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Re: [tlug] Looking for Summer Internship in Japan

Noda Yoshikazu writes:

 > I am basically thinking of those low level mass programmers when I
 > talk about Japan's IT crisis. Do you know what is happening at
 > those system integration companies (called SIers in Japan)?

Sure, and both I and Matz agree that the SIers are a mess.  For
example, see -- nice pictures, poor
navigability, low usability in general.  The internal work automation
sites (syllabus, class registration, expense accounting) are much
worse. :-(

 > They hire a lot of Haken people with a very little programming
 > skill. Do you know why?  They think programming is something anyone
 > can do.

I'll have to take your word for the reason at this point.  I don't
know anybody doing "mass SIing" personally.  I certainly do get the
impression that a lot of sites in Japan just sit somebody (any body)
down in front of a WYSIWYG "web design" program and have them point,
click, and paste from a portfolio of professionally done photos, with
near zero attention to workflow on the site.  I suppose the situation
for internally used software is equally ugly.

 > Is the same thing happening in the U.S.? I always hear about high
 > level people at Google or Apple are getting so much money in
 > America but what about the rest of them?

Yes and no.  There are still a lot of IT people in big organizations,
and they are definitely getting squeezed.  They often don't have the
skills to move to cloud providers, and don't want to move to Bangalore
(a friend of mine actually chose that route, though).  But most larger
(> 200 employees) American companies are realizing that IT can be a
significant competitive factor.  Mostly they choose to outsource; if
everybody else is using, then you are almost guaranteed
parity in customer relations management if you use too.
Growth in cloud services is very rapid, creating a strong market for
programmers with real skills.  It's also very easy to outsource
accounting services (for smaller companies) and so on once you
graduate from "Quicken" (a famous packaged accounting software that is
used a lot by housewives and 0-5 employee small businesses).

On the other hand, starting new businesses is much more popular among
American new graduates (and their professors) than it is here.  Cloud
services, big data analytics, lots of boutique industries
(biostatistics, 3D visualization and printing, etc).

My impression is that in fact the competition for jobs in U.S. IT
doesn't pit relatively unskilled "haken sha-in" against highly skilled
programmers, but rather "no-seniority" (low pay) new graduates with
the skills you'd expect of a decent CS major against "high-seniority"
experienced engineers who cost a lot.  So skills are required, but in
cases where the boss of the actual IT workers is weaker than the
financial strategy VP, the top management often pushes cost cuts in
the "overhead" of IT, neglecting the rather large impact on revenue
(and bottom line!) that a few large defects or a collection of missing
features (however minor!) can have.  The young graduates don't have a
perspective on defects and missing features that the experienced
programmers do, and they don't have client interaction skills.

Of course the ideal is to have a pretty continuous mix of new and
experienced, and a good mentoring culture.

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