OSS as measuring stick.

I started this blog post as a response to Robby’s response to my response ( whew…), but it started to morph into a whole seperate posting.

So, to start, Robby’s response:

I think this problem raises a completely different problem. Why are unqualified people being hired to do things that they aren’t qualified for? Do we blame the people learning to program or do we look at who hires these people in the first place? I’m still confused by his argument.

I think it’s both. The problem lies in the fact that ‘qualified’ and ‘unqualified’ are so ambiguous for the field, that it’s not really the fault of the person doing the hiring nor is it the fault of the person who wants the job. It’s an argument against the field itself, not really a specific side.

That kid may not get hired to build a house, but he may get interested in that as a career and continue to pursue it… if someone hires him to build the whole house, then the person hiring should be held accountable do some degree as well. Check references! 😉

That’s an interesting point, and I agree. I think one of the interesting parts of software development is the fact that if you don’t work for a product company, what we create can never be seen, and in some cases, talked about to other people outside of the team. Contrast that with other fields ( architects especially ) whose results are much more public, and provide a better measuring stick.

This fact ( and now we’re WAY away from the book 🙂 ) is the reason why I think OSS will become very important to our field in the future. It provides a common context, across the industry, by which to see peoples skills or past achievements. If someone walks into an technical interview, and says they were a part of project X, that gives the interviewer the chance to perhaps go see that persons work. It provides a common context talk establish compentency.

To me, listing OSS projects on one’s resume is a step closer to how architects create a portfolio of work. It’s not a huge step, nor should it be the final one, but it’s a start.