Tech Skills: Does Java Trump COM When Looking for Work?

mrviceroy (杀人者Daniel是也)
本文发表在 rolia.net/zh 相约加拿大网上社区枫下论坛
Yes, the IT industry has fallen on hard times. Many businesses are
looking for high-quality (meaning highly educated, with lots of
experience and a proven track record) experts, but are reluctant to
hire anyone. Almost all businesses today are stuck in what people label
the "holding pattern" (the sit-and-wait attitude). What are they
waiting for? Seems to me that everyone is waiting to see if there will
be any change in the overall direction: will we be moving away from Web-
based computing, or will this paradigm be reinforced? Regardless of
what may be causing this "staffing freeze," as one of the prospective
employers succinctly put it, the situation reminds us of the days when
everyone was putting all the IT projects on hold while frantically
working on the Y2K bug.

So, what do I have to report with respect to the most/least popular
technologies out there? In a nutshell, I was able to generate most
leads and to provoke most in-depth interviews with my Java skills. Keep
in mind that I wasn't limiting myself to my local area, or even to the
North American market. I was ready for a change, and would consider a high-quality job anywhere in the world.

Surprisingly few opportunities came from the Microsoft camp (despite
the fact that I was advertising my COM/ASP skills aggressively). My
impression is that most businesses that focus on Microsoft technology
are coming from the start-up arena (and we all know how viable the
start-up sector is nowadays). This actually makes sense, when you think
about it -- only fresh start-ups can afford to standardize on one
platform, and Microsoft may make a lot of sense to many of those
companies that are looking for inexpensive, inexperienced labor. Large,
well-established businesses are typically marred by the hodge-podge of
many incompatible technologies, and Microsoft can do absolutely nothing
to help them out in that respect. Java, on the other hand, is an ideal
middleware technology that sits in the middle kingdom and coordinates
all those disparate technologies.

Where I did have some interviews with the prospect of working with
Microsoft-based technologies, these interviews were typically of a
lower caliber than the Java/Unix ones. While most Java interviews were
focusing on design patterns, UML, object-oriented design and
development methodologies, and business frameworks, Microsoft-based
interviews were unmistakably focused on some trivial, low-level coding
issues ("How would you sort this sequence? How would you compare these
two sequences?") This also makes sense, because it would be extremely
rare to meet any Microsoft head who has even heard of design patterns,
or who has ever used UML for doing the application design. To put
things more bluntly, Microsoft technologies are geared toward
nonprofessional developer wannabes -- typically, these would be the
accountants and sales representatives who would like to change their
careers and go into IT.

But please, don't get me wrong -- I'm not against Microsoft
technologies. I admire Redmond's adherence to the interfaces in COM
architecture, as I believe that to be one of the most important issues.
There is not much wrong with the technology, it's just that the company
is catering to the nonprofessional developers (read: cheap work force,
low barrier of entry), and that's what is putting me off. I'm not
trying to sound elitist, but this cheapening of our profession is a
blasphemy, like lowering the bar for the requirements for someone to
become a doctor.

Finally, I don't understand people's concern about whether to shy away
from Java in light of the impending C# threat. Your Java skills are
perfectly transferable to C#, as C# is a blatant rip-off of Java in the
first place. You can make the transition in a matter of hours, without
missing a beat. So, even if C# someday manages to kill Java (I know, I
know, an impossible event, but let's be gallant and give it the benefit
of a doubt), you would barely notice any difference.
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2001-7-17 -04:00
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