I’ve enjoyed a long spree of happy programming, but I must share the following 7 reasons why working in IT can suck lately. These points are in no particular order.
- Time keeping / Time management: Its bad enough that you have to work your ass off in IT, having moments of either sheer boredom or extreme stress, and while your boss wants everything finished yesterday, you’re still expected to take time out of your busy schedule to mark off a time sheet with the tasks you’ve done for the day. They’re not fun and the daily nag to complete them is annoying. Failure to complete the time sheets result in management hearings. Managing this meta work data needs to be done daily or at least weekly, otherwise you end up asking yourself – “What the hell was I working on at 13:00 hours 5 days ago?”. Some companies implement systems that monitor your mouse and keyboard for activity to make sure you’re really working. I’ve had a friend who got fired for billing for time worked, while instead was having a smoke break.
- No testers yesterday, today or tomorrow. IT is a science relying on many skill sets to produce quality results. We’ve been developing computer programs for over 3 decades, yet companies still can’t seem to understand that a tester is NOT an optional member of the team. Programs get rolled out with bugs, and the client ends up suffering, the developer ends up taking flack, and management ends up annoyed because they’re now “over budget”. Yet no matter how many times developers inform management of requiring a dedicated testing effort, the whole crazy strained process continues.
- Complexity and MS marketing hype. Ready for VS2010 or .net 4. Sure you are because it has to be a whole lot better than the last load of crap Microsoft flung on the table called WCF or WF 3.5. MS market everything new as better, yet they keep adding extra complexity to their products that typically involves putting in extra seat time to learn these complexities, often the old way of doing something was better (asmx vs wcf) and the new stuff doesn’t deliver at all what the marketing hype suggests (Intellitrace or web deployment 2010).
- No money, shoe string development budgets. Post global crisis and the money has dried up. Its dried up so much that developers are now being made to feel guilty for time spent on projects, you now get roped into budget meetings, and get forwarded a detailed view on the company’s internal accounting. Gone of the days of 1-2 year product development and angel funding, lately everything needs to take 3 months.
- Platform independence. There might not be a great deal of mainstream platforms around, but depending on the tools you have to work with even small platform changes become a nightmare. Key people in IT need to realize that its ok to have cross platform solutions in your org. Not everything has to be “Windows based”, not everything needs to run both on Linux or Windows. Virtualization should have spelt it all out long ago, yet still we seem to see key people in teams allergic to this product or that because it doesn’t run on both platforms at the same time.
- Upgrading. So Windows Server 2008 R2 is the latest MS server OS, or how about SharePoint 2010, perhaps even .net v4 – Well depending on the environment in which you work, you can forget about using these new products because its likely your clients might very well be sticking with Windows 2003 Server or SharePoint 2007, etc for the next 4-5 years at least. Meaning as a technology expert you want to grow with technology and implement cutting or even bleeding edge solutions, IT sucks in the way that you need to wait for your weakest link to catch up. Typically your most stable clients too.
- You’re always sitting down on your ass, there is no real way to get around this. I’ve met many a developer who would enjoy just throwing in the towl for 6 months just to go out and do some physical work, even work on a construction site. But then there is the money in IT, and the assured fact that if you leave for 6 months, you’ll have that gap on your CV, and you’ll be sure to have new technologies emerge during your absence. So I guess we sit a while longer…