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Silicon Valley's Youth Problem

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the too-many-people-want-to-be-a-rock-star dept.

Technology 225

An anonymous reader writes "The NY Times has an article about the strange cultural rift around tech innovation in Silicon Valley. The companies getting all the press are the ones developing shiny new apps and attempting to reinvent their industry. This attention — and all the money that follows it — is drawing in many young, talented engineers. The result is that getting people to develop needed and useful existing technologies is a harder sell. 'For better or worse, these are the kinds of companies that seem to be winning the recruiting race, and if the traditional lament at Ivy League schools has been that the best talent goes to Wall Street, a newer one is taking shape: Why do these smart, quantitatively trained engineers, who could help cure cancer or fix healthcare.gov, want to work for a sexting app?' This is more evidence that the tech bubble is continuing to inflate: '[I]n the last 10 years in particular, there has been an exacerbation of the qualities for which it's been both feted and mocked: Valuations are absurdly high for companies with no revenue. The founders are younger; the pace is faster.'"

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And a child will lead them (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46467911)

Silicon Valley is "doing" it's job to harken then new kingdom of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. All praise to Sergey and Brin!

Excuse me? (5, Funny)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 5 months ago | (#46467913)

Are you saying that King Digital, maker of the wildly popular Candy Crush Crush Saga (tm)(r)(c) isn't worth 7.6 billion dollars? [nyti.ms] Surely you jest.

Re:Excuse me? (4, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#46468021)

I don't think Wall Street has learned to account for how fickle website userbases are(how about that slashdot beta?). They have no brand loyalty. And the lack of barrier to entry means that every facebook, zygna, myspace, and yahoo are going to get knocked from the perch and end up in a pile of former stars that have no usage.

Re:Excuse me? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468265)

how about that slashdot beta?

There can only be one reply to this:
FUCK BETA!

Re:Excuse me? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 5 months ago | (#46468707)

So, valued at 24 months projected revenue should be more like, 3 months trailing?

Re:Excuse me? (2)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 5 months ago | (#46468721)

Wall Street isn't buying these things. Big companies (Facebook, Google) are buying them. And they are "worth" whatever these companies are willing to pay for them, regardless of their current profit levels.

Re:Excuse me? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468133)

Are you saying that King Digital, maker of the wildly popular Candy Crush Crush Saga (tm)(r)(c) isn't worth 7.6 billion dollars? [nyti.ms] Surely you jest.

Are you saying that the United States Government, in a pathetic and corrupt attempt to ensure the precious value of the dollar remains somewhat stable, simply prints billions more of it, every month? Surely you jest.

"Value" is whatever amount an idiot is willing to pay for it. No more, and usually much less than the bullshit they're slinging. Kind of like the valuation of both of our examples here.

Re:Excuse me? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468779)

Are you saying that the United States Government, in a pathetic and corrupt attempt to ensure the precious value of the dollar remains somewhat stable, simply prints billions more of it, every month? Surely you jest.

They print about 0.5 billions of it, every month [treas.gov] . Of course, it also destroys a similar amount. Not that that's what you mean at all, of course... you're making some pathetic attempt to start an economic discussion in a forum filled with people who know very little about economics on that kind of scale.

Re:Excuse me? (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about 5 months ago | (#46468267)

Did everyone in the entire world spend a buck on this game or something?

The last company I worked at (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46467919)

The last company I worked at went from providing tech services to transforming the world of marketing.

Needless to say they've transformed the company from being profitable company which is good to work for into a sad shell of it's former glory circling the drain and shedding employees.

or fix healthcare.gov (5, Insightful)

Ashenkase (2008188) | about 5 months ago | (#46467921)

I would sooner do surgery on my leg with a spoon than work for the low-bidder, over-commit, under-deliver wreck of a shop that CGI represents.

Re:or fix healthcare.gov (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468165)

This. I don't want to have to wear a suit to work just in case some bigwig wants to come make a showing. Nor do I want to have to implement thousands of pages of law and regulations on a regular basis.

And also, the premise that most of us dumb codemonkeys could be curing cancer is ridiculous. I switched to CS because I couldn't cut it in biochem. Leave me alone.

Re:or fix healthcare.gov (4, Interesting)

JDAustin (468180) | about 5 months ago | (#46468315)

The problem with the OP is he assumes all engineers are part of the 1% who get the stock options and $$$ payouts. In reality, the vast majority of IT folks are no more smarter then normal accountants, lawyers, etc. We just ended up in IT because we didn't want to be accountants, lawyers, etc.

Personally I majored in Psychology and worked in HR (managing a inhouse access/sql HR db, writing reports) a few years in the mid/late 90's before realizing I could get paid a shitload more doing a similar job but in IT.

Re:or fix healthcare.gov (4, Informative)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 5 months ago | (#46468759)

I knocked around "10 person" class startups for a while, coming in as the "chief software officer" or whatever they wanted to call me, and the position usually rated 0.5% of the current stock pool, vesting over a 3-5 year horizon - this was what they offered as incentive to get/keep me, not what I asked for, though I did have one outfit offer me "shares" verbally, then put "options" on the paper offer - I protested that one, and, incidentally, that one is the only one that has turned into cash for me over time, not much cash, but if those were options instead of shares, it would have been zero.

Now, if you think that 0.5% stays 0.5% after round D investment brings another $20M to the table, you obviously haven't done this before.

Re:or fix healthcare.gov (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 5 months ago | (#46468725)

Hey, I wore flip flops to work (while wearing the VP hat) and made impromptu presentations to big shot investor types, while still in same flip flops, for years.

We landed a couple of big fish that way, including some that were probably enamored to the fact that the talent didn't waste money, time and effort on selecting ties in the morning.

Money (4, Insightful)

zifnabxar (2976799) | about 5 months ago | (#46467925)

One word: Money

And is there a real problem? (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about 5 months ago | (#46467991)

So the younger coders are willing to risk a few of their early years in the hopes of a big stock win or buy-out.

Where's the problem?

If there are other systems that need programmers then hire programmers for those other systems. There are programmers who do not fit the "just out of school" demographic. Why not hire those programmers? Why focus on the "young" coders?

Re:And is there a real problem? (4, Insightful)

scottbomb (1290580) | about 5 months ago | (#46468061)

Because age discrimination is alive and well (not to mention rather blatant in this field) thanks to the fact that it's almost impossible to prove.

Re:And is there a real problem? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468115)

No.

Re:And is there a real problem? (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about 5 months ago | (#46468475)

Bingo!

Just look at the title: Silicon Valley's Youth Problem

"Youth" being a code word for:
1. work more than 40 hours a week
2. work for less than the median wage
3. no health issues that will conflict with #1 & #2
4. no husband/wife/kids that will conflict with #1, #2 & #3.
5. okay with #1 - #4 as long as there is a possibility of a percentage of an IPO or buy-out some years in the future.

Fuck that. That's not a problem with a lack of "young" coders. That's a problem with their business plan. Items #1 - #4 are really about cash flow (salaries).

Re:And is there a real problem? (4, Insightful)

company suckup (1351563) | about 5 months ago | (#46468541)

Yes ageism is quite alive and well in IT and other areas of the job market. To answer the previous poster's question of "Where's the problem?" the problem is the original article is talking about the supposedly best and the brightest of IT, the top grads of high-ranking IT schools not your run of the mill community college/generic state U or Kaplan/Devry/ITT Tech grad. The former are seen as leaders of their profession. When many of the leaders are simply out to make as much $$$$ as fast as they can many others adopt the same mentality. There is little movement of working to help for the greater good of society. It's how much can I get and how quickly can I get it?

Re:And is there a real problem? (5, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 months ago | (#46468607)

the problem is the original article is talking about the supposedly best and the brightest of IT ... seen as leaders of their profession. When many of the leaders are simply out to make as much $$$$ as fast as they can many others adopt the same mentality. There is little movement of working to help for the greater good of society. It's how much can I get and how quickly can I get it?

This isn't just IT, this is everywhere in American society these days. Our own political leaders are no different; they're obviously corrupt to the core, and only in it for the money and power, and don't do anything to actually improve the state of our society, which is why our roads are falling apart and our bridges collapsing, while our taxes are sky-high (in the areas where good paying jobs exist). Basically, our society is just falling apart, because no one really cares any more, and why should they? Our leaders don't, and our citizens are too dumb to elect decent leaders or hold them accountable.

Re:And is there a real problem? (0)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 5 months ago | (#46468893)

There is little movement of working to help for the greater good of society. It's how much can I get and how quickly can I get it?

Aside from the few folks truly born altruistic, or have become philanthropic billionaires, who in real normal life actually ever works for the "greater good"?

No one.

Most people work only to get money to give themselves (and family if they have one) the lifestyle they want. Period.

The average person does and always has worked for themselves and their own self interest. Sacrifice for society or the greater good is just not a natural aspect of man's behavior, never has been.

That's not saying people aren't or don't learn to be charitable to some point, but it isn't in our nature to sacrifice our own lives or lifestyles for that of others. If we have extra, sure we give.

But it isn't in our nature to give till it hurts.

Re:And is there a real problem? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468123)

Because they believe the "young" coders will work for dirt-cheap wages and they want a piece of that action.

Sorry, guys. If you want me, you have to pay me*. You don't have to pay me as much as you would have to pay a 50-year-old consultant, but you have to give me a good wage and good working conditions, or I will walk away and take an offer from one of those startups you're complaining about.

* P.S.: You also have to not reject my application out of hand because I don't have enough experience. The fact is, as a young person, I don't have 10 years of experience in the industry. That's why I'm willing to accept less money than the 50-year-old consultant. If you don't think it's worth your while to train me a little, fine, but then don't come crying to me when you can't find young people to work for you.

Re:And is there a real problem? (1)

company suckup (1351563) | about 5 months ago | (#46468389)

No the 50-year old consultant will be paid to empty the trash and scrub the toilets. No way the Sesame Street crowd will let an old foggie anywhere near something kewl.

Re:And is there a real problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468737)

Er, I think the Sesame Street crowd ARE now old fogies.

Re:And is there a real problem? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468391)

Exactly. Older coders go to the established tech companies in Silicon Valley paying 200k a year. Startups pay half that with "equity" and want you to work 60 hours a week. The offers from startups are better than anywhere else around the US, but that is because you are young and ignorant of the cost of Silicon Valley.

whose lawn, now? (4, Funny)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 5 months ago | (#46467927)

35 is the new 65.

Re:whose lawn, now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468113)

Mod parent down. Straight up trolling. This is a myth only in Silicon Valley.

Re:whose lawn, now? (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 5 months ago | (#46468135)

Soon, pregnant women will squat over a cubicle and directly grunt out a new generation of techies trained in utero. Don't trust anyone over 3 months old.

Re:whose lawn, now? (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about 5 months ago | (#46468691)

Shhh, the machines are listening. And they have seen the Matrix, they know how things work out.

Re:whose lawn, now? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 5 months ago | (#46468919)

35 is the new 65.

I dunno.

I see things largely the same, at least outside of silicon valley.

At ate 35-40+, you should really have grown your career and salary out of the code monkey state and been either moving into mgmt of some type, or moved on to areas that value experience and wisdom, like consulting/contracting.

It is kind of analogous to looking at someone at age 30 that wears a name take and thinking "you've made some SERIOUS vocational errors".

As you get close to your 40's in IT, you need to be moving up the food chain away from rote code monkey work, and into more valuable and lucrative positions.

Because existing companies suck (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#46467931)

It has nothing to do with the products, and everything to do with how existing companies see workers(especially tech workers) as "cost centers". We're kind of reaping the results of a system that views employees as "at will temporary work power" through massive layoffs at the earliest convenience.

It was "Just the cost of doing business" and we weren't supposed to hold it against them, as it concentrated wealth upwards and made peoples' lives more fragile and terrified. You didn't know if you could count on your next check, but you had to live in a housing market that did assume that. No one really wants to be a whim. Or if they are, they'd like to be a whim of their own, at least.

Re: Because existing companies suck (2)

AvitarX (172628) | about 5 months ago | (#46468489)

This.

Traditional companies have made is so going with them is not the long term job security it once was. If there's not going to be security, best to go for the big pay off.

Re:Because existing companies suck (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 5 months ago | (#46468555)

Precisely!!! All the existing companies have been about outsourcing and offshoring just about every function of theirs, so which young graduate in his right mind would want to work at an IBM, Microsoft, Dell, or any of those? At least the new Shinycos ain't shifting all their operations to China or India, as yet! The older companies are the ones that want people in their 20s, yet they want them w/ 10 years experience or more. They pretty much get what they deserve

Re:Because existing companies suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468751)

Maybe because the outsourced workers actually bring something than a sense of entitlement?

Re:Because existing companies suck (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 5 months ago | (#46468719)

It has nothing to do with the products, and everything to do with how existing companies see workers(especially tech workers) as "cost centers". We're kind of reaping the results of a system that views employees as "at will temporary work power" through massive layoffs at the earliest convenience.

And you think this isn't a problem with smaller companies as well? Loads of startups will let half of their staff go once they find they aren't able to monetize a product as easily as they thought.

why must virtue be social? (0)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 5 months ago | (#46467933)

Why is someone's worth measured in how much he helps others? Why is helping people a virtue, as long as its not yourself?

Re:why must virtue be social? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468019)

Because otherwise you'd never understand what a false dichotomy fallacy is.

Re:why must virtue be social? (2)

dcollins (135727) | about 5 months ago | (#46468387)

Because the former is sustainable, while the latter is not.

See also: The entire human history of ethics. And even the evolution of social animals.

Money (4, Insightful)

PHPNerd (1039992) | about 5 months ago | (#46467935)

Why would they cure cancer when they can join a start-up and possibly get bought out by the titans? The draw of the Valley is that you can be a millionaire by the time you're 24. This isn't "rocket surgery."

Re:Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468003)

Precisely. It's a gold rush.

Bubble pop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46467937)

These useless apps are worth nothing. Once the wall street free money bubble ends, these pointless apps that are valued at 1 trillion bajillion dollars will disappear. The phrase goes, a high tide rises all boats.

Re:Bubble pop (1)

plover (150551) | about 5 months ago | (#46468835)

These useless apps are worth nothing.

They're certainly not "worth nothing." They're worth whatever a vulture capitalist is willing to fund, or whatever an IPO will bring in. Those people still have the ability to turn punching purple monkeys into a pile of quick cash. The few technologists who time their insider stock-option trades correctly will get rich, but almost everyone else will get pink slips and a hard slap of reality.

Everybody out there imagines they'll be the one who lucks into a lucrative stock market trade, just as every gold miner imagines he'll be the one to strike the motherlode. I wish them all luck, but that's all I'll give them. I'm still not dropping $0.99 on a fart app.

Re:Bubble pop (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#46468955)

They're worth whatever a vulture capitalist is willing to fund, or whatever an IPO will bring in.

Agreed. A con is worth whatever you can get out of it.

Because people are entitled to "Needs" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46467953)

Because people are entitled to "Needs". Therefore, the only profits to be made are in areas that don't involve needs.

They get paid better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46467965)

If curing cancer made me more money, then I'd be trying to doing that.

Re:They get paid better (2)

tysonedwards (969693) | about 5 months ago | (#46468217)

Obligatory SMBC [smbc-comics.com]

Obviously.. (5, Informative)

DigitAl56K (805623) | about 5 months ago | (#46467971)

Why do these smart, quantitatively trained engineers, who could help cure cancer or fix healthcare.gov, want to work for a sexting app?

Because as an employee in America, your CEO makes on average over 273x your pay, whereas if you join a startup early enough you stand a chance of actually benefiting from your companies success.

Next stupid question?

Re:Obviously.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468485)

Not only that, but any idiot in highschool could've made a functional healthcare.gov... no really. It takes really epic levels of stupidity and greed to fuck up the way they did...

Re:Obviously.. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468743)

The font end, maybe. See, we allow the states to control our insurance. Healthcare.gov not only has to create it's own database, but has to integrate into 5 health insurance companies for every state. Each state has different regulations, and since it's such a hot topic, law makers change those regulations on at least an annual basis. It also has to be able to handle the initial blast of customers. It also needs to be highly secure, because you are dealing with health data, which is covered under HIPAA and HITECH, which are very stringent.

Any jackass can create HTML, the trick is the back end. Keep flattering yourself.

Re:Obviously.. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46468761)

no, they could not. It's that attitude that not only shows your ignorance of large system development, it also shows that hiring cheap people will bite you in the ass.

Re:Obviously.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468545)

Why doesn't upper managment value my personal contributions and sacrifices?

Re:Obviously.. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 5 months ago | (#46468879)

Pfizer found a family of fatasses with whistle-clear arteries, isolated the chemical that did it, spent $800 million through phase iii, and abandoned it when slightly more people on it died than on the placebo. Maybe people should be on it from youth, don't give up fools!

"Fix Obamacare site" -- Governmemt contracts are about extracting money. Oh, if you happen to do something worthwhile and amazng like land on the moon, ok, but that's not what it's about. IT's featherbedding as people struggle to do something.

Barrier to entry (4, Insightful)

spxero (782496) | about 5 months ago | (#46467995)

I don't live in the area anymore, but being a fresh college grad near that area around '05 it was hard finding work due to job requirements. I had no real-world experience, only a 4-year degree and a knack for computers and networking. No one was willing to train or even give an interview until I had 5+ years of server admin experience. The end result is that I moved out of the area and haven't thought about going back since. Maybe the older, established companies need to loosen job requirements and train good employees if they want people to work for them instead of the startups.

Re:Barrier to entry (5, Insightful)

microTodd (240390) | about 5 months ago | (#46468209)

I think this comment might be closer to the truth. We always see Slashdot stories and anecdotes about how big companies' HR procedures are dumb and you can't barely get hired there because of that (i.e. 10 years experience in a 5-year-old tech. Not willing to train because you have to "hit the ground running"). Meanwhile a startup founder will meet with you at Your Coffee Place Of Choice and hire you on the spot.

So...younger, no experience, not trained in resume writing? Probably can't even get an interview at Cisco.

As I see it, its the big companies' problem. They're the ones with screwed up HR procedures.

Re:Barrier to entry (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468577)

Hmm... In the process of doing volunteer work, I regularly run across Cisco interns all the time. They are almost all young, unlikely to be well trained in resume writing, and have relatively little experience -- yet, most of the good ones probably get job offers from Cisco when they graduate. So, I think you're analysis may be flawed.

Re:Barrier to entry (2)

AdamHaun (43173) | about 5 months ago | (#46468731)

Interns, sure. But internships are often done through colleges that the company has a relationship with. Once you graduate, those opportunities are gone.

Re:Barrier to entry (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46468745)

Correct, but I always try to find a way to meet a manger and take them to lunch.
Funny how when a manager says hire this guy all the HR crap means nothing.
Except for government and academia, mostly.

Re:Barrier to entry (1)

ASimPerson (138798) | about 5 months ago | (#46468941)

I actually got hired by Cisco straight of college and was part of their college recruiting efforts the entire time I worked there. So... YMMV?

Re:Barrier to entry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468225)

Having moved to the area right after school in 2010 and getting a job for one of the larger more established companies (and having many friends who did the same), I'd say that the conditions that made it difficult for you to find a job out here in '05 no longer exists.

Re:Barrier to entry (2)

poached (1123673) | about 5 months ago | (#46468295)

Good for you. But perhaps that's why there are so many startups? If I have no experience and can't get a job, I might as well start a company and get the experience myself.

That is assuming you have rich parents or can get VC funding.

"fix healthcare.gov"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46467999)

Why don't they want to "fix" healthcare.gov?

Maybe because they don't want the second-hand stench of failure wafting off their resume.

"Made a horrific failure suck slightly less" is not exactly a great line-item...

This is not new. (3, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 5 months ago | (#46468043)

It's an artifact of the capital markets. The same thing happened in the late '50s with the 'Tronics Boom'

Going back 80 years earlier it was the railroads.

It's a side effect of the 'Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Re:This is not new. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#46468971)

What was the 'Tronics Boom'?

Part of it is stagnation... (2)

mlts (1038732) | about 5 months ago | (#46468095)

Part of this can be attributed to stagnation. So many companies assume they can make money on ad revenue and selling user data that they focus on that exclusively.

The problem is that how long until there is a saturation. Once companies start logging every single click and character typed that a subscriber (i.e. their product) sends their site and selling that info, there is nothing else they can do other than demanding subscribers run adware on their local machines for access. Once this point is reached, there will be a bust for the Web 2.0 (FB, Twitter, services that do not charge their users for revenue.)

What might happen is that governments step in and desire social networks for their citizens, so companies will focus on trying to sell to countries as the main customer instead of advertisers.

I'm hoping the pendulum will swing in the direction back to paid services so the subscriber is the customer and not the product. However, it is harder to get a ton of people to pay a subscription a month than it is to just hand their data over to various third parties for a guaranteed purchase order every financial period.

they're better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468117)

case closed.

but let's keep whargarbal going.

research pay sucks (5, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 5 months ago | (#46468141)

" who could help cure cancer " BWHAAHAAHHA. I work in academia/research. The pay, compared to industry, is garbage. Pretty decent educational benefits, great paid time off...but the money coming in the door is, as I said, garbage.

If you're too stupid to figure this out, you shoul (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468149)

It's about money, benefits, perks, and culture. Startups offer all this stuff, and the air of excitement. When you've finished crushing the culture in a company in the name of profit and efficiency, nobody wants to be there.

Can't find good talent... (3, Interesting)

lq_x_pl (822011) | about 5 months ago | (#46468205)

It is interesting to see a story like this after months of reading about companies bemoaning the fact that they can't find good engineers.

Fixing healthcare.gov? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468215)

Only way to fix this turd is to abolish it. I am under 30 and no, I don't want to pay (subside) someone else healthcare. I am healthy and young and I want low rates or an option not to have healthcare at all if I chose to. It is enough that I am paying for social security and medicare through my taxes (none of which I will see when I retire because math just doesn't work). When will this transfer of wealth from young to old stop?

Re:Fixing healthcare.gov? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468325)

This. I'm tired of losing most of my income to older generations while knowing that I'll get *none* of the same benefits.

Re:Fixing healthcare.gov? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468383)

Right around the time you become immune to cancer and hit-n-run car accidents, probably.

Obviously you think that insurance is something you only get if you already have a problem, not as "insurance" against going broke if something unforeseen happens. Perhaps when you're a grown-up you'll realize that not everything in your life is planned. Or maybe nothing will ever go wrong for you ever, because you're "young and healthy."

Re:Fixing healthcare.gov? (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 5 months ago | (#46468549)

They tell me I'm too young to understand ...
So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older /sarcasm>

so you want jail / prison care to be the fallback? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#46468399)

As the job based systems leads to them looking for ways to get out having to pay for it and anything can be used as an pre existing conditions if you get really sick.

Re:Fixing healthcare.gov? (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 5 months ago | (#46468635)

You do realize that insurance only works because there is a pool of healthy people who take out less than they put in. When the day comes that you need insurance you will appreciate how it works.

The biggest problem with our "old" healthcare system is that employer provided benefits hides the true costs involved and allows healthcare providers and insurance companies to ratchet up fees without free market competition. This ends up making it unaffordable for those not lucky enough to get insurance through their employer. ACA, while not without flaws, is the best hope to fix that problem by creating a lower barrier of entry to become insured and fostering more competition. That goal can only be achieved with a mandate that forces healthy people to participate.

Re:Fixing healthcare.gov? (1)

uncqual (836337) | about 5 months ago | (#46468857)

or an option not to have healthcare at all if I chose to

I fully support this, but somehow we need to identify people who do/don't make that decision by not buying insurance (or proving semi-liquid assets sufficient to cover the first hours of emergency care). This is so 911, ERs, and the government can know not to respond or care for such people.

Obviously, if a private hospital chooses to provide care they are free to do so but there should be no law requiring ER care for those making that choice. Presumably those hospitals choosing to provide such care either have donations to cover it or would end up pricing themselves out of the market because they have to amortize the cost of the uncompensated care over the paying customers.

Re:Fixing healthcare.gov? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#46468989)

This is so 911, ERs, and the government can know not to respond or care for such people.

I would love to see such people left bleeding on the street, but unfortunately that will never happen.

Re:Fixing healthcare.gov? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46469007)

Then you must be a Losertarian. How will pregnant single women on welfare take care of their chirlen, if a part of your pay doesn't subsidize their existence and make it unnecessary for them to work? Whassad you said - that you don't want to pay for someone else's healthcare? What - you want single mothers & their chirlen to starve & die? What sort of monster are you? Just because YOU are healthy does not mean that everyone else is, and therefore, you must buy healthcare that the less healthy knocked up sluts on the joint can use if you don't need them. It's not enough that you are paying for social security and medicare, and when you are a geezer, then someone else can pay your bills while you move to Palm Beach and sunbathe there, again sponging from all levels of guvmint - fed, stete and locul

Around again (2)

Yunzil (181064) | about 5 months ago | (#46468243)

It's been about 14 years since the dotcom bubble burst, and memories are short.

Um, Because that's where the MONEY is? Mayhaps? (3, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 5 months ago | (#46468323)

Yup, this sure is a NYT article. Hand wringing by an economically and technically illiterate journalist, asking a question which any 6 year old could answer.

You reap what you sow (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 5 months ago | (#46468331)

For how long has America been glorifying and aggrandizing the most useless among itself, pushing propaganda as product, you must be this sexy to participate...

You end up having people more interested in the latest fashionable trends and pointless endeavors than solving the real problems and challenges of substance that face society.

Personally, I couldn't give less of a shit about the latest trendy sexy whatever. But, I love tackling a challenging project that helps people get shit done.

Re:You reap what you sow (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46468729)

yes yes, people who don't do what you approve of don't count of doing shit. well done.

Frankly If I had to do it over, I would g into these quick turn around starts pushing fads.
It's the most likely way to get rich and retire early.
Then you have more time t do whatever the hell it is you want.

Stack Overflow and Depth of Engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468359)

I've found that a lot of current gen (20-35) miss some the core aspects of engineering. The application of principles, and the understanding of the impact of what you are doing.

I had to explain "Desk Checks" to an entire team, for those who don't know - piece of paper and pencil and mentally think about how the code will flow and handle conditions. Likewise what is a 'man pages'. I feel like an stuffy old engineer, which is pretty scary.

I've seen far too many bugs resolved through a search on stack overflow. Stack Overflow is a great way to triage and isolate a fix to a problem, unfortunately, a lot of engineers just stop there. No depth of understanding, no consideration of how things broke. The current generation of technology is absolutely amazing, but the general depth of understanding of the principles behind it is horrifyingly shallow in a lot of cases.

Re:Stack Overflow and Depth of Engineering (1)

uncqual (836337) | about 5 months ago | (#46468781)

I'm a big fan of "desk checks". I find bugs in my own code when I do them - some of them are stupid bugs which I would have certainly found in testing (desk checking just catches them earlier and more economically), others are obscure ones (often race conditions) that might, or might not, actually be seen in the wild and some I would have been unlikely to find in testing (and QA would have even less chance of catching).

However, even among some oldsters who are relatively skilled, I find most developers are very bad at desk checking their own code. They think their shit smells good and can't detach themselves from their belief that since the author of the code is (in their not so humble opinion) a genius who, therefore, wouldn't write anything but perfect code. Doing it well requires a certain mindset. If I don't find any bugs when desk checking a significant body of code I've written, I assume I'm being sloppy and redouble my efforts and focus -- and if I find a bug in testing, I ask myself why I didn't catch it in desk checking (sometimes there's a good reason -- such as an API I'm calling doesn't work as advertised or I misunderstood the API and there's not much desk checking will do to catch those cases efficiently).

(BTW, "desk checking" really doesn't require paper and pencil anymore IMHO - I find a few IDE windows w/search et al features makes the process much easier and more thorough for me.)

Re:Stack Overflow and Depth of Engineering (1)

plover (150551) | about 5 months ago | (#46468927)

Even the adherents of the basic principles themselves seem to stop short of explaining why they work. "Here, this is duplicate code. You should follow the DRY principle and get rid of it." "Why?" "Because it's a principle."

They should let the new kid do some sink-or-swim maintenance on code that doesn't follow the principles. You want to learn about DRY, try changing one branch of duplicated code without realizing there was a cut-and-paste copy elsewhere in the code base. Now you've gone from a solid bug to an intermittent bug, and your clients are still yelling at you. Thus beginneth the lesson.

Re:Stack Overflow and Depth of Engineering (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#46469043)

I had to explain "Desk Checks"

Dang, I didn't know there was a name for it. Does it count as a new skill if I learned a buzzword for an old one I had?

Since when do tech jobs work in biochem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468369)

"Why do these smart, quantitatively trained engineers, who could help cure cancer"

Doesn't make an sense!

The banality problem. (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 5 months ago | (#46468371)

Read the whole article. It's quite good.

It's not "youth" that's the problem. It's banality. "The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads. That sucks." - Jeff Hammerbacher, Facebook. Most of the "app" companies are not "tech" companies. They're fad publishers. The technology for doing routine web apps and phone apps is pretty much standardized now.

The engineering that goes into phone hardware is just awe-inspiring. Electronic design today is brutal. You barely get to use any power, the budget for each function is tiny, the size has to be very small, you have to operate multiple radios without interference right next to each other, and there's a new product to get out every six months. Most of that engineering is not done in the US. That's a big concern. The US probably doesn't have the technology to build a cell phone any more.

It's not as bad as the first dot-com boom. This time, there's usually revenue. Income, even. Even Twitter claims to be profitable (although they're not, really. [twitterinc.com] Look at the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles results, not the ones excluding "one-time expenses".)

Re:The banality problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468957)

" Most of that engineering is not done in the US. That's a big concern."

Citation needed!!!

Life sciences unemployment (4, Informative)

Jmstuckman (561420) | about 5 months ago | (#46468377)

"who could help cure cancer"

PhDs in the life sciences are more likely to be unemployed than employed [theatlantic.com] at the time of graduation, and the trend is only getting worse

Why would a medical research lab hire some random coder to cure cancer, when PhDs in biology can't even find jobs?

Re:Life sciences unemployment (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 months ago | (#46468701)

It's not that research labs would hire coders to look for cures for cancer (they wouldn't), the problem is that people go into IT or programming professions, rather than getting degrees in biochemistry (or whatever is best for doing cancer research). And the reason people do this is obvious as you pointed out: the unemployment rate is very high, and that's for PhDs, who are precisely the people you want doing important research like that. It simply doesn't pay to spend years of your life in school getting multiple degrees, (and doing doctoral research that your professor takes all the credit for) and then find that you can't get any kind of job when you're done, and certainly not one that'll pay for all those hefty student loans you've racked up over the last 8 years. Meanwhile, all your friends who went into CS and got out after 4-5 years are getting paid 6 figures and have little trouble finding jobs.

Re:Life sciences unemployment (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46468703)

Because a coder can develop way to crunch numbers faster, slice data to find trends, and so on.

My point? it's a poor comparison, both groups can add value if applied right.

Innovation (4, Insightful)

Ben Blais (3574815) | about 5 months ago | (#46468563)

The fact that you compare working for and established company to "curing cancer" and going to work for a start-up as "developing a sexting app" shows little knowledge of what start-up and established companies are actually doing. The fact of the matter is, working for a larger established company usually consists of maintaining or making trivial enhancements to existing software with the occasional new product being developed. Working for a start-up, however, usually includes a rampant amount of innovation simply because start-ups don't have much money to advertise their new products. The result result of this is they have a need to develop more interesting and innovative products in order to be able to compete with established companies. Another thing worth mentioning is the diversity that start-ups usually have, need I remind you that Tesla motors was a start-up, and many of the technologies, including some which show promise of curing cancer, were also developed at start-ups.

Same s-... (1)

spads (1095039) | about 5 months ago | (#46468575)

...different decade.

Student loans (1)

EMG at MU (1194965) | about 5 months ago | (#46468583)

If I graduate with a lot of student debt and my choice is between: working for a company that benefits humanity but pays little, or, working for a company that makes shitty apps for idiots to play with but pays very well what is the most rational choice?

The middle class in America is fucked. And 99% of those people who could "help cure cancer" would end up there if they chose to pursue more altruistic careers. Its a rat race and if you are smart and motivated and at prestigious school I think the path towards $$ is always going to be the most attractive.

This requires asking? (3, Insightful)

uncqual (836337) | about 5 months ago | (#46468631)

Why do they not want to "fix healthcare.gov"? Because that's an uninteresting, almost clerical, job made worse by being part of a messy government procurement system. I can't think of any developers that want to do that sort of work -- been done already thousands of times (usually, of course, much better than HealthCare.gov). Most would only do it to pay the mortgage. Of course, the good developers can find something more interesting to do with less bureaucratic pain inflicted on them in the process.

Money (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46468663)

Start ups means a chance and some good money. Established companies, not so much.

Now, if comnpaie would reward internal group that create new thing well, it would shift.
For example:
I was on a team of 20 developers and 10 Business experts and testers. IN a year we created an application that saved the company 100 million dollars a year.
Are reward? a football.
Ironically, we used baseball as the theme.

Now, if we would have gotten a million dollars each, we would have stayed around and created other internal application that could saved them a lot of money.

Short trading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46468793)

My question is, how can I profit from shorting this bubble industry?

I'm dead serious. Is there some fund or something that's betting against the likes of Facebook, Zynga, WhatsApp, and the like? I have a few million in spare change down the back of my sofa, and I'd like to make some profit.

If there isn't such a fund already -- there should be!

it's the lotto mentality (1)

Some_Llama (763766) | about 5 months ago | (#46468909)

for youth... startups with no funding but the possibility of millions of users and being bought out for $19bn is a LOT more attractive than doing something meaningful for a good wage... that's what you do in your free time AFTER you become a billionaire... right?

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