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Re: Java GOOD -- Fire BAD

Adam Turoff <ziggy@panix.com> writes:
> I talked to a manager at a very open source friendly startup recently.
> They're hip to the whole Perl/Python/Ruby/whatever, and letting smart 
> programmers loose to solve do interesting things quickly.
> However, he would only use Perl/Lisp/etc. programmers on a project when
> he could meet a few preconditions: finding enough of them, and keeping
> them around.

You can get lots of high quality programming talent if you want to
these days -- it is practically growing on trees. I know lots of hot
programmers who are out of work because of the recession.

> If he couldn't get his three or four heavy lifters, he'd be
> quite happy hiring a dozen Java programmers to take their place.  They
> won't be as productive, it'll cost more, but at least they can't do as
> much damage and they're easily replaced when they get bored and leave.

The notion that you can make programmers into interchangeable parts by
using Java or whatever the language of the week might be is perhaps
popular, but it has yet to be proven correct. I'm unaware of anyone
who has successfully pulled it off in the real world. The truth is, at
best you can create for management the illusion that the talents of
the programmers don't matter.

> Many apps are written not
> because they're cool, but because they're necessary.  Why drive your
> star programmers away with tedious projects?  Use them on the really
> interesting projects, where they thrive and really deliver.

My experience is that if you make a star programmer do a "tedious" job
he constructs such a thorough automation environment that no one ever
has to write that kind of program again, just as when you hire a
really hot sysadmin he spends his first few weeks automating all the
tasks he has to do so he can be lazy.