Re: National Sign-On Letter to House on H-1Bs, U.S. Immigration

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From: Lucas Gonze (
Date: Thu Jun 08 2000 - 07:36:55 PDT

I started my career in a programmer culture dominated by MIT EE
types, the kind of people who learned on PDP 11s or Vaxen. They
were generally skinny guys with crusty attitudes. They worked
short hours, coded in assembler, and solved every problem with a
lookup table.

It took me a few years to learn their tricks
1) always check function arguments
2) always check return values
3) use fancy algorithms and simple code
4) tell the truth
5) if something is taking a long time then you're approaching it

Programming was, to me, most like a medieval craft guild.
Instead of graduate school I spent an apprenticeship absorbing
craft from masters.

In the current labor shortage it takes so little to impress
businesspeople that smart but foolish kids are working on their
own, without the benefit of masters to learn from. So they have
to learn the above lessons by messing up some big commercial

I have been direct peers with people much more educated than me
for most of my career, and have very rarely paid a price. Since
I'm pretty plainly an idiot, what this says to me is that craft
training is at least as productive as education.

- Lucas

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