Build Woes

We had to ship a new version of our software this past week. There was just one problem. Our build was broken. This was not your typical bad checkin. The actual problems came up when InstallShield was trying to put together our install executable.

There has been a lot of people running around with ideas why the build broke. Our person thought some install code may have changed. Somebody else thought that the build was in peril because the install executables are in a temporary directory. Another guy said it had something to do with the Windows page file.

Personally I have not been involved with the problems. A couple guys asked my opinion. I determined the build worked fine on one machine, but not another. This seemed simple. Determine the difference in environment between the two systems. However everybody kept coming up with random reasons why they thought the build was broke. Good luck guys.

Rocks Stars Required

I read a blog post about companies not wanting any rock stars. On the one hand, I can understand the reluctance to deal with a primadonna. However a rock star can help you out if you are in a jam.

A rock star can usually get things done fast. When you are seriously behind schedule, that is who you want on your team. Sure the optimal plan is to avoid being behind schedule in the first place. But some thing cannot be avoided. And when you are down, a rock star can get you back up.

We got some fake rock stars on our team. They think they are strong. But they are only good at making people think they are great. I guess you can call them rock salesmen. Ha ha. Here is the main point. Don't discount the rock stars. They have their place on problem projects.

Maintenance in School

Developers are starting to realize that what you learn is school does not prepare you for the real world. You get taught to develop small projects with new code. Real jobs start you out doing software maintenance. That’s because you can learn a lot by doing maintenance.

Many feel like maintenance is just not as exciting as new development. But the old salts like me treat it all the same. Perhaps we are ready for a new computer science course in maintenance. You could work on an existing project. It will be a complex and real application.

Look here. This idea is not my own. Somebody pitched it in a magazine I read. However it makes a lot of sense to me. In fact, I would not mind teaching such a course. The first order of business would be for them to read up in the Software Maintenance blog.

Pay Freeze in Effect

A tech magazine I read states that the average raise for tech professionals is 0% this past year. Ouch. The salary freeze is the new compensation model in effect. Many people have been laid off, had their pay cut, or lost benefits. Others are being furloughed.

Managers make an average of $103k, while the rank and file make $81k. Some skill sets are better off than others. Architects still make good money. Enterprise application developers are doing well too. Project leaders are actually in demand.

Good positions are those that are tied to the business. In my work that means you should make sure your hours are all billable. There is a lot of fear in job workers. If you want to choose a safe location, go to Washington DC where workers actually got pay increases this past year.