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Businesses IT

CIOs Say New Talent and Old Tech Don't Mix 229

StewBeans writes: Usually when an article references "what keeps IT leaders up at night," it's a chance to talk about "shadow IT," losing control of tech spending, hackers, or some other overly-hyped concept. Adam Dennison, publisher at IDG Enterprise, opposes this interview tactic and says that "reports of pain are greatly exaggerated." IT leaders don't mind shadow IT or sharing control of the IT budget (in fact, they want others in the business to have some skin in the game), and they understand that they are probably being hacked. What they DO care about is talent. Dennison points out gaps in data, security, and app development, based on IDG's recent survey, and he says CIOs tell him that finding the right IT talent that is also able to articulate what the business needs to succeed with technology is very difficult. He says, "They worry that they can't move fast enough to adopt the technology they need because the new IT talent doesn't want to work on the old stuff, and the old talent doesn't understand the new stuff."
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CIOs Say New Talent and Old Tech Don't Mix

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  • Finally (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NotInHere ( 3654617 )

    After all the SjW and "women in tech" stories, finally a story at least a bit related to age discrimination in IT. Unlike most slashdotters I guess, I'm still young myself, but I do think that both young and old should have the same chances to get a job.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 29, 2015 @12:42AM (#50822783)

    ...old talent doesn't understand the new stuff."

    I have never understood that. Some people seem to reach a point in their professional lives where they stop bothering to learn new stuff and just expect to allowed to vegetate away in their jobs for the last 15-20 years until retirement. I've been coding since around the time than many of the younger developers I work with were still a twinkle in their father's eyes and I still manage to keep up with new developments.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 29, 2015 @01:16AM (#50822855)

      ...old talent doesn't understand the new stuff."

      I have never understood that. Some people seem to reach a point in their professional lives where they stop bothering to learn new stuff and just expect to allowed to vegetate away in their jobs for the last 15-20 years until retirement. I've been coding since around the time than many of the younger developers I work with were still a twinkle in their father's eyes and I still manage to keep up with new developments.

      People get tired and life's responsibilities get in the way, especially when they have kids. I love learning so I also manage to find the time but I do understand why people get this way.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 29, 2015 @01:29AM (#50822889)

      They probably just get sick of seeing the same mistakes implemented over and over again. Or tired of the ever growing bloat required to implement the same old thing you already had 10 years ago under a different name.

      • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @02:07AM (#50822991)

        Or tired of the ever growing bloat required to implement the same old thing you already had 10 years ago under a different name.

        This is what tires me the most. I've been through revisions of systems, and usually despite the marketing hype that sells the new systems they end up being used much like the old systems that replaced them. I won't deny that sometimes IT people drag their feet about upgrading when it really truly is time to upgrade, but there are far more times when someone that doesn't directly understand the technology makes a decision to make the change when it is change simply for its own sake. I guess I'm a borderline-cynic, but I want to see a demonstration of improvement before it's widely implemented.

        • by plopez ( 54068 )

          old pros drag their feet sometimes because they have been burned by half-baked crap too many times. I like to follow the "every other trlradr" or every other incarnation" rule. That's when you beat out many of the bugs and get something of value.

      • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday October 29, 2015 @09:05AM (#50824209) Homepage

        They probably just get sick of seeing the same mistakes implemented over and over again.

        Or they're just sick of being asked to jump from one fad to another. A lot of times, the "new stuff" is the same old stuff with a new coat of paint and a bunch of flashy buzzwords. There was a recent story on Slashdot about the amazing new concept of "DevOps", and the only explanation I could get for what it was is, "Have developers work with operations." Wow. Big move there. You mean you don't want different departments within your business at each other's throats? You want them to work together seamlessly?

        And I'm sick of programmers going on endlessly about how their brilliant new organizational and project management style will fix everything. "Agile" this and "waterfall" that. Oh, instead of having your project be one single big project, you're going to break your project into smaller projects? You've designed a new theme for your gantt chart? Slap a buzzword on it, and you have the hot new development method that's going to solve world hunger!

        "Oh, you're on Friendster? That's lame, I'm on MySpace. Oh, you're on MySpace? That's lame, I'm on Facebook. Oh, you're on Facebook? That's lame, I only use Snapchat now." What are you doing with your lives. Whatever network you're on, you're just sending out pictures that nobody wants to look at.

        This is why old people don't care. Young people see the hot new thing and think, "This is going to be the thing that changes the world and makes everything great!" Old people have been through that several times, and think, "This is another one of those things that's supposed to change the world and make everything great. Same as the last 50 things that were supposed to do that. And this one looks even stupider."

        • by deKernel ( 65640 )

          I think you and I need to go have some beers and discuss the scars we have on our backs from being forced to go down the same roads.

          If I hear one more person tell me about this great new frameworks that will solve all of the problems, I believe I might beat that someone to death with my stapler.If I hear one more project manager tell me about this great new development approach which will solve the delays, I will take my keyboard and beat them upside the head. What the heck ever happened to good engineering

          • What the heck ever happened to good engineering practices.

            Also, to be honest... I've never seen a project management approach or a development method that could outperform a good, smart, organized group of people working hard, talking to each other, and thinking about what they're doing. And I've never seen a piece of technology that couldn't make things more difficult.

            I just don't know how else to put that. It might not be clear. But every time I'm asked to develop a new methodology, I'm like, "Great. Let's do that, for as much and as long as it makes sense,

            • by deKernel ( 65640 )

              Personally, I haven't worked with any senior engineers that weren't opposed to new technologies. They were just very skeptical because they have been burned so many times by the empty promises and worse, dealing with unintended issues that result because very rarely is the happy path ever taken. As we all know, it it the edge conditions that cause the issues because a generic frameworks many times cannot anticipate all edge conditions so they just don't handle it.

              The young engineers are always ready to chan

        • you seem to have problems with bro-managers, not programmers.
      • THIS! Oh, so much this.....

    • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @01:31AM (#50822897)

      Okay, I'll admit right off that I'm an old dude. I'm the oldest one in my group, but the rest of the group is roughly in the 35-45 range so they're not particularly young (from the perspective of this story).

      Anecdotes are dangerous, but... with my coworkers, I rarely see any evidence that they don't "understand the new stuff". What is true, though, is they sometimes don't understand the appeal of the new stuff, nor why anyone would consider using it. After all, when it comes down to it most new approaches don't really accomplish anything that the "old way" cannot... at least from the perspective of an IT professional. But I think what they sometimes miss is that new ways of doing things sometimes actually might be more user-friendly for a particular set of end users - and there is value in that.

      Why bother with ruby when perl has served us so well for so long? Or, further afield, why consider Wordpress when we already have wikis - or why not just keep maintaining a website with a text editor as your only tool? Sometimes I think it helps an IT person if they can learn to set aside their technical hat for a while, and try to see it from the other person's eyes.

      • by TWX ( 665546 )

        Why bother with ruby when perl has served us so well for so long? Or, further afield, why consider Wordpress when we already have wikis - or why not just keep maintaining a website with a text editor as your only tool? Sometimes I think it helps an IT person if they can learn to set aside their technical hat for a while, and try to see it from the other person's eyes.

        As someone that first had a web page in 1994 through a BBS that decided to connect itself to the Internet and give us all SLIP accounts, I see the biggest advantage in advanced tools for website management is being able to commit changes on a large scale and to meet all dependencies without having to commit the same rote data entry dozens, hundreds, or thousands of times. I look at it as the same reason why I switched from Slackware to a package-based distribution and ultimately had settled on Debian, if I

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          For Microsoft OSes, I was fine with XP. I didn't care for some of the UI changes that were done following Windows 2000, but it seemed quite stable.

          You might be fine with win xp on at home (although you shouldn't) but it should have no place in proffessional environment. Windows 7 fixed some gaping security issues with XP. Here are some examples:

          - in XP If something is started by a user with administrator rights, it automatically runs in administrator context, Win 7 has a much better structured User Access Control (though still not as good as even 80's era Unix)
          - in XP the memory space for programs is alloted in sequential address spaces, which gr

          • For Microsoft OSes, I was fine with XP. I didn't care for some of the UI changes that were done following Windows 2000, but it seemed quite stable.

            You might be fine with win xp on at home (although you shouldn't) but it should have no place in proffessional environment. Windows 7 fixed some gaping security issues with XP. Here are some examples:

            Note he wrote UI. The user interface. Not the underlying structure. We can make the OS as stable and secure as we like without messing with the look and feel. If Windows 8 taught us nothing else - and it has taught some nothing at all - huge changes in the user interface and system maintenance are not always appreciated nor wanted.

        • No start menu because it's not needed. Search is faster than poking through the start menu in most cases. That's my understanding of why it was removed, MS engineers haven't used it themselves since Vista.
          • Search is great....if you remember what that piece of software you installed six months ago for a specific job, and haven't needed since, is called. Of course if all you remember is that it is called something like "blue meany" when it turns out to be named "green unhappy" than having a start menu you can scroll through really helps. And yes, the Apps list allows me to track it down, but it lists so many things I never access except from inside something else that finding anything on it is ridiculously time
          • No start menu because it's not needed. Search is faster than poking through the start menu in most cases. That's my understanding of why it was removed, MS engineers haven't used it themselves since Vista.

            Well, Mrs Smith down the street have to model their preferences on what Microsoft engineers think, eh?

            removal of features that customers use with the smug remarks that the experts don't use them so screw you outlook is a smart move?

            Search? Good. Start Menu? Hey, I've used it myself, especially on someone else's computer. Why? Because it isn't my computer, and there, at my dirty liddle fingertips is a menu based report of what is on their computer.

            After all, if it's there, and you don't want to use

            • It's less "Hah, you fuckers don't deserve a start menu because we elite assholes don't think you should have one" and more "Wait, what? People are still using that? WTF? Well...I guess they can learn to use search right? What do you mean they're refusing to use search?"
          • No start menu because it's not needed. Search is faster than poking through the start menu in most cases.

            Sure, and that's great if you know what you're looking for. Other times you know there is something but you're not sure exactly what it is, and in that case a browse method is better than a search method.

          • by TWX ( 665546 )
            Two words.

            Recent Documents

            One of the most helpful things that the Start Menu has that is gone is the quick ability to reopen a frequently used document or application without having to hunt through a screenful of things to find it. The Start Menu was good because it was small, hierarchical, and concise. Now that it's a full screen with scrolling, or several pages of scrolling, it is not concise or hierarchical.
            • >Small
              >Concise

              IF you maintained it. If you didn't it was neither. It would rapidly become a sprawling, unruly pile of crap that could take several minutes to find what you were looking for. Hopefully you remember the publisher of the software you're looking for, because there's a good chance that's the sub-folder it's under.
      • Why bother with ruby when perl has served us so well for so long?

        Ruby is already a dead language and perl has always been a terrible language and should be murdered. I say this as a person who actually liked perl back when it was the first and only scripting language I knew.

        What is true, though, is they sometimes don't understand the appeal of the new stuff, nor why anyone would consider using it. After all, when it comes down to it most new approaches don't really accomplish anything that the "old way" cannot... at least from the perspective of an IT professional.

        I am a software developer. I do a lot of cutting edge stuff in my spare time (cloud, nosql, etc), and a lot of low level c++ 2003 at work. There are a lot of people at my work who work in C and don't even see the point of migrating to C++ as they can do everything they need to do in C, without all

        • by Durrik ( 80651 )
          I constantly have the c vs c++ argument at work. We use c because our 'customers are afraid of c++'. But we're also doing embedded frameworks where we want to easily swap in and out drivers that follow a specific interface. And what was chosen was to use a structure of function pointers to do the interface. Others got upset when I started to label my structures with vTable for the interfaces I was creating.

          I'll fully admit that c++ has it's disadvantages but when you're writing object code in c, why no

          • Nobody (at least not anyone I know) is arguing that C++ is a perfect language. But it's pretty good at getting things done in a way that is fairly pleasing to a lot of people which is why it's so popular. There's lots of nasty language features, but you don't have to use them. It's mostly backwards compatible with C. It's fast. It's versatile. And it has a lot of community support and 3rd party libraries and frameworks that remove a lot of the nastiness.

            Nearly everyone who writes good C++ is using a su

        • perl has always been a terrible language and should be murdered.

          Perl is an awesome language for it's intended audience, which is not developers, rather it's for systems administrators. It's great at writing quick, dirty, powerful scripts that get stuff done and glue things together. If you're using it for something other than that you're doing it wrong.

          • It's not bad for writing quick and dirty scripts. It's just that there are better alternatives. A car with no doors is not bad at doing it's job of getting you from point A to point B, but there are options that are better.

            The things that make perl good are not unique, and the things that make perl unique are not good.

      • by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @07:30AM (#50823765)

        What is true, though, is they sometimes don't understand the appeal of the new stuff, nor why anyone would consider using it.

        This. Growth in the technology industry is heavily dependent on selling the same thing to the same people frequently. The "old dudes" start to see new versions quite often for what they are -- meaningless churn, designed to get support contracts renewed, all the required new licensing models enforced, and the vendors' quarterly results up.

        Thus, the new versions are laden with all the new buzzwords, lots of bugs, some breakage from previous versions and all you end up with is the pain of implementing teh shiny to basically do what you did before.

      • I'm in my mid 40's myself (and I think one of the oldest ones in I.T. where I work currently), but the others are in the 35+ age range.

        All of us are quite good at keeping up with the new stuff. Working for a marketing company, that's pretty much required, as the folks working in the core part of the business tend to be the Millennials who always want to find the latest, hardly yet known, new thing to use, so they can be seen as "trendy" and ahead of the curve.

        As you said though, we have the collective wisdo

    • ...old talent doesn't understand the new stuff."

      I have never understood that. Some people seem to reach a point in their professional lives where they stop bothering to learn new stuff and just expect to allowed to vegetate away in their jobs for the last 15-20 years until retirement. I've been coding since around the time than many of the younger developers I work with were still a twinkle in their father's eyes and I still manage to keep up with new developments.

      Maybe because the "new stuff" is only superficially new and the old fogeys have seen it before with a different name. It gets really tiring to see the wheel reinvented for the nth time, sometimes discarding a lot of good ideas learned from previous wheels.

      The other reason could simply be that your time is worthless. It has no value, not to you nor anyone else. When your time is worthless then you can spend as much time as you want learning "new" things that aren't, really. My time is valuable. My rates refl

      • I'm *51*, and I've been around since before C++ existed.

        I wouldn't trade angularjs for jquery ever.
        Nor jquery via nuget vs. npm.
        Nor Typescript for pure javascript.
        Nor DbContext for SqlConnection.

        I can go on for pages. As a consultant I drop into numerous client sites, some of which are very current, and some of which are staffed by dinosaurs headed to extinction. Source code as a living document must evolve or die the horrible death of design dead. Of course there are fads, but ripping out spaghetti and rep

    • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @01:44AM (#50822931)

      There are both pros' and con's for both sides.

      You missed the part where the older guys are tired of the latest buzzword of the week, some "SilverBullet" Library, and ad-hoc design.

      There is no need to fix what isn't broken.

      Some of the new guys love change just for the sake of change.

      The weakness of the older guys is inflexibility, where it is a strength of the younger guys.

      The strength of the older guys is stability; the younger guys lack experience and wisdom -- there weakness is instability.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        True, and I would add in that the typical CIO doesn't know 1/3 of what he/she thinks they know.

      • Also in some instances, why bother. I've been in the industry for only 15 years, but even I've seen entire technologies go from buzzworthy to obsolete in a few years.

        Also it is likely that the "old guys" are kept busy trying to maintain existing systems, and CIO's don't want to invent money or resources necessary to keep training up on emerging technology, and would rather just get new hires as they are already trained... Yet they don't know how to maintain those old systems... Oh noes! the quandary!

        To me t

    • Well stop it, you're making everyone else look bad.
    • I'm also like you. I keep up with developments and make sure I'm always on top of my game. But arguably that needs to be done outside of work. As you're getting older and have family and other responsibilities, you don't want to go back home and work more on learning the new stuff. You just want to chill out and do other things. That being said, if you don't, given the pace things are moving in technology, you're soon going to be obsolete. And this goes back to the age-old question of what to do with the se

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 )

      I don't think of it as much a young vs old per say. But Baby Boomer logic vs. Gen XY logic.
      The Baby Boomers have 80's culture stuck in their head. So their focus is on maintaining whatever power they have, so if that means they are the only one who know that old system and its years of undocumented workarounds, they will keep it, and make it theirs. It isn't that the new guys are unwilling to learn from them, many do, and find this older tech fassinating. But the old guys keep the secrets to themselves i

    • by ohnocitizen ( 1951674 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @06:00AM (#50823503)
      Translation: "old talent costs more and this is a believable reason to fire them in favor of people we can pay less". Being a programmer *is* always learning new stuff. Sure there are exceptions (the java/c#/c++/etc guy who refuses to learn another language), but they are exceptions. So a generalized quote like this sets off my bullshit detector.
    • "I have never understood . Some people seem to reach a point in their professional lives where they stop bothering to learn new stuff"

      (BTW, I tried to blockquote that, but ran afoul of some weird and inconsistent 50 character limit that seems to be applied only in even numbered minutes.)

      Perhaps that's because after a decade or two, folks recognize that much, not all, new stuff is garbage that will die a horrible death in two to five years. I'd suggest that perhaps many of them actually will buy into things

    • by methano ( 519830 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @07:40AM (#50823817)
      Any time someone says' "old talent doesn't understand the new stuff", they're gearing up to lay a bunch of the old talent off.
    • Part of it is us oldsters take the 'long view' - we've seen flash-in-the-pan technologies come and go, and see bleeding edge for the sake of coolness as a dalliance, not a proper business decision.

      For example, most of us see javascript as a kludge to begin with, and javascript on the server as a massive failure, not a solution.

      I've seen the client/server pendulum swing a few times - mainframe-centric TTYs, fat clients, thin clients/web-based apps, apps back out on devices, etc. Few of the 'new' paradigms ar

    • ...old talent doesn't understand the new stuff.

      A more accurate statement would be "old talent is too busy working to learn new stuff" or "management thinks it's cheaper to hire new grads than invest in existing talent" or "management doesn't recognize self-taught skills that don't have a certification" or "old talent has been around long enough to know that currently trendy buzzword is not an appropriate solution".

    • It's a canard. Not true but makes great copy. The truth - companies to want to train people. So they don't want to train existing employees to learn the new technologies - just hire new people, and they don't want to train new employees on the old technology, so just upgrade to the new stuff.

      Any employee can use any technology AS LONG AS YOU TRAIN THEM.
    • It makes me wonder if the documentation produced by "agile" development may not be up to par-- and the real problem is thus not "old talent" but newly-added-on talent that hasn't grown up with the product and therefore didn't aquire the understanding of it as it was being developed.
      • And for that matter, the documentation on the old stuff may not be up to par either, which could explain the other side of that coin, why the "new talent doesn't want to work on the old (badly documented) stuff."
    • by whitroth ( 9367 )

      Yep. And the real issue is heavily HR departments, where there's a *lot* of age bias, along with a near-total lack of any clues as to what real qualifications the position they're looking to fill, as opposed to this set of acronyms, and must have already done a mind-meld with the two people who already left, and with the person now leaving before applying for the job.

      Out of work? Oh, you're not "fresh", you're a rotting fruit.

      mark "been there, got that, jumped down

    • You see that on slashdot all the time. Every story about a cloud outage has a lot of "LOL!! kids and their cloud" comments moderated insightful.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 29, 2015 @12:47AM (#50822795)

    Unwilling to invest in existing staff, they worry about whether or not they can chase the latest fad.

    No wonder their pathetic attempts at security are a failure. And I'm looking at Target as a prime example of this.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No gullible idiots. But +1 to above anyway.

      KPMG and Gartner told them there will be no high cost IT permanents, and in ten years it will all be contractors and much much less money.
      Based on this 'fact' older permies are placed into a holding pattern and encouraged to go so a contractor can come in.

      I just overheard a senior architect say 'They have sacked or got rid of anyone who knows the existing system, the other department won't co-operate or even has the specs, and they want it on a firm delivery date'

      • by pla ( 258480 )
        and in ten years it will all be contractors and much much less money.

        Hey now, you shouldn't make me snort my coffee from laughing too hard while at work!

        As someone who contracts on the side of my 9-to-5 and some years makes more from that extra 10 hours a week than from the entire 9-to-5, I look forward to helping more clients "save" money.
    • When I first started in IT 20+ years ago, there was enough down-time that you could get your workload done, and have enough time to learn whatever the new greatest thing was. Hell, they'd even pay you to go to training to get up to speed on whatever they wanted you to implement next.

      These days, it seems that the norm is to try to squeeze the maximum that you can out of each person until they burn out. If they're willing to fork out any money for training, they make you sign something so that if you leave

  • WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday October 29, 2015 @12:53AM (#50822809)

    For example, many of the CIOs I know have started referring to shadow IT as shadow innovation. Rather than staying awake from worry, CIOs are trying to figure out how they can adapt a cool technology project that someone is leading in marketing or in the retail arm, learn from it, and bring it across the whole organization.

    So the people in Marketing know more about IT than those CIOs do?

    Or is it that those CIOs do not understand computer security any better than the Marketing people do?

    If it escalates into a problem, then CIOs take full responsibility â" either they havenâ(TM)t explained how they can collaborate with other teams, or they havenâ(TM)t explained the value that IT can bring to the larger organization.

    So when was the last time a CIO was fired because credit card info was leaked?

    And I'm not just referring to talent shortages (our most recent CIO survey revealed talent gaps in the areas of data, security, and app development).

    Have you tried looking in the Marketing department?

    The issues with talent go beyond hiring as CIOs struggle to build and retain teams that can handle the fast-moving, ever-changing needs of digital transformation.

    What "fast-moving"?

    I recently spoke with the CIO of an Ivy League institution who told me they have a firing problem, not a hiring problem.

    It's funny because, you see, it rhymes.

    Finding the right IT talent that is also able to understand and articulate what the business needs to succeed with technology is very challenging.

    That is the CIO's job.

    • That is the CIO's job.

      You clearly don't get it. Management's job is always to blame the staff for everything.

      • by khasim ( 1285 )

        Bingo! Even from TFA:

        You could say security and hackers are worrisome for CIOs, but again, I donâ(TM)t think it's keeping them up at night. They understand that theyâ(TM)re probably being hacked. And if they havenâ(TM)t been yet, theyâ(TM)re going to be.

        It's not the fault of the CIO if they get cracked and spill customer credit card info all over the Internet. Because ... that's just something that happens.

        Definitely not the fault of the CIO. It must be the fault of one of the techs. You

  • by james_shoemaker ( 12459 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @12:58AM (#50822819)

    Not sure if they can understand that human beings aren't terminators with their learning chips locked. Real programmers can learn anything, and their background can sometimes help make things work.
          Just finished rewriting an interface to some devices and couldn't use the COM interface the vendor recommended to us, so I pulled out the vendor's documentation and used their 'old' C interface. When I said that was the way we went they said they didn't recommnend using that API, when I asked for clarification on why to not use their documented API they stated that they didn't have anyone who could help if we ran into issues as all their support staff only knew the COM interface.
    .

  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Required Snark ( 1702878 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @02:35AM (#50823045)
    New Talent: A recent grad H1B visa PHd Indian software engineer who will work for $15/hour and only bill 40 hours per week while putting in 200 hours and also knows the latest completely untested fad buzzword software development technology.

    Old Talent: Any legal resident or citizen who makes more then $15/hour, has relevant work experience, a proven track record and knows what they are doing; i.e. someone management wants to lay off as soon as possible.

    The old talent doesn't want to do the new stuff: Management would kill their families and pets with a straight razor while they sleep, butcher their bodies, cook the meat into tacos, then serve the tacos to the Sunday school kindergarten class before they would be willing to train anyone for anything ever.

    • The old talent doesn't want to do the new stuff: Management would kill their families and pets with a straight razor while they sleep, butcher their bodies, cook the meat into tacos, then serve the tacos to the Sunday school kindergarten class before they would be willing to train anyone for anything ever.

      Maybe I'm getting old, but the driving vision for a lot of these reboots nowadays seems to lack appeal to me. Well, here's hoping that at least in this version of Sweeney Todd they'll do something inventive or refreshing with the music.

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @02:38AM (#50823051) Journal

    I got into technology to learn new stuff as much as possible, why is someone telling me I don't like to learn new stuff when I am learning new stuff.

    Does anyone else get the feeling that this whole thing is a way to create a young vs old mindset in technologists so that they can work the young guys like slaves and coerce the older guys into taking smaller salaries? This 'vs' mindset produces the double whammy of reducing the career earnings of every technology person no matter what they do, no matter what their age is.

    Anyone, young or old, in IT who has a 'commercial' mind set when evaluating whether a technology is worth learning and how long it will take, will have a rough idea if they can yield a return on the effort spent learning it, or if they just like that technology and want to for fun. Brainfuck is an interesting piece of technology however I doubt there is much return in learning it. Young and old have one thing in common, we all want to make money doing something we like and are good at.

    The great thing about IT is if I teach a younger guy how to negotiate a higher salary, it pushes my salary up too. I actually want you to be a better negotiator and I want to teach and learn from you because I know increasing the popularity of a certain tech pushes all our salaries up as more companies adopt it. Knowledge isn't scarce however the talent to utilize it is. Talent *is* the scarcity in the technology economy that makes your age irrelevant.

    Knowing how callous the management in IT organizations can be, I've got a feeling there was a conversation somewhere that went along the lines of 'how do we drive down the costs of acquiring the talent we need',,,, 'I know let's pit old and young against each other'.

    What better way to yield a return on a technology person's career after working them like a slave for the duration of it. The only winners in this younger vs older thing are the companies that either have to pay the same for more hours out of a young person or pay less for the experience of the older people. I've got a sense that this will backfire big time as young people deciding on an IT career go 'Fuck that, its not worth the effort' and older people decide it's not worth dealing with assholes anymore resulting in lethargy and a stagnation of ideas.

    Every time I see these stories I get an increased sense that this entire younger vs older thing is about making technology peoples *talent*, no matter what their age, irrelevant so that the ensuing divide drives down salary expenses for all technology people.

    We need to stay focused on driving IT in the direction where all our salaries go up.

    • Witness all the XP is God comments here when it went EOL with IT guys refusing to move to Windows 7 even though it was almost 5 years old last year??

      Many do fear change. The argument if it ain't broke don't fix it and upgrades are tricks from the marketing departments at software companies are common from those over 40. I am near 40 and see the other argument too. I work at a call center company and we don't upgrade until it stops working. Exception was the XP upgrade. If you are not a .com company then the

      • I don't think most I.T. people fear change so much as they fear the lack of support from higher-ups if things break and require time to sort out again.

        I knew I.T. people reluctant to move to Windows 7 and it wasn't because they feared learning the new OS version. Many of them already used 7 on their personal machines! They simply knew their company ran applications that weren't updated to work with 7, or the new "7 compatible" editions were expensive upgrades that the company wasn't going to be happy about

    • when they say old talent, then mean non-tech background management.
  • by treczoks ( 64329 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @04:58AM (#50823351)

    I'm one ofthe old dogs. I have to admit that App development and such is not my kind of things. But I do have experience. LOADS of it. When I see the fundamental mistakes by young "talented" programmers, it makes me cringe.

    Just a few days ago, there was a kickoff meeting for a new project. This project needs multi-user support on the long run - everyone in the team admits that. And access control, with all its implications like "how to I check a password", "how do I store a password", "which kind of permission do I need to call this function". Which they never ever did before. None of them had ever heard of books like "Applied Cryprography". There is a copy here, on my shelf. Actually, it is my second book, the first was worn down due to heavy use. All they cared for was "Licence Management", but I'm not sure if they understand how this works properly. I offered them to ride piggyback on the existing licence management scheme I've implemented in my part of the system, but this was probably too unsexy, because it cannot add licences on the fly over the web, at least not "just so".

    My experience tells me (and anyone who has been around for long enough) that any software that will need this kind of multiuser support needs to have this built-in from the very beginning. The very concepts of the software must be aware of the possibility that e.g. a call might fail for lack of permissions. Communication protocols must be designed in a way that they guarantee to a sufficient degree that one side has proper identification presented to the other side to be permitted to do this, and don't that. This is nothing that can be added lateron without SERIOUS headaches, problems, and, worst of all, risks. Windows9x was the living prrof of such a mistake.

    Reply from the "young talent": Implementing multi-user is too time consuming at the moment, we will add it later. *FACEDESK*

    • by bytesex ( 112972 )

      Agile is fine. What is irritating is youngsters pretending that it has no flaws (oh and when you really have to stand up during the 'standups', you are just showing off).

  • When you say:

    "new IT talent doesn't want to work on the old stuff, and the old talent doesn't understand the new stuff."

    Then your 'talent' isn't truly 'talented'.

  • I don't see how IT is any different from other proffessions - technology brings change everywhere. Doctors have to keep up with the latest medicine tech and procedures, lawyers have to keep up with changes both in case laws and black letter laws - same goes for people like accountants or anybody in a regulated industry. Even assembly line workers have to keep learning new stuff - the ones that wouldn't need to have already been replaced by robots.

    • Why if it ain't broke don't fix it! Old software works fine today the same as it did when it was 1st installed.

      If your brains melted it was because you never worked from a non .com old school smoke stack company. They do not care about technology as long as it works. Why do you think the move to clouds and renting are becoming big now? My comment scares the crap out of software companies because I am right. Once a solution is placed. It takes,an act of god to replace or upgrade

  • by AttillaTheNun ( 618721 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @09:41AM (#50824487)

    Anecdotal evidence suggests old executive talent fails to understand new business.
    Perhaps boards and stockholders should be creating an ageism story at the executive level if they want to influence the open market of compensation. More gains to be had at that level.

    • LMOL brilliant and totally lost on people here.
    • Oh, that's a raw spanking! Well played.

      Really, this piece should be titled, "Old execs can't find anyone young that is able to talk to them like their older buddies talk to them..."

    • Oh, and that is a somewhat difficult skill set to find.

      I have it, and guess what? I contract out for pre-sales work all the time. Enterprise B2B people are just drooling over people who can do this. No wonder the talent isn't available to the big companies.

      If they are smart, they do what I'm doing, and that is leverage that ability to understand new and old tech, create visions, back them with a strategic business alignment and value, and then help the salesperson pitch that to the execs for new sales.

      (t

  • by gestalt_n_pepper ( 991155 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @10:48AM (#50825031)

    1) Implemented a new automated web testing framework. Next year, I'll do the same thing for Android and Apple phones.

    2) Migrated some of my control system apps to C#. Three months ago, I didn't know C#.

    3) Migrated more system control software than I care to think about from VBScript (awful) to Powershell (slightly less awful).

    Four years ago, I didn't know what virtualization was. Today, I'm in charge of the VMWare servers and couldn't do without it.

    I have no idea why I can still do this. Like the other commenters here, however, I do regularly cringe at the latest business/software/process fad. They're inevitably retreads of something older and few add any actual improvement. Powershell, for example, although it packs more functionality into fewer characters than VBScript, made the skill set of thousands of system administrators obsolete. No thought was given to the human side of the system. A more useful solution would have been a rewrite of VBScript and the addition of useful function libraries and easier access to the net framework. It was yet another typically wrong Microsoft decision, but it says something about an industry that doesn't have enough of a balanced view to consider the cold, hard neurological facts of their user base.

  • that people are accepting the premise and not questioning it. Is it really true old employee can't learn new technology. Is it really true new employees can't learn the old technology. I guess it's easier to assume that it's true. Perhaps they should focus on critical thinking skills in high school instead of pushing coding. Might graduate a smarter group of students.
  • Isn't the CIO the generalist who is able to articulate how the business can succeed with technology?

    Ok then, get after it. Your new people and old people all have perspective. Get off your arse, talk to them, make some choices and go and sell that to management or prioritize the budget.

    Delegating the budget is just fine, but even that needs a basic review. I understand how it is in very large enterprises, but I also understand companies of that size can afford to hire several CIO types too. Not all tech

  • He only hires the incompetent.

    If the New IT wont work on the old stuff, fire their lazy butts.
    If your OLD IT wont work on the new stuff, Fire their lazy butts.

    I'm a 47 year old IT professional and I work on the old stuff and the new stuff. Any of the new guys that refuse to touch the old gear are let go before their 30 days are up.

  • Old talent and new tech dont mix. If you are hiring people into the c suite with no tech background, you are going to fail.
  • by johnlcallaway ( 165670 ) on Thursday October 29, 2015 @01:48PM (#50826807)

    Our company started up some Big Data projects. Well, no one at work knows Big Data, so they went out and hired a bunch of new people. There are no 'old people' on the team. So naturally, none of the 'old people' are going to know it, except possible by some book learning. It's the company's own fault that none of the 'old people' know Big Data, because they won't put them on the teams.

    In our company, we do sprints, and only put people in projects that already have the skills necessary to do the work. There is one special team that does research into new tech, but nine times out of ten, we hire people to implement it rather than train internally. Why?? Because we are already all busy and we don't have time to wait for me to train my replacement and then for me to learn the new stuff.

    And this crap about new people not knowing the old tech is the same thing. Back in the 'old days', we had a concept where we would rotate people through maintenance and new development. That way they learn multiple systems and skills. But we don't do that anymore because Johnny is a web developer and we need his skills on the web development team. We don't have time for him to learn back end development.

    The largest blame for corporations not having 'talented' people is the corporate environment and it's stupid rules. However, there are also a lot of people that won't learn new things, or old things. Mostly because they just aren't as bright as they think they are, and it takes too much effort.

    Now, I'm a 56 year old 38 year IT veteran, who started out hacking the college HP so I could get accounts with better priority. I'm the kind of person that says "I don't know it, but I can learn it" and over the years have seen my salary grow because I can just as easily write in COBOL as I can Java, and a host of other languages. I can hand wire serial and network cables, build windows and unix servers, run cables through ceilings, and even administer phone systems. Because I've been lucky enough to work for smaller companies that didn't have the luxury of hiring specialized talents. Or stupid rules about what a developer is allowed to have access to.

    My advice to developers is stop working for the big guys, take a small cut in pay and go work for someone that doesn't have a big shop so you can learn lots of stuff. Because, when you can work in any aspect of the IT world, you become far more valuable to your company when they realize they can put you in any project and you can perform.

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