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Discussion on: The slow and painful death of a developer

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jfrankcarr profile image
Frank Carr

Corporate hiring manager asks a recruiter: "Why am I having so much trouble finding a local programmer to maintain our 15 year old (VB6/PowerBuilder/Visual Foxpro/Access) application? The old developer retired last year to run a goat farm and we can't find anybody and we are willing to pay top dollar."

Old tech jobs are out there in decent numbers if you can stomach working with crumbling, fragile, code bases and out of date tools. I don't think you'll not find jobs if you don't stay current but you may not like the jobs you find.

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nikmonios profile image
Nikos Monios

To be honest with you, the company should have been prepared for the old developer's departure and began migrating to newer technologies. Young developers care a lot about their careers and they are not ready to work with obsolete technology.

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jfrankcarr profile image
Frank Carr

In several cases I've seen a long time developer left unexpectedly. In more than one, it was because they became disillusioned with management and took an early retirement or just left for another position with no advanced warning. In others' it was a health issue, either their own or a family member. In all cases, management did not plan for them leaving effectively.

BTW, most older developers who are staying current don't particularly like to work with obsolete technology either. We sometimes do because we worked with it when it was new but we don't want that to be a significant part of our job.

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lepinekong profile image
lepinekong • Edited on

Oh my why did you mix so many databases in the first place :) I knew MSAccess very well and still use it sometimes but in secrecy because you know in Big Corps they disdain it as toy and prefer to use Java / Oracle even for less than 10 users. Well at least it makes my bread and butter as the project last months and even years I'm paid for managing its development. I find this corporatish mindset silly though because it's waste of Money and Time.

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jfrankcarr profile image
Frank Carr

One thing that I've found in working in areas like manufacturing and logistics for about 10 years now is that while corporate IT may dictate a particular platform they often come up short in providing application services to users. So, marketing goes their own way with a web development outsourcing firm, engineering hires in a group of contact programmers to do their work and so forth and so on in every department. Within a short time there's a hodgepodge of applications that are essential to keeping the lights on.

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egvaldes profile image
Ernesto Valdés

That is very true, I work at a company where the majority of the codebase is in Fox Pro, it's very hard to find people with the knowledge and willing to work with it, almost no one wants to get even close to it.
Fortunately I'm not working directly on Fox but I don't think I'm gonna last a lot longer here.