I'm here at YAPC::NA 2006. A new event this year is employers holding a job fair. I haven't actually been yet and it might be very different in tone, but already one of people represent the companies there has commented to me that they just don't understand why they're having a hard time getting applicants. A company in Phoenix has been contacting me, and a company in LA is trying to recruit me for something that would ultimately be a telecommute gig.
But I'm nervous. I wouldn't have been coming right out of school, and wasn't, so it must have been exactly that experience that's making me nervous: the dot com boom. A year ago, I couldn't get a reply and I sent my resume all over. I'm kind of surprised more places don't still have it -- obviously they threw them away. Now they're rediscovering me fresh on Google and through Perl Mongers.
It's not just the easy-come, easy-go, boom-bust-cycle thing that bothers me or else I'd be eager to pad up the bank account a bit. Here's what I'm really nervous about, after some reflection.
A friend sent me a job post for a place I've already been talking to.
I'm nervous about companies that hire 1,000 programmers to do one thing, and I'm nervous about companies that think their purpose is to serve as an exclusive gateway for something rather than provide a service. It's the bridge troll syndrome. So, TicketMaster makes me nervous. Microsoft would make me nervous in kind of the same way but too a larger degree.
Here are examples of job positionage that would interest me:
A company realizes it's suffering from bloat and wants a technical person to do the angel-of-death thing. Google has the right idea with the "keep the bozos out". Everyone else needs to *get* the bozos out.
A company of any size decides it wants to do something *different* for its desktops and workstations, regardless of whether its users are technical or not, and want to see what happens when wine, X terminals, clustering, LSTP, MOSIX, departmental servers, business critical desktop software installed on an app server, etc are pushed out rather than what's usually done to such bad effect.
Rather than shopping or selling marginally better in only one minute, isolated way, a company wants to let hackers figure out where the stored up potential energy on the 'net is.
Develop infrastructure for the next generation, such as Pugs, Perl 6, Corotunines in Perl 5, etc. It's a massive stroke of shortsightedness that this isn't done more or really at all.
Teach. Just mentor. Nothing else. Taking someone with experice and giving them the role of writing code but also the role of trying to consult to management on technical desigions and also try to lead a team is too much. Just having a guru, or someone who can pass for one, in the company to spread knowledge and not have to pick up other agendas or battles would be a huge win for a company. On-site training is a brief glimpse; a full on head mother is needed.
Probably lots of other things... but "oh, we have a job for a good Perl programmer with OO" is failing.