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IDC: 40 Percent of Developers Are 'Hobbyists'

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the fewer-than-expected dept.

Programming 148

itwbennett writes "A new IDC study has found that 'of the 18.5 million software developers in the world, about 7.5 million — roughly 40 percent — are so-called hobbyist developers,' which by IDC's definition is 'someone who spends 10 hours a month or more writing computer or mobile device programs, even though they are not paid primarily to be a programmer.' Lumped into this group are students, people hoping to strike it rich with mobile apps, and people who code on the job but aren't counted among the developer ranks."

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148 comments

All hats (1)

TempleOS (3394245) | about 4 months ago | (#45745319)

I am an entrepreneur. I wrote the code. More code won't help. Now, I must slam my fucken captors until they see God and release me and obey me.

Huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745329)

Is anybody actually surprised at this?

Re:Huh? (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#45745393)

Not me, coding for fun and 10 hours a month is way better than 40 hours a week on stuff you don't really care about.

Re:Huh? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 4 months ago | (#45745501)

What do you do in those 40 hours a week and why do you think you could only care about a job if it doesn't involve coding?

Re:Huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745555)

Coding is a hobby and I prefer to keep it that way. I'm a hospital pharmacist and there is no way I could sit in front of a computer 40 hours per week.

Re:Huh? (3, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 4 months ago | (#45745573)

The pharmacy billing software company I work for hires people like you to be product owners.

Re:Huh? (-1, Offtopic)

alex67500 (1609333) | about 4 months ago | (#45746799)

Coding is a hobby and I prefer to keep it that way. I'm a hospital pharmacist and there is no way I could sit in front of a computer 40 hours per week.

The pharmacy billing software company I work for hires people like you to be product owners.

Guys, get a room!! ;-)

Re:Huh? (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#45745607)

You are mistaken, I'm a 40 hour a week programmer, and I enjoy the code, just not the resulting application. I achieve more in 10 hours a month when I'm making something interesting than I ever could with 40 hours a week on the job.

1% (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745341)

and only 1% of the 40% actually have a clue what they're doing... Like Slashdot's developer/spam team.

Re:1% (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#45745403)

95% of everything is crap. I don't know if you've tried to interview people for serious programmer positions lately, but about half of applicants seem to outright fabricate their credentials.

Re:1% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745421)

If your candidate can't write you a basic program/script (when provided with the necessary tools) to random requirements given by you, from scratch/memory, then they're worthless irrespective of the no. of bits of paper they collected/claimed to...

Re:1% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745429)

Which is why you give a programming test onsite.

Re:1% (5, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 4 months ago | (#45745535)

Which is why you give a programming test onsite.

Any number of which I'd probably fail as pulling random function names/jargon out the air isn't my forte. OTOH, I've been coding for 35 years, know where to find the answers to anything I need to know and can crank out pretty much bug free code until the cows come home. As an e.g., last task I was given was to monitor an IBM MQ for SWIFT payments, parse them, pull out the good stuff, validate it and put it in an oracle DB. Wrote it in ProC. Never used ProC (had used C though), Oracle or MQ before yet amazingly it went through testing with only one minor bug and that was a problem with the spec rather than the code. I even threw in diagnostic modes you could select with switches at run time to give verbose logging. Last count I've used 20+ languages from Assembler to 4GLs, across various Unix, DOS, Windows and VMS. As I said though, I'd be amazed if I could answer more than a handful of questions on the spot even though I was (so long ago..) a MCSD or whatever the MS dev training used to be called.

Re:1% (2)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 4 months ago | (#45745569)

Plus everythng I write is commented to death with notes about how something works, why it was done like that, things to watch for if changing it later etc.

Re:1% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745739)

In your case you might be over qualified. So, don't list things companies can't pay for, just include what you know you're great at without mentioning your leading role at cert or what ever the hell it might have been. I dunk those CVs in the bin right away.

Re:1% (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 months ago | (#45745629)

Someone I was talking to a few months ago claimed that around half of the applicants they get fail to be able to write fizzbuzz in their interview. This is just a function that has to take an input number, print fizz if it's divisible by 3, buzz if it's divisible by 5 (fizzbuzz if it's divisible by both), or the number otherwise. It's a trivial use of simple flow control and if you can't remember the name of a print function in your language of choice (no marks deducted for using printf instead of puts) then there's really no hope for you.

Re:1% (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745917)

100% of chan pedos would pass that test in 20 languages.

Re:1% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45746839)

I have one that just requires they return the number of elements. Bit better than 50%, but we're pretty careful with resume screening. Still, the number of people that fail is always surprising.

Re:1% (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45746869)

and if you can't remember the name of a print function in your language of choice (no marks deducted for using printf instead of puts) then there's really no hope for you.

The language you will be using on the job (or even in the interview) isn't always your choice.

Re:1% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745657)

The test doesn't have to be "sit at this computer without internet and write this code in 15 minutes". It can be open book, sudo code, whatever. There are ways to test somoene without trusting their resume.

Re:1% (4, Interesting)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 4 months ago | (#45746627)

I agree here - but only to a point. At an interview you have to demonstrate some ability, and as there are so many idiots with bullshit CVs, you have to give some sort of test. Fortunately the tests don't (and should not) be very hard.

However, one test I had given to me a while ago was a code review. They gave me a visual studio project and said "review that, tell us what you think", and of course it had a couple of glaring bugs, a bit of very lazy coding, duplicated code that could be refactored into a common function, and similar. It wasn't about what variable names to call things (except the file called MyClass1.cs). It didn't require me to remember all the stuff I've consigned to Google's stewardship over the years and gave me the opportunity to explain my thinking.

I think such tests are vastly improved over coding tests that you end up writing differently to what the interviewer expected (and therefore he considers "wrong"). When you did tests at school, the teacher never really cared about the right answer - they cared about the working. An interview test that asks you to review code is pretty much the same principle.

Re:1% (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745791)

In many cases, it's pointless to actually give the programming test.

Just tell the candidate that you're giving them a programming test. Have a system set up with developer tools. Have them sit there with a problem description for while you leave the room. Then come back in a couple minutes later and say, "Nevermind, we don't need you to do this." Make sure it's in a "this is silly, you obviously have skills and this problem is beneath you" way, not in a "we've already filled the position and you're wasting our time" way. (Remember, flattery, even if it's false, is a good way to get people to open up and show you how they really feel.) If they're relieved, show them the door and never call them back. If they're disappointed, give them an offer on the spot. Everyone else is a possible candidate.

You want someone eager to get the job done that isn't afraid of the task they're assigned.

Now, if you have a situation that requires more skill than just code-monkeying as part of a dev team, give them the full treatment before hiring them. (At a minimum, let them finish the test exercise.)

Re:1% (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45746027)

I had someone try this on me; joke was on them: I had finished the solution before they got back.

Re:1% (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | about 4 months ago | (#45745507)

I haven't done any hiring yet in my career, but just hearing this line so often blows my mind. How does one complete a Computer Science or Software Engineering degree, and make it through over a year of employment as a programmer without being able to write a Fizz Buzz program in his or her language of choice?

areas of specialization (2)

Chirs (87576) | about 4 months ago | (#45745717)

Ask me to write a red-black tree from scratch and I'd probably have to look it up. It's been 15 years since I had to care about it since every project I've worked on has already had basic infrastructure available.

On the other hand, I've rewritten parts of the linux process scheduler, tracked down DMA bugs in eth drivers, added new syscalls, tracked down and fixed bugs in locking primitives in glibc, worked in mips/powerpc/arm/x86 assembly, etc.

Re:areas of specialization (1)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#45746105)

Fizzbuzz has nothing to do with areas of specialisation, it's about the most basic elements of computational logic and flow that are common to all areas of development.

Re:areas of specialization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45746637)

Most people never played that Game Fizzbuzz!

Re:areas of specialization (2)

reikae (80981) | about 4 months ago | (#45746195)

Yes, that makes sense. But all that is orders of magnitude more complex than the FizzBuzz program, which merely requires that one is familiar with a loop and the modulo operation. So I think the parent's question still stands.

Re:areas of specialization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45746281)

To be fair, I work in a bunch of languages and I know the modulo in c and c++, but have not come across it in others. If someone asked me for a python version, I would probably fail unless it was %.
The point is Modulo is not that commonly used in interpreted languages.

Re:areas of specialization (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#45746341)

The point is Modulo is not that commonly used in interpreted languages.

I beg to differ. An import of a large data set into a database may commit the transaction or update a progress indicator after every n rows.

Re:areas of specialization (1)

reikae (80981) | about 4 months ago | (#45746407)

I don't know about Python either, although I've been wanting to get into it. Of course, I wouldn't apply for a Python job in the first place. On the other hand I'm sure I've missed job opportunities sometimes because I tend to underestimate my abilities and only apply if I'm sure I can do the job, unlike those people i kan reed was talking about earlier.

Re:areas of specialization (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 4 months ago | (#45746553)

doesn't matter - you can divide the input number by 3 and if its exactly zero, then print fizz out. Obviously you have to remember to put the input number into a floating point one, and it isn't necessarily going to be the most efficient... but that's not the point. The point of the test is to weed out the people who simply have zero clue.

Hell, if they took the number, converted it to a string and then compared the string to a lookup table of fizz values, that'd be acceptable in terms of passing the test; the test not being anything about a good solution, but any solution that works - and gives you a chance to explain why you decided to do it like you did to an interviewer so they know you're not a complete fuckwit.

Re:1% (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 4 months ago | (#45746047)

Well I had never heard of the Fizz Buzz program but have been asked in every interview to write some sort of code or pseudo code to do something. Some were to see if you had the most basic understanding of programming while others were to see if you could thing through a problem.

Re:1% (2)

Entropius (188861) | about 4 months ago | (#45746351)

Okay, I'm a computational physicist, not a CS guy, so my knowledge of programming is limited to what's needed to make the thing work. But isn't this ... extremely, painfully trivial? Like, when I taught Baby's First Computational Physics Course For Freshmen, we made them compute the first million prime numbers as part of the week 1 homework, right after Hello World and the Fahrenheit/Celsius converter.

Do people really graduate and not know how to do this?

Re:1% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45746691)

My math is a little rusty but if I got the formulas anything is possible!

Re:1% (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#45746871)

Do people really graduate and not know how to do this?

Yes. Including many in your class. They had a friend do the coding for them, or they paid someone to do it. When I was in college, I earned a lot of beer money by writing/fixing code for other students, including trivial programs for graduating seniors.

Re:1% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745529)

I was once accused of lying about my credentials, and everything I have down is 100% true. It's those bad eggs that give the rest of us a bad name. I imaging hiring personnel see a lot of fabricated credentials, which in turn leads them to expect a certain percentage of most applicants' credentials to be forged.

Still I refuse to lie on my resume.. If I really wanted to add some new credential, I'd rather get experience in it first. It seems beyond stupid to put things down you're completely unfamiliar with.

Re:1% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45746447)

Amazon accused me of cheating on a phone interview. I guess pausing to think about a good solution before answering a question means, "he's looking up the answers on the web." Afterwards I explained to them I would have been more than happy to have made the trip to their office to whiteboard the interview questions rather than work through it over the phone. Jakes on them anyway brahs, I was chilling on my deck while I was on the phone with them. Then I moved on and landed a much better position in every way imaginable. Sometimes it's a blessing in disguise. Who the fuck wants to write hadoop code with a bunch of hoo-hah's who believe that stopping to think about a problem before answering a question automatically means someone is scouring the web for answers?

While it wasn't *the* reason, it was one of many reasons I said fuck off to Tech companies and haven't looked back. I can get much more interesting work as a scientist (for far less money) and nobody bugs me on the weekends and I can sit in my own office without dealing with the enormous amounts of bullshit I encountered in the 15 years I did vanilla sysadmin/developer work.

Still get calls from the clueless about shit jobs like that Amazon one. Yeah buddy, I'll just drop my research to write you a gay web app that let's retards take dick photos and post them up to other retards on their mobiles. Besides, writing research software is much more satisfying, no maintenance, no wiki bullshit, get some results on an interesting problem and move on to the next one. No manager complaining a font is the wrong kerning or whatever the fuck they bitch about now a days. Sure it has its own problems, but they are a set of problems far more amenable to having a life outside of work and not having to deal with bullshit. Now I get to call some other faggot at 3am and have him go reboot a server or install a printer. FTGE!

Re:1% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45746595)

"Faggot"? Are you 12?

Re:1% (1)

Nspace_00 (3469583) | about 4 months ago | (#45745683)

95% of it 'is' crap. Software in 2013/2014 is atrocious and embarrassing, and none of it was written by the guy that didn't get the job. The 'serious programmer' has done enough damage. One should require an IQ test rather than a programming test. But alas, we'll undoubtedly throw another design acronym at the problem instead

Re:1% (1)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#45746165)

"The 'serious programmer' has done enough damage."

This is because of two things:

1) The serious programmer has to contend with the reality of often being told what to do, rather than necessarily doing what's right to produce quality software

2) Even many "serious programmers" suck, because there is a genuine shortage of real talent, but a massive need for developers, so the bar is set low for who gets a job out of desperation - an atrocious developer is still going to get your project further than no developer. Companies need someone to at least make a start so they'll hire the best they can get, and the best the can get may be crap if they're not big enough to compete with the big boys on salaries etc.

Re:1% (1)

kaiser423 (828989) | about 4 months ago | (#45746019)

This. So many people whom developed an app for the iPhone or wrote a webpage that did something then spin themselves as a software architect or advanced developer, etc. Or you get the people whom compile Android for their phones calling themselves "developers" because they can get the build chain to work and perform some Git cherrypicks.

My other pet peeve is infrastructure people applying for development positions. I don't know how many applications I get whose biggest experience in "Configuring, Managing and Deploying Cisco routers" applying for my hardcore developer positions. I'd say it's at least 80% of my applicants.

5 years of experience on 3 year old product (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#45746227)

If your HR department requires five years of experience on a product that has been available to the public for three years, of course people are going to fabricate credentials. The only way someone could have that much experience is if he was actually on the team that developed the product. Are HR departments really trying to poach from such a company?

Re:1% (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 4 months ago | (#45746357)

but about half of applicants seem to outright fabricate their credentials.

Not sure why that wouldn't get vetted out in the interview process. Asking someone to describe their most elaborate program, or explain what their most difficult language to learn was should give you some good indicators of aptitude. Another good one is ask them what their most enjoyable problem was they solved with code. Those three can be asked on the phone quite quickly.

Re:1% (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 4 months ago | (#45745635)

I'm pretty sure they don't work 40 hours a week on this.

if they do, I want the job, so that I could have a job where I could be high on sniffing gasoline all day long and still keep the job!

crown royal corepirate nazi WMD cabals (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745371)

our legacy & leavings for our kids? results never vary so far http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk9mV8qBiEk

Too narrow a definition (4, Interesting)

barlevg (2111272) | about 4 months ago | (#45745375)

people who code on the job but aren't counted among the developer ranks

This part makes this whole result pretty absurd, imo. My job title is research scientist, though I'm more of a data scientist. In any case, you can't do my job without a fair amount of coding. I would certainly not classify myself as a hobbyist.

Re:Too narrow a definition (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745479)

As an actual software developer who has had to occasionally deal with code written by "research/data scientist[s]" before, believe me, we wouldn't even classify you as high as a hobbyist.

Re:Too narrow a definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745857)

I hate to say it, but I have to agree with this assessment. Every research coder I've ever worked with has been terrible.

One guy even had to ask me "what is a URL"? At a company that made web-based business management software. Weeks after he was hired. And, no, there was no restriction on using Google. If ever LMGTFY was warranted beyond a simple snarky remark, that was the moment.

Also, he asked "what is scroll?" when someone told him to "scroll down the page". This is what CLI's do to your mind when you get old, kids!

Re:Too narrow a definition (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 4 months ago | (#45745879)

Compared to many of the people that manage to have the job title of "developer" in corporations, a "hobbyist" would be a step up.

Re:Too narrow a definition (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#45746037)

And that's not exactly such a bad thing, because a lot of research code is throwaway stuff. Anything built the typical software engineering way would rob his employer of his research employee's precious brain time, while generating little extra value.

Re:Too narrow a definition (3, Insightful)

rnturn (11092) | about 4 months ago | (#45746355)

``because a lot of research code is throwaway stuff''

Another recent /. post (about scientific data loss) makes me think that little, if any, research code is really `throwaway'. That code -- along with the data it processed -- represents part of the work effort leading to the published results. Data without that code is almost useless because the next researcher who wants to built upon his predecessor's work will likely want to know how you went from the data to your result. Without the code all they can assume is that some magic was involved. Or, if they go through the process of re-processing the raw data and get different results draw the conclusion may be that the original results were faked.

Re:Too narrow a definition (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | about 4 months ago | (#45746501)

While I agree that it's nice to distribute the code that generated your results, this is hardly the only way for other researchers to know how to go from data to results.. This is the entire purpose of the published paper, to describe what you did, in words and math, sometimes in psuedo-code.

Re:Too narrow a definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45746503)

Exactly. We're looking for results and nobody else is going to use the software beyond a close circle of people. If the software had a half-life of more than a few weeks you might consider putting some comments in it so if/when you need to re-purpose it for something else a few months down the road you can do it quickly, but most of it never goes beyond 2-3 people. Devs don't get that because they're writing web apps and commercial software. I wish them all the best, but they can go suck a choad if they think I'd expend more than the minimum required to get the job done while working on a bigger project. BRB updating the wiki on some piece of shit script written to parse some data to push through a pipeline that will never be used again. Better make sure I put a GPL template in the header...LOL

If you want to re-write OS/360 that's on you dev peeps. I'd rather drive a truck than go through that shit again...

Re:Too narrow a definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745605)

Professional Hour - when a clueless code monkey doesn't understand the task and codes something useless or destructive. Typical of software engineering.

Re:Too narrow a definition (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45746217)

There isn't an engineer, statistician, physicist, etc. out there who hasn't written or doesn't write a significant amount of code in the course of their using a computer as a tool. They're hardly hobbyists. One has to wonder if IDC doesn't think that the code these people write should really be written by 'professionals'. (I'm thinking of the early mainframe days when only members of the Priesthood were allowed to approach the Sacred Iron and perform the Holy Incantations.)

It's likely a fairly useless little article, intended to be read only by anyone stupid enough to believe that the information contained therein is really worth $5,800 (~$193/page!). It must must be good because it costs so much, right? It does appear to be targeted to 'investors' and the 15 charts and figures contained in its 30 pages likely give the investor without a clue -- but with plenty of money -- much to point at and drool while dreaming of places to invest or for the CEO/BoD who's looking for a way to, somehow, justify moving software development. ("Oh look. There's aren't as many 'hobbyists' in Dirtcheapistan. Begin making plans to only hire coders from that country.") By pricing the article at such an exorbitant cost, it guarantees that it will never really be peer reviewed and its almost certain flaws pointed out for the world to see. My fear is that the folks that purchase this report will pick up on the word `hobbyist' and then drive a bunch of HR lackeys to starting asking job candidates about the amount of time they code and begin filtering out perfectly good candidates because they weren't, somehow, 'professional'.

Take this paper with a grain of salt of at least the size you would with anything that Gartner puts out.

Re:Too narrow a definition (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 4 months ago | (#45746593)

You took your definition, or connotation, of hobbyist, and objected when someone else's definition did not match yours.
There are plenty of definitions; feel free to share yours. Meanwhile, the study here is not making changes to theirs.
The result is valid for those scenarios where the definition matches. I would expect a data scientist to be better at this sort of thing, but here we are.

Re:Too narrow a definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45746867)

In other words, if you redefine hobby programmer to include a lot of people who code for their job or degree, you get a high percentage of hobby programmers.
Well blow me down, I'd never have guessed.

Unemployed == Hobbyist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745395)

See, we have reduced the number of unemployed!

I question the definitions in the study. Is a person who used to be a professional developer but is now a manager no longer a developer. But they could be again?

Where is the meaning in this data, I can not seem to find it.

Re:Unemployed == Hobbyist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745619)

It's only important for indians and americans to be managers to gain caste points, in the rest of the world, face value counts (not counting the the chinese concept of face), not who you are or who employs you or at what current position in the ladder you are at, that's completely irrelevant.

I am i pro-"hobbyist" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745437)

I "spend 10 hours a month or more [a day in my case!] writing computer programs, even though not paid primarily to be a programmer [i don't make any money from it... yet!]", so... i am a pro-"hobbyist"!
I spend time -few years- in a non IT related occupation, and i saved money so i could live while working -the last few years- in what i do now - i understand what a hobbyist programmer may be, but that 40 percent includes people like me that invest TIME (and even money - and time is money!) as professionals do when working on a project hopping to collect someday the profits from their work.

wut (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745517)

10 hours?
That's what someone committed would do in a single day after a 9-5 dev job, twice. Jesus, it's just 10 hours and your 9-5 job isn't actual time.
Shit, I've done 48 hours marathons twice per week for years not even complaining, but now I got a family and a life to care for, yet I still manage to pull 5 hour for my pet projects after the kids sleep and I still have time to fuck my wife twice in the wee hours. Christ...get it together.

Re:wut (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745755)

Me too, only I find the time to fuck your wife three times.

nonsensical (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745521)

Every engineer in the building writes some amount of code. Instrument control for test automation, number crunching and analysis, logistics process automation, etc. We are mechanical, electrical, and industrial engineers. I am the only one with a CS degree, and I write less LOC/month then most other engineers.

Stupid, nonsensical, devoid of purpose or logic. Go ahead slash-puke, make my day...

What about me? (4, Interesting)

Max Threshold (540114) | about 4 months ago | (#45745531)

I'm paid primarily to write software. Then I go home and write more software.

Re:What about me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745713)

I'm so with you there, bro. I've been writing software on a regular basis for over two decades (but I technically wrote my first code three decades ago). I enjoy it so much that I have my own one-man game studio outside of my full time job of development. Despite having released five commercial games that never turned a profit, I am very much looking forward to making five more.

Now if I could just make a hobby out of marketing and sales...

Re:What about me? (2)

Akratist (1080775) | about 4 months ago | (#45745943)

Yeah, me too. The day job is for keeping the lights on. The coding at night is for keeping me sane and happy with the day job.

Re:What about me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45746115)

I bet you are real fun at parties.

Florida Pesticide Producer to Pay $1.7 Million Pen (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745561)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that Harrell’s LLC, a pesticide producer based in Lakeland, Fla., has agreed to pay $1,736,560 in civil penalties for allegedly distributing and selling misbranded pesticides and other violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

The penalty is one of the largest ever for an enforcement case under FIFRA.
“The law requires that pesticides be labeled to help prevent any harm to people and the environment,” said Cynthia Giles, EPA’s Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Pesticides can be highly toxic to fish and other wildlife and can contaminate our drinking water. Proper labeling is critical to ensure that people know how to use them correctly and safely."

In the settlement, which was approved by EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board, the agency alleged that Harrell’s violated FIFRA on numerous occasions between 2010 and 2012, allegedly distributing or selling pesticides over 350 times without labels or with labels that were completely illegible. EPA also alleged that the company distributed or sold pesticides in violation of a prior “stop sale” order issued by EPA, and produced large amounts of pesticides over several years at its Alabama facility before registering with EPA. The agency discovered the violations during field inspections conducted in 2012.

The settlement with Harrell requires the company to ensure that its production and distribution centers are operating in compliance with all regulations under FIFRA. The company has corrected all of the violations.
Harrell’s produces pesticides at facilities in Sylacauga, Ala. and Lakeland, Fla. and operates distribution centers in Danbury, Conn.; Auburn, Mass.; Lombard, Ill.; New Hudson, Mich.; Homestead, Fla.; Whitestown, Ind.; and in the cities of Butler and York, Pa. Harrell’s sells most of its products to golf courses and some to the horticulture, nursery, turf and landscape sectors. The company does not sell products to individual consumers or to retail stores.

In addition to producing its own pesticides, Harrell’s also produces and sells pesticides that are registered with EPA by other companies, acting as a “supplemental” distributor. The EPA is focusing national enforcement efforts on these activities because, in many cases, the agency has found that labels on pesticides produced and sold by supplemental distributors often lack critical information required by law, which increases the risk of harm from potential misuse of the product.

The purpose of FIFRA is to ensure that no pesticides are produced, imported, distributed, sold, or used in a manner that pose an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment. Without proper facility registration and reporting, EPA cannot determine where and in what manner pesticides and devices are being produced, sold, and distributed.

The settlement, which is effective immediately, requires that Harrell’s pay the penalty within 30 days of the date of EAB filing. The settlement is available at [link to OCE information].
For more information on EPA regulation of pesticides: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/regulating/index.htm

Software Developer vs programmer (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 4 months ago | (#45745565)

'of the 18.5 million software developers in the world, about 7.5 million — roughly 40 percent — are so-called hobbyist developers,' which by IDC's definition is 'someone who spends 10 hours a month or more writing computer or mobile device programs, even though they are not paid primarily to be a programmer.'

So if I get paid primarily to to write software I'm a programmer. But If I just hack out a few lines of semi-working code a month I'm a Software Developer? Thanks for clearing that up.

But what am I if I spend a couple hours a week mowing my lawn and planting my garden? A Landscape Developer?

Re:Software Developer vs programmer (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45746049)

But what am I if I spend a couple hours a week mowing my lawn and planting my garden?

A closet homosexual?

Re:Software Developer vs programmer (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 4 months ago | (#45746071)

But what am I if I spend a couple hours a week mowing my lawn and planting my garden?

Someone who cares about their lawn more than I do. I try to minimize lawn work as I would rather do other things.

I find the term "hobbyist" to be offensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745583)

Anyone agree with me here?

Re:I find the term "hobbyist" to be offensive (4, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 4 months ago | (#45745649)

Anyone agree with me here?

Not really, hobbyist isn't a synonym for bad.

Re:I find the term "hobbyist" to be offensive (2)

MoonFog (586818) | about 4 months ago | (#45745843)

Agree with you there, don't see the offense in being called a hobbyist. I'm in a management position now, but I still program at home every now and then so that I know more about what I'm talking about when I talk to my developers. Programming is fun and although I don't get paid to churn out code I still enjoy dabbling in it. By that I'm clearly a hobbyist and find no offense in that term whatsoever.

Re:I find the term "hobbyist" to be offensive (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 4 months ago | (#45745893)

Indeed. I've picked up some PHP to build myself a CMS for a personal website project and C# for another pet project. TBH, my employer tends to work with safe, tried and tested tech for stability so the only way I could get exposed to anything particularly new and 'trendy' is to do it myself and how better to learn something than a project or two at home?

Re:I find the term "hobbyist" to be offensive (2)

geminidomino (614729) | about 4 months ago | (#45746415)

ve picked up some PHP to build myself a CMS for a personal website project

RUN!

Dear gods, run for your soul! Run like the devil himself is at your heels.

Re:I find the term "hobbyist" to be offensive (2)

rnturn (11092) | about 4 months ago | (#45746715)

Ah... but you see HR screeners will deem your learning experience inadequate because you didn't attend `training' classes and cough up $2,500 each (more and more on your dime, of course) for the Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced programming courses. Pursuing something on your own, devouring a couple of texts on a language (that might set you back a whopping $45 each), and fully immersing yourself in it to complete a project that you care about doesn't count. Not a bit. At least not any any place I've ever worked.

Remember when your college instructors told you about the importance of lifelong learning? How, if the college experience was in any way successful, you'd be learning how to teach yourself? Well, most business folks don't seem to believe that. (My guess is that they never had to learn anything new once they graduated.)

Most of us here would not find anything wrong at all about the term `hobbyist'. However, in the business world, it really seems to have a distinctly negative connotation.

Game consoles (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#45746385)

hobbyist isn't a synonym for bad.

Video game console makers seem to think it is. They have preferred developers to be established companies with a dedicated office, not 1-man startups out of someone's home.

Re:Game consoles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45746779)

This was true in the 90s, not so much any more.

Re:I find the term "hobbyist" to be offensive (1)

jandrese (485) | about 4 months ago | (#45746723)

For me, a hobbyist programmer is one that is developing outside of a rigid formal process, which is why people who develop small applications that solve specific problems that they aren't planning to sell get lumped in, even though they're technically getting paid for it. A non-hobby developer is someone who is planning to sell their finished code to someone else, and probably works on a team with a project manager and everything.

But but but shortage! (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about 4 months ago | (#45745659)

Remember folks, despite having this legion of potential recruits with the interest and aptitude, lacking only training and education, there simply aren't as many programmers as there should be at the price where demand meets supply, We need government intervention, stat!

Re:But but but shortage! (1)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#45745947)

Spending a bit of time doing it as a hobby doesn't mean you're either qualified or even want to work as a professional developer.

I've got a fish tank that I enjoy looking after but I don't exactly consider myself qualified nor am I interested in becoming a marine biologist.

I never liked this title:Hobbyist (3, Insightful)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 4 months ago | (#45745691)

Look, a lot of people are trying to start a business, it should be treated the same as work experience.

The funny designation people say when talking with HR is,"Oh, you actually made money with this home business, then I guess it counts as work."

It doesn't matter you busted your tail for 10 years in projects that failed, suddenly the less ambitious one you did that made a couple bucks actually counts as work.

So lets drop the hobbyist title. If someone is working a home business that isn't yet profitable because there is an awful lot of overhead to code first, they've been working that time.

Can it be deducted? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#45746311)

So lets drop the hobbyist title. If someone is working a home business that isn't yet profitable because there is an awful lot of overhead to code first, they've been working that time.

Then you'll have to get half of the House of Representatives and half of the Senate to amend the definition of hobby in the part of the tax code related to business expense deductions [irs.gov].

I'm not a programmer, but I play one at Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745701)

The 40 percent consists only of PHP "programmers" :)

I preffer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45745861)

I preffer "Code Tinker"

'Hobbyists'? (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 4 months ago | (#45745921)

Every "developer" who has no idea of what the complexity of a program/algorithm is - and there are a lot - should be counted in the 'Hobbyists' league.

Re:'Hobbyists'? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 4 months ago | (#45746333)

Or those who can't take simple algorithm descriptions (fizz-buzz [c2.com]), and convert it into a working program, should be counted as not-really-a-programmer. I don't want to use the word "hobbyist" in this case, or in yours, because there's plenty of people I know who only program in their spare time, but have great programming skills, while people who are actually employed as software developers or programmers who can not tell you what the complexity of an algorithm is, nor can they make a simple algorithm base on a description of what it should do.

40% of developers are amateurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45746149)

Would be more accurate?

I keep getting hired as a system engineer/admin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45746167)

Thats funny, I keep getting hired at places as a system engineer/admin but for some strange reason pretty quickly they find out I can automate and write tools and somehow I go from doing system admin type work to writing web portals for our NOC and automating and interfacing with 3rd party apps. These days I'm more familiar with HTML/CSS/Javascript/jQuery and other javascript frameworks as well as 3d party APIs than I am with actually sys admin things. I still don't really consider myself a developer.

Re:I keep getting hired as a system engineer/admin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45746561)

You're doing it wrong. They've got you on call and writing code. Get out now!

End product is all that matters. (1)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 4 months ago | (#45746179)

Stability + Performance = All that the end user will care about.

Doesnt matter who made it, or what their background is.
As long as the program runs stable, and, with respectable performance, the end user wont think twice about who made it.

Financial stability and platform availability (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#45746427)

Stability + Performance = All that the end user will care about.

Doesnt matter who made it, or what their background is.

A lot of companies use financial stability of the developer as a heuristic for guessing the developer's level of quality control and the stability of maintenance of the product.

As long as the program runs stable, and, with respectable performance, the end user wont think twice about who made it.

It has to 1. run stable, 2. perform respectably, and 3. run on the end user's preferred platform. A lot of platform gatekeepers have historically had anti-hobbyist policies, such as video game console manufacturers.

I am (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 4 months ago | (#45746441)

I've maintained a goofy little firefox [mozilla.org] plugin for a few years now and put together a few simple Android [google.com] apps. It helps me keep my programing skills up while I'm working in IT, and the plugin's big enough I do a little project management on it :). Besides, I get bored playing video games all day long :).
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