Programmer Shortage? What Programmer Shortage? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

"The US is 700,000 programmers short at this point in time"

Probably not.

Study by a UC Davis professor, Dr. Norman Matloff, regarding the alleged shortage of programmers.


<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< DEBUNKING THE MYTH OF A DESPERATE SOFTWARE LABOR SHORTAGE Testimony to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee - Subcommittee on Immigration Dr. Norman Matloff // Department of Computer Science // University of California at Davis / Davis, CA 95616 // Presented April 21, 1998; updated December 16, 1998. (a summary outline follows)

1. Overview and Executive Summary

``Vaporware.'' That is the term used in the software industry when a firm announces a new product which actually does not exist. Extending the term a bit, one can say that the industry's latest vaporware is the claim of a desperate software labor shortage. The fact is that there is no such shortage. Due to an extensive public relations campaign orchestrated by an industry trade organization, the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), a rash of newspaper articles have been appearing, claiming desperate labor shortages in the information-technology field. Frantic employers complain that they cannot fill many open positions for computer programmers. -------- snip ---------- Yet readers of the articles proclaiming a shortage would be perplexed if they also knew that Microsoft only hires 2% of its applicants for software positions, and that this rate is typical in the industry. Call any software employer, large or small, and they will concede that they receive huge numbers of resume's but reject most of them without even an interview. One does not have to be a ``techie'' to see the blatant contradiction here. If employers were that desperate, they would certainly not be hiring just a minuscule fraction of their job applicants.

1.1 Quick Outline The major points I wish to make are: - There is no desperate software labor shortage. This can be seen in the low hiring rates and mild rates of increase in wages in the industry. - The only ``shortage'' is one of cheap labor, especially in the form of foreign nationals, who make on average 15-30% less than comparable natives. - Age discrimination is rampant in the industry. Programmers in their 40s, lacking ``the new software skill of the month,'' have great difficulty finding programming work. - The skills issue is a red herring. Any competent veteran programmer can pick up a new programming language in a couple of weeks on the job. - There is no shortage of computer science majors in U.S. universities; on the contrary, enrollment has been skyrocketing. - The H-1B program for importing foreign-national programmers is demonstrably broken. The number of visas granted has been rising 10 times faster than the growth rate in jobs. - Contrary to claims made by lobbyists, the vast majority of H-1B computer professionals are ordinary people doing ordinary jobs, not the ``best and the brightest.'' Typical H-1B salaries are in the $40,000-50,000 range, hardly what one would expect ``geniuses'' to be paid.


Ed Yourdon seems to agree, at least with regards to the job-hunting difficulties faced by older programmers. A quote from the study:

<<<<<<<<< Prominent software project management guru Edward Yourdon comments, ``...a lot of [older] programmers have disappeared--I've visited organizations that used to have 100 software people...then returned two years later to find that the staff had been reduced to a dozen younger and less expensive people.'' (The Rise and Resurrection of the American Programmer, Yourdon Press, Prentice-Hall, 1996.) He then notes that a major trend (in the computer applications realm) has been to replace older workers with ``cheap, young C++ programmers.'' >>>>>>>>>>

I have also seen some news articles with regards to the fact that programmer wages were NOT going through the roof. but rather staying constant, which belies an increased demand.

Now I'm about as technical as a handsaw, and the only programmers I know are my brother- and sister-in-law (who btw confirm the report). Any programmers out there who wish to refute or confirm? It IS a rather interesting study.

If this topic has been addressed before and I haven't noticed, then apologies in advance for taking up space.

-- Morgan (, February 02, 1999


Morgan, For a Techie view:

Cory Hamasaki Current WDC Weather Reports

You want # 109 Chuck

-- Chuck, night driver (, February 02, 1999.

OOOOPSIE!!!!! Gonna have to cut and paste! that Hotlink does NOT work. Somehow the greenspun data got appended to the front of the actual address.

This is the second time this has happened. Anyone know why?? So I can keep it from happening again??


-- Chuck, night driver (, February 02, 1999.


See this article...

"Programmers able to name their price"

-- Kevin (, February 02, 1999.

Chuck, my husband is the programmer, not me. But one thing I have noticed when you make a hotlink, you need to have the "http://" in the address. Yours just started with www.

-- Gayla Dunbar (, February 02, 1999.

two points:

1. There is a shortage of good programmers. Programmers in the same pay grade can differ in productivity levels by an order of magnitude (what takes programmer A 1 week may take programmer B 10 weeks). Most management doesn't understand this.

2. When y2k hits and devastates the worlds's infrastructures, no one in their right mind will be saying that we had plenty of programmers.

-- a (a@a.a), February 02, 1999.

Amen, a. There are alot of "wannebe's" out there who depend on their little wizards...

-- Tim (, February 02, 1999.

Point and click your way to success! Dang. Maybe I'm thinking too hard for my money, LOL!

-- mouse (, February 02, 1999.

110% agreement. The programmer shortage is a myth, at least in the MidWest and the MidSouth. Can't speak for places I haven't been, but there sure are plenty around here.

-- Paul Davis (, February 02, 1999.

No shortage of programmers in the midwest? Well, come visit us in California, Ed...

Call any software employer, large or small, and they will concede that they receive huge numbers of resume's but reject most of them without even an interview. One does not have to be a "techie" to see the blatant contradiction here. If employers were that desperate, they would certainly not be hiring just a minuscule fraction of their job applicants.

I have to wonder if you've ever plowed through a pile of a hundred resumes - riddled with misspellings, frightening grammar, very careless page layout - to discover that only two or three have the least hint of promise.

In all sincerity, I don't get the "blatant contradiction". Hiring a larger "fraction" of job applicants is seriously counterproductive if the applicants fail to communicate any compelling reason why they could handle the work. I think you're finding an explanation that supports your belief, and disregarding much more obvious ones.

Everyone should sit in on the hiring process, at least once. Resumis that reflect some folks' idea of "putting their best foot forward", other people attempting to reschedule interviews over and over with no advance notice, and the layers of B.S. from some (note, "some") applicants who feel free to disregard clearly stated facts or preferred skills as listed in the job announcement...

-- Grrr (, February 02, 1999.

I concur. There is no shortage of programmers, only a shortage of programmers willing to work for below market rates.

More specifically, there is a shortage of already trained and experienced programmers willing to work for the body shops at below market rates so that the body shops can charge well above market rates for programmers they didn't develop or train.

We don't need more programmers, we need fewer parasites.

-- Nathan (, February 02, 1999.

There is only one shortage that matters: the shortage of big-iron geeks who can fix the X000s of worldwide enterprise systems. The shortage is extreme in this domain and it's too late to do anything about it.

-- BigDog (, February 02, 1999.

The shortage of programmers is real. However, that does not mean companies are scrambling trying to get them. It also does not mean that they can name their price. What it means is "If companies (and Governments) were addressing the Year 2000 problem as it should be to complete it on time they would need that many more programmers to do the job. You see they are not adressing the problem properly. You can see that from the 10Q and 10K information available on what has been spent compared to what is estimated to be spent on the problem. Sure alot of money is spent on hardware, but most of what is estimated to be spent is labor to do the work. Sr. Managment has still not recognized that Y2k *really* can put *them* out of business. They are still looking at it like a problem of causing financial impact but not "show stopping" capacity. As a result they are not doing what needs to be done to complete it on time, and now time has run out. Do not think because they are not screaming for programmers, that they are not severly short. Many of them just do not know it.

-- Steve Watson (, February 02, 1999.

Two years ago, the situation Steve Watson describes applied more often than not. One year ago, it was a vanishing breed. Today, it's simply false.

Face it, when you are budgeting for a potentially fatal problem of completely unknown scope, your projections are a shot in the dark, as likely to be high as low. If you're too low, you boost the budget. We've seen some of this for a handful of large operations, and throughout government.

If you're high, do you reduce your budget before you know whether you're over the hump? What if something unexpected goes wrong? How much is reasonable to put into contingency plans? Might you need this money to tide you over hard times beyond your immediate control? Is it prudent to use these funds for long-needed upgrades in any case? Is IT willing to *give back* funding it's been begging for for so many years? Should you deliberately fail to be as flexible as possible when headed into uncharted territory?

Bottom line: There is a high probability that those organizations who have not *increased* their y2k budgets, originally overbudgeted. I don't have statistics on this, but that appears to describe at least 90% of reporting entities.

NOW, look at what we're seeing, and compare with what we've been saying about it:

1) Salaries for mainframe programmers have not been rising much at all, except for a few specialties. Even those specialties have not risen to anywhere near what Hamasaki expected. This could mean that y2k issues are being satisfactorily handled by present staffing levels, OR it could mean that organizations are universally stupid and don't understand their own operations or requirements. Forum verdict: stupid. (what else?)

2) A substantial number of companies have already announced that their 1999 y2k budgets will be less (often a lot less) than their 1998 budgets, and that they've not seen fit to spent at the rate originally projected. This could mean that they're in good shape and are winding down (or scaling down) their efforts and polishing up the details, OR it could mean that they *still* don't know what they face because they're all stupid. Forum verdict: stupid.

3) Field testing of embedded systems has established that both the rate of noncompliance, and the threat represented by that noncompliance, are both a lot less than was originally feared. This could be because embeddeds really aren't all that bad, OR it could be due to incompetent and incomplete testing, combined with happyface reporting. Forum verdict: it's lies.

4) We've passed quite a few 'spike dates' without so much as a ripple, much less a spike. These included FY99 problems, 24-month,18- month, and 12-month lookaheads, JAE, '99' bugs of a wide variety, and the Euro introduction. This could be because the concerns were overblown, and because we've had a few such problems but handled them smoothly, and because remediation efforts headed them off at the pass. OR, it could be because these are all long-latency bugs which will burn us from behind as we fight 'real' y2k bugs to the front. Forum verdict: They're killers, just wait!

As more and more signs point in the direction of a manageable problem (albeit a problem with more than a few nasty surprises) efforts to ignore these signs, or redefine them as 'really' pointing somewhere else, or screaming profanity and insults at those who can still read, becomes more and more of a stretch.

I ask the doomists this: What would you accept as valid evidence that we can muddle through with difficulties? Will you accept nothing less than a Bank of New York type declaration from everyone? (and some people have found serious problems even with that one).

This forum (among others) has made it pretty clear that *any* admission of problems or even uncertainty, however minor, gets magnified beyond reason. "Chevron Guaranteed to Die!!!" Right.

There is no programmer shortage. There's a very real shortage of *good* programmers, always has been, always will be. And there's a drastic shortage of cheap, good programmers.

-- Flint (, February 02, 1999.

Flint --- wrong. Yes, this forum tends to discount all good news big-time and accept all bad news at face value. So what? There is hardly any good news. Schedules slip, the compliance percentages are a joke, hardly any testing is planned and, most telling, a tiny percentage of entities report themselves as compliant or ready.

Look, I'm the doombrooder who will say that things are so screwed up on the reporting end that we could be way ahead without knowing it. But this has nil to do with grounds for optimism (good news). Rather, the reverse. I'd frankly love to be a pollyanna and I would be just as slam-bang firm about it on this site as I am on the other side currently. And, yes, I know you are preparing big-time for an unlikely event, which is great but not relevant here.

The fact is that thousands of entities should already have declared themselves compliant, by their own earlier predictions of where they would be at this time and furnished simple but meaningful evidence of this. It hasn't happened. It may happen in a rush later this year (though I predict it won't), but it should already have happened.

While we can attribute a piece of this, maybe, to litigation fears, that is a convenient cover that doesn't equate to the fact. There are plenty of ways to prevent litigation and, arguably, you're better off defining and conditionally describing your Y2K compliance than never claiming it.

Sorry, Flint, it doesn't wash. Sure, there is a shortage of good programmers. Boring. Tell us something new.

Management worldwide has punted the Y2K schedule requirements for getting the enterprise systems fixed and there aren't enough skilled programmers around to do it. Also boring. But true and germane. End of story.

-- BigDog (, February 02, 1999.

Sir Flint,

Agree with your synopsis about "forum conclusions" - but only to a point.

You see, the very few compliance and "testing complete" stories indicate to me that when any kind of "good news" is present it very prominenently distributed: and there have for example, only three or four stories about county, state, and local governments doing integrated testing and/or contingency planning exercises.

And when it happens, as in Virginia a few weeks ago, where the county loudly showed the positive results of its test - the results were not equal to what was really checked: There, for example, the media "concluded" on camera as well as implicitly in their summaries, that "there were no problems."

But the county had already spent 2 years and almost 36 million dollars finding and fixing problems - so the four systems actually tested : (including traffic ights, 911, and two others) SHOULD HAVE worked correctly. There were "forty" other "critical" county systems that were NOT tested that might work, or might not work.

So: is the following a true report, or a pessimessitic summary?

"Less than ten percent of the counties total systems have been tested, all testing occurred during one single "set ahead" dry run, and many unknowns are still present."

IMHO, we are only seeing publicity about the "good news" that is out there, and that even the "good news" presented by the media needs to be carefully analyzed.

Your feelings and comments?

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, February 02, 1999.


You asked, "What would you accept as valid evidence that we can muddle through with difficulties?" Simple. NOT seeing articles like these:

I thought rememediation was supposed to be done by December 31, 1998. So far there are five (5) Fortune 500 companies who've announced completion, and three (3) Fortune 500 companies who will miss 12/31/1999.

And, Flint, NOT seeing articles that contains quotes such as this:

"In November 1998, (the GAO estimated) about $7.2 billion, triple the aggregated original estimate in February 1997," Walker said. "And we simply don't have enough data to say whether more will be needed."

-- Kevin (, February 02, 1999.


You also said, "We've passed quite a few 'spike dates' without so much as a ripple..."

Don't lie. What do you think these are?

"List of Y2K failures - Here is proof"

-- Kevin (, February 02, 1999.

To Kevin:

I stand by what I said. If the best you can come up with is an amazingly short list of tiny problems you need a magnifying glass to see, that doesn't count as a ripple. What was predicted was at least millions of problem genuinely impacting daily lives in visible ways. That list isn't even a drop in the bucket; it only rises above the noise level due to intense scrutiny resulting from inflated expectations. Taken all together, they don't add up to Galaxy IV. Step back and get a little perspective.

To BigDog and Robert:

I admit I expected a lot more announced compliance by now than has been forthcoming. I agree that corporate fear (of litigation, drop in stock price, loss of consumer confidence, loss of face, what have you) can only be stretched so far, and it isn't nearly far enough. The only possible explanation is that these organizations aren't ready. And the major reason for *that* is, they waited too long.

But I never expected every last bug to be verifiably exterminated, or even close. I don't expect many organizations to do more than begin on non-critical systems, and I expect that to mean constant annoyances that would try God's patience. I even expect fairly widespread, but mostly short-lived, major screwups in critical systems. I've said this before: I expect a world of downtime, delays, shortages, confusion, inconveniences everywhere you turn.

To me, this is muddling through. A lot more of our remediation will be reactive (rather than proactive) than I or anyone would prefer. I don't expect my world to end, though.

Several more points here:

1)A lot of organizations are describing their state of compliance. If we dismiss all of it as PR hype, we're guaranteed to miss what's actually happening.

2) Government is in awful shape. Even Mike McCormick agrees there. As soon as I learn that a doomist works for government, I discount his economic big picture a bunch.

3) We all know the original schedules were politically mandated, and thus built to slip. I think it's more informative to focus on how much will be done when it matters, than how arbitrary the old schedules were.

4) Even if we suddenly found 700,000 skilled programmers under a rock, would you recommend throwing them at late software projects?

5) I can empathize with the urgent need to get the word out that you're ready when you really aren't yet, but have some reasonable hope of getting there in time. I too have rigged up some 'ringers' at trade shows because the product was a couple months overdue and the show was right now, dammit.

Yes, the entire remediation project is a bit too little and a bit too late, and the end result will resemble Frankenstein's monster. But if the monster can walk and talk, however hideous, it's a victory. We aren't really asking if we'll be finished, we won't. We're asking if we can survive. We will.

-- Flint (, February 02, 1999.


I will quote you again, "We've passed quite a few 'spike dates' without so much as a ripple, much less a spike."

Sorry, but even though we haven't had spikes, we HAVE had ripples. You did misinform readers of this forum.

You also said, "We're asking if we can survive. We will."

Survival is a relative term here, Flint. Some people may only be able to survive January 2000 if they bothered to buy bottled water ahead of time. You've taken an optimistic stance about Y2K without mentioning any need for preparation.

I guess you're wondering why I reply to so many of your messages, Flint. The answer is that some newcomers to this forum may die if they are influenced by your messages.

-- Kevin (, February 02, 1999.

Flint --- there are many specific points I agree with you about, but the subject of this thread was "programmer shortages." Of course, there are programmer shortages on the big-iron side for fixing the world's enterprise systems. This is boring but true.

No one that I know of denies the obvious fact that thousands of these guys were downsized out in the late 80s and early 90s. Consequently, by and large, they aren't available today and it is not possible to hire their replacements because they are none such.

I personally didn't address the issue of shortages of VB-style programmers, to name one instance of many, because this seems more ambiguous to me.

It is a no-brainer that the combination of late start and not enough of the programmers needed for enterprise-scale systems means they won't get done. Why is this so hard to understand?

As for, "will we survive?" Who said we won't, especially on this thread? What does it have to do with the subject? Unless you mean that TEOTWAWKI or worse isn't "surviving", since even Infomagic envisions the existence of human beings, so far as I know. And even if he doesn't, why make that into a strawman. Knock it down, I don't care.

There is still a critical shortage of the kind of programmers we most need to fix Y2K: the guys who understand 15 to 35 year old enterprise systems > 1M lines written in multiple obsolete languages on the big iron.

-- BigDog (, February 02, 1999.

Certainly have to give Flint credit for hanging in there with his view, and the reasonable tenor of challengers to his ideas.

Companies are still companies and y2k is considered an expense, not a profit-making part of their business (We all know the consequences of not being ready, so we don't need to rehash that). The number of programmers thought necessary one or two years ago were most likely based on the criteria that all systems would be remediated by strictly scan, window or expand, test, dubug, test ,debug, test, debug ...

Most of our conversations now imply only "mission critical" systems.

Companies will attempt to remediate what is necessary at the least cost; budget noncritical (the majority of systems) over a time period that works from top priority down to least priority (again at the least cost) and over a time period that suits their P & L statement.

So, the 700,000 programmers would have been necessary if we planned to fix everything before 2000. We aren't planning to fix everything by 2000. We're only planning to fix what we think is necessary to fix before 2000. The programs of convenience will be fixed at a more convenient time. I think we've got our hands full finishing what's critical and the original post doesn't validate that the problem never existed or isn't as bad as we thought.

To say that we must check, fix, test and re-live 30 years of technology in only a few years is beyond anyones' comprehension. That's why it's not being attempted. That's why we don't need 700,000 more programmers. ------------------------------------------ Just a small story about technology and viewpoint...

Some Japanese associates were extolling the virtues of modern technology and used an example of how convenient their work was now compared to years ago. Last week, a division manager on a trip to visit an important American OEM customer called back to Japan to say he needed presentation material showing a detailed analysis of the product changes from the current model to the new model to be introduced in September.

The entire engineeringdepartment for this product sprang into action... 10 people worked all weekend to take photos, using a digital cameras, of old versus new. Carefully taking shotsof various stages of assembly and making notes... all told 20 pages of Powerpoint(tm) presentations plus photos were e-mailed Monday morning to the executive in the U.S. They thought it was was a great example of consumer technology helping their efficiency.

Of course, being a gaijin, I asked them why one person didn't go to the office and fax the drawings originally approved by the customer and the assembly drawings used for the prototype and the current model.

It got very quiet in that room. They didn't want to tell me how foolish I was.

-- PNG (, February 02, 1999.


Correct: "The original post doesn't validate that the problem never existed or isn't as bad as we thought." Wasn't meant to address y2k in general, rather the purported 700,000 programmer shortage. I don't think the good professor's study even mentions y2k once.

Y2K may be an expense for some companies, and for others a depreciable capital asset which enhances productivity (if an upgrade is installed). And having said that, my efficiency in the office has increased by at least tenfold since I've stopped using the PC so much.


I'm retaliating article for article: "Cobol Programmers Miss Big Payday" En garde!


Seen the WRP, at first glance the salary data is much the same as referenced by the professor's testimony, in his link at 1999 Computer Industry Salary Survey - by DataMasters, members of National Computer Associates.

Steve Watson and Big Dog:

I started this thread with the link to Professor's Matloff's study since I've seen the claim of a 700,000 programmer shortage bandied about again recently, and on this forum. As PNG stated, that may have been true at one time and considering only specific remediation options . As time and situations change, that no longer applies. And the massive shortage has not been proven. Merely saying that "it's real" does not make it so.

So there is a shortage of 'good' programmers. Well hell, good help is ALWAYS hard to find. More of a reflection on the hiring company and Dilbert-type pointy-haired management that anything else. Good companies shouldn't have a problem attracting or keeping good personnel. Even plowing through drifts and piles of resumes, sometimes all you wind up is someone supremely qualified at writing good resumes.

The study proves that older programmers have very real difficulties in finding positions (would that be "guys who understand 15 to 35 year old enterprise systems > 1M lines written in multiple obsolete languages on the big iron"?) - check out all of item 4 in the study "Rampant Age Discrimination - at age 35. It's been said that these guys were downsized in the late '80's (sorry, 1980's, four digits) and 1990's and are no longer available. Why are they no longer available? I would think that they'd prefer working at their chosen profession rather than some lesser job, or at the very least moonlight for some quick remediation cash. Given a "severe shortage of VB and 'big iron' professionals", stands to reason that salaries would shoot through the roof. Otherwise traditional supply and demand is just so much bunk. However, salary increases have been in the normal range. The professor's testimony is also an indictment against short-sighted companies that prefer to hire lower cost young or foreign programmers, and an attack against the current HB-1 visa program, and the efforts of the various special-interest companies and groups to keep it current with those paragons of virtue in DC. Interesting that the Kevin's article featured as its star character one Mr. Sharif Awad - bet you it's a muslim Indian name. I can at least attest to this part first hand - one of our engineers has a son currently studying computer engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras. Nice lad, he told me that when he graduates next year he already has a couple of offers to go to the Bay Area. The salary will be triple what he can earn in India. Half his classmates have received similar offers or have like plans.

I'm not against immigration, but companies that started too late with too little and are throwing young inexperienced bodies at a complex problem to shave a buck, will be the first ones swallowed by their competitors. Like guppies at a frat hazing. Darwinism at its finest. ( I remember reading about a supermarket chain in the Northwest that allegedly went bust because of y2k - maybe, maybe not. Maybe the chairman liked to play the ponies and keep a dozen mistresses in diamonds and furs on the company tab. Let's say it's y2k though. Want to bet there's a more nimble competitor from the next state over or back east looking at the bricks and mortar, and evaluating the market?

-- Morgan (, February 03, 1999.

Re: compliance and legal liability: how about this off-thread-topic and silly scenario:

Mega-Fat Inc. for months has included its payroll systems on its internal list of y2k mission-critical systems --In a rush to achieve compliance and show its happy face to the public, it has dropped the payroll system from its MC list, figuring they can go manual. "Bah! we used to do it with payroll sheets, pencils and pocket calculators in the old days" says the pointy-haired clueless contingency plan manager.

Well, well, well. say their payroll system comes a cropper in Aug 99 - and back to pencils it is. Payroll is 3 weeks late, and Joe Sixpack who was living way beyond paycheck-to-paycheck is finally evicted/foreclosed/take-your-pick. Their four-year-old photogenic cute-as-a-button daughter catches cold in the city shelter, then pneumonia, then complications, then she sadly dies. Some sharpie lawyer (not the noble John Grisham novel type) senses blood in the water and sues Mega-Fat for jillions on behalf of the Sixpacks - pain and suffering, negligence, terminal stupidity, the works. Other sharpies swarm in a feeding frenzy of class-action suits. Staggering legal costs and judgment fees cause Mega-Fat to implode in a dazzing flash of cellulite.

OK, simplistic and sensational, but I'll bet you ten bucks to a soiled subpoena that Mega-Fat's own legal counsel have agonized over this scenario a dozen times - after all, lawyers are especially bred to bill hours for dreaming up crap like this - in the same way that attack sharpies devolve to scavenge off of it under the US tort law.

Maybe you can stretch legal consequence only so far when considering compliance. But in my view it's a considerable part of it. Can't you see those compliance reports edge ever closer to 100 percent without ever reaching it?

-- Morgan (, February 03, 1999.

And my thank-you's to all for a great discussion so far - no conclusions yet, but a great discussion focused on facts - and how to interpret them to try to figure out the future.

Ain't it frustrating not knowing?

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, February 03, 1999.


Discussing whether or not there is a programmer shortage is, to me, like discussing recent PC sales volume. During much of 1998, the PC industry said its sales were poor and blamed the Asian economic crisis.

Now, PC sales are on the rise again, and I would tend to think it's Y2K related. What do you think the market for programmers will be like when the the rest of the local governments across the country finally realize they must address Y2K?

-- Kevin (, February 03, 1999.

Morgan --- Some older programmers have re-entered the work force. But life goes on and 10 to 15 years is a veeery long time. People get other jobs, decide they're tired of what they did ... and just plain get sick and die. If I had been downsized at age 47 (the current tick on my calendar), I know I wouldn't want to come back at age 57. Why should I? To take more crap from the same managers who downsized me? To fix a problem that they didn't pay attention to when they should have? So I can get fired again by the same bozos in 2000 or 2001? A few will/have come back, most won't.

PNG --- very discerning, hadn't thought of your point: t'aint gonna be no shortage if you never decided to fix all the stuff in time to begin with! Have never heard that raised before, yet it's breathtakingly obvious.

-- BigDog (, February 03, 1999.

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