linux jobs in the valley (was: [svlug] sorry about that)
ikluft at thunder.sbay.org
Tue Apr 24 00:14:01 PDT 2001
>From: Mike Coleman <mkc at mathdogs.com>
>Sorry, I wasn't intending to add fuel to a flamefest. I signed on to the list
>to see what things were like at svlug; I'm in Kansas City. From my days
>living in LA, I tend to think of CA as being very progressive.
Northern and Southern California are very different kinds of "progressive".
Different cultures. As a Northern California native, I can often recognize
differences in dialect that gives away a Southern Californian. :-) Each
has its roots in the local economies.
In general, Southern California culture tends to be influenced by its
domination of the entertainment industry. For decades aspiring actors have
gone to LA to pursue dreams of careers in that industry. A "star-studded
event" makes it all over the evening news there.
But that would get a big yawn in Northern California. For decades people
have been moving to the Bay Area for tech jobs. In the past 5 years,
Silicon Valley has begun attracting techies pursuing dreams to come here.
That's new. You can see the tech influence in what the papers and evening
news cover. As someone else already pointed out, billboards advertise VHDL,
dueling ISPs and other technical topics. Technical clubs get regularly good
attendance as long as the leaders don't flake out or scare everyone off.
>Now for something completely topical: What's it like doing Linux in the Bay
>Area? From a distance it seems like it would be nerdvana. I have this silly
>image in my head that one could stand up in any given restaurant or theater
>and shout "What's the best way for a Linux driver to map a board's memory area
>into user space?" and get at least two (correct) answers back. :-)
>Is it easy to find good (i.e., that a hacker would enjoy) Linux work in the
>BA? Conversely, is it easy for employers to hire Linux hackers in the BA?
Yeah, "nerdvana" is probably the closest you'll get to a one-word summary
of Silicon Valley. Interestingly, when academics and the media try to
describe what makes Silicon Valley tick, that's the part they miss. They
often focus on the high-profile companies and CEOs, the vulture... err...
ahem... venture capitalists, and all the colleges. Certainly those are
important. But the number of geeks in the population is what gives it
critical mass. The first hurdle in any technical project is assembling
the technical talent that can build it.
The Linux job opportunities were a subject very much on my mind over the
weekend and this morning. That was until I found out that I survived the
layoffs that my employer is conducting through this week.
I dislike the uncertainty of the situation. But I don't think I'd have had
much of a problem if I had been suddenly looking for new work today. My
current project at work is an internal port of SourceForge, which seems to
be quite in demand these days. But if I had to widen the search... 9 years
experience with Linux, 10 years with Perl, 16 with Unix, and 17 with C
isn't a bad list. People are finding good jobs with a lot less than that.
If you've pursued programming or network administration as a hobby, your
self-training may get you in the door even without a college degree. But
I happen to have that too. So I kept using that to convince myself it
wouldn't have been a problem if I'd have had to go looking.
I still prefer being able to stay where I am right now. Not everyone got
that choice today, including some friends of mine. And there'll be more
tomorrow. It's an unhappy thing to watch.
That's where we are in the economic cycle right now. There will be more
up and down cycles in the future. But the Internet isn't going away. So I
keep thinking the next up cycle won't be as long a wait from now as it was
in the recession of the early 90's. Back then we had a national recession,
a 7.1 earthquake in San Jose, closures of nearly all the military bases in
the Bay Area, a firestorm in Oakland, collapse of the South Bay's aerospace
industry, and trouble across the tech sector. It just kept hitting us.
This time it's just trouble in some segments of the tech sector, the dotcoms
and telecoms. Whenever it starts to turn around, I think we will have
churned through the demand curve and the recovery could be for real.
So call me an optimist. With Intel's recent report that customer demand has
picked up steam again, that's the kind of sign we're looking for. We could
start seeing various segments bottom out through the rest of the year as
they hit their cycles with different timing. It may take a little longer
for overseas demand for Silicon Valley's products to pick up again as the
current down cycle beginning to hit them takes its course. With aerospace
and the military nearly gone from the South Bay economy, now we found out
that we get whipped around with tech's cycles. It's a wild ride.
Ian Kluft KO6YQ PP-ASEL sbay.org coordinator
ikluft(at)thunder.sbay.org http://www.kluft.com/~ikluft/ San Jose, CA
"Carelessness and overconfidence are usually more dangerous
than deliberately accepted risks." -- Wilbur Wright, 1901
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