IT programmers leaving Govn't, going private. : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This released by Information Technology Association of America. Computerworld News

Just in case hot link is not right.

-- Jim P E. (, February 20, 1999


A geek earning 50-60K can earn 100K if they move to the private sector. Geeks moving from Big Bother (no "r" appropriate) to private industry is an old story.

This does not hurt Y2K on balance. "Corporate knowledge" is lost when a geek leaves, but better staff can usually be found from a contractor. Note, though, that a 50K on-staff programmer costs about 200K if purchased through a contractor. The contractor keeps about 50% on average.

-- Anonymous99 (, February 20, 1999.

From my reading, programming for government is very different from the private sector. There's no danger of going broke, promotions/raises are based on seniority, the sense of urgency is missing.

Where I work, there is a division for government projects, and every now and then one of those programmers interviews for the commercial division. They are typically appalled at the prospect of facing a new project (and its learning curve) every month or two, when they've been working with the same program for a decade. They aren't too thrilled with the hours either.

Ed Yourdon has effectively written that the incompetence of government programmers in general is exceeded only by their apathy!

In csy2k, several posters have talked of interviewing government programmers to fill desperate needs for y2k remediators, and *still* reluctantly rejected them due to lack of requisite skills or motivation to learn them.

This Computerworld News article speaks of government efforts to focus on "hiring minorities, women, and physically challenged people." It's not hard to see that the government focus is more oriented to filling quotas than to getting code fixed.

Government remediation programs overall seem to be in qualitatively worse shape -- hardware from low bidders, equal opportunity for every language and OS, quasi-independent satrapies jealously guarded, glacial rates of change and adaptation, on and on. If their best programmers are bailing, the situation can get much worse real fast.

We can only hope that most government programs can be done without.

-- Flint (, February 20, 1999.

Flint: No need to hope. It's a fact.
P.S. -- a little secret -- so can most corporate programs be done without. (E.g., remember when your phone bill was one page. These dozen page monstrosities you get now are done only because they CAN be done.)

-- vbProg (, February 20, 1999.

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