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Kit Plummer
Software Engineer :: Techitect :: Evangelist
kitplummer@gmail.com
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definitionofdone.JPG

Quite literally I just submitted my team’s final project deliverables, putting the final touch on a long and arduous process. Time to celebrate…or just do nothing for a bit. The Wii awaits!

ROI

Now, to determine if it really was worth it. I don’t suspect I’ll be able to understand the real value, in terms of productivity, or position within an organization. I believe, more than anything, the act of trudging through something to the end is more enduring than any one course, project, paper, or task. So, if nothing else I HAVE finished. I feel like I now have earned my right to just work.

Though, the financial ROI may not reveal itself for sometime. Between loans, and a stale employment progression path – I’m not to excited about the near-term. But, as Lyndon B. Johnson stated: Education is an opportunity. So, then if I follow Seneca’s famous equation all I need is to be prepared and I’ll will arrive at Luck.

Still Not Prepared

For those that may be familiar with my opinion of current CS programs will know that I have a belief that graduates are ill-prepared (at the fault of academia) for the working world as a software engineer. I am now also of the belief that traditionally trained project managers are ill-prepared to lead software engineering projects. I am most definitely not saying the those graduating from Masters of Software Engineering projects are guaranteed success – just that it is more probable. I would also assert that a software developer without formal software engineering training/education will not make a suitable software engineering manager (though I’m not precluding that I have/will). I’m still missing a few pieces, but am in hot pursuit of those. ;)

I have no idea who originally said it but the old adage “failing to prepare, is preparing to fail” rings very true to me. So, I shall do everything I can to provide the preparedness to Seneca.

Academic Downturn

Right in the middle of my academic work, my university pulled the plug on the Masters of Software Engineering program. Obviously, they were not able to support the program with quality students or teachers/professors. Other unis like CMU are light-years ahead in terms of both students and faculty. But, if this uni can maintain one??? It is not my intent to dog my peers (for they are working professionals like me, employed at places like Microsoft, EA, Lockheed Martin, etc.). There simply were too few quality (software engineering skilled) backgrounds to provide value across the board (multi-directional). A real program would’ve weeded out the weak – potentially saving the program, by exclusiveness. But, too late for that. The solution was to simply make the once program a track under an IS/IT program. I’m not sure why this makes sense. But, if CMU does it – then it must include logic somewhere.

It is hard for me to swallow a downturn. It really is just an issue of quality losing to quantity. As more become unemployed I can only imagine that this will get worse. But, then maybe all of those that turned to IT in the late 90’s to cash in on the .com rollercoaster will finally get the deserved boot. No different than the automotive industrial self-inflicted crisis we must endure – so be it that we have to watch the fat get chucked from our IT organizations. Unfortunately, much of this fat will just blame those who’d been carrying them anyway – and turn to re-education. Again the academic dowturn will be one of quality not, quantity.

It is Worth It!

Anyway…I’d offer those that actually read this, the encouragement to pursue a Masters degree. And, even more so in times bordering on desperation (in terms of employment). Differentiation is important…and not from a networking perspective. It is a social learning activity – and counters the “it isn’t what you know, but who you know” principle. Who you know will get you work, what you know will keep you employed. Lastly, what you know is highly dependent on continued learning. A Masters degree is but one way to continue learning; a very creditable method. I applaud my peers for sticking with me, tolerating my “Agilizing”, and putting in the effort. Congratulations to you all too!


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