The shortage

Comet (
Sat, 04 Sep 1999 11:40:12 -0400

"It's amazing what people will do for money," [Adam] Sah [Microsoft,
Inktomi] laughs wryly. [1]

[A necessarily long excerpt so that...]

Perhaps the most persistent myth of recent years, though, is that of
"programmer shortage." According to this tale, geeks now run the show.
There isn't enough programming talent to go around, so companies are
fighting tooth and claw over warm bodies. Mainstream media have taken
this up like a mantra. "Business leaders say the shortage has reached
near-crisis proportions," wrote The Washington Post in an article
detailing--with a sort of horrified fascination--the incredible perks
to lure programmers, from "signing bonuses like professional athletes"
seventy-dollar-an-hour rates for temporary work.

Again, the facts completely contradict the hype. Last year, Norman
Matloff, a University of California professor, released one of the few
studies ever done on the programmer job market. He surveyed the hiring
practices of software and new-media firms, and concluded that there
was, in fact, no shortage of programmers. Quite the
could afford to be picky. Companies were hiring only two to four
of the people they interviewed, a rate far below that for other types
engineers. The shortage, Matloff realized, wasn't in programmers per
Rather, it was in young, unattached programmers--the type who are
willing to destroy themselves for work, pulling 100-hour weeks for a
comparatively low salary (a national average of $40,000). [2]

[...I can comment: My friend from ZA, a computer science doctoral
candidate at a nearby US university reports that barely 10% of his
grad program peers are American... a disturbing statistic, imo]


01000011 01101111 01001101 01000101 01110100 
    "I am a deeply superficial person." -- Andy Warhol