1 Replies - 937 Views - Last Post: 05 June 2008 - 08:54 AM

#1 Fullchaos  Icon User is offline

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Nonprogrammers and Programmers Coexistance in the Workplace

Posted 05 June 2008 - 06:23 AM

A few years ago I was a Software Engineer for all of 3 months of my college life. The experience was my first exposure to code, and given my inexperience and the learning curve I was expected to deal with (and not actually wanting to be a programmer for a living), I rejected the major and transfered to Industrial Engineering. All in all, I hated everything to do with the idea of programming anything.

After two internships working in IT related positions since then, several more classes exposing me to C++ and VB, and an internship in my actual field of study, my outlook on programming has changed.

It's actually been changed for sometime now.

For a long time I viewed computers as an extremely useful tool. My skills with the interfaces on computers have been developing since the age of 5, and as such I'm fairly proficient with a variety of applications. My parents have over 55 years of combined data processing experience, so it's fair to say that expectations dictated that I'd end up in some part of the field as well. This just isn't me though.

Yet, this sort of cultural upbringing and the corporate cultures of the environments I worked in has lead me to concluded that companies (like my most recent source of employment) need skilled programmers. The idea that you can develop a reasonable technical solution to a problem without one (this is probably several) isn't as likely as it once was.

Personally, I feel that people need to be able to have a basic understanding of at least a few programming languages, regardless of occupation, in order to suggest a reasonable solution. Yet, as in my field of study, there's a general attitude of fear, distrust, and general outright ignorance for code and coding practices [within industry from nonprogrammers].

I don't understand how as an industrial engineer, I'm essentially the lead code developer in my building (and I don't have that much experience in the matter).

A reasonable number of you are probably in companies that have multiple departments and are part of their CS/IT departments. So I wonder how those of you that consult or work in a primarily non-computing related field see corporate culture and coding?

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Replies To: Nonprogrammers and Programmers Coexistance in the Workplace

#2 NickDMax  Icon User is offline

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Re: Nonprogrammers and Programmers Coexistance in the Workplace

Posted 05 June 2008 - 08:54 AM

This is something that I deal with quite often. Most of the time the IT departments we deal with are not terribly technical when it comes to programming. If a server is down they can jump on it, if there is lag in the network they can preform miracles. But ask them to script a web page, or write a cron task and they fall apart -- that is after all why they hired a professional services organization to come in and code in the first place.

This can be frustrating for us. Not really because the IT people can't program, but because they don't understand the process. One big thing these departments tend to do is change requirements as they see what is possible -- as they see the code develop. This can be a good thing if there is time to make changes, this can be a BAD thing if there is not time.

Another irritation is fantastic requirements. Sure we could technically do what they are asking, but it is not feasible or realistic with the project time and budget. They can have a very hard time understanding that (especially when other things that seem fantastic to them are no problem). Since they don't know the ins and outs of programming and the related technologies thier view of what is feasible and what is not is often skewed.

The worst though is probably the older gentlemen who used to "do some coding back in the early days" who knowledge is way out of date. They think they understand, but that understanding is based upon out of date experiences and so when you present the final solution they fight tooth and nail to say you missed your requirements (or didn't do them right).

Basically most of this can be mitigated by arming yourself with a good project manager.

This post has been edited by NickDMax: 05 June 2008 - 08:55 AM

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