Java IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Another Brick in the Wall

Do you feel that being a Java guru sets you apart?

Do you feel that being a Java guru sets you apart and makes you indispensable in your company? Or are you an entry-level person scared of being laid off given all these outsourcing trends? What are your career choices in the corporate world? Put on your headphones, turn on Pink Floyd's album The Wall, and let's talk...

Programmers earn their living by working either as employees or as temporary contractors. Often, people use the term consultant when they're referring to the employment status of a person, but this is just not right, because the word consultant means a subject expert, while the word contractor means a temporary worker and a separate legal entity, which is exactly what consultants are. There is an opinion that permanent employment provides better job security, but let's take a closer look at two former college roommates, Alex and Steve, who graduated from the same college eight years ago.

Alex was always dreaming of being an employee of a large corporation. He knew that he'd be more secure there (Momma's gonna keep baby cozy and warm) and was ready to work for such a firm for many years. He found such a job and had to start from scratch learning the rules of the corporate world: your phone conversations may be recorded, a designated person will browse your e-mails, your applications will be protected by a couple of firewalls and DMZ (Momma won't let anyone dirty get through). He had been promised a yearly training and planned to visit San Francisco while studying new Java technologies at the JavaOne conference... Sorry, but our training budget is not as good as it used to be (We don't need no education), but we have an exciting Six Sigma training coming up, which will greatly help your career, and you may even earn a green belt in a couple of years. He learned to play politics, and got used to working late hours to meet the unrealistic deadlines that were set by some incognito bad person from up above. Alex met all deadlines because bonus time was looming ahead (If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding).

Steve decided to work for himself, so he opened a one-man company and started his career as a contractor. Even though his contracts were usually long term, Steve always knew that he needed to maintain good technical skills to be prepared for the next technical interview. He was the first to learn Aspect Oriented Programming, SOA principles, and all possible Java application frameworks that have implemented the MVC design pattern. Steve was always the only person in the building who knew exactly what the garbage collector did to the young generation. He never complained if his next client was several thousand miles away from his hometown (Daddy's flown across the ocean leaving just a memory).

About three years ago, by pure coincidence, Steve got a project with the same company and division where Alex has been working all these years. He was one of hundreds vice presidents with a six-figure salary, wearing an expensive suit, Six Sigma brown belt, and matching shoes. The friends were happy to work with each other, but this did not last long. The firm decided to lay off several hundred of employees and let go of most of the contractors. Alex was too expensive for the firm and Steve's contract ended sooner than expected (All in all you were all just bricks in the wall). Alex received a decent severance package that allowed him to spend the next six months brushing up his Java skills and this kept paying the bills. Steve did not get any compensation but found a new gig pretty quickly in two months.

So what's the moral of this story?

If you're young and ambitious, spend at least some time working as a contractor. Do not be afraid to start fresh every now and then; this is what capitalism is all about. Besides, the average length of full-time employment of young programmers is also not more than two to four years. As you get older (over 50 in the U.S.), you'll experience difficulties in finding pure programmer's jobs (Hey you! Out there in the cold getting lonely, getting old, can you feel me); however, I do know a mainframe contract programmer who turns 70 this month (happy birthday, Felix!). Of course, he can't write as many “if-else” statements per minute as a college graduate, but he knows his application inside out, and the firm is not planning to get rid of him.

If you prefer full-time employment, be loyal to the company you work for. The firm's interests should take priority over your personal goals, but don't get lazy. Keep your technical skills up to date; read professional books and magazines; and visit Java online forums on a regular basis. During difficult times your employer will let you go without thinking twice: this is also what capitalism is about. Gurus will have to go because their salaries are too high, and junior developers will be replaced by an inexpensive workforce overseas. But this is okay as long as you are technically sound, have a positive attitude toward life, and accept that all in all you were all just bricks in the wall.


  • Pink Floyd, The Wall Album www.pinkfloyd-co.net/disco/wall/wall_album.html
  • More Stories By Yakov Fain

    Yakov Fain is a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay. He wrote a thousand blogs (http://yakovfain.com) and several books about software development. Yakov authored and co-authored such books as "Angular 2 Development with TypeScript", "Java 24-Hour Trainer", and "Enterprise Web Development". His Twitter tag is @yfain

    Comments (9) View Comments

    Share your thoughts on this story.

    Add your comment
    You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

    In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

    Most Recent Comments
    S 05/30/05 09:15:38 AM EDT

    Management is not a problem. It is still in the technical sphere. Ofcourse there are some managers or management who know absolutely nothing. In many cases, management is added responsibility. On top of doing what you already did, you have to teach some more people to do the same and divide the work among them. In reality, however, many of the managers or management are out of touch and end up accepting whatever their staff do or say and get involved in petty politics, which is a pity. It doesn't mean if you are in management, you are not 'hands-on'. If you can teach, you have to be hands-on.

    Sandeep 05/30/05 04:12:35 AM EDT

    Thanks Yakov, i am in early stage of my carrier and these tips definitely will help me (Age 23). I am working with a big Organization from last six months, but it seems that "i am trapped under the pile of the Big Org."
    Your article helped me in setting goal as u perfectly demarcated an employee and a consultant.

    Steven 05/30/05 12:07:24 AM EDT

    Thanks Yakov. I suppose this goes for any OTHER I.T. discipline. Most of my friends are consultants, and struggle with this same thing every day. I usually encourage them NOT to go into management positions, even if their companies suggest it, but to stick to their trade and "be the best at it". That means, read those books. Staying on top of technology means that your skills will always be in demand and you never have that "what did he say in the meeting, provide them with a RSS feed, what's that?" The I.T. world is getting quite competitive, and I like it!

    Michael Toback 05/13/05 04:54:36 PM EDT

    OK maybe you would have been right 10 years ago, but you left out a small detail.

    Both the corporate suit and consultant learned their trade writing code. Many US companies are oursourcing code and low-level design that new grads used to do to places like India. So how are the new generation going to learn to become senior software engineers? For the most part, companies need to figure this out, or there won't be any software engineers to hire and even the brilliant managers who kept wall street happy will be replaced by their counterparts in Mumbai since that's where ALL of the product development will be...

    Gustavo 05/13/05 10:36:21 AM EDT

    S, don't be so short minded. Besides the fact that my relation with Siemens is purely anecdoctal in this comment, what you are saying is simply false, and I have enough arguments to revoque you.
    I agree with you that no one is indispensable. It's just a matter of costs.

    S 05/13/05 09:06:04 AM EDT

    Another thing to note is:
    1. Siemens is the worst supporter of Java as it is a long-time ally of Micrososft (which has shown well-known intent in crushing competition). So don't even consider Siemens in Java discussions.
    2. If you are the company owner and the person who works for you now takes care of 75% of the company, and one day you realise, people respect him/her and focus on him/her more than you and you feel like loosing your company to that person, what will you do? YOU WILL LOOK FOR ALL THE REASONS IN THE WORLD TO LAY HIM OFF!!! :-)! Believe it or not no one is indispensable. In fact there are people who create all the problems in their work that only they can fix and they become indispensable 'cos otherwise company becomes dispensable :).

    VS 05/13/05 08:47:27 AM EDT

    Being a java guru and a guru of many more things, sets you WAY apart from the rest of the people that it creates ego issues (with less knowledgeable bosses and their less knowledgeable supporters). Lay off is company politics, does not have anything to do with experience. I have seen things like trying to concentrate people from one technology area in order for some people to wield power. It does not have anything to do with knowledge. In fact, the least knowledgeable are retained as they tend to be of "yes boss" types and will do every dog work assigned including taking sides in office gang wars.

    Jeff Highman 05/13/05 07:52:01 AM EDT

    Cute article, but you missed the obvious resolution. "I have seen the writing in the wall, dont't think I need anything at all..."

    In today's corperate culture, your always better off being an Army of One.

    Gustavo 05/13/05 07:07:10 AM EDT

    As an a nearly 50 Java Evangelist, formerly free-lance consultant and programmer, and currently belonging to a huge company like Siemens, and over everything else, as a Pink Floyd´s fan, it is simply terrific.

    @ThingsExpo Stories
    Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
    Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
    Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
    Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
    Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
    The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
    As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...
    Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
    Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
    DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
    With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
    DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
    DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER give you detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO also offers s...
    DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
    Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
    The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
    The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...
    Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
    DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO" has announced that its Call for Papers is now open. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expe...
    Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...