article [newscientist.com] the only problem an IT guy should have getting laid is the fact that an 80 hour work week doesn't leave much time for anything but work.

      And, women don't go for "glorious" guys, they go for tall, rich, funny men. Usually they'll settle for one of the three.

      • Re:huh? (Score:5, Funny)

        by eln (21727) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:47PM (#29569761) Homepage
        Sweet, I KNEW spending all of my money on rubber chickens and platform shoes would be a wise investment!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lord Ender (156273)

        If you regularly work more than 40 hours, you are incompetent. A job which demands you to work "extra" except in cases of rare emergency is a job anyone with any competence will leave.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hojima (1228978)

      Well, I think by glory he means prestige. And quite frankly, it has gone out, and greed/incompetence has taken care of that. There was once a time where being a police man was a title of privilege and respect. Now the government has pushed laws that turn them into fat, power greedy (at the expense of civil liberties), money hungry (ticket/fine scams and other dirty practices) pigs. With IT, the brass has made them into dispensable scapegoats that slave away for meager salaries with the fear of being replace

      • Re:huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gad_zuki! (70830) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:59PM (#29570011)

        >There was once a time where being a police man was a title of privilege and respect. Now the government has pushed laws that turn them into fat, power greedy (at the expense of civil liberties),

        You are suffering from the fallacy of idealizing the past. Ironically, a modern police officer is more professional, better educated, and better paid than his past peers. Something tells me youve never read about law enforcement in NYC in the 1800's.

      • Re:huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by schon (31600) on Monday September 28, 2009 @02:16PM (#29570281)

        With IT, the brass has made them into dispensable scapegoats that slave away for meager salaries with the fear of being replaced in a heartbeat.

        And who is responsible for that?

        Think about it: who has convinced employers that IT people don't need to know anything about computing - they just push buttons.. any monkey could do that! You don't need someone who actually understands what the computer is doing, the three "R"s are all they need to know!

        "Brass" hears all this from some marketing idiot, sees that everything is just pushing buttons on a GUI, and decides that all their IT guys are overpaid who are deserve blame when something breaks.

        The problem is MS, for making non-IT people think that users should be the same thing as administrators.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Now the government has pushed laws that turn them into fat, power greedy (at the expense of civil liberties), money hungry (ticket/fine scams and other dirty practices) pigs

        Oh come on... how many police officers do you know? You're basing this on a stereotype - and like most stereotypes there is an element of truth to it, but that's hardly the whole picture; and it's certainly not accurately representative of the whole.

    • Re:huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:44PM (#29569659)
      Seriously -- I work in IT because it is stable work, it's something I can stand doing, and I make enough scratch to get all my bills paid and live fairly comfortably. I was never aware of there being anything even resembling 'glory' associated with IT.
      • Re:huh? (Score:5, Funny)

        by sleigher (961421) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:59PM (#29570015)
        No Way! When i pulled that bad drive from the 3140c, and replaced it with the replacement that had arrived this morning, the clouds overhead parted as the Valkyries sang and I rose to my rightful place, occupying the throne of Odin. As the gods before me gasped and awed at my most masterful replacement and saving of the data, 72 virgins were laid before me and I now rule in GLORY!!!!
        • Re:huh? (Score:4, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 28, 2009 @02:54PM (#29571017)

          ... 72 virgins were laid before me ...

          So you got promoted as head of IT with 72 of your fellow workers now reporting to you?

        • Re:huh? (Score:5, Funny)

          by sorak (246725) on Monday September 28, 2009 @03:33PM (#29571725)

          No Way! When i pulled that bad drive from the 3140c, and replaced it with the replacement that had arrived this morning, the clouds overhead parted as the Valkyries sang and I rose to my rightful place, occupying the throne of Odin. As the gods before me gasped and awed at my most masterful replacement and saving of the data, 72 virgins were laid before me and I now rule in GLORY!!!!

          So, 72 of your coworkers were impressed by your l33t $k!llz. Stop showboating about it, already.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Without going into an endless dissertation of how technology developments 1.) happen, 2.) have their sweet spot (golden years) then 3.) become pedestrian in nature, yes. The IT party's been long over. If you've got a solid rep, been in the business for a while and stay ahead of the curves (which implies you still enjoy the challenges to some degree) you'll likely be able to see a current IT career out to your "retirement". If you're just starting or under the age of thirty run quickly another way. I mean R

  • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:28PM (#29569377) Homepage Journal

    The day we traded the guru individualist programmer doing arcane tweaks inspired by the architecture of the machine, for the team in India writing on spec using no memory or speed optimization whatsoever.

    • by epiphani (254981) <epiphani.dal@net> on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:32PM (#29569449)

      Simpler than that: when we allowed project managers to think they actually were qualified to manage projects.

    • Those arcane tweaks inspired by machine architecture are still here, as long as you're going OS kernel coding or low-level performance-oriented stuff.

    • The day we traded the guru individualist programmer doing arcane tweak

      Why should we want a individualist programmer doing arcane tweaks? That sort of thing often seems to end up being an unmanageable mess somewhere down the road. I'd much rather that things be done in a standard and easy-to-manage way, especially given how overpowered modern machines are for what most of us use them for.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by russotto (537200)

        Why should we want a individualist programmer doing arcane tweaks? That sort of thing often seems to end up being an unmanageable mess somewhere down the road.

        Because it works today. It'll even work tomorrow.

        I'd much rather that things be done in a standard and easy-to-manage way,

        Your "standard easy-to-manage way" will quickly grow into a bloated behemoth. It will barely work even today. By tomorrow, it will have collapsed under its own bloatedness, the "standard" will have been replaced with the new "s

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Actually, it's ever since the CEO started to get computer advice from a salesman instead of his IT staff. The CEO then had to use his position to order the IT staff to implement bad software/hardware.

      This made CEOs look bad so they created the CIO position to off-load bad decision making and be able to fire the CIO when the shit hit the fan.

      In the end, the IT staff is undervalued, demoralized and stressed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by InlawBiker (1124825)
      It seemed "glorious" when I was 15 and learning about technology was exciting because everything was new and cool. After you do it for living you realize it's all about business objectives and money. 25 years later though, the learning part is still pretty damn cool.
  • Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:29PM (#29569391)

    To be honest, I don't even understand what question is being asked.

    What does he/she mean by "glory"?

    And a "new shiny" what? "around every corner"?

  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kell Bengal (711123) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:30PM (#29569397)
    Since when was IT prestigious? It once used to be the hot new industry where people made lots of money, but it was never 'sexy'. Lucrative, not glorious. And now it's not even that, so much.
  • by lbalbalba (526209) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:31PM (#29569413)
    Just like the proud, self-made carpenter, who used to do everything himself by hand, has to install pre-fab kitchen's in a day these days (and never mind how it's done, just make sure that it's installed in a single day), yes, the 'glory' has gone out of IT for *most* (if not *all*) people in IT these days. It might still be a *fun* job, because you get to 'play' with computers all day, but most of the glory has been lost to 'professionalism'.
    • by dtougas (152278) <damien AT tougas DOT net> on Monday September 28, 2009 @02:23PM (#29570427) Homepage

      These days, I feel like a cabinet maker working in home depot. I have a bunch of skills that are not being utilized because the majority of the work happening (at least where I work anyways) has shifted from creating custom solutions to installing, maintaining, and supporting 3rd party applications. My job satisfaction is eroding. While I used to take pride in creating stable, elegant solutions to complicated problems, I now spend most of my time fighting with messy integrations.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I dunno. Around here, if you have money, you likely had your cabinetry done by Amish. Done by hand, great amount of pride in workmanship, yet somehow not too much more expensive than Home Depot.

  • Glory? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sir_Dill (218371) <slashdotNO@SPAMzachula.com> on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:31PM (#29569417) Homepage
    Has there ever been glory in IT?

    R&D and MIT media lab aside ( I wouldn't call that sort of thing IT even though there is some overlap)

    When I hear IT I think of my corporate support staff.

    As far as I am concerned there has never been any glory in that thankless job.

    I mean how glorious can a job be where the only recognition you'll get is when you screw something up?

    When you are good at your job in IT nobody notices you since the goal of most IT shops is to be transparent to the user....

    • by afidel (530433)
      If you are doing your job you should be doing more than not getting in the businesses way, you should be leading the company to higher efficiencies. Trust me my IT group gets recognition from the CEO on down, but we are doing industry leading decision support solutions with a very small staff. I wouldn't call it glory, more like rightly deserved recognition for the contribution we make to the company.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jeremyp (130771)

      Has there ever been glory in IT?

      No.

      I've been working in IT for even longer than my low 6 digit id would suggest and I can say that for all but a small group of elite or lucky people, IT has always been a dreary grind of database access code, support calls, and test scripts.

      Even in the 70's when you had the Xerox PARC team of about 50 people, they were outnumbered thousands of times over by all the people writing non Y2K compliant accounting systems in COBOL.

  • Glory? (Score:5, Funny)

    by kenh (9056) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:32PM (#29569451) Homepage Journal
    The Glory of working in IT peaked with the release of the movie "Office Space."
  • When? I've been in IT, as a programmer, since 93. Never saw any Glory. Except down to the truck stop south of town, where she was working.

  • a long time ago (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:34PM (#29569475)

    Maybe if you were a UNIVAC technician, that was pretty cool. But in my lifetime I can't recall IT ever being a "glorious" occupation. Sure, there are jobs in the broader tech industry that might have that mythologized element. In the 70s and 80s, you've got Woz in a garage as sort of the canonical example. But IT still wasn't glorious in that era. The IT people weren't Woz; they were mainly at places like IBM, servicing thousands of mainframes and minicomputers. There was not an aura of glory around that job, even if it paid well and may have been interesting.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      Maybe if you were a UNIVAC technician, that was pretty cool

      UNIVAC is a year older than I am, and nerds were NEVER considered "cool" until normal people started using PCs.

  • Glory? Whats that? (Score:2, Informative)

    by ice666 (601599)
    I work as a net/server admin and we are kinda like the red-headed step child of the company. No one notices us when everything is working, but as soon as something goes down... Anyone else feel this way? And sorry if i offend any red-heads out there who also may or may not be a step child.
  • Depending on what the submitter means by "IT", there is still fun to be had.

    I've been doing linux kernel customization and support for the past ten years. There's still lots of shiny stuff going on, to the point where it's basically impossible to keep up with everything.

    On the other hand, if by IT you mean basic infrastructure support for corporate operations, that may be a different story.

  • new vs old (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArsonSmith (13997) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:35PM (#29569509) Journal

    When I was new, everything seemed new and shiny.

    Now that I'm old, everything seems old and dull.

  • IT is more akin to a boring ubiquitous commodity than a gee-whiz technological marvel.

    These days we're more like car mechanics and plumbers than 'gurus'.

  • IT is a miserable hell-hole that makes the very task of getting out of bed in the AM a chore.
  • by Anonymusing (1450747) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:37PM (#29569547)

    I started programming and repairing computers in the 70s. There was a certain coolness to knowing things that other people didn't know, almost as if you possessed magical powers. Modems? BBSs? Networking? A printer? You can recover a file off my floppy disk? YOU ARE A GOD, SIR, and you just saved my ass.

    No longer. Everybody knows this stuff, or at least they pretend to know it, enough to be dangerous. Or else it's been supplanted. E.g. nobody cares that I wired my house for gigabit Ethernet; they just want to know how to jump on my WiFi access point. 802.11b/g/n/w/t/f is really not important. Need to recover a file? Oh yeah, Norton came with my computer.

    It's like the photography industry, which barely resembles the industry of 20 years ago because everyone has a fancy digital camera now and can take better pics than they could back then. Or you can hop on iStockPhoto.com or sxc.hu and get cheap/free stock photos that used to be really expensive. Or the graphic design industry: now every "hack with a Mac" (or a PC) can "do" graphic design, no special skills required.

    The trick is to be so good at problem solving (or camera angles/lighting/composing, or graphic style) that people still recognize you as a wizard. I mean in the I.T. repair sense, not the 6d+3 sense. This requires creativity, and not everybody has that. If you don't, but you need that feeling of recognition, then you need to either play a lot more WoW or find a new field/niche.

    • by cowscows (103644) on Monday September 28, 2009 @02:56PM (#29571049) Journal

      I'd actually take your theory further, to just about any industry that involves creating stuff. One of the realities of life is that just about anything worth doing requires a lot of work. And a lot of that work is dull and repetitive. For every creative superstar, there's usually a small army of grunts doing a whole bunch of groundwork.

      For every gravity-defying glass and titanium museum that an architect dreams up, there's a bunch of people sitting at a computer drawing lines all day. Someone does hundreds of calculations to make sure it doesn't fall down. Someone has to pick out all the doorknobs. Someone has to sand all the gyp board walls. Despite all the heavy machinery available, a bunch of guys get stuck digging holes with shovels and then dumping buckets of concrete into them.

      Until you nerds start building some awesome robots, the majority of the human race is going to be stuck doing menial tasks instead of creative work, if for no other reason than it has to be done by someone.

  • Of course it has (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blunte (183182) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:38PM (#29569553)

    Now that users can do almost anything (simple) on a computer or even their phone, they now expect that anything they can imagine (vaguely, inarticulately, even impossibly) should be easy to do.

    Unless you're at one of the rare shops that's well funded and not directly dealing with users, you will likely be in a no-win position.

    Deliver a flawless system and you go unnoticed. Instead, you get asked "can it do this ?"

    Or worse and most likely, you step into a position with an existing product that you have to continue development of. It will be behind schedule, over budget, and a complete architectural disaster. What's more, it won't match what the users need because nobody bothered to dig deeply to find out what the users really needed (as opposed to what they initially said they wanted - there's a huge difference).

    Am I bitter, yes. I'd rather be a lawyer. At least then I'd still be getting rich doing crap work.

  • People associate glory with things like winning a battle (in the old days) or winning a champion (nowadays).
    People DON'T associate glory with things like having 2 routers able to ping each other or displaying some graphics on a computer screen.
  • by mseeger (40923)
    The only way to bring glory into your daily job is to do it yourself. No work environment does bring the glory. If it should, it would attract such people, that any glory would be estinguished.... OOooops, that's what happend to the IT.

    CU, Martin
  • by Mr. Firewall (578517) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:39PM (#29569591) Homepage

    It was fun until...

    • HR started getting involved in hiring decisions.
    • they stopped promoting from within for lower-level management, and started hiring clueless outsiders who didn't know a bit from a byte.
    • Micro$oft started becoming dominant in the networking space.
    • you didn't need a damn rinkydink-electrician's license just to string network cable.
    • my idiot boss outlawed all use of Firefox for "security" reasons.
    • IT decisions, affecting those of us who have to make that crap actually WORK, are made on the golf course without ever asking the worker bees what they think.
    • Your additional pithy comments here....
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jimmyfrank (1106681)
      * HR started getting involved in hiring decisions. * they stopped promoting from within for lower-level management, and started hiring clueless outsiders who didn't know a bit from a byte. * my idiot boss outlawed all use of Firefox for "security" reasons. * IT decisions, affecting those of us who have to make that crap actually WORK, are made on the golf course without ever asking the worker bees what they think. wait...do we work at the same place?
  • Glory? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rnturn (11092) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:39PM (#29569593)

    I'm not sure about the glory but the fun of working in IT is getting pretty rare. There are too darned many pointy hair bosses who think they've got high-powered technical chops because they read (and partially understood) a few articles in an in-flight magazine who then get back into the office and turn things upside down for no apparent reason.

  • by snarfies (115214) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:41PM (#29569617) Homepage

    I've been hard-working member of an IT staff for a while now, and I do sometime feel as though all the glory has been sucked out of a "glory hole" of some sort.

    We really should have a staff meeting about it. Firm action is clearly needed.

  • money (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender (156273) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:44PM (#29569665) Homepage

    We make two to four times as much money as the average American. That's enough to ensure that IT remains a respected and desirable career.

    The brief bubble period where we made millions in fake stock options was an anomaly. It was not "normal." Our careers were never really glorious, but they will remain prestigious, like those of scientists, engineers, and other skilled, well-paid professionals.

  • Glory in IT? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:44PM (#29569667)

    Give us some context regarding this "glory" that you perceive as having "gone out of IT". While I know that, prior to the dot-com bubble burst, everyone and his brother was going into IT, it's not as if (those silly Intel commercials notwithstanding) people were looking on IT folks with awe, or that most women were fighting to be with us or anything like that.

    Or, given your mention of "new shiny[s]" - perhaps what you're missing are the days when a sysadmin had unquestioned control of his domain, ran it as he pleased and didn't have to answer to any higher-ups? Those days are long gone, and are not coming back (and, frankly, let me be the first to say "good riddance").

  • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wandazulu (265281) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:47PM (#29569753)

    The glory is making something that people *want* to use, or it really honestly makes their life better, and they know it. I've done mostly back-end stuff throughout my career but I have seen email comments from users who have praised the system for making such-and-such job easier, or figuring out this big thing, or saving a lot of time, etc., and I can feel good that I had a hand in that, or I implemented that, etc.

    My kids like playing with the apps on the iPhone, especially music making and drawing pictures. I can't say how many times I've been handed the phone with a picture and my daughter beaming and going "I made that!!", with obvious joy on her face. That made me happy, and I'd think the author of the program would be happy to know how much joy s/he brought.

    That's glory right there. If you can make someone happy with what you do, honestly and truly, then it makes the TPS reports, status meetings, weekends and late night worth it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BobMcD (601576)

      I've done mostly back-end stuff throughout my career but I have seen email comments from users who have praised the system for making such-and-such job easier, or figuring out this big thing, or saving a lot of time, etc., and I can feel good that I had a hand in that, or I implemented that, etc.

      Sure your email system is hot stuff, but stop browsing your user's inboxes!!

      I kid. Well a little. Seriously, knock it off.

  • by Mr.Fork (633378) <edward.j.reddy@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:51PM (#29569849) Journal
    I've been involved with and working in IT for over almost 30 years (since my first Vic-20). This raises a lot of points on companies and the shiny - the answer is not as black-and-white. The answer is: it depends. My experience has shown there are three typical views of IT and how 'shiny' it is to the company. To find out, ask the question - Does your company treat IT in how much value they add to their organization?

    1. They view IT as a cost-centre. Run, don't walk away from companies that view their IT centres as something to be outsourced.

    2. They view IT as a necessary evil and spend only as much as necessary to keep their employees from throwing their monitors out the window. These kinds of companies understand IT is a necessary, but they don't like spending money on it. They tend to upgrade software that are SEVERAL versions behind, and your typical office PC is 4-7 years old. No shiny here - IT is dull and so is working here in that role.

    3. They view IT as a way to save money. Innovative and highly adaptable companies that change with their operating environment usually view IT as a way to improve on efficiencies, and use it to reduce costs and improve services internally and externally. These are good companies that view IT as shiny and always something to invest in. These companies also tend to be around a long time, or they always seem to make money even when times are bad. It takes money to invest in IT - badly managed companies don't have money to spend on it. These companies, from an IT and a learning perspective, are preferred. More often than nought, they also tend to dabble in Open Source - never a bad thing.

    So, when doing an interview at a company, ask the following questions:
    1. How old 'typically' are the computers in your office?
    2. What version of Microsoft and Office are you using?
    3. Does your organization view IT as a cost center or as value-added infrastructure?
    Measure these against points 1-3 for their shiny score. :)
  • by mr_josh (1001605) on Monday September 28, 2009 @02:01PM (#29570049)
    Have the self-righteous pricks who made such a mess of IT at the turn of the decade stopped thinking that their unchecked and non-methodical actions are "glorious"?
  • Glory my anus! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by orsty3001 (1377575) on Monday September 28, 2009 @02:06PM (#29570135)
    I've been in IT for 10 years now and so far I've contemplated suicide twice. I've watched my lunch break go from 1 hour to eat while you work. Taking a break now is stopping what you are doing here and go over there to explain to our accountant's cousin why she can't use Magic Jack with AOL. Keeping up with the latest and greatest technologies is a joke to everyone that's around you. Even though it's your job to understand this equipment and if we need to upgrade. All the other IT people you've met have an ego the size of VY Canis Majoris. Their life is so much better than yours even though when you hang out with them they can't afford anywhere you want to eat. Also usually their talent is watered down and forget having a conversation about anything other than computers. Finding a new job is a joke. Most online "job sites" are just phishing for resumes that have your social security number and other personal information. Any legitimate jobs have a line forming at the door of applicants. Those jobs are usually a start up that will be around until the owners' loan money runs out. If you ask if there is any room for advancement they feed you a line like "You're already on the top in that position." Meaning you are stuck where you are at until they go belly up. Any ideas your boss or whoever is over you comes up with is usually stupid. Cost cutting and other business BS has left you to complete projects that aren't going to work by impossible deadlines. You only come to work because their internet is a little faster than what you got at home. Working most of the time has cause you to lose touch with friends and some family. You find yourself like a zombie getting up everyday to go to work. You can't wait until the weekend but it takes more than 2 days to recuperate. You read this article on Slashdot and find an avenue to vent. Only to have that temporary escape rudely broken by the question "Hey dude, can you see why my PC be glitchen up?"
  • by ActusReus (1162583) on Monday September 28, 2009 @02:32PM (#29570619)

    NUMBER ONE: If anything, the pace of "new shinies" has INCREASED over the past decade. When I started out in the dot-com era, there was primarily C/C++ or Java if you were doing backend work... and Java, Perl, or ASP's if you were doing web development. The basic concept of building a web app with an MVC design was a "new shiny". There was no Github or even Sourceforge yet. Today there's a new framework or language or awesome end-user app to play with every time you turn around.

    When the anonymous blogger in the original post remembers I.T. as "the place to be", he no doubt means that in financial or marketing terms. That is, we all thought we were going to be stock-option millionaires... and with the exception of some Googlers, that delusion of the industry has been dead for almost a decade now. I.T. is not the insane gold rush that it was 10-20 years ago, but relatively speaking it's still the best paycheck you're likely to get while still being free to fuck off on Slashdot half the day.

    NUMBER TWO: There is NOT a "more pervasive technical culture" today. Having an Facebook account does not make you a web-developer, and having an iPhone doesn't make you a sysadmin. There is common perception among middle-aged and elderly people, that the younger generations are brighter or "more technical" because they carry lots of electronic gadgets and spend lots of time on social networking sites. The opposite is probably true... if anything they make people dumber. Regardless, while the number of consumer toys has grown exponentially... I would submit that percentage of society with any real technical interest or aptitude has remained constant.

  • Glory? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kenp2002 (545495) on Monday September 28, 2009 @02:44PM (#29570831) Homepage Journal

    When was there ever any glory?

    Getting screamed at by some fake-and-bake guy because his laptop doesn't work all the while bitching and yelling that "I make the fucking money here cube monkey! Fix my shit!" or lecturing us on "If you people actually made some fucking money they might send you on a golf weekend once in a while. Wait do you computer geeks even know how to golf?" Gee thank you "will not be named marketing company once located in Plymouth MN" for that experience... No wonder you went under and have 3 of your executives in jail now...

    How about the executive that needs you to scrub his PDA to make sure the wife can't figure out he's banging Stephanie in payroll all the while chatting how worthless the black hole of IT is. "Do you people do anything besides spend our money?" Gee thanks I loved spending 3 weeks with Faire Issac getting your data feeds set up so you can actually get mailer out to all your potential customers before first quarter. And you assholes still had the balls, after I worked 3 days straight sleeping in a server room, to gloat on how "if you could get your job done right you could have come golfing with us." We've been shit on as an industry from day one. What Glory? And does everyone in a suit fucking golf?

    Then there was 3 years with Lady Macbeth out in Burnsville who was so brutal and wicked I can't evne put into print what he issues were... all the while complaining that a staff of 8 could only field 3200 calls a day... Simple math:

    60 minutes in an hour. 8 hours = 480 total minutes

    480 * 8 = 3840 total minutes.

    3840 /3200 = 1.2 minutes a call...

    NOT FAST ENOUGH! WTF? ARE YOU BRAIN DEAD WOMAN?! Asking someone their name takes at least 20 seconds... Whatever... not that I am bitter... people complain they can't get help but then you bitch that you aren't "helping them fast enough" ... ARRRrggg... Oh well not my problem, she was more then capable of driving a 40 million a year company into a 4 million a year company before the competition bought them out and threw her 6 figure fat ass out the door...

    And after all that still having to put in the 60 hour a week grind in a server room, coding everything, administering everything, and being told by your boss that "You need to foot the bill for all these certifications, why should we pay you to help you keep your job?" MCSE, CCNA, CCIE, CNA, etc... I remember in 2000 I had to shell out $12,000 in a year of my money to "keep my job."

    The sickest thing is, in all those years, because of the nature of our work, we IT people see all of the company. No insulation. The corruption at the top all the way to the bottom. If Jeff is surfing pr0n in the warehouse or Mr. Big is surfing kiddie p0rn in his masion, IT sees it all and suffer it all too. From the top AND the bottom. It makes you not like people in general. I have 0 faith in any human walking Earth now as a result.

    I remember at one employer just running a simple

    DIR /S *.MPG
    DIR /S *.AVI

    against the personal drives due to disk space running out.

    The sheer volume of pr0n was staggering. The executives were furious. They wanted blood. I was in the conference room when they demanded to know who the top offenders were. They were going to make examples of them. I was fired on the spot when I named the top 5 offender... all sitting in the room.

    Glory my ass. Never was any, never will be any.

    Blissfully retired and anyone dumb enough to go into that field, good luck. If you want to see the worst in humanity, IT\MIS is the field to be in. I'd rather work with prison inmates then go back to that, I take honest evil over hypocritical evil any day... Glory? How about IT Shell Shock Syndrome...

  • Not glory (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jejones (115979) on Monday September 28, 2009 @02:55PM (#29571027) Journal

    I don't know whether there was ever glory in working in the computer field--but there used to be joy, and it's a lot harder to come by these days, at least in my experience.

  • by Fatal67 (244371) on Monday September 28, 2009 @03:05PM (#29571241)

    You are always in the background of any project. It's assumed you can do whatever it is they want you to do, even if it has never been done before. They will want it 6 weeks earlier than you can deliver it and 50% cheaper than you can buy it for. You are supposed to be invisible. No one thinks about how much work you have to put in to something in order to keep it up and running in a production environment. If the service fails at 3 am on a Sunday, every minute of your time will be tracked until the service is restored and you will be told how efficient you aren't and what you should try to do better next time. When the kudos are given at the next company meeting and everyone talks about all of the great things they have accomplished this year, your name is never mentioned unless you count the "Oh, and thanks to IT who.. does what they do!" mention from the CEO.

    You're the plumber. You're the TV Repair man. You're the phone guy. They only know your name when something has gone wrong and they think you can fix it. They only think you can fix it because they are fairly sure you, or someone like you, broke it to begin with.

    Welcome to I.T.
     

    • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Monday September 28, 2009 @03:30PM (#29571661) Homepage

      Actually I'd like to be treated like the plumber. Nobody thinks the plumber broke their pipes (well, not unless he installed them in the first place), but they do know that he's the one who can fix them. And they know that if they try and be a cheapskate and not pay him his full rate, or if they stand there haranguing him about how bad a job he's doing, he'll pack up his toolkit and wave good-bye, leaving them standing there ankle-deep in... stuff they'd rather not think about, and their only option will be to call another plumber who'll have just as little tolerance for their games as the first one. Because the plumber knows that, no matter how important you think you are, there's always somebody else with a stopped-up sink who won't be such a pain.

      That and both the customer and the plumber know that if the customer takes the plumber into court and complains about how the plumber didn't tell him he shouldn't dump tons of cut hair and congealed grease and crud down the drain and the plumber should've done something to keep that from causing a clog, the judge will fall out of his chair lauging, then dismiss the case with prejudice. And probably order the customer to pay the plumber's legal bills too, just to teach them not to file frivolous complaints.

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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