Polity by Rob Salmond

Read Post

Polity: Forty

41 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

  • steven crawford, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    I am planing to do the Fablab qualifications next year. We have been agitating Porirua council for a Fablab at Pataka. During the process, we found out that the economic development people are keen to make Porirua into a tech town.

    That’s “good news” to quote the professor from Futurama.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4086 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Amy Gale,

    There are two problems:
    - learning how to do programming
    - convincing potential employers/clients that you can do programming

    The first part is probably the easier one, if you have the aptitude and background.

    (Most people don’t. You need numeracy, a pedantic sense of accuracy and the ability to comprehend and memorise a complex system. If you can’t convert a salary figure into weekly wages, can’t use an apostrophe correctly or can’t make your home internet setup work without help, you probably won’t make a good programmer).

    If you manage the first part (and I suspect that most people with the aptitude could learn coding at home for negligible outlay), then you’ve got to work out how to convince employers. Some courses may do this (I’ve heard good things about Rails Girls) but others don’t. And there is already an oversupply of airhead business analysts with BComs and the like.

    Working on an open source project, making mobile apps, or developing websites for friends, family or community groups are one way to get valid experience.

    The trouble is, of course, that this path involves dedicating a lot of time to unpaid work, which only the already semi-affluent have the ability to do.

    (It’s much easier to get a semi-fraudulent mortgage on a shack in Avondale, paint the walls and reseed the lawn and sell it for a 20% profit. That’s the hardworking keewee way)

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    If you manage the first part (and I suspect that most people with the aptitude could learn coding at home for negligible outlay), then you’ve got to work out how to convince employers.

    Finding out there's even a job to apply for can also be a useful thing.

    My perception could be biased through my own experiences, but over time I've found for me that knowing people is frequently a huge factor in landing jobs, probably moreso than being the most highly skilled person possible. Employers often seem to be more comfortable with someone they know plus often that's quicker and easier and less expensive than going through a recruitment process, and many jobs are never advertised. The path for getting into many workplaces is completely unfair.

    It doesn't necessarily have to be people from prior workplaces, though, even though that's largely what it's been for me. My wife was finding that her involvement in Toastmasters, which attracts some very diverse crowds, was a factor in where she found out about potential job opportunities. Just from people who knew people who knew someone who was looking for someone, and so on.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Working on an open source project, making mobile apps, or developing websites for friends, family or community groups are one way to get valid experience.

    Another important one for web work is subcontracting for friends/acquaintances who have already gotten a foot in the door. Plus: paid.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to izogi,

    My perception could be biased through my own experiences, but over time I’ve found for me that knowing people is frequently a huge factor in landing jobs, probably moreso than being the most highly skilled person possible. Employers often seem to be more comfortable with someone they know plus often that’s quicker and easier and less expensive than going through a recruitment process, and many jobs are never advertised. The path for getting into many workplaces is completely unfair.

    And for those with ASD & SAD and other ‘non-people persons’, connections are often an alien concept to them. Which is where organisations like Specialisterne and Aspiritech fill the void, to a large degree of success. In NZ, there’s no such equivalent, and even the nearest matching agencies like Workbridge and Emerge have had too much staff turnover to be of any use. I’ve basically thrown away a few hundred dollars on an industry mentorship that didn’t get anywhere far, and another few hundred on what's basically a certificate in buggy whip repair.

    I refuse to accept my lot in life, and yet the ladder of opportunity is missing more than a few rungs.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5409 posts Report Reply

  • Allan Moyle, in reply to Sue,

    Thank your mum for the observation. With a 0 b'day looming in few days the wider family is a little perplexed as to my decision to essentially not celebrate it in the manner they expected. My last 0 birthday was big event and what followed was major upheaval in life that bought my first and v. scary look at own mortality (brain tumour) and a rapid but ultimately successful for all in our family move of cities. This time round just want to have time with my immediate family and day off probably walking around Titiri with my camera.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    and I suspect that most people with the aptitude could learn coding at home for negligible outlay

    It could take quite a long time, though. But possibly not longer than learning it through a paid course. It has always seemed to me that if you can't really teach it to yourself, you probably aren't going to make a good programmer, because it means you don't really love doing it, and don't do it just for fun. Which does not mean that doing a course is valueless, of course. I've spent many years doing them. But I also taught myself programming first, in my teens.

    It’s much easier to get a semi-fraudulent mortgage on a shack in Avondale, paint the walls and reseed the lawn and sell it for a 20% profit. That’s the hardworking keewee way

    A brother can do both, even! But yeah, it's scary that my shack in Avondale has now earned me at least as much as ten years of solid paid employment as a programmer, considering that it's all tax free.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10598 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale, in reply to BenWilson,

    It has always seemed to me that if you can’t really teach it to yourself, you probably aren’t going to make a good programmer, because it means you don’t really love doing it, and don’t do it just for fun.

    I don't entirely agree. Teaching yourself programming de novo requires some kind of mental infrastructure to hang the ideas on, and there is nothing intrinsically unworthy about not already having that infrastructure.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Amy Gale,

    By teaching oneself I pretty much meant "using books and the internet, for the most part", rather than from first principles. Even with some formal training, the bulk of the learning is done on project work, and most of the programmers I know who stuck with it as a career choice were the kind of people who had projects of their own on the boil all the time. If they're in full time employment, those projects might be on semi-permanent hold, but the moment it ends, they're upskilling themselves at very little cost. Their latest work is added to the CV.

    The first "in" can come from their qualifications, but a qualification that most employers looking to hire programmers will be impressed by is an actual program they can look at. One thing about software that you write for yourself is that you're at least allowed to decide for yourself if you will show it to anyone. And of course it's your choice if you bring any libraries that you write to a new job - but even having something like that in your hand is a bonus.

    I know there's an educational school of thought that most teaching is self-teaching and teachers are mostly the guides to show the way. I'd say it's true to varying degrees - some subjects mostly have to be drilled into you, like the Law. But computing seems to be an area where that school is particularly true.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10598 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Amy Gale,

    But a course will also require that “infrastructure’, and if you don’t have that background, you might pass the course, and you might get a good idea what programmers do, but you won’t be a productive programmer, or ever get out of being a “junior”. (The industry is full of such people).

    One can of course learn numeracy and comprehension of systems (I'm not sure if one can learn a habit of accuracy, if, as an adult, one's never thought it as of value before). Programming might be a way of improving ones general skills in this area, but maybe not at the level of imminent professional entry.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to BenWilson,

    I’d have to agree that self-teaching is a blunt instrument, even with the tightest self-discipline. One can read all the books they can on the latest coding technologies, and still get nowhere fast. Unless of course, they set up their own biz, which not everyone is up to. As for myself, I’m too autistic and inattentive to self-teach to a large degree.

    Where schemes like DevAcademy stand out is the direct links with industry and what is basically a revival of the old trade apprenticeship approach. From my recent past experiences, an apprenticeship-style approach is the one thing that can fill the missing rungs at the bottom of the ladder where it’s needed most.

    One of the better policy platforms to come from the Labour caucus is the Digital Apprenticeship program, but sadly Prostetnic Vogon Joyce – a big fan of survivorship bias – wasn’t interested, instead reinventing the wheel with the ICT Grad Schools. It’s yet another reason why I’m angry at tax dollars being denied to those who need a hand up, while going to those who are already loaded and know how to game the system.

    In my current job, I’ve done HTML/CSS/Visual C# on a very informal basis, but it’s just an add-on to my usual work (building and fixing PCs and laptops) and I tend only to use them when I have to. I’m still doubtful as to whether Web coding is the way forward for me, given my past grief with concepts like pointers in Pascal and Modula-2, and bombing out horribly with final year papers involving Java and CORBA. Or maybe those doing the teaching were at fault? Deep down, maybe I’m really a designer over a developer at heart.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5409 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Do you think you would like testing, as they do at Aspiritech?

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Amy Gale,

    Do you think you would like testing, as they do at Aspiritech?

    It’s one area that’s been recommended to me. Unfortunately, NZ has nothing closely resembling Aspiritech or Specialisterne that caters for autistic jobseekers. At least last time I checked.

    I had a year’s worth of mentorship with an NZCS/IITP mentor, and it didn’t get terribly far. What I was hoping would fill the missing rungs in the career ladder turned out to be little more than pep talk. So unless you have a degree, IITP membership is time and money down the drain.

    And what I’m absolutely sure about is that I’m best suited to a trade apprenticeship training approach. Trouble is, DevAcademy seems to be the only player in town.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5409 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    I wonder whether we could have a separate thread for people to give advice about alternatives? Russell?

    Can't come soon enough. An apprenticeship approach offers mentorship, networking opportunities and immersiveness that self-teaching doesn't.

    The longer I remain in a dead-end rut, the more I develop a bitter and cynical view that the future could be one of techno-feudalism where only the neurotypical able-bodied with post-grad degrees have gainful jobs, if the prevailing winner-takes-all orthodoxy remains in place.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5409 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Have a quick look at this, it's a motion control card that I'm planing to use in one of my machines. Could you see your self being enthusiastic about this kind of technology?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4086 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Here's a blog post about another ICT training possibility, called Industry Connect (based in Auckland).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.