SOA guru Steve Jones recently wrote an amusing riposte to a blogger who warned budding developers not to go into corporate IT because it was “soul suckingly bad.”
The original post, from coder Joel Spolsky, argued that corporate IT development is not a fulfilling career because:
1. You never get to do things the right way. You always have to do things the expedient way. . . . You’re going into Visual Studio, you’re going to click on the wizard, you’re going to drag the little Grid control onto the page, you’re going to hook it up to the database, and presto, you’re done. It’s good enough. Get out of there and onto the next thing.
2. As soon as your program gets good enough, you have to stop working on it. Once the core functionality is there, the main problem is solved, there is absolutely no return-on-investment, no business reason to make the software any better. So all of these in house programs look like a dog’s breakfast: because it’s just not worth a penny to make them look nice. Forget any pride in workmanship or craftsmanship . . . You’re going to churn out embarrassing junk, and then, you’re going to rush off to patch up last year’s embarrassing junk.
3. [Unlike in corporate IT], when you’re a programmer at a software company, the work you’re doing is directly related to the way the company makes money. That means, for one thing, that management cares about you.
Steve responded by saying that Joel must have had a bad experience at a crappy company. “The real reason to me that corporate IT is a great place to work,” he says, is that “if you are good and have good communication skills, you can actually see what you do makes a difference. . . it’s corporate IT where the real achievement is. Software vendors provide the bricks and mortar, they quarry the stone and provide you with the rough hewn pieces for you to carve and give purpose to.”
Plus, he points out, in a corporate setting, there’s better “societal balance — by which I mean women.”
In-house developers might be an endangered species anyway. A Ventana study last year found that many companies prefer to buy, for example, off-the-shelf business intelligence applications rather than build them.
What do you Oracle developers think?