lol ... its the same old story .. a random email comes in that I never asked for because once upon a time I was looking for work some 5 years ago or something.
So I think, ok this is vague but kind of down my street i'll give them a ring.
I get the guy on the phone and immediately talk all technical to him about the type of code I write and how I need a company that works the way I do.
I deliberately avoid words like "agile", and ".net" in favour of "iterative business applications using C#" in order to ensure that they know what I'm talking about.
If I get the impression the agent on the phone isn't clued up at least partially I drop it there and then.
I see people complaining about salaries and it reminds me of a conversation I had with my team last week at a regular lunch where the flow went something like this
Me : ... I find getting work really easy, is it me or are general oop skills in demand at the moment?
team: well the problem is that there are a lot of developers out there but few can write business apps
Me : surely you test them right?
team: oh yeh, we give them the usual "build something that does this" in the interview but those basic examples don't show you the flaws.
team: yeh the issue is that you can't really confirm the difference between a programmer that can write code and and a programmer that cand build to business requirements in a couple of hours.
Me : so how many people did you guys interview before you took me on?
team: well we had about 150 CV's passed to us from the agency we dealt with, and only about 30 of those were even close to the job, after interviewing about 10 of those we could get rid of the obvious skill lacking candidates but then you end up with the people that can sell themselves not knowing if they can do the job.
Me : Strange how there can be so much of a gap between "writing code" and "writing solutions that work".
team: yeh, it seems natural to us, because that's what we do but these days you can get an MCPD on a 6 week course and universities seem to teach you how to do research and learn rather than how to be a good programmer.
And here's where the penny drops ...
A university degree is seemingly the "UK standard for determining level of knowledge" but I don't have a university degree, and I beat back the other 15 other candidates that were shortlisted in under 2 hours (i had the job in the time it took me to get home after the interview).
How did I do it ...
It's about proving that you're capable of more than citing textbooks or copy and paste from google search results, programmers that can think about and actually solve the problem are about 1 in 200 these days but the industry doesn't seem to have caught up with that yet.
When the industry does, there will be a huge shift, demand will remain the same but the list of people that have proven ability will be easy to find thus stripping out those other 199 people in every job on offer.
When that happens programmers will go back to being what they once were!
Just to be clear:
I've been a professional programmer now for about 10 years, since about year 3 of my career I have not seen a salary below £30k, if you know what you're worth and can prove it then there is no reason why that £718 average shouldn't apply to you too.
ONS base their stats on the entire UK, London and other highly built up areas often pay a premium for getting a person to come in to the city, I live in the south west of England and have gone to interviews where the salary on offer is the "average for the area", someone else on here quoted a Bournemouth role offering "£20k something", and on more than 1 occasion i've attended such an interview and told them under no circumstances would I accept less than £30k (or whatever it was I was worth at the time) and been "reluctantly called back" by a manager some 2 months later because they employed some cheaper alternative that didn't have a clue.
The point is, many "IT Managers" these days are "Managers" and many have come from roots in business not in IT, so when you tell them what a skill is worth they will often take their typical "Manager" point of view and say something like "Well I know I can get someone with your CV for cheaper" my response is simply ... "OK do it, but when they screw up i'll charge you a premuim to fix it" ... when their manager (possibly the MD) comes back with something like "you better get this right this time" all of a sudden they want to spend real money on talent.
It's time managers in the business learnt that IT talent is not something to be taken lightly when an average project is to develop software that will enable your business to turn over millions. It's not until that system has problems or is unable to deliver for some reason that this sort of thing comes to the surface ... be wise people, know the manager you're dealing with, if they can't see the value in your skill set move along to the next job because you'll be shat on the whole of the time you are there else.
And to quote someone else: "outsourcing is good, I get more to fix the problem in the longer term".
And a final note: aren't programmers meant to be well known for thinking outside the box ... so start doing that guys! I won't be told by some overpriced MD that IT isn't worth getting right and any MD that feels that way can employ some indians then let me know when they feel they learn't their lesson.
Disclaimer: I'm not racist, when I say "Indians" or other terms that come across insulting I'm generalising the industry's complete lack of ability to spot lack of talent when looking for a project team, typically it's India I see the outsourcing going to because "its cheap", in my opinion "it's cheap for a reason".
"When I ring my ISP I don't want to talk to someone in India because my problem is with someone in the UK", it's not the Indian peoples fault.