Friday, May 01, 2009

Tech Surfing, USA!

Sorry....thinking about the title got me to thinking of old 60's beach songs. Anyway...

Being jobless for the last month put me into a lot of interview cycles. And, as is the wont, I was asked a lot of leading questions about my experience. How much do I know about Team Foundation Server? SQL Server 2008? WCF?

One can always buffalo and claim experience when the truth is that very few have a great amount of experience in any of these things. I opted for the truth - "heard about 'em, read about 'em - and I'll learn 'em when it's needed".

IMHO, anyone who claims expertise in anything in the development world with a shelf life of less that 2 years or so is a liar. Let's be honest here - a serious development project takes months of planning and requirements gathering. Serious and/or experienced developers don't bet the farm on brand-new technologies. They just don't unless they have really gullible clients.

So...the project kicks off and is projected to last 6-9 months (an IT average - look it up - used to be 18 months). During that time the dev team is doing their best to implement functionality using what they already know, right? So where does the new stuff come in? That's shit they play with at home.

SQL Server 2008? Gimme a break. Good DBAs don't mess with infrastructure without a compelling need. Sure, they might standup a SQL 2005 or 2008 database for a limited project but the business will likely be run on SQL Server 2000 ... maybe 2005.

TFS is great. From a test perspective it's nirvana in that you can create and manage tests within a development project. And it supplants VSS - a longtime standard. So maybe it has more traction in newer projects.

WCF? Everyone wants it, no one seems to really know it. It has reinvigorated looks into SOA architecture but we've had that since Web Services and SOAP and WSDL and all that junk came around in 2000.

The botton-line point I am making is that a good skills assessment should be made on what was hot 3 years ago because those are the only technologies that anyone is going to have any real-world experience with.

I am proudly ignorant of F#, cloud computing,and other current and future paradigms. Ask me again 3 years from now.

1 comment:

Andrew MacNeill said...

Interesting post, John.

Having jumped into an ASP.Net contract almost a year ago, I can sympathize with some of your thoughts - although I was surprised to find a lot of "old-school" approaches being used on the project. The saving grace for me was that I "got data" (their words) and understood exactly what they wanted to do.

That's obviously something from real database experience.

I did go for the truth as well - I've worked on a DotNet projects, I manage a cross-platform product, but what they were asking for, I would be learning some of the stuff but I generally understood what they were after.

That said, I would still strongly recommend SQL 2008 over 2005 - as a developer tool, but as an overall system.