Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Java -- the new COBOL?

I know, not a fair analogy at all. Hear me out.

I was just reading Yet Another Resume from a guy who's gone from engagement to engagement (presumably through a bodyshop) doing Java stuff. Loads of three and four letter acronyms in his resume. EJB this, Websphere that. Big company engagements like SBC, Equifax, North Atlantic Railways, etc. I was scanning through his resume having a mental wrestling match. "I don't want to hire this guy." "Why not? He's got loads of experience." Finally it dawned on me that it was not the technology I was judging, but the project environment I envisioned as I read the resume. I saw big projects with big project plans, giant lumbering machinery and schedules, corporate politics, big money, mediocre results, Office Space.

It dawned on me, reading this poor guy's resume, that Java has succeeded in becoming the new COBOL--the language of choice for "data processing" type projects in the kinds of environments that quench passion, creativity, and often do not result in positive results. Without something else from this guy's resume other than the Java acronyms, I'm going to have to pass.


Blogger Brian H Miller said...

I agree -- Java is today's language of choice when it comes to mediocre companies hiring mediocre programmers to make mediocre results. When you look through programming job advertisments, none of them look less appetizing than those seeking Java (or even worse, J2EE) "expertise." Depressingly enough, it is also becoming the teaching language of choice, which all but guarantees that many graduates won't be exposed to core concepts of computer science.

It is a major step forward from Cobol to Java, of course, and so in some twisted way we are making progress.

5:39 PM  

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