Subject: Re: Lisp Jobs (was Re: Slashdot)
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2001 18:25:27 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Software Scavenger
| Another alternative would be to get a non-Lisp programming job and
| gradually subvert it into a Lisp job.  E.g. write programs in Java as
| directed, but write programs in Lisp to test the Java programs.  Write
| more programs in Lisp to find bugs in Java programs and to analyze Java
| programming style.  Or to generate documentation with diagrams, etc., of
| Java programs.  Keep doing such subversion for several years, and you
| will gradually become known as the company Lisp expert, and some of your
| Lisp programs might trigger new projects to build better versions for
| more general purposes, with you being the manager of the project, and the
| person who chooses the programming language.

  This is a very good idea.  It does, however, require that those who would
  do this are more "mature" than those irresponsible, short-sighted people
  who regard every position they hold as a spring board to the next job,
  which I personally cannot fathom why anyone would want to hire in the
  first place, and it requires people who are interested in _investing_ in
  their own future and that of the company they work for, not just get a
  bunch of money and neither learn nor leave anything of value when they
  find a new job.  I think the selfish, short-sighted nature of most of
  today's "young IT professionals" has caused problems that it will take
  many years to repair.  Fortunately, fringe/elite languages like Common
  Lisp can help repair it more and better than the "langage du jour" can.

  This is probably the only one of the many problems resulting from rampant
  idiocy in the "IT" business that I would _not_ blame on management.  In
  my view, you would have to be no better than a prostitute if you accepted
  a job _only_ for the money and already had in mind getting a new job
  before you started working there.  The kind of assembly-line workers that
  _can_ switch jobs this easily fit into positions that are of no value to
  anyone but from the scarcity of people who can fill them combined with
  the perceived, but _not_ real, need to fill these positions, but these
  are created by the people who _fill_ these jobs, not by management.  What
  kind of manager would _want_ to deal with the hassle of hiring people so
  frequently, with the foreknowledge that he only need to fill a job that
  performs a specific task that exists only because of the _incompetence_
  of previous hires who had quit?  In my view, a manager worth his salt
  would have nightmares thinking about all the one-trick ponies he had to
  hire to get a more complex job done at all.  Therefore, I do not think a
  manager would do anything to continue this trend as soon as he saw where
  it was going, nor start it if he looked at how he would have to pay ever
  more for less value if he only lured people with money.

  Today's unskilled or one-skilled younger generation of computer geeks
  will face the wall of uselessness much faster and much sooner than most
  of them would ever expect.  The sets of skills that are needed to make
  some version of some particular program that is overly complicated (yet
  "user friendly" in the wrong ways) because it was written and designed by
  stupid people in a surreal hurry, will go out of vogue faster than they
  can learn the next similar program or upgrade themselves to use the next
  version better than the competition getting into the market from being
  bored in high school, where they sacrifice learning real skills to short-
  term money-making adventures.  I may be becoming a grumpy old man, but it
  appears that if you want to get serious computer-related work done these
  days, do not hire people below the age of 25, _whatever_ they claim to
  know -- whatever it is, it is probably the _only_ thing they know, and
  they have no additional knowledge to evaluate its appropriateness of use.
  Do not hire people who know Java -- hire people who know Java, _too_.

| Lisp programmers have to think out of the box.

  Conversely, if you need someone who is used to think outside the box,
  hire a (Common) Lisp programmer, and expect to get uncommon flexibility
  in their thinking skills, a wide variety of backgrounds, serious
  interests in many aspects of the development process, etc.

  Norway is now run by a priest from the fundamentalist Christian People's
  Party, the fifth largest party representing one eighth of the electorate.
  Carrying a Swiss Army pocket knife in Oslo, Norway, is a criminal offense.