Are hot tech cities a bad place for the average good programmer?

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37 Replies - 3024 Views - Last Post: 26 January 2014 - 09:34 PM

#31 Skydiver  Icon User is online

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Re: Are hot tech cities a bad place for the average good programmer?

Posted 25 January 2014 - 10:01 PM

If burning the midnight oil is ineffective, then all those game developers who have sleeping bags or cots in their office/cube should just call it quits at the end of working an 8 hour day. Nevermind, if the company doesn't release in time for the holiday rush and runs out of money to keep paying the employees because of the missed deadline?
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#32 Skydiver  Icon User is online

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Re: Are hot tech cities a bad place for the average good programmer?

Posted 25 January 2014 - 10:09 PM

On the flip side, I heard that it was only a few years ago that Amazon stopped requiring that all its employees help with getting shipments of orders pushed out during the holiday rush season. So they did figure out that burning the midnight oil is ineffective.

Personally, though, if I were on an operating table and the doctors' and nurses' shift comes to an end, I hope that the doctor burns the midnight oil and keeps on working on me until they truly know it's hopeless.
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#33 blankwavercade  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are hot tech cities a bad place for the average good programmer?

Posted 25 January 2014 - 11:26 PM

I guess the biggest difference in what how I am thinking about this in comparison to others is with start ups in mind. It doesn't matter how good of a developer you are and how insane your output/hour is. When your boss is relying on you and a small team of developers to get the product to a working build that has enough features to wow the investors you'll work as many hours as needed. Let's not forget the crazy bonuses you're given for working these hours. The catered breakfast lunch and dinners the awesome party thrown after receiving your next round of funding and the overall amazing experience and feeling of accomplishment that you got for completing the first working prototype of the product. It's a good feeling to have. This is completely different in a huge company that is has nothing to do with technology as their main market. 9-5 and go home. Parkinson's law seems to apply to these companies fairly often as well.
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#34 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are hot tech cities a bad place for the average good programmer?

Posted 26 January 2014 - 01:33 PM

View PostSkydiver, on 26 January 2014 - 12:01 AM, said:

If burning the midnight oil is ineffective, then all those game developers who have sleeping bags or cots in their office/cube should just call it quits at the end of working an 8 hour day. Nevermind, if the company doesn't release in time for the holiday rush and runs out of money to keep paying the employees because of the missed deadline?

There's a lot here that just doesn't follow.

  • Prove to me that game developers are actually the best developers (not saying they're bad, but I think that if you took the people I'm talking about and had them work on games, they'd exhibit the same I see now, in a company with incredible deadlines)
  • Prove to me that working all those hours actually is more effective than working 8-10 hours a day (hint, it's not, and it's been proven not to be time and time again by studies)
  • Note Blizzard/Valve's release schedules and how they essentially don't publish a date until they know it will be done


So yes, I would actually argue that game developers shouldn't have to make a habit of sleeping in their office. When somebody tells me they spend a lot of time at work in an interview, I don't give them some kind of magical hacker-cred. I wonder if they'll be able to finish the coding question I'm about to ask them on time.

http://legacy.igda.o...ork-six-lessons
http://boingboing.ne...work-weeks.html
http://blogs.hbr.org...ll-those-hours/

View PostSkydiver, on 26 January 2014 - 12:09 AM, said:

Personally, though, if I were on an operating table and the doctors' and nurses' shift comes to an end, I hope that the doctor burns the midnight oil and keeps on working on me until they truly know it's hopeless.

You generally don't want a doctor operating on you on midnight oil. There may be cases where it's better than nothing, but what you really want is for doctors to work in shifts.

View Postblankwavercade, on 26 January 2014 - 01:26 AM, said:

I guess the biggest difference in what how I am thinking about this in comparison to others is with start ups in mind. It doesn't matter how good of a developer you are and how insane your output/hour is. When your boss is relying on you and a small team of developers to get the product to a working build that has enough features to wow the investors you'll work as many hours as needed. Let's not forget the crazy bonuses you're given for working these hours. The catered breakfast lunch and dinners the awesome party thrown after receiving your next round of funding and the overall amazing experience and feeling of accomplishment that you got for completing the first working prototype of the product. It's a good feeling to have. This is completely different in a huge company that is has nothing to do with technology as their main market. 9-5 and go home. Parkinson's law seems to apply to these companies fairly often as well.

I often find that willingness or claim as a skill ridiculous. There are few startup goals that I'd be willing to sacrifice that time for.

This line made me lol, because it is patently false:

Quote

It doesn't matter how good of a developer you are and how insane your output/hour is.


Yes it does, or startups wouldn't have interviews. In that mode where people need to work extra hours, you obviously want people with the highest productivity working them.

My argument isn't that programmers should 9-5 - I don't know how anybody who is sane does that for a variety of reasons. My argument is that being young, out of college, and willing to work 24/7 isn't and shouldn't be a leg up.

Being driven, competent, able to do what needs to be done and willing to learn regardless of age are what matter.

This post has been edited by xclite: 26 January 2014 - 01:35 PM

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#35 blankwavercade  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are hot tech cities a bad place for the average good programmer?

Posted 26 January 2014 - 01:40 PM

Most interviews I've been in at start ups in early stages go as follows. "Oh you know language x? sweet can you start tomorrow we need to get this shit out the door soon". Late stage start ups, yea you're right about that. My current position was a quick 10 minute interview followed by me signing an offer letter. Now the new hires go through 2-3 hour interviews which entail a lot of white board coding. followed by writing a small application that can be completed within 30 minutes.

And to your point about valve and blizzard. What you said is true about blizzard. But we all know valve doesn't even know when they are going to release their own product. Sometimes, it just gets released with 0 warning.
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#36 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are hot tech cities a bad place for the average good programmer?

Posted 26 January 2014 - 04:22 PM

View Postblankwavercade, on 26 January 2014 - 03:40 PM, said:

Most interviews I've been in at start ups in early stages go as follows. "Oh you know language x? sweet can you start tomorrow we need to get this shit out the door soon". Late stage start ups, yea you're right about that. My current position was a quick 10 minute interview followed by me signing an offer letter. Now the new hires go through 2-3 hour interviews which entail a lot of white board coding. followed by writing a small application that can be completed within 30 minutes.

That mode of hiring is terrifying - though Amazon's pretty paranoid about the people they hire and has a policy of avoiding risks at the cost of some good candidates. I see the motivation, I would just take the position that it's not super reliable. I interviewed with a west coast startup back in the day and they put me through an 8 hour interview where everybody in the company grilled me. It was great, and I had a lot of respect for the fact that they wanted to see that I was legitimate.

Quote

And to your point about valve and blizzard. What you said is true about blizzard. But we all know valve doesn't even know when they are going to release their own product. Sometimes, it just gets released with 0 warning.

I still remember how sad I was that Left4Dead 2 was out so soon. WHERE IS EPISODE 3?
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#37 blankwavercade  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are hot tech cities a bad place for the average good programmer?

Posted 26 January 2014 - 04:45 PM

View Postxclite, on 26 January 2014 - 04:22 PM, said:

That mode of hiring is terrifying - though Amazon's pretty paranoid about the people they hire and has a policy of avoiding risks at the cost of some good candidates. I see the motivation, I would just take the position that it's not super reliable. I interviewed with a west coast startup back in the day and they put me through an 8 hour interview where everybody in the company grilled me. It was great, and I had a lot of respect for the fact that they wanted to see that I was legitimate.

Quote

And to your point about valve and blizzard. What you said is true about blizzard. But we all know valve doesn't even know when they are going to release their own product. Sometimes, it just gets released with 0 warning.

I still remember how sad I was that Left4Dead 2 was out so soon. WHERE IS EPISODE 3?


I haven't really gone through intense white board/build an application interviews. Normally I interview before the company gets that organized to that point. But honestly it is better for those kind of interviews. Like you said having a lot of respect for startups that do put you through an intense interview is a good thing. Honestly that's the kind of interview that should be done. Hell i've been the interviewer and have put the interviewee through hell during it. But you get a good understanding of how they stand up to pressure.

To your point on l4d2, I honestly didnt like l4d or l4d2. I dont like games that invole zombies. WHER IS HALF-LIFE 3!!!!!!!!
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#38 Skydiver  Icon User is online

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Re: Are hot tech cities a bad place for the average good programmer?

Posted 26 January 2014 - 09:34 PM

View Postxclite, on 26 January 2014 - 03:33 PM, said:

  • Prove to me that game developers are actually the best developers (not saying they're bad, but I think that if you took the people I'm talking about and had them work on games, they'd exhibit the same I see now, in a company with incredible deadlines)
  • Prove to me that working all those hours actually is more effective than working 8-10 hours a day (hint, it's not, and it's been proven not to be time and time again by studies)

With my post about game developers, I was just trying to make a point that it seems to be accepted in the industry that you will be spending lots and lots of hours of work, and often the employees know what is at stake if they miss the deadline.

As for proving that it is more effective, all of the article you linked to acknowledged the short term benefits of the extended hours. It is when the extended hours go on too long, that the benefits are lost.
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