tisdag 22 februari 2011

What would you have wanted someone to tell you when you were in high-school?

First, I´m very aware that its been too long since I posted anything. Technically, living in internet speed, this blog is dead. To quote another blog, "its complicated". But, never mind that now.

I recently got an email from someone that wanted a speaker at our Swedish sales office. The audience is a high school class. They have studied operating systems, local networks and around 200 hours of Java. The requestor also had some idea of what we should talk about, but the chance to tell a high school class what I wished I knew when I was that age is more interesting than what he wanted. (I normally give, roughly, [well ok, thats not true, but lets pretend...] the presentation that people ask for, but he ticked me off, see next paragraph)

As I was letting the email stew a bit in my inbox, he calls me. Tells me a bit about the event and what he is expecting. So far so good. He then goes on about how he wants someone representative from our office. Makes sense. "They tell me you have someone named Tuva working there". Hold a minute. Tuva is one of my colleagues and very good at what she does. But she is a woman in an IT company. A product manager to boot. Around 10% of our dev office are women. Don't tell me you want a woman presenting because they are "representative". They are a minority. I wish it wasn't so, but don't pretend that they aren't. If you tell me "we want a woman to represent because we want to get more women into IT" I will support you 100%. But don't try to BS me, or the audience for that matter.

Now, me and Tuva will do the presentation, but we will (most likely) cover the issue of women in IT without pretending its all sunshine and ponies. Seems like this is a sensitive topic for me, since this was not the indented focus for the post.

The intended focus for the post is "What would you have wanted someone to tell you when you were in high-school". I started thinking about it one the subway home, and it was exciting enough that I turned off my Kindle and just sat staring, thinking about what I would like to say/wanted to have known.

So, just a short brain dump

What are the career paths in IT? (Developer, Tester, Project Manager, Architect, Product Manager, IT Manager...)

What are the skill sets needed for those paths? (The personal traits for a Developer and Project Manager are very different. Some people have both, but they are rare. For a Product Manager, the ability to understand and communicate is more valuable than skill as a developer. Having an expected career path from developer to manager is stupid, the skill sets are different. Some have both, but lets create a good career for those that want to write code, not lead...)

Common myths
- You start at a low salary, and then work yourself up in the company (No, you start low, work your dog year(s) and then change job and get your raise. Your yearly raise is percentage based. Low + 10% is still low)

Bold statements
- There are no old programmers (for some value of 'no'. What happens to us as we grow up? Is this changing?)
- Evolution of programming languages will be faster than you can keep up with (but thats ok.)
- I can learn a new programming language in a week (true)
- It takes a year to become proficient in a language (true as well)
- First learn to do your thing without tools and IDEs, but dont suffer for too long.
- Pick one editor, IDE and language and become an expert in them. (If you have to change later on it's not the end of the world)
- You need to know how to do SELECT and INSERT in SQL, no matter who you are
- Think what you wish of HTML, but you need to know some of it

What did I learn in school that is most useful for me now?
- err...

Writing that was a too easy. I could go on for a few pages more, but the main reason for this post is to ask you what you would want to have known in high-school? Let me know in the comments. Just a note - I have bad experience with Spam on blogs, so I have to approve all comments. My promise to you is that unless you are spamming I will approve it. If, for some strange reason, you post a comment that isn't spam but I still don't want it posted, I will make a post explaining that I censored you and why.

2 kommentarer:

  1. I think it's always good to remind the kids that you don't have to be a computer geek to "make it" in the IT business. You just have to be prepared to learn new things all the time.

  2. Hey there, I am much more representive than you (woman or not) as I have worked as a developer and actually developted code in this product, (and I have even worked in QA - but only for two weeks)!