Is the computer/e-commerce/IT fields dead?

Discussion in 'Community' started by jefhatfield, Feb 12, 2003.

  1. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #1
    i just talked to a computer science professor friend of mine who said he would not major in CS these days

    another computer teacher friend of mine thinks the dot.com and high salaries are dead and former huge big money earners who were once lowly teachers of IT are coming back by the droves to their teaching positions

    is this high tech, in computers, downturn going to ever end? or will it come back to its lofty levels of the 90s?
     
  2. D0ct0rteeth macrumors 65816

    D0ct0rteeth

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    Mar 11, 2002
    Location:
    Franklin, TN
    #2
    The IT industry is far from dead but it can no longer sustain the glut of eCommerce companies that had no real products or services.

    Any business with hard workers and a solid product will succeed... but in late 99 - 01 there were tons of companies that had no idea what they did.. but damn they had a foosball table :)

    The economy can't turn around and regain that momentum until they develop a product/infrastructure that every home needs such as what has happened to cause all the great economies in the modern era: tv/suburbia/highways (50's), cars/cities(20's) or computer/cellphones/internet(90's)..

    -Doc
     
  3. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    toronto
    #3
    it's not dead

    as long as there's new software and standards, the business world will always need integrators. i've noticed that a lot of the forestry majors et. al. that used to make a living doing integration no longer can ('cuz they were unskilled to begin with).

    from what i've seen, if you're talented, you can find work.

    and i wish the best of luck to the rest.
     
  4. Stelliform macrumors 68000

    Stelliform

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    Oct 21, 2002
    #4
    Re: Is the computer/e-commerce/IT fields dead?

    .....
     
  5. cr2sh macrumors 68030

    cr2sh

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    May 28, 2002
    Location:
    downtown
    #5
    I looked at this going into college, I knew even in '98 that demand could not keep up with supply. OSU has raised the requirements of CIS majors, and they're still flooding in the doors... I don't get it. It seems that anyone coming in, who doesn't know what else they want to major in says "Computer Science." Personally I believe that while IT might not be dead.. the requirements have changed. Its no longer possible to get a good job because you know how to work some code and piece together a server.. the bar has raised and it now includes innovation in order to make it.

    I'm still glad I choose Geomatic Engineering... amazing job market, even now. :D
     
  6. Rajj macrumors 6502a

    Rajj

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    #6
    The market is supersaturated with IT’s so the ability to earn money is really not there any more…..trust me….I know!! :mad: :(
     
  7. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    Location:
    toronto
    #7
    no, the industry is saturated with failing projects and blown budgets. anyone who can get a (big) project done on time and under budget is a godsend.

    heck, the industry is screaming for people who can get a big project done, period.
     
  8. jefhatfield thread starter Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #8
    the region where i live with san luis obispo on the south and the oregon border to the north (or northern california as some would call it) has it's money epicenter in a one hour radius from san francisco to san jose

    during the 90s and even in the 80s, tens of thousands of IT people flooded the region and many times more, not in the field, flooded the dot.coms

    the birthplace of multimedia...multimedia gulch in the soma distict of san francisco had 200 startups alone in dot.com and now there are fewer than a dozen companies in those office buildings

    the region is so expensive that a lot of these computer people got trapped here and without the jobs to support them, the wages and salaries have gone down in the very few jobs that need them today

    the college in my town is having CS class after CS class cancelled because nobody wants to major in computer science or networking anymore...they opted for a cisco academy with its emphasis on dot.com and tossed the idea of a microsoft academy, because like many other colleges and IT experts, they thought microsoft would disappear or at least shrink in size...cisco was supposed to be the next microsoft and everyone would buy items online and shopping malls everywhere in america would istantaneously shut down

    another college up the road decided it would be cool to have an e-commerce degree instead of a real computer science degree and it takes too much red tape to change the major now that they have hired all these e-commerce professors

    i knew cisco would not be the next microsoft even though people in my area, and probably elsewhere who had not even had the money to buy pentium IIIs were ordering high end, expensive routers for their homes and garages thinking their use would help control the dot.com they started for 70 bucks by buying a .com address but not having any products
    or ideas

    all one had to do to get a bank loan a few years ago was to have two things...a san jose area zip code and an promise to have an e-commerce business from a san jose garage...this valley was built from businesses started from garages

    am i criticizing all this supidity? yes

    but i did the same thing...i joined a dot.com...made no money...and dropped out of mba school (hey, just about everyone else did in the period) and also dot.coms were hiring anybody who was under 30 with no ties...college or not

    the older crowd who had families and safer jobs, even if they were low paying, did not risk it to come out here, and in the end they were the winners

    the stick in the mud school teacher in the midwest making 18k and with a few thousand in non tech stocks is sitting pretty

    the pubescent millionaire on paper in 1999, with a season ticket to the giants and a land rover and a lot of electronic gadgets, is now out of work and in debt for half a million

    this "second" california goldrush turned out to be a mirage

    i knew of only one person who made money in dot.com...he sold off assets of failed dot.coms after the fall...yes, he did have "inside" information as many sneaky VCs have and he became a multi-millionaire

    i am sure he has to watch his back since that entire industry came in ready to dismantle the high tech machine through selloffs and stock dumping and most hunter's point heroin dealers have more ethics

    so if you are agressive, you can make money on a high tech rise, but if you have the morals of a saddam hussein, you can make the killing on an industy's fall;)
     
  9. TheMightyG macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    Location:
    Boston
    #9
    I remember that Time Magazine had a cover story on the dot com craze back in 2000 or 2001. On the cover was the CEO of an e-company called TheMan.com, which was supposed to be the marriage of GQ, SI and Maxim all rolled into one.
    Anyways, the magazine detailed the day to day ops of about 10 high profile dot com startups with "can't miss" potential and hyped the whole phenomenon as the start of "the new economy"

    For some reason I kept the magazine and one day last year was surfing around and decided to check out all of these "can't miss" companies. Every single one of them was shut down.
     
  10. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #10
    I worked for one of those SOMA multimedia dot-coms myself. It was a hell of a lot of fun, to start with, but the "family" got more and more dysfunctional, just like most of the companies, for many reasons.

    At the top of my own list of reasons is inexperienced management. The ink wasn't dry on these guys' Harvard MBAs, and they decided to put together a company. So they borrowed a huge amount of money and started cutting deals with big old-media companies (who could afford to blow a little money on nobody companies while they tried to figure out what to do about this "Internet" thing). All this investment, all this reassurance that they were visionaries and geniuses, and all these big names condescending to talk to them, made them feel like they were Really Important People. But basically they were college friends, and the management team was a college clique. Every good manager I saw at this company was driven out for disagreeing with them.

    The realization of exactly how doomed we were set in when the last remaining experienced manager, and the only guy left who was trying to make decisions with an eye towards making the company some money, was told that his responsibilities were being handed to a 24-year-old techie kid with no management experience and no particular business skill (but he was part of the Clique). These ninja-oustings were fairly regular. It was cowardly passive-aggressive termination. Before the layoffs started, they never fired anybody. They just effectively said, "you're welcome to keep coming in, but we've given all your duties to somebody else, and we're not going to pay any attention to you."

    The atmosphere of doublethink was, in retrospect, positively scary. The place was fun as hell... and just plain hell... all at the same time.

    More to the point, though, the computer industry is not dead. It is, in fact, thriving, within certain reasonable expectations. Certainly it is dead as far as certain people are concerned. Those who dropped out of college because they knew how to configure a router and somebody would pay them $85K per year to do IT work... they're largely history. Those who never went to college because they knew HTML and Javascript... they're long gone, and they are in the position of having to find marketable skills now. Many of them will never work in the computer industry again.

    These people, however, were essentially the blue collar workers of the computer industry, so much so that they should have unionized (though, in the grand scheme of things, that would have just perpetuated some of the problems of overhiring and overcompensation).

    The difference since the bubble burst is simply that the computer industry is once again a highly skilled profession. A successful career in the industry once again requires skills you can't pick up on a whim, and there's no huge pot of gold anymore beckoning the hoi polloi to try it anyway. Though it was painful for many, the herd has been culled, and those of us who remain are making a very respectable, though not excessive, living for ourselves.

    Times are tougher than they have been recently, but if you're good and you're willing to work hard, you'll do well.
     
  11. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    iowa
    #11
    The problem here is that many high schools are teaching kids very advanced computer science... there are high schools now that have kids coming out with a handful of programming languages under their belt and the knowledge to outshine the IT college grad of 5 years ago. it will always be a field, but not a big one anymore, because it's not new and mystical anymore... everyone entering the workplace knows what they're doing...

    well, not everyone, i've seen some pretty big idiots...

    you know what i mean....

    :)
    pnw
     
  12. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    Jul 18, 2002
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    toronto
    #12
    but is it computer science? knowing languages and a few engineering tricks, to me, isn't the core of the science.

    or ARE these kids coming out of high school muttering things like "NP Complete" and "Turing Test"?
     
  13. jefhatfield thread starter Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #13
    after four years in the field as a microsoft and mac tech in northern california, here is my take:

    cs degree - good for all around programming knowledge and with a teaching crediential or further master's degree good for teaching cs at college

    computer engineering degree - good all around hardware knowledge but not as good as an ee/el degree for computer hardware and/or components...salaries are not at their top level and stock options are out of the question at this time

    cisco certification - good broad wan knowledge and with a ccnp, good for teaching at a cisco academy...and with a teaching credential, good for teaching it at a high school and/or academy and perhaps on the college level

    novell certification - good broad lan and wan knowledge but not even good for teaching at this time

    microsoft certifications - good broad lan and wan knowledge and since bill g still runs the show with the faulty windows operating system...there are not only teaching jobs in micrsoft technologies, but real technology jobs with almost the best pay in the field

    self taugh geeks - if you are good and know needed stuff for the business you are starting or applying to, there will always be work...the self taught geeks are the bulk of the industry now, were the bulk of the industry during dot.com, and were the bulk of the industry since the inception of the igh tech/computer related field...the best paying jobs are here and many of these folks look down on degreed and certified techs

    and apple certified techs - good knowledge for your mac but remember, dude, macs are very stable and you best find a second source of income...hey, what can i say....apple certified techs are like the maytag repairman and sometimes...they keep their worth fixing pcs like many mac stores do on the side;)

    this field in california is not like being a registered nurse who has a degree, or a dentist who has their doctorate, or a chiropracter who is a DC, or a lawyer who has to pass the bar...IT/IS is still the rogue industry that has little or no respect for age, family background, or fancy degrees
     
  14. kylos macrumors 6502a

    kylos

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    MI
    #14
    The Turing test really isn't a very good measuring stick. It's now apparent that computers approach the Turing Test by degree and not by any quantum leap in programmatic and design theory. And the key to ai is not just how close you get to some end goal(ie. produce coherent conversation, it just takes a larger database of conversational patterns and more in depth study into human relationship issues to generate a decent conversation), but how you get to that end goal. Simply referencing an exhaustive if-then structure doesn't cut it.

    And non-polynomial problems aren't highschool level. Unfortunately, most businesses don't need cs, they just need someone who can program and knows a lot about computers in general. If you get a cs degree, you'll best use your knowledge in an innovative field.
     
  15. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    toronto
    #15
    exactly. my degree _is_ in computer science, but damned if i did anything other than engineering once i started working.

    my point: computer science is really more a branch of mathematics, but its popular def'n seems to involve solving business problems through programming. to me, that's more of an engineering application.

    and as an engineering discipline, software engineering is a mess. if civil engineers built bridges like most "software engineers" i've seen write software, there wouldn't be a lot of standing bridges.
     
  16. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    toronto
    #16
    not for AI, no. but as an indicator if we're talking about computer science vs. look-ma-i-learned-myself-a-for-loop, i think it works.
     
  17. jefhatfield thread starter Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #17
    exactly...cs is theory and a "new" and still "untested" form of engineering...that is why a business major with no computer knowledge is often promoted faster in a BUSINESS than someone who studied computer SCIENCE...he he

    the computer science students of today will further the science and engineering of their field until one day it will be considered a branch of engineering and recognized as such by the real brick and mortar engineers

    it is a mistake that the cs major has almost disappeared at my college just because of the dot.com...the bust was high profile, but someone still has to program apps and we all can't be working for a startup with huge bonuses and stock options and expect to be millionaires before 30

    i am slowly working my way towards my grad degree in a business related cs degree as to stay current with my clientele in the business world and for home users

    if i want to further the field by creating more stable security apps through coding and don't expect to make a lot of money...i could be an experimental developer on the cutting edge way before a security, or q and a product, goes to market

    it is very often the best talent that slaves away at research for a set salary, and sometimes no salary, to come up with the coolest things...just for the love of it

    and don't fool yourself...there are trust fund kids and even upper middle and middle class spoiled kids who don't really have to worry about the next meal, a house, or a car and can code all day long and come up with what will be the next greatest thing in software
     
  18. jefhatfield thread starter Retired

    jefhatfield

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    Jul 9, 2000
    #18
    i took some high math in grad school *nash stuff, and my two good friends with their phd's in cs pretty much were mostly math people in their grad years

    but there are, at least in silicon valley, kids who live at home who are light years ahead of the best academically trained students/teachers/researchers

    it's a wide open game in the computer field and still the non college grads have made the biggest contributions to this field and impact on the silicon valley from within and afar from jobs, woz*, allen, gates, dell, ellison, and fanning...etc

    and some high profile dropouts like yang, filo, and some of the founders of sun saw that being high tech innovaters were more to their liking than possibly ending up teaching cs to teens and people in their early 20s at some unknown junior college

    * - many years after being worth around 90 million or so, woz got his bachelor's and teaching credential and went to teach kids...and not for the money;)
     
  19. jefhatfield thread starter Retired

    jefhatfield

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    Jul 9, 2000
    #19
    hey, z20, i caught you double posting...so here i am triple posting...but to address 3 different issues

    ai is still just fantasy and at most, still in its early stages and not likely to come to steven spielberg like fruition in any of our lifetimes

    sorry, no pamela anderson android;)
     
  20. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #20
    it would be so _easy_ to point out we were talking about AI (emphasis on the I), but... nahhhh.
     
  21. jefhatfield thread starter Retired

    jefhatfield

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    Jul 9, 2000
    #21
    well, i guess the android of pamela anderson does not have to really have intelligence:p
     
  22. peter2002 macrumors 6502

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    Dallas, TX
    #22
    IT is dead. All the good jobs are going to Bangalore, India or Moscow, Russia. The only bright side is in defense and running porn sites.
     
  23. jefhatfield thread starter Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #23
    abc news said that the primary high tech areas of the usa, silicon valley region, ca and the southwest in arizona and texas, has lost a lot of IT/IS jobs not only overseas, but to the new silicon valley of the usa which is supposed to be the northeast in the united states

    ibm is the only company i can think of off the top of my head that is HQ'd there

    land prices and corporate expenditures and taxes vary from state to state and from year to year and high tech, unlike the auto business, can just get up and move anywhere on the globe on a very short notice

    well, then maybe we can get our orchards back and not have so much traffic in northern california...and less smog
     
  24. kylos macrumors 6502a

    kylos

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    Location:
    MI
    #24
    So true. Just so long as its "pretty close" and works most of the time, it'll fly. It's also unfortunate that programmers don't need to concern themselves with space complexity anymore. There's so much unneeded code out there, it's ridiculous.
     
  25. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #25
    I keep trying to tell people this, and people never listen. I don't know why I bother, but here we go again:

    Try working with one of these eighteen year old "whiz kids," especially the ones who think they know all about computers because they made their own ub3r Counterstrike web site.

    Better yet, try cleaning up the aftermath when they are tasked with writing production-quality code.

    Spend some time working with some of these "business guys" who use lightweight technical skills as a foot in the door just so they can "retire" from the trenches in a year or two and take a management position.

    Try staring at cubicle walls 10-12 hours a day for years and years, getting laughable raises and actively resisting being promoted because you know that the higher you get in the organization, the less hands-on coding you get to do.

    Try working in an industry with a "rockstar" mythos, where the diligent, experienced, hardworking people who carry the organization and the industry go largely unappreciated because of an outmoded fixation on the clichéd notion of the narratively-satisfying prodigy who allegedly gets everything right straight out of the gate.

    Try spending a decade or so continuously thinking you know what you're doing, but continuously realizing how clueless you were a year ago.

    Basically, actually do this kind of work for several years and then talk about how trivial it is.
     

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