January 13, 2011

the legendary stress-free nature of high tech

i ran across this quote in forbes (with my ***emphasis*** added)

Thanks partly to our infatuation with cellphone apps and cloud computing, technical positions have jumped to the top of the [best jobs] lists this year. The No. 1 job, software engineer, requires computer knowledge, skill with numbers† and an ability to design and create software. "We are in a technological revolution right now, and there is heated demand for software engineers," Lee says. *** The profession is considered a low stress one ***
with good pay and a positive hiring outlook.

and wanted to ask my tech pals about it.  good responses all around.  i wanted to hold them here for posterity.  although it's very rare for me to ask for reactions from people many people i wrote to did not respond (e.g. king feddy).  

(i was surprised by the lack of response, if for no other reason than high tech people would much rather talk than listen.)

this one from the instigator, who works at apple

Wow, what an insight.  Being a software engineer requires "an ability to design and create software".  If I had known that, I wouldn't have hired so many idiots over the years.

As to your highlighted comment, I would say that if you work in a large, poorly managed organization with no accountability, any job can be low stress, especially if you're a sociopath.  This isn't unique to programming.  :)

this one from the birdhead, who works for tape library people in the US west

Heh. Speaking as someone who's been through the medical meat grinder for the past 2+ years due to stress-related issues, I would be to differ. My Temporomandibular joint is trashed, I suffer from chronic tension headaches, now I'm recovering from medication overuse syndrome on top of that.

Of course, I also work for people that have turned into nutcases, so I'm not sure it's the job so much as *my* particular job. I didn't have any of these issues for the first 12-13 years of my career.

this one from cap'n happy.  formerly at apple and now marketing mercenary.  deeply political in his thinking, it's worth knowing that he's never actually voted.   mildly incoherent in his writing, it just adds bite to what he's trying to say.


The fact is in the past couple decades the best paying jobs have been in the
public sector.

Working for state or local government earns you a higher salary, better
healthcare, AND a pension.

If you're a programmer, you're working much longer hours and for much less
pay. The public pension alone would earn you more than you make as a
software engineer.

Many of the pension plans are paying out MORE in retirement than the
employee made during their working career.

Consider the broke state of Illinois (which is about to declare bankruptcy),
and specially the broke city of Chicago.

Chicago firemen with 20 years or more of service in 2010 averages more than
$1.3 million.

The average value for retired Chicago policemen exceeds $1.2 million.

The average value of pensions received by Chicago municipal employees with
30 years or more of service reaches almost $1.2 million.

The average value for retired Chicago laborers exceeds $1.4 million.