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Ask Slashdot: Is Going To a Technical College Worth It?

leamanc As an IT Director and hiring manager... (309 comments)

...I think you have already answered your question. You are spending a lot of money on something that will bring you very little in return.

My priorities when choosing a candidate to hire in my company are:

  • 1. Experience
  • 2. Limited experience via internship or part-time job, combined with a four-year degree from a respectable university
  • 3. Limited experience via internship or part-time job, combined with a community college degree
  • 4. Four-year degree from a respectable university
  • 5. A community college degree
  • 6. Demonstration of useful skills outside of traditional workplace experience (that is, experience, but not in a job setting or for a commercial project, i.e., an impressive programming project you did on your own; in short, your portfolio)
  • 7. You are related (e.g., nephew, niece) to someone of authority in the company
  • 8. ITT or similar technical college
  • So, as you can see, you would quickly sink to the bottom of my pre-interview list of candidates. It's highly unlikely you would be called in for an interview. It's not so much that you are getting a bad education at the tech college, but that education is going to be very generic and give you little-to-no idea of what working within an IS/IT group is really like. These schools air commercials during the soap opera and Dr. Phil time of day for a reason: they target unemployed people without any skill sets. These are your peers in a tech college. They cannot be turned into IT wizards in two years. At best, they can get a very simplistic overview of the career field that is about equal to what you can learn on your own, online, for free.

    Sorry to be so harsh, but it's my reality, and I imagine the same for many other hiring managers in the field. We value experience over education (and certifications) because the most important consideration before we spend the time and money to recruit and hire someone is "do they have a career path here, long-term?" And the best way to gauge that is experience, plain and simple. That puts you in the age-old conundrum of "how do I get experience without a degree?"

    And my answer to that is internships. Work for free. Volunteer your time for a community organization. Have mom or dad or Uncle Joe get you something entry-level in their company. Show me that you not only know your stuff, but have a work ethic, know what you want to do with your life, and can work with the wide range of personality types found in any given company. Talent is everywhere; the ones that get hired are the ones I feel will work hard, get along with their colleagues, and have ambition to work their way up to something other than what they are interviewing for.

more than 2 years ago

The Decline of Google's (and Everybody's) Ad Business

leamanc Re:Thank god (313 comments)

I refuse also, but on the grounds that the web advertisers made their products flat-out OBNOXIOUS. If I hadn't been attacked by gyrating, flashing banners proclaiming that I "won" or to "shoot" them, then maybe I wouldn't have minded. Or maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if they'd kept ads out of links on random words in the article text. Or how about the random ads that hijack your slideshow galleries?

I know people have to make money on this web stuff one way or another, but annoying the living fuck out of people should not be the way. Therefore, I do not feel bad for using ABP either.

more than 2 years ago

NPR's "Car Talk" Glides To a Halt

leamanc Yes, this sucks, but... (148 comments)

The show will continue on NPR, drawing from the past 25 years of national syndication. They have actually been inserting a few older calls into "new" shows for quite some time, so little is going to change for the average listener. No, you won't be able to call them anymore, but it wasn't a live call-in show anyway...you called the 1-800 number and got a scheduled time through the week, and then your call aired on Saturday's episode.

So no biggie for me; my Saturdays will still be all about Car Talk, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, and Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know on NPR for the foreseeable future. And oh yeah, Weekend Edition, if I happen to get up that early on Saturday.

more than 2 years ago

Apple Fires Back At DoJ Over eBook Price Fixing

leamanc Re:I only download free books (311 comments)

If profit is the important part of the argument, then don't forget to consider that most books published will never turn a profit. Much like the record and film industries need their few blockbusters to keep everything else afloat, the publishing world needs its Stephen Kings, John Grishams, etc., to generate massive profits to compensate for the majority of books that don't recoup their costs.

Everyone here seems to be arguing that publishing a book is a profitable enterprise, when in most cases, it is not. And *that* is why most will gladly go the route of the traditional book publisher. The financial risk is placed on someone else, while you get a chance to create your art.

more than 2 years ago

Windows 8 Won't Play DVDs Unless You Pay For the Media Center Pack

leamanc Now let's be fair (734 comments)

Let's be fair, here...ya'know, Ubuntu is probably not going to play my DVDs and Blu-Rays either. That is, until I insert a disc for the first time and it prompts me to download the necessary add-ons. Or, if I have installed VLC myself, I'm good to go.

Now, I know this is not a fair comparison because Ubuntu doesn't actually cost me any money, and since you have to pay for Windows 8--and then pay again for the "Media Center Pack"--it obviously must be MUCH, MUCH better, right?!?

Seriously, I never thought Microsoft would blow their dominance in my lifetime, but it's amazing how quickly they are burning through it.

more than 2 years ago

Etsy Hacker Grants Support Female Programmers

leamanc Re:Sexism (211 comments)

Well at least you admit it by signing your posts that way.

Damn, that was the best chuckle I have gotten on /. in quite some time. Good one, Mr. Coward!

more than 2 years ago

Why Was Hypercard Killed?

leamanc Great for its time, but not so much anymore (392 comments)

HyperCard was awesome in the days of Motorola 68K-based Macs. I have super-fond memories of "programming" with it on my SE/30 or my IIsi. But the main problem is that Apple really took it as far as it can go before it just no longer became useful, or preferable to other authoring tools out there.

It's clear the Apple did neglect HyperCard to death, but this started well before Steve Jobs returned. But I don't think there was any evil conspiracy behind its demise; I simply think HyperCard ran its course. The neglect is that they hardly made the final version available for sale. If you could find it for sale on their old, "ore-Apple Store" online web store, you could order it. This was the version we had all been waiting for, with full color stack support, and the ability to embed QuickTime media objects (pictures, movies, etc.).

Well, I found it on the site, ordered it...it came on something like 14 floppy disks, which I imaged into the old Disk Copy-style .img files and burned them all to CD-R, so that they could all be mounted at once and the install would go quicker--no floppy shuffle. Turns out this version was slow, bloated, and you know what? By this was point, it was easier to learn a little bit of simple HTML, or use one of the early WYSIWYG HTML editors like Claris HomePage, and build something similar...but faster and compatible with the most of the world that didn't have HyperCard or HyperCard Player installed.

Yes, HyperCard may have helped inspire the web, but the web overtook it. On the Mac, more powerful tools like AppleScript Studio and XCode offered *real* development opportunities, making HyperCard look quaint.

Sure, I get HyperCard nostalgia from time to time, too. So I got me a demo copy of Runtime Revolution, which picks up HyperCard where Apple left off, and adds a whole bunch of modern niceties. Sadly. the whole "stack" concept still seems antiquated and quaint, even with modern tools.

Sorry folks, reviving HyperCard is not the answer. The answer is a new pseudo-development environment and corresponding runtime that is super-easy for non-programmers to pick up. Something we haven't seen yet, not something based on old paradigms.

more than 2 years ago

How Can I Justify Using Red Hat When CentOS Exists?

leamanc Wow, be thankful (666 comments)

If this situation came up 100 times with 100 different CIOs, I'd venture to say that 99 times the CIO would make you choose Red Hat. (Actually, they'd probably steer your toward Windows Server, but let's assume we're dealing with Linux-friendly CIOs here.)

Most CIOs won't let a big software project go through without paid support from all the software vendors in question. But your CIO is a smart man. I wouldn't say all software support contracts are worthless, but if you've got strong Linux knowledge in-house, CentOS is a perfectly acceptable alternative to Red Hat.

As the director of IS at my company (we don't have a CIO title, so my position is as close as it gets), I have spent years building up Linux gurus who know their way Red Hat- and Debian-based distros. I trust their knowledge, and their ability to research and solve problems on their own, to go with CentOS when a Red Hat-based distro is needed for a certain project.

Some projects we have done have absolutely required RHEL (to the point where they won't run on Red Hat-based distros, even Fedora), so we went with them because we had to. The only difference we found was that we couldn't get updates without our RHEL license keys. We were able to solve all problems with our own staff; we only contacted RHEL support when there were problems with the update servers.

Maybe you don't feel confident enough with your in-house knowledge. That's too bad. I'd spend money on training and developing gurus rather than forking over cash just to get updates. But mostly I say enjoy your situation here, as it is very unique. 99% of CIOs are going to force you to go down the paid route.

more than 3 years ago

BT Ordered To Block Usenet Binaries Index

leamanc Re:The times are a-changing. (308 comments)

OK, since you asked nicely, I'll draw a line. The last link in the chain of links, that links to the file that allows you to gain access to the material. So, in the case of TPB, I hereby draw the line at the link to the .torrent file.

more than 3 years ago

BT Ordered To Block Usenet Binaries Index

leamanc Re:The times are a-changing. (308 comments)

You are correct, good sir. Pirate certainly doesn't fit everyone's situation.

more than 3 years ago

BT Ordered To Block Usenet Binaries Index

leamanc Re:The times are a-changing. (308 comments)

Are they really "useless" if they lead you to content you are interested in and might want to download?

Don't get me wrong, I like downloading copyrighted stuff for free as much as the next guy, but I find it peculiar that otherwise smart people try to argue that what The Pirate Bay or Newzbin or whoever is doing is just offering up "indexes" or "text files" or what have you. You know damn good and well their intent is to aid you in downloading stuff you would otherwise have to pay for, for free.

Like I said, I like the free stuff too, but let's not play coy here. If you're going to be a pirate, at least admit it.

"You can't shut down my favorite torrent tracker! All they do is offer .torrent files, which are totally useless on their own! (Except for when I load in them up in a torrent client and get free music, movie, TV shows and pr0n, but really, they are useless, I promise!)

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: GNU/Linux Laptops?

leamanc Is this 1999 or 2000? (708 comments)

Nearly all laptops by quality manufacturers have excellent Linux support these days, especially if you are inclined to use Ubuntu.

Your MacBook is an excellent candidate. I have a couple Dells, one that came with Vista and the other with 7, that I put Ubuntu on, and they run great. I also took an older MacBook that had fell out of use, and it also runs Ubuntu like a champ. I can't say I prefer one or the other; both brands have their strongs points in terms of hardware, but the Linux experience is about as close to perfect as you can get on either Dell or Apple hardware.

If I were you, I'd seriously run Boot Camp Assistant, set up a partition, install the distro of your choice, and continue to enjoy OS X along with Linux on that nice hardware.

more than 3 years ago

Ubuntu Turns 7

leamanc Re:Die Unity Die! (244 comments)

I recommend that if Ubuntu does not rid their distro of Unity, then I suggest that it be boycotted.

You recommend that you suggest? Way to take a stance there.

It is possible to run other window managers on Ubuntu, you know. You might even give Kubuntu a try if you are so inclined to customization.

more than 3 years ago

Why You Shouldn't Panic About Closed Source MySQL Extensions

leamanc Re:lol (171 comments)

Brian, is that you?

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Low-Cost Tools To Track Employees' Web Use?

leamanc Re:squid (384 comments)

I thought most P2P software these days will latch on to port 80 or 443 if everything else is blocked...or 25, 110, 465, 587, 993, or other ports you are likely to have open even if you have "everything" blocked. Traffic on port 80 doesn't have to be HTTP, after all; that's just the "standard" protocol for that port.

more than 3 years ago

Why Amazon Can't Manufacture a Kindle In the US

leamanc Re:Golden Girls! (598 comments)

Hell, I remember seeing it on NBC in the late '80s!

more than 3 years ago

Drought-Stricken Texas Town Taps Urine For Water

leamanc Re:Any sign of un-magical thinking is welcome... (300 comments)

That's because that's how the media refer to these criminals. They give their full names so they won't be confused with another John Berkowitz or another Rick Ramirez, both of whom are perfectly normal, non-serial killer citizens. It's not like these folks went by their full names before they became well-known in the media.

And G.W. Bush's middle name is Walker.

more than 3 years ago

Is Twitter Rendered Obsolete By Google+?

leamanc Re:What is an Internet? (456 comments)

Correct answer. 100 internets to you, my friend.

more than 3 years ago

Review: Captain America

leamanc Re:Kid Friendly? (295 comments)

I desperately want him to have the memory of going to these movies when they were a big deal, like I remember going to see Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T.

Sorry, it ain't gonna happen. I have a kid that is roughly the same age as yours (turned 6 last month). For kids today, the massive amount of TV/movies/associated tie-ins being slung their way has pretty much guaranteed that no one movie will be a "special experience" seeing it in the theater. They know good and well that if they didn't see it in the theater, it will be on DVD in three months, and forgotten about three months later...unless there is a sequel to hold their interest.

I have told my kid plenty of times about the magic of seeing Star Wars in 1977, or how we all gasped when Darth Vader claimed to be Luke's father in 1980, or how magical ET was. It just doesn't sink in to this generation. I think most of them prefer to watch movies at home. Until more theaters convert to digital projection, I can't really blame them. The setup for watching movies at home is pretty cool, and you don't have to sit and be quiet for two hours.

more than 3 years ago



leamanc leamanc writes  |  about 8 years ago

leamanc writes "MacNN notes that in an interview available via YouTube, Steve Ballmer laughs off the iPhone. Everyone's favorite chair-thrower ridicules Apple's yet-to-be-released device as "the most expensive phone in the world," and predictably praises Windows Mobile phones, with their lower prices and "innovation."

Not surprising from this long-time company man, but one gets the feeling Ballmer is either extremely scared of the iPhone's planned June release or just completely arrogant. Or a combination of both."

leamanc leamanc writes  |  more than 8 years ago

leamanc (961376) writes "So, my fellow slashdotters, what is your opinion on a language for a guy to learn?

As some background info, I work most of the time in Mac OS X (client and server), and Linux of the Red Hat, Fedora and Ubuntu varieties. I'm a self-starter, mostly self-learner, and a fair-to-middlin' PHP programmer, who can use Google to get the answers that I need when I run up against something beyond my capabilities.

But when I go a-googlin' for starters on either perl or python, it seems like every tutorial is so lame! They all basically seem to cover "Hello World!" apps and how to do some basic math functions.

Ideally, I'd like to learn at my own pace, not have to buy an O'Reilly book, and get good answers on the web as I learn. With my pretty fair PHP skills in mind, what does this crowd recommend learning?

As a side note, I've also looked in to Ruby and Rails, and I just don't think that's what I'm looking for. To me, that combo seems to fit a different niche.




Google to Anonymize Users' Search Data

leamanc leamanc writes  |  more than 7 years ago Google's official blog states they are on an effort to anonymize their search data after 18-24 months. After previously fighting turning over search data to the feds, it looks like they are striking another blow to the "think of the children" crowd. Any bets on whether MSN or Yahoo! will follow suit?

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