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Choosing a new language

 
 
kevin cline
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      01-07-2008
On Jan 3, 1:32 am, Tim Roberts <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> kevin cline<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>
>
> >As if there were such a thing as an 'Ada programmer'. Any decent
> >programmer should be productive in Ada long before their security
> >clearance is approved.

>
> That's only true because the security clearance process has become so
> complicated. Ada is not a trivial language by any means. Even an
> experienced C programmer is going to find enough sharp edges to send him
> back to the reference manuals on a regular basis.
>
> >The real problem the DoD has is that defense work is not attractive to
> >the best and brightest.

>
> Bull crap. You don't HEAR about them because of that same security
> clearance issue, but some of the most complicated and certainly some of the
> LARGEST computing systems in the world come out of the DoD. You don't
> create reliable large systems using a corral full of bright-eyed college
> new hires.


I didn't say anything about what the DoD built, or attempted to
build. I meant that
the most talented young programmers find companies like Google and
Amazon or other
startups more attractive than defense work. I worked at a Defense
software startup
in Dallas for ten years. I know how it worked. Organizations like
Texas Instruments D-Seg hired a lot of new graduates, mostly from
second-tier midwestern
public schools, and put them to work writing defense systems.

With cost-plus contracting, companies bill the DoD by the hour, making
a fixed fee for
each hour charged. As long as a programmer has the necessary
credentials, their productivity
makes no difference to the company's income. Once the contract has
been won, labor saving
suggestions have no value. I know of at least one case where a very
talented programmer
realized that several man-years of manual effort could easily be
automated, but his suggestion was
rejected because it would have left a dozen cut-and-paste programmers
with no work.

With that sort of grind-it-out project management, talented people who
came
to Dallas to work for TI or E-Systems didn't tend to stay in defense
very long.
Many were cherry-picked by the growing telecomm industry, where a
talented developer
could make a huge difference to the bottom line.
 
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