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Skill Shortage in Irelands IT sector

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,455 Smoggy


    Im a software dev and work in a software dev company and im interested to read articles stating that the number of IT graduates entering the work place has been dropping since 2000.

    Dropping to the point where Irish companies are struggling to fill roles. Now I know we are in a recession, but the place I work for looks to fill newly created dev roles now and again but struggles to fill them and has sought devs from other countries such as the UK.

    What im wondering, are the articles I have read (source is usually university written and published in a national paper) are they accurate ? or is it just the place that I work that is fitting into this trend of finding it hard to locate qualified dev resources ?

    What are others experiences with this ?


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Comments



  • I think it's all swings and roundabouts, alot of people went into IT courses around 2000 as it was in a boom and looked like a good career choice , then it went bust and course numbers dropped , then it increased but people began to see it as a "call centre" job so numbers dropped again, now were seeing a shortage again, hearing about the jobs being created by ebay/IBM/Linkedin etc will ensure numbers will rise again.

    I think that's why its always better to select a career that you actually enjoy and not just do what happens to be in vogue at the time.




  • Funny you mention that, was just talking about this yesterday. Things do appear to be picking up hiring-wise - I have a few contacts in other companies who are pretty keen to land folks lately, plus more enquiries than usual from recruiters. In fact, spent a while yesterday afternoon talking to a recruiter who was trying to headhunt me for various things, he appeared to have quite a lot of stuff on his books he needed to fill - mostly arriving in the past month or two. His crew were also offering pretty reasonable referral bonuses, which would suggest it was more than just the usual recruiters' hyper-enthusiasm, and they needed to put their money where their mouths were. As Sposs mentions, incoming US firms seemed to make up a fair bit of what his people were trying to fill.

    That's for experienced folks mind - things are still pretty tight for graduates from what I've seen, the old problem being that they're not much use without commercial experience, which they'll have a hard time getting when they're not much use. I get the impression recessions exacerbate that somewhat - when you're trying to keep costs down, affording the risk of picking one with potential, and the time and resources to train and mould a fresh graduate into something useful isn't necessarily worthwhile, even if they are cheap and plentiful. Likwise larger companies may have suspended their formal graduate programs, and haven't gotten round to starting them back up yet.

    In more general terms, yeah, good development talent appears to be hard to come by. I know companies I've worked with that were interviewing over the past while, often ended up pretty horrified by the quality of candidates who ended up in interviews. Decent CVs of course, but once they were on the spot, technical knowledge and general approach was very weak indeed in many many cases. Basically, folks who shouldn't have been calling themselves software developers, certainly not experienced ones anyway. It's not even the purely technical knowledge and skill that was missing - the attitude and approach seemed to be way off base; unable to discuss tech questions they didn't know the answers to, no apparent insight or broader awareness of their trade, etc. Bit worrying from an industry/profession point of view, though tbh it did boost my personal confidence quite a bit - I wouldn't rate myself an especially good engineer, but I can certainly compete with that standard with one arm missing. As a professional engineer though, it worries me a bit that the talent pool we have available is apparently that shallow. It would also tend to suggest bad things about our education of developers. I mean, if you can't sensibly discuss a problem that you don't have a solution for, or a question you don't know the answer to, wtf are you doing in this line of work? That's what we do.

    A Coding Horror post from a while back on the theme of programming ability specifically;
    http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/02/why-cant-programmers-program.html




  • Funny you mention that, was just talking about this yesterday. Things do appear to be picking up hiring-wise - I have a few contacts in other companies who are pretty keen to land folks lately, plus more enquiries than usual from recruiters. In fact, spent a while yesterday afternoon talking to a recruiter who was trying to headhunt me for various things, he appeared to have quite a lot of stuff on his books he needed to fill - mostly arriving in the past month or two. His crew were also offering pretty reasonable referral bonuses, which would suggest it was more than just the usual recruiters' hyper-enthusiasm, and they needed to put their money where their mouths were. As Sposs mentions, incoming US firms seemed to make up a fair bit of what his people were trying to fill.

    That's for experienced folks mind - things are still pretty tight for graduates from what I've seen, the old problem being that they're not much use without commercial experience, which they'll have a hard time getting when they're not much use. I get the impression recessions exacerbate that somewhat - when you're trying to keep costs down, affording the risk of picking one with potential, and the time and resources to train and mould a fresh graduate into something useful isn't necessarily worthwhile, even if they are cheap and plentiful. Likwise larger companies may have suspended their formal graduate programs, and haven't gotten round to starting them back up yet.

    In more general terms, yeah, good development talent appears to be hard to come by. I know companies I've worked with that were interviewing over the past while, often ended up pretty horrified by the quality of candidates who ended up in interviews. Decent CVs of course, but once they were on the spot, technical knowledge and general approach was very weak indeed in many many cases. Basically, folks who shouldn't have been calling themselves software developers, certainly not experienced ones anyway. It's not even the purely technical knowledge and skill that was missing - the attitude and approach seemed to be way off base; unable to discuss tech questions they didn't know the answers to, no apparent insight or broader awareness of their trade, etc. Bit worrying from an industry/profession point of view, though tbh it did boost my personal confidence quite a bit - I wouldn't rate myself an especially good engineer, but I can certainly compete with that standard with one arm missing. As a professional engineer though, it worries me a bit that the talent pool we have available is apparently that shallow. It would also tend to suggest bad things about our education of developers. I mean, if you can't sensibly discuss a problem that you don't have a solution for, or a question you don't know the answer to, wtf are you doing in this line of work? That's what we do.

    A Coding Horror post from a while back on the theme of programming ability specifically;
    http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/02/why-cant-programmers-program.html

    Not a lot posted on the hiring websites though. Maybe takes time to filter through.




  • From my experience there seems to be a shortage of young Irish experienced developers e.g. Java. Theres lots of older ones around (from Iona etc.) but the younger ones tend to be immigrants so would endorse what the previous poster said about this shortage.
    I'd imagine that its got something to do with thr auld Celtic Tiger and the choices graduates made for careers during that period but could be completely wrong!




  • bullpost wrote: »
    From my experience there seems to be a shortage of young Irish experienced developers e.g. Java. Theres lots of older ones around (from Iona etc.) but the younger ones tend to be immigrants so would endorse what the previous poster said about this shortage.
    I'd imagine that its got something to do with thr auld Celtic Tiger and the choices graduates made for careers during that period but could be completely wrong!

    Probably was the choices that they made in past 6 years. IT was in vogue in 2000 but then the downturn came and fewer people engaged in it. There was an exodus of sorts.

    The problem with a lot of IT is one of diminishing returns. Some companies are charging less than they were some years ago, which is fine if your costs are doing the same thing. But when ever do costs go down?

    I would imagine trades and property development-associated activities were more popular.


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  • Sposs wrote: »
    ...by ebay/IBM/Linkedin etc will ensure numbers will rise again.
    except IBM there will be yet another "call center" positions.




  • We struggled to get 3-4 devs recently with 1-2 years experience, speaking to one of our the recruiters it was hard to even find suitable candadites to interview.




  • Marco

    Just as a matter of interest what sort of dev's were you looking for (java, c# ..) ?




  • bullpost wrote: »
    there seems to be a shortage of young ... experienced developers
    There might be a logical reason for that ;)

    Frankly though, anytime we were hiring, the problem was never a lack of applicants; the problem was a lack of people I'd trust to tie their own shoelaces, let alone get near the codebase that paid our bills.

    Personally, I trace most of this back to around 1995/6, when the student computing research group in TCD died out. That was the point where engineering students stopped (by and large) doing extracurricular work (yes, one or two each year continue to do that, but they're the same one or two that could have passed finals within six months of walking in the front door so they don't count). Prior to that point, you had folks writing microkernels, compilers, and other cool software projects, or building robots or doing other interesting things for fun; and learning fairly deep lessons as a result; after that point, you had people who just didn't want to spend any time on anything that didn't feed towards their final degree mark. So we have a lot of grads with higher scores in their finals (grade inflation my left buttcheek), but whose overall skillset and attitude is sorely lacking. Hell, it even spread to the sports clubs, it was so widespread (almost every sports club in the colleges saw a downturn in membership around that timeframe).




  • As a not so recent grad(out of college 2 years)/junior dev, one thing I have noticed which has been a huge battle for me is the lack of companies willing to help a grad bridge the gap between the experience they want and the experience grads have.

    I found a lot of companies hiring for a grad position expecting the grad to have 2 years commercial experience in a particular framework. When reality what they are really looking for is a more experienced dev to slum it in a lower position.

    This type of situation can dishearten even the most enthusiastic grads, which in turn slowly chips away at their motivation, something that is very much needed for any grad trying to keep their head down and work hard to turn themselves into a competent experienced developer.


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  • I have heard, although I don't know how true it actually is, that some multinationals will simply not hire grads from specific colleges/universities in the country. Now I don't know what companies or universities are included.

    I've also read an interview with one of the founders of Havoc where he said that his new venture simply could not get the quality of grads that they needed in Ireland. Personally I feel that there's a focus on getting people into jobs rather then getting them into computing as a vocation.




  • Yeah, but Havok is a startup and startups... well, let's just say that they often speak in terms which espouse a view of the world not shared by the actual inhabitants of that world :D
    I mean, some startups I've seen will go looking for programmers who are exceptionally high-level experienced experts in multiple areas, and look to pay them peanuts... and then complain that there aren't enough good people to go round but lots of people who don't make the grade.
    It's not to say that they're incorrect, just that the specific problem they're seeing is self-inflicted a lot of the time.




  • but Havok is a startup and startups.

    hardley. Its been around for several years and was sold to Intel( I think).

    Has a large staff and is the main SDK for life like motion on gaming platforms.

    They want graduates with good numerical skills pref PhD/MsC in physics, maths or comp sci.

    Coincidentally the same type of grads the financial institutions like in UK/USA but not here!




  • marco_polo wrote: »
    We struggled to get 3-4 devs recently with 1-2 years experience, speaking to one of our the recruiters it was hard to even find suitable candadites to interview.

    That's strange - I was speaking to a recruiter yesterday and was told that the market had picked up more than expected (and the rates were lifting too - referring to .net/sql contract work).

    However, the recruiter said that there were still many candidates available and until such time came where there weren't, the rates would probably not rise that much more...

    So - it does seem that there are devs out there looking for work, though I do sometimes question an agency's ability to judge a candidates skill level (giving credence to Sparks comment:
    Frankly though, anytime we were hiring, the problem was never a lack of applicants; the problem was a lack of people I'd trust to tie their own shoelaces, let alone get near the codebase that paid our bills.




  • amen wrote: »
    hardley. Its been around for several years and was sold to Intel( I think).
    Eventually. But in the beginning, they were a startup like any other (I knew quite a few of the people involved at the time, they weren't an exception to the rule) and their mindset doesn't seem to have changed enormously from what I can see. The kind of grads they were looking for were polymaths; the kind of money a polymath can pull down at a smart company is fairly formidable. Most places won't offer enough to retain them.




  • I'm facing this dilemma soon, about to graduate and can see plenty of jobs in Java in my locality but all looking for min 2 years experience. I went back to college to get a degree so I could apply for jobs as a software engineer. I personally think that small companies generally have a poor attitude to training and do whinge about the lack of talent but where do they think the existing experienced engineers came from? Someone had to hire them once upon a time with no experience.




  • "min 2 years experience" is often nothing more than a HR made-up-on-the-spot bit of BS really. I can remember seeing ads for jobs where three years of java experience was sought. This was less than two years after java was publicly released...

    One of these days, a company will let the engineers write the job specs. You'll know the difference because then the specs will actually tell you what you'll need to know to do the job and what the job will be like and how much the job will pay. The ad should stand out from the rest by a country mile...




  • hobochris wrote: »
    As a not so recent grad(out of college 2 years)/junior dev, one thing I have noticed which has been a huge battle for me is the lack of companies willing to help a grad bridge the gap between the experience they want and the experience grads have.

    I found a lot of companies hiring for a grad position expecting the grad to have 2 years commercial experience in a particular framework. When reality what they are really looking for is a more experienced dev to slum it in a lower position.

    This type of situation can dishearten even the most enthusiastic grads, which in turn slowly chips away at their motivation, something that is very much needed for any grad trying to keep their head down and work hard to turn themselves into a competent experienced developer.

    I graduated last May and found the same situation, I didn't get a job until December.

    Most interviews I had sent the clear signal that they were after someone who was willing to take a pay cut that had the 1 or 2 years in a commercial enviroment or a graduate that had specific area of knowledge and an interest in that area.
    OwenM wrote: »
    I'm facing this dilemma soon, about to graduate and can see plenty of jobs in Java in my locality but all looking for min 2 years experience. I went back to college to get a degree so I could apply for jobs as a software engineer. I personally think that small companies generally have a poor attitude to training and do whinge about the lack of talent but where do they think the existing experienced engineers came from? Someone had to hire them once upon a time with no experience.

    What area are you from? I had to move from the Northeast to south Dublin for my job. As above took awhile to get it but I get myself busy with personal projects while I was looking.
    Sparks wrote: »
    "min 2 years experience" is often nothing more than a HR made-up-on-the-spot bit of BS really. I can remember seeing ads for jobs where three years of java experience was sought. This was less than two years after java was publicly released...

    One of these days, a company will let the engineers write the job specs. You'll know the difference because then the specs will actually tell you what you'll need to know to do the job and what the job will be like and how much the job will pay. The ad should stand out from the rest by a country mile...

    Cant agree with that more, I was interviewed in IBM twice and both times I thought I was in the wrong interview, the jobs were completely different to what was advertised




  • I remember in March 2003 applying for a job in .Net and the agent told me I didn't have thee years .Net experience. When I pointed out that .Net hadn't been out for three years he returned with, not if you've been working for Microsoft! When I asked him to clarify he said that the job will only go to ex-Microsoft staff. Didn't put that in the ad though, I thanked him for wasting my time.

    Which reminds me, I tweeted this earlier, I saw a job description today for expert C#/Asp.Net developer with php exposure. Which of the bat isn't unreasonable I suppose, any dev should have exposure to more than one language. But seems a bit split-personality to me, either hire a good C# dev or a good php. If you need both skill sets you need two devs, or am I being draconian? It probably a bad example. Here's what I'm talking about:

    Senior Dev position: Asp.Net/C# or Vb.net developer with outstanding Server development experience, must have exposure to Oracle and C++. 3 years + experience a must.

    Who exactly is that job description trying to hire? It's all over the f*cking place. Agencies really haven't a clue how to hire.

    In 2005 I was told by a company that "I fell between two stools" in that I had a good share of Asp.NET and Sql Server but I need to be great at one or the other, couldn't be both (which is true). I stuck to Asp.NET and left the majority of stuff DB stuff to the DB Devs. Got some really good jobs on the back of that move.




  • I dunno - I've been between two stools for about thirteen years now, doing both development and sysadmin stuff (hell, I can't even avoid it in moderating here :D ). You tend to focus on the stuff you're doing for the particular job you're in at the time (so for place, it was pure dev, in another it was about 80% sysadmin, and in most it's been a more even mix). It does take longer to learn everything, but personally I wouldn't be comfortable building something without knowing what's going on right down to the iron. But that's just the control freak in me I guess.


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  • hobochris wrote: »
    As a not so recent grad(out of college 2 years)/junior dev, one thing I have noticed which has been a huge battle for me is the lack of companies willing to help a grad bridge the gap between the experience they want and the experience grads have.

    I found a lot of companies hiring for a grad position expecting the grad to have 2 years commercial experience in a particular framework. When reality what they are really looking for is a more experienced dev to slum it in a lower position.

    This type of situation can dishearten even the most enthusiastic grads, which in turn slowly chips away at their motivation, something that is very much needed for any grad trying to keep their head down and work hard to turn themselves into a competent experienced developer.
    I'd have to agree.
    Pretty much all the jobs either want 2+ years of experience, even when they're in the graduate sections of jobsites, or such a diverse skillset that you'd be looking at at least a good few years solid plugging away (as in eat, drink, sleep programming and software, nothing else in your life) if you're to genuinely know the languages/technologies they're asking for instead of just having a basic introduction.
    It does get disheartening since the reality tends to be that you need experience to get experience if you can't rely on nepotism. At times I just feel fed up studying/practicing since it seems like I might as well be counting the grains of sand on the shore....:(
    Unfortunately I've heard that the college I went to is number one on the multi-national hiring blacklist (would explain why jobs I applied to that I'd be plenty qualified for didn't even call me for an interview when they continued to advertise the vacancy) so I just have to keep studying away to get certifications to prove I know my stuff.

    Leaves me thankful I never took up my former employer's offer to pay for me to do a PhD (had a good manager who wanted to ensure my knowledge level would be recognised even if I did leave the company), since there's very few offerings in science job-wise (regardless of the bull**** the government spews about there not being enough science graduates, very few of the science graduates I know got actual jobs in science). Although it looks like it'll be an extremely long time before I find a job in IT I'd still bet it'd be even longer before I find one in science (hence why I went back to college to study IT).:(




  • farreca wrote: »
    Marco

    Just as a matter of interest what sort of dev's were you looking for (java, c# ..) ?

    Either .Net of Java, can't say much more than that ;). Feel free to PM me.
    scorn wrote: »
    That's strange - I was speaking to a recruiter yesterday and was told that the market had picked up more than expected (and the rates were lifting too - referring to .net/sql contract work).

    However, the recruiter said that there were still many candidates available and until such time came where there weren't, the rates would probably not rise that much more...

    So - it does seem that there are devs out there looking for work, though I do sometimes question an agency's ability to judge a candidates skill level (giving credence to Sparks comment:

    We are probably a little heavy with senior developers at the moment. In general the company is fairly good to take on grads and took on a couple even this year, but this time around were specifically looking at the junior dev with experience catagory so not really what the experienced contractor would be interested in and vice versa I suppose. Now the ad was posted on a well known job site and the response was quite disappointing by all accounts.




  • Sparks wrote: »
    I mean, some startups I've seen will go looking for programmers who are exceptionally high-level experienced experts in multiple areas, and look to pay them peanuts... and then complain that there aren't enough good people to go round but lots of people who don't make the grade.
    It's not to say that they're incorrect, just that the specific problem they're seeing is self-inflicted a lot of the time.

    I would like to express very strong agreement with this post.

    There's been quite a few media complaints on this topic by certain companies, and, frankly, while I may be wrong, I've always felt the problem wasn't so much the existence of suitably qualified programmers, but the willingness to pay them suitably to secure their services. The good tech people are often willing and able to travel to get better experience, and better salaries, if they get a better offer elsewhere.


    Now, thats not to say that there aren't problems in this field in Ireland. I believe there are huge problems here with people not being pushed hard enough in CS courses and generally not being held to a high enough standard... This is part of a wider issue in Ireland though - we really need to raise our game in the tech/sciences to compete internationally. The rest of the world seems to be getting better at it, and we seem to be getting worse.


    Its also interesting to look at CAO points for CS courses. I've always been hesitant to say that, as I'm not sure what the LC actually measures... But it is worth noting that CS in TCD fell from 475 in 1999 to 350 in 2009 - a drop of 125 points over 10 years. This is a huge shift along the leaving cert curve - its not a simple scale.
    And, if nothing else, this clearly shows a huge reduction in demand by students with high points.


    So, I do think there are systemic issues out there - enough people dont want to do tech, and colleges aren't holding those who do to a high enough standard.


    But at the same time, I do think there's always good grads coming out of the courses, people that really like the area, and have pushed themselves in their own time - possibly outside the framework of their course - to get the knowledge and education they need.


    So, as the man says, if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire them...
    but don't expect to pay peanuts, or even just to pay a lot cheaper than you do in your other locations.

    That attitude does almost as big a disservice to the standard of graduates as the buggy education system does, and it'd be nice if this could be discussed when various parties are soapboxing in the media about it - its worth remember there's always a conflict there, in that the companies don't just want good grads - they want cheap good grads - and it might be good if journalists would highlight or explore that issue when printing their comments.




  • Something else to lob at companies like a piece of overripe fruit at the stocks, is that there are not very many companies out there - and almost none in the SME sector - that take CPD seriously. I've worked for one company where after much arguing and protesting, the coding team was given a budget of about €100 a month to buy tech books from Amazon, which were then to be tracked by one of the coders in a library system and you had to sign them out if you took one home to read.

    No, that's not a bad attempt at an early april fool's joke. That was actually thought to be a progressive approach.

    Seriously. If you're not willing to take on CPD in a proper manner -- and just look at how well the civil engineering sector does it! -- you have no business complaining about the standard of potential hires, because you are part of the problem.




  • its lucky that Irelands growth over the next 10 years is based on a high tech economy :rolleyes:




  • Smoggy wrote: »
    its lucky that that Irelands growth over the next 10 years is based on a high tech economy :rolleyes:

    Don't forget to consider the US threatening to change it's taxation laws so US multinationals will no longer have the benefit of our lower tax rate on IP as a reason to set up a division here.;)

    But, yeah, that makes me laugh considering it used to be all about needing science graduates. lol

    I think a lot of graduates at the moment would be willing to work for peanuts just to get the experience under their belts, I've certainly applied to WPP programs through fás. I think so far there's only been one work experience type placement that I didn't apply for (some of which were unpaid), and that was because their website was so atrocious that I'd be highly dubious of the merit of any experience or praises from them, their homepage has no links to the rest of the site, it was only by knowing the typical titles for pages that I was able to navigate by typing in the address bar. :eek:

    I have heard a few stories about people who got their degrees in CS but can't code worth a damn:confused:, so I can understand why folks would be wary of untested graduates. They need to keep in mind though that the reality is that if few companies are willing to run the graduates through the mill you end up with little fresh blood entering the field and so the companies are fighting over an ever diminishing number of experienced developers. This leads to a potential scenario where they need to recruit internationally for any position they have available, and at that point you're looking at making it worth a person's time to move here.
    That said though there are some highly experienced developers out there who's proficiency I'd find questionable, e.g. at my previous employer (I was an engineer as this was before I went back to college to study IT) they regularly suffered bugs in the software as between versions the developers would decide to arbitrarily change a variable name, between versions in one of the applications, without considering the other programs interacting with it (alas the new name almost never made better sense than the old one, and it wasn't due to them deciding to use the old name for something else either). The new names didn't even tend to make any more sense than the old ones did. At one point they'd decided to change what delimiter to use in data storage, making all old files useless and then in the next version changed it back to the old delimiter, once again causing set backs (and a brief bug hunt since they didn't remember they'd changed it back) due to files no longer working....:rolleyes:
    Yet these guys had no difficulty securing new jobs when the company went bust.




  • Reku wrote: »
    Yet these guys had no difficulty securing new jobs when the company went bust.
    To be expected when companies won't write accurate job descriptions, post sensible recruitment adverts, run proper interviews or do proper CPD...




  • Reku wrote: »
    Yet these guys had no difficulty securing new jobs when the company went bust.

    I worked with a lad who spent half his day smoking (and thats no exaggeration), his lunch time drinking and the final hour of the day coding. As you can imagine the code was shocking and still years on the code is being located and rolled out.

    Before he was kicked (he worked here for 2 years), he jumped, but he is still doing the samething in his new roles (he just happens to work in companies current employees worked at). This lad has a shocking name and the Dublin market is small enough that his name should proceed him, but all I can imagine is that employees are happy to get any Dev with 10+ years "experience" how ever poor they maybe.


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  • Sparks wrote: »

    In response to that post, which is on this topic:

    The IEI (or Engineers Ireland?) don't seem to have huge relevancy to the Irish software industry.

    I was a member for a while, but I left because I was getting nothing out of it. It does seem like a good organisation, just not so relevant to the software engineers here.

    One big thing they seem to do is dispense/manage C.Eng professional titles. These aren't as big a deal in software engineering as in other forms - in fact, I'm not sure I've ever heard of someone looking for a C.Eng when hiring a developer - maybe if they were working on code in aerospace, or life critical sectors its different?

    Anyway, while there might be advantages to getting a C. Eng. one day, most of the IEI infrastructure didn't seem geared towards facilitating software people towards that goal.
    I looked at their CPD courses, but I was pretty sceptical about how much value they would hold for me. I didn't see any course on X that made me think both 'I should learn X' and 'This is a very efficient way for me to learn X'.

    So, if you are talking about continuous professional development, in general, I wholeheartedly agree that employers should support their staff doing it. But that's not the same thing as doing EI approved CPD courses, which may or may not be useful.

    There's also something about the EI CPD / C.Eng. setup that puts me off it.
    One thing is that "A list of companies accredited for Continuing
    Professional Development (CPD) by Engineers Ireland in this respect is provided on our website." In other words, companies must be accredited to provide CPD, for later recognition.
    And another is that an application for C.Eng. must be endorsed by two existing members.

    When I see such conditions on any sort of membership of an organisation, it raises questions for me.
    Surely a candidate should be allowed show that they had sufficient extra CPD training, and justify the specific courses they decided to do, even if the courses are not approved? From what I've read - and I dont know a lot about this - it seems that 'CPD' must be a specific set of approved course, from an approved set of companies.

    These are not the kind of rules I'd have expected. Surely it should be possible to just assess candidates on merit and experience, rather than on where they worked and whether they know two existing members?


    I have to wonder how much of the recognised CPD is just being done because its a necessary step before attaining a professional title people want, as opposed to because they genuinely want the training. I suspect a large part of the reason companies and other engineering disciplines are good about CPD is that its a necessary pre-requisite to a desired professional title, as opposed to just on its own merits. Now I'm not saying thats the case for sure - just that its something that occurs to me.


    On a separate, but related, point, in some sense software eng is a little different than the other engineering fields traditionally are. Developers move around more, and there's less of a 'job for life' mentality. Also, the tools and tech used changes very fast. The way we build software changes from year to year - much more so, I think, than the way we build bridges.

    I think as a result of these two factors, the responsibility has tended to lie with the individual, and not the company, to continually improve professionally. Essentially, if you aren't doing CPD on your own time as a developer, you are losing ground to everyone else who is. A lot of software developers I know - and I'd include myself here - put a huge price on working for companies where their skills might go stale, and a huge premium on the ability to learn newer and better ways to do things.


    So, definitely, tech companies should encourage their developers to CPD more. And it'd be great if tech companies and EI somehow sorted out proper useful CPD for software people. But even if that doesn't happen, a lot of people are doing a lot of learning on their own time and dime anyway - and structuring their careers around it.


    Also - you mention 'Peopleware' in your post - great book.


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