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Messages - I D Shukhov

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FTE, Job and Career Discussion / Unique Selling Proposition
« on: Today at 11:56:00 am »
According to the Wikipedia article ( it's "one's 'personal brand' in the marketplace"  and a "unique benefit exhibited by a company, service, product or brand that enables it to stand out from competitors".

The need for a USP seems particularly necessary in the crowded IT field.  Lack of a USP is exactly the reason people here have been discouraged from learning some skill and then attempting to get hired as a "commodity programmer".

I suppose we might think back on our careers to see if we can find a USP, or if one cannot satisfactorily be found, think about what one might look like for the future.


You could do like the POWs did at the Hanoi Hilton.  They complied with their captor's interviews (to avoid torture), but were completely emotionless so anyone back home could see they were just being zombies with nothing going on inside.


You're all the time looking for guarantees, assurances, silver bullets. At least in that article. Well, this thread, too.
I wouldn't say I'm doing that in this thread.  I was trying to point out that WCIYP is a useful process for career hunting or job changing and it doesn't hurt to review the steps, especially as we are going to be doing this for a long time if we live until 90.

As for looking for guarantees, assurances and silver bullets in the past I suppose it comes from not wanting to make a decision I'll regret.  I completely understand the need for deciding and acting though.  Of course we can't be sure about anything -- that's what options and risk mitigation are for.

At the time I recommended "try building a website". Because it requires some tech skills but balanced by having to organize ideas and render them. I still think that's a good idea.

I think that's excellent advice.  I have a WordPress project going on at the moment.  I first thought I'd use Wix, but then realized I'd learn almost nothing from doing that.  It's also worth noting that WordPress shows up on -- amazingly, above J2EE .

1) Inductive logic to arrive at a career direction doesn't appear to be working well for you, given this apparent lack of progress.

I can't disagree with this.  Action -> learning -> making mistakes -> improving -> repeat  beats paralysis by analysis. 

The "working with your hands" thread was interesting for a while and then got tedious to read.  Much more interesting would be an "I'm doing X" thread.

I'll report back when I'm doing something and not thinking about it.

I never read "Who Moved My Cheese", but I did read "What Color is Your Parachute" many years ago.  I suppose its always good to take a self-inventory, but that book never affected my career one way or the other.  My experience was in network administration and tech support and that's what drove my career because that's what was in demand and made me the most money.
My story is about the same:  WCIYP didn't have much impact on me either, although I'm not faulting what the book was trying to do.  I "became" a computer programmer because I could do it and I could find work.  The purpose of the self-inventory is to get you thinking about your general -- as opposed to what you "became" -- skills.  What *else* might one do if the door has closed on the old career and/or you've grown tired of it?

FTE, Job and Career Discussion / Re: What is DevOps?
« on: March 08, 2018, 04:30:11 am »
Things never change do they?  Back in the day, long before the word "Agile" had been invented I used to go to daily "merge meetings" where you had to explain what and why you were merging into the baseline. "Breaking the build" was about the most humiliating thing a programmer could do. 

That brings back some good memories for me.  Many, many years ago, I was the "build / configuration master" at a DoD contract.  I had an actual "propellerhead beanie cap" that I gave out to the developer that "broke" a build.  That person had to keep it in their work area until the build was able to be properly integrated into the end product.  At first, they hated it (we had nightly builds).  But, after time went by it turned into a fun thing (I was usually able to fix their code for them before they arrived in to work the next morning - Ada, C, C++, O/S's and shell scripts running on a Harris NightHawk, Sun Workstations and some custom hardware components).

Ahh, the memories when times were much simpler.

Times are far simpler now!  That's why I said I was really appreciative of continuous integration with Subversion and Jenkins at my last job. 

Doesn't a "nightly build" sound so horrible in this day and age?  And the poor developers...  A project manager -- who, BTW, unlike you, never contributed or fixed anything, one time stood in front of a group of developers in an auditorium and threatened the entire group with some kind of public humiliation (can't remember what it was) if anyone merged any code that broke the overnight build.

You're looking for a study group? What on earth do you think this discussion is, anyway?

Job searches are experiential. Not theory craft.
One of the themes of this discussion is retooling.  How best to do that?  Is it lectures or a seminar?   I believe it's the latter because that is active learning, not passive.

I've been thinking about the "3 months and hit the pavement" idea.  I don't believe this is realistic because that's way too short of a time to credibly present yourself as competent.  It's great to be agile and prototype your way forward in a career change.  That way you quickly get intel about what you want to do and what's feasible, but 3 months is too short .   

10,000 hours has been proposed as the time needed to become an expert, which is what employers want, so at 20 hours a week, that's 9.6 years.  That's not at all reasonable.

If job hunting is not a survival concern because you are either employed or otherwise have a cash flow where you can last 1 year, I'm going to suggest changing 3 months to 1 year of retooling before initiating a job search.   That would give enough time, IMO, to work through 1 or 2 books in the list and maybe take a cert test.

I D, I'm not recommending to invent a cluster of three attributes at random at all.
It's not random.  I picked Python because it's an important language for system programming and hopefully data analysis.  I'm hoping it's as good as Perl, which I used to love and would use it whenever I got the chance to do all sorts of stuff.

Computer security has several virtues.  Older IT workers might consider looking at themselves in a caretaking role.  Think night watchmen and looking after grandchildren.  We are in an ideal position to watch over and protect networks.   :-X


[Computer Security] is totally not an application type. WAYYYY too generic and broad. You really need to focus in on something that someone is already doing in the market.
Agree, but this can be narrowed down once a study group begins.  A quick look at the table of contents of the suggested book list shows a variety of popular hacking targets.   One book even specializes in wireless hacking

The platform could be Linux.  But after my brother-in-law's unpleasant experience on a Microsoft network I'm thinking that might be a good platform.  Again, that depends on a field survey. 

When I did SW contracting my best successes were in fairly tightly defined language+platform+project type domains.

I believe that Pxsant should figure out a similar triad of qualities for best success in locating a post-retooling job ...

What about this?

Language:   Python 
Project type:  Computer Security 
Platform:  Not sure 

I'd be up for starting a study group based on one of these books:

All Technology & Tech Help / Re: Brother-in-law's computer got hacked
« on: March 07, 2018, 08:50:08 am »
It's probably an interesting problem, but I'll let his company's IT department (since they have one) work on it.  He's working and probably doesn't need me interrupting him

JoFrance  -- are you looking in??  Does this make you want to go back to work?  Does Use Outlook Anywhere to connect to your Exchange server without VPN sound interesting?  Maybe you could find a little MIS department to work for in a friendly company. 

All Technology & Tech Help / Re: Brother-in-law's computer got hacked
« on: March 07, 2018, 08:19:39 am »
I would definitely *not* regret losing the "opportunity" to help with this.  >:D

The guy might even be running a Citrix or other remote session - remotely hosted Windows instances running in the cloud. They would just nuke the old VM and give him a new one. You can rent such a service from AWS now.
I wonder if Outlook itself is compromised?

And it's been 3 days now without a resolution.  I can image the hyperactivity at the moment in the outsourced IT department.

All Technology & Tech Help / Re: Brother-in-law's computer got hacked
« on: March 07, 2018, 08:08:20 am »
I called him and I had this all wrong.  He's on a corporate VPN with about 300 or so employees.  The company is therefore bigger than I thought. They have an outsourced IT department who told him to change his PC and Outlook passwords on Monday when the incident occurred.  Beyond that, he's had no further contact with the IT department.

In the meanwhile, 5 or so other employees have experienced similar emails originating from their Outlook accounts in recent days, so apparently the incident is ongoing.   He told me he's going to file another trouble ticket.

It's correct that I couldn't mess with this computer.  It apparently is managed at the corporate level because he says that software he uses is installed remotely for him.   

He thanked me for the call.

All Technology & Tech Help / Re: Brother-in-law's computer got hacked
« on: March 07, 2018, 07:37:16 am »
Pxsant gave you a valuable tip. interview your BIL briefly. Find out:

What apps he needs most to have running?

What data he knows about that is stored on his computer? (DON'T turn the computer back on to find this! Follow my recipe. You can boot from a Linux CD safely and browse the hard drive safely. If you run Windows again the malware may start encrypting or eating his data.)

Again, in summary, two key things to extract from the guy:

Which programs he runs.

And where he is aware that data lives, on his computer, or just on a cloud account.

The cloud accounts will not be your concern since the malware can't touch them. You should only be concerned about locating data stored on the computer he has no other copies of.
Okay.  Thanks.  I'll give him a call and see where he stands.

All Technology & Tech Help / Re: Brother-in-law's computer got hacked
« on: March 07, 2018, 07:26:03 am »

I provided a complete skeletal schema for helping him with this. I figured you, since you are the family tech person between jobs, could use the experience.

It's kind of ugly work you may have no interest in, but putting yourself to work on something like this does several good things:

- You learn things.
- You exercise probably currently languishing problem solving abilities. (They do cross over. Problem solving I have to perform on web hosting issues or setting up Linux sharpens me for writing code, or even for figuring out why our self propelled lawn mower won't self propel.)
- You gain more self confidence in your problem solving abilities.

Even a home project like this makes one feel that they're still in the game.

All problems needing to be fixed are ugly and won't be the ideal work.
Interesting.  Maybe I'll call him.  We're not very buddy-buddy.  It would be doing a good deed.

All Technology & Tech Help / Re: Brother-in-law's computer got hacked
« on: March 07, 2018, 07:18:53 am »
Does he work for a major corporation?   If so, they will just reimage the system.  That process does a bit level reimage so anything which was on there will be gone.

If it is a smaller corporation, all bets are off.    Unless they have a good process for reimaging a system, they may not be able to get rid of the infection.

I hope he had his work stored out on the corporate network and not locally.
He works from home for a small company.  He relies on his PC for all communications with a staff he manages.  That means online meetings, sharing of docs and other collaboration tools which he proudly showed me about a year ago.  I'd be really surprised if this company has a tech person.  I'm  curious as to how this gets resolved.

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