Solved

Where Did All The Gurus Go

Posted on 1999-01-27
38
390 Views
Last Modified: 2010-04-27
First of all, please do not take offence at this question, it is in no intended to slight the ability of anyone associated with EE.

I've been in the computer business for around 22 years and in the last few years it seems that there are no real gurus/wizards around any more.
In case some of you aren't familiar with the terms, an example is a guy we use (here in Western Australia would you believe) for our more difficult UNIX problems. He wrote some of the standard device drivers for UNIX in the 70's, he can tell you how the kernel works on the bits and bytes level, write out the full i-node structure from memory, knows ALL the several hundred command line programs and all their options, etc. He is an expert/guru/wizard.

My question is where are the SQL Server gurus, the NT gurus, ... these days?

Anyone got any comments.
0
Comment
Question by:gbentley
38 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:bpbult
ID: 1020989
I have some comments on this one.

I think its the graphical interfaces what is keeping people to investigate in some OS (like NT) . Everything is configured thru dialogs and noboy cares about whats behind it anymore.


PS who's is getting the points for this 'question' anyway? Because this is more a discussion subject than a real computer related problem.
0
 
LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:gfreeman081597
ID: 1020990
I'm with bpbult on the GUI thing but as well the idea that you can to a computer college with no prior computer experience and within 16 weeks land a job selling, configuring or programming just about anywhere.  As well, the real gurus are in demand out here so I find there really isn't much time to investigate and resolve issues online most of the time.

There are a lot of other stuff that's changed:
1) Timely hardware installations => PnP
2) Challenging .cfg or .ini hacking => Wizards, GUI
3) Softset NIC programs => Bus mastering, PnP OSs
4) Novell's Bindery Util's => NT's "one size fits all"
5) Trumpet Winsock (16-bit) => W95's DUN
6) Games that would take days to get working in DOS => DirectX
7) Finding someone with the same enthusiasm => Everybody knows the buzz words and has taken the romance out of computers.

I can't think of any more...

Can anyone else?
0
 
LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:rmichels
ID: 1020991
There are still GURUs out there, but they are few and far between.  I my experience, in the early days of micros, you had to know lots to get things to work. You had OSs that offered basic support, but did not do alot for you.  But you still had to dig for the information.  Myself, I disassembled MS-DOS in the mid-80s to understand how it works, and implement some non-standard things.

But now things are different, for many reasons:

1) Gone are the days where you had more luxury as far as time and /or money.  Company's these days are very tight in the R&D budgets and want results fast and cheap.  Many times that means hiring a consultant or buying an off the self product to do what you want.  Programmers don't have the opportunity to learn.

2) Not necessarily a fault, but Microsoft's OSs are much more closed than say UNIX.  How they work internally are not documented.  And the rate of change these days, almost makes it a waste of time to delve into the inner workings of things.

3) I also agree with gfreeman.  Many more things are given to you.  You can write a database application with understanding how things work, just let the wizards do it for you.

4) And people go where the money/opportunities are.  I can get a job much easier being a VB or C++ applications programmer, than being a WIN NT Device Driver writer (though the later is much for challenging and fun!).
0
 
LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:mark2150
ID: 1020992
We're still out here!

I'm a Birkenstock wearing, bearded, suspendered GURU. My specialty is DOS/VB/NOVELL/LAN Design. One time or another I've done most everything you can think of with a computer (watch it!) I've done financials, flight sims, factory automation, embedded controllers, missile guidence, image processing, TSR's. I cut assembler on a dozen different CPU's from chips to super mini's. I write code in my sleep, live on black coffee and *HOT* chineese food and have a cube that looks like a blizzard in a paper recycling factory.

Visit my web page if you don't believe me!

www.cyberchute.com/rvbus/madmark

One Halloween I went to a party wearing a black cape and a pointed black cone hat with a silver painted 5-1/4" disk on it. I had a wand with a silver 3-1/2" floppy glued to it. Whenever someone asked what I was dressed as, I replied "Software Wizard!"

M

0
 
LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:joopv
ID: 1020993
The guru's are still out there, but have now very packed agenda's as experienced consultants i guess.   And the relative number of them has dropped due to the reasons already given.

Even little old ladies now knows how to install an operating system (assuming that the stuff M$ excretes can be called operating systems).

0
 
LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 1020994
There are plenty of GURUs out there.  And I consider myself to be one of them.  The very fact that you are a guru, however, means that you have to have specialzed to some degree.  Other than a very few exceptional individuals, knowing everything about everything is just not possible.  (Yes, I know that guy too, but he just THINKS he knows everything...)  

Another problem is that with mighly marketable skills in an area like SQL, no guru can pass up the money to be made right now sell those skills.

I'm amazed at the amount of guru-like expertise that available here on EE.  I've had questions answered in minutes that would have taken me days (if not longer) to figure out on my own.  

I've also found the quality of the help here to far exceed that you might get by calling a vendor like Microsoft.  It seems that companies treat all callers like they are morons and I find it very frustrating.  I wish that they had a starting menu on their voicemail like:

"If you are a moron and we need to ask you if the computer is plugged in or not, please press 1."  

"If you are not a moron, you don't carry articles from unknown persons onboard aircraft, and you always floss after brushing your teeth, press 2".

You want to know what I'm a guru in?  

http://www.experts-exchange.com/topics/comp/hardware/general/U.jhance
0
 
LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:vikiing
ID: 1020995
Friend Gbentley: I'm on computer bussines since 25 years ago. You know how different are things today regarding those ancient days where one had to do miracles with a 4K-memory-based machine.

In those days, the only way to get something to work was to be clever, to know the innards of a machine and, in sum, to know the whole system as a unit, hardware and software.

If a board had a problem, then you had to pick up drawings manuals and begin to follow circuit in order to find the chip, transistor or diode with problems.

Today, when a motherboard doesn't work well, the solution is... to buy a new one. Of course, the cost of equipment allows that waste today; but that goes against professional quality.

When memory and disk were slow, few and expensive, you had to break your brain to find the way about how to store half bit into a file without increasing its size.

Nowadays, when disk space is endless, when the amount of memory is an exabrupt, when processor speeds are thousands of times of those machines we were used to, solutions are almost an offense to intelligence. Besides that, the quality of base software (like Windows and all that trash) invites to cry.

All of these can be resumed in a single word: "evolution".

¿Can you give me a handkerchief, please?...  :~~(
0
 
LVL 5

Author Comment

by:gbentley
ID: 1020996
Thanks to all who have responded.

This question/discussion was prompted by a few instances in the last year where I have had a problem and have gone looking for someone to assist. I have found that if the information is not in the manuals, help file, or Technet, the "experts" don't know it. This gets very frustrating when you pay someone $500 to discover that they know less than you. I have usually read all the above sources and tried all the documented solutions before I call in the experts.

Several times I have got a consultant in and then told them the answer. Maybe I should bill them?

Any more commments?
0
 
LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:rmichels
ID: 1020997
I totally agree with the consultant issue.  It used to be, you hired a consultant, they were an expert.  Now all a person has to do is spell VB to become a consultant and they want top $$$ at that.  Not that all consultants are bad, but it takes such effort to weed out the inexperienced ones.

Here's a funny anecdote.  We wanted to build an n-tier application, using Microsoft COM..basically following the Microsoft way of developing scalable applications.  We had no experience in COM so we wanted to find a mentor.  This was about 2 years ago, so it was quite tuff to find someone on the east coast (without of course paying $200 an hour..out of our budget).
We had one candidate that claimed to know COM.  We were halfway through the interview, when we asked him to explain how he used COM.  He started describing how he used the *COMM* control in VB to talk to the serial port.  I had to turn aways as I was trying to keep from laughing!!

Another consultant, whose claim to fame was subclassing the stream classes in C++ (cout, cin...).  Not quite the breadth we were hoping for.
0
 

Expert Comment

by:gulrast
ID: 1020998
Well, I think the Guru's are still around just hidden. Mostly the Unix gurus and such were all hackers and learned their stuff by, yes, hacking. Back then they didn't have such a bad name and could actually say they know what they are doing. Now their name is spoiled and the people that are gurus on pcs are still probably the hackers(the majority of them anyways) and most use unix/linux as I have heard so not many of them will be NT wizzes. I agree that the GUIs have also added to this. You don't have to wander around a system to find one string in a file just to fix a tiny message error or something, and in the process discover many different commands. Now it's just: "find file containing: blablabla". Anyone who knows NT like the person gbently described knows unix I have to tip my hat to them. With all the measures MS takes to prevent people from messing around with their system and editing it in any way it is hard to know like that, at least in my opinion it is. I heard, though, that Unix is dying out and NT is taking over. So expect to see more NT gurus in the next 2 years :)
0
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:j_powers
ID: 1020999
A Guru is what you make it.

I could tell you about a lot of Guru's I know. For instance, there is this one guy that I worked with on the Windows 95 team, then on an accounting package. He was a guru with Dynamic Link Libraries. He taught me the Houdini rule from this:

If you peel away all possibilities, the answer, no matter how obscure, will allways point to the dll's.

I worked with another guy, from the accounting project, that is the teaching guru. He could explain ANYTHING inside and out. It was uncanny how he could teach. He is now teaching grade school (which is what he wanted to do).

I worked with SQL all the time, and although I was able to solve most issue that came across my desk, I was not the Guru. The Guru was a man that sat Kitty Corner to me. He could do anything with SQL, and not even have to think about it. He is now making 6 figures.

At my current job, there is a man that is concidered a GURU in NT and 95. His word seems to be golden around here. Nonetheless, I have been able to outtech him on some instances.

Working on phone support, I can tell you that a GURU is only a point of view. Sure, the people I mentioned above can be concidered GURU's. But I know that they don't know all the answers. In fact, I could get one call, have the customer call me a genius, then turn around, and have the next one call me an a$***le. And for each of those people, it is the same thing.

It's all a point of view.

It is all point of view
0
 

Expert Comment

by:blueben
ID: 1021000
youre all a bit sad really arent you...
0
 

Expert Comment

by:bpbult
ID: 1021001
blueben,

who isn't at this website?
0
 

Expert Comment

by:blueben
ID: 1021002
an entirely valid comment mr.bpbult
0
 
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:cheekycj
ID: 1021003
I would like to voice my opinion.  I have had an interest in computers since 5th grade.
Just finished my undergrad in Comp Sci and now am working on a TeleComm. masters.
I am relatively new to the Computer Work Force but doing a lot of support work
at Universities and Consulting at Labs I will tell you this much- there are very
few true "gurus" out there.  A lot of people fake "guruness" (excuse the term) by
BS to unsuspecting listeners.

I don't consider myself a guru but just a knowledgeable person who someday may
become REALLY GOOD in some areas but calling myself a guru would be something
that is a pedestal like status and how many gurus out there can really say that
they can solve every problem in there specefic area?  I mean I am sure even the
guy who wrote Java can't answer everything about it.  Right?

Just a thought.

CJ
0
 
LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:mark2150
ID: 1021004
Becomming a Guru takes time. No-one under, say 30, can be one because they just haven't put in the time. They might be a genius in one thing or another, but to me, a guru is a generalist. You can ask him all sorts of questions on a wide spectrum of topics and he'll come up with the answer. Some types of knowledge just can't be taught in books. You have to have "been there, done that" and made (and corrected) the mistakes to earn your stripes. You have to have worked on most anything that sucks electricity to understand not only the pieces but how the pieces act as a system. A guru has both depth and breadth. For an example of the breadth required I once, years ago, developed the "spectrum on knowledge" that you need to be conversant with to *completely* understand computers:

Atoms
Electrons
ElectroStatics
ElectroDynamics
DC Theory
AC Theory
Basic Semiconductors (Diodes/Transistors) Gates (NAND, NOR, NOT, etc.)
Large Scale Devices (Memory, ROM, etc.) CPU's
Firmware
BIOS Software
OS Software
Application Software
End-User Applications
Data Structures
Networking
WAN's
Internet


M
0
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:j_powers
ID: 1021005
You know, mark, that is a bold statement about what it takes to be a guru. I have seen 19 year olds that have worked on computers more than the GURU's themselves.

A Guru is how you make them.
0
 
LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:mark2150
ID: 1021006
That was my point about genius. That 19 year old may be an absolute *whiz* at C++ or Java or whatever, but his knowledge is *narrow*. Get him off that one topic where he's got depth and he's no longer an expert. For the purpose of this discussion a genius is someone with lots of depth but little breadth while the guru has both lots of breadth and good depth in many areas. The guru's depth may not go down as far as the genius's does, but if you "integrate the area", the sum of knowledge in the guru is by far larger than in the genius.

This is also the comment about taking *time*. The guru knows S-100, Apple ][, DEC 11-780, IBM 370, as well as PC's - his (or her, but most guru's I know are men) knowledge is not limited to one platform or language or OS. You *can't* have been to all the places and done all the things at 19 that a 40 year old (who was a genius at 19) has done. Experience *DOES* matter.

M

0
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:j_powers
ID: 1021007
I still disagree that age matters, because i know a couple people that are a lot younger than me, and they probobly could outtech me.

As for the whole schema, yes, it is great to have someone that works on the whole machine, and knows it, but if they cannot convey their thoughts correctly, then they are not worth their knowledge. It is all about communication, and the ability to look up or know where the answer is. That could come from anybody, age 19, or 91.
0
Maximize Your Threat Intelligence Reporting

Reporting is one of the most important and least talked about aspects of a world-class threat intelligence program. Here’s how to do it right.

 
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:cheekycj
ID: 1021008
I tend to agree about the age factor somewhat.  As a recent graduate and now working
for a big corporation I encounter some "gurus" and I will tell you this much to ever
get to the level of what they know takes time and I don't care what kind of
genius or braniac you are- you cannot compete with time/experience.

CJ
0
 
LVL 5

Author Comment

by:gbentley
ID: 1021009
Again, thanks for all the responses. I seem to have struck a nerve!.

Now for my two cents worth. I agree it takes time to develop the understanding needed to become a guru. It also needs the wide knowledge as sometimes the answer is in the hardware. I actually wrote a routine some years ago that patched around an intermittent hardware fault. If I hadn't understood how disk drives work, I could not have done this.

I take issue with the attitude the what is required is knowing where to look up the answer. The point is that with systems as complex as they are these days, it is impossible that all possible problems have occured already AND been documented. It is therefore neccesary to be able to reason from first-principles in order to work out what the problem might be, then perhaps to do controlled tests to narrow it down. If this sounds familiar, it should, it is called the scientific method.

Second on the subject of money. Sure, a person might be able to earn a lot of money as a "guru" (note small "g") for a large corporation. So? The people I was talking about never had income as their primary motivation for learning. You learn because you are interested, nothing more. Have we stopped being professionals and become people who sell our skills and knowledge to anyone who will pay?

Thanks again for all the response.

0
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:j_powers
ID: 1021010
I wouldn't say that we have prostituted ourselves. Everybody here at EE is a good example of that.

Just think of it this way: all the people you know come to you with questions about computers. I personally have my own little ring of friends and family which get 'hand me downs' of computer parts. They also come to me with questions on how to do this or that. I guess it would be like a person who is mechanically inclined. Everyone has a car, and they always ask for opinions. Just last week, my car decided to go south. I know something about how to repair it, but I still had to rely on others' knowledge to deduce the problem.

There are some that are out there for the money, no doubt about it. But they will never help you in a pinch. I guess you find out then who your friends really are.
0
 
LVL 5

Author Comment

by:gbentley
ID: 1021011
Again, Thanks to all who responded. This is obviously a topic that generates a lot of interest. If someone else would like to start a question in one of the general areas, we might continue the discussion.


0
 
LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Frankie_Muccio
ID: 1021012
ROFL the gurus all work at Microsoft, Sun, Berkley, Intel and so on.  They're changing everything so quickly that it is hard for the rest of the geniuses out there to keep up with them.
0
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:axar
ID: 1021013
Gurus at Micro$oft ,that makes me ROFL. If there are really that
much gurus at Micro$oft why do they make such ****ty software anyways, real gurus  would't cope with that because they are  techs and not marketing people.

I  also think age is flexible in that matter because somebody who started programming assembly when he was 12, could become a young guru, we all know that things you learned at young age are better coded in our brains, the brains of such people are better  fitted to become  a guru because they started very early  making the right neuron connections for solving the kind of  problems  they  have to.

Also intelligence and curiosity plays a role,   somebody could have 10 years experience in  something but if i'm intelligent enough to learn the  same in 5 whats the difference.

Mainly I think to become a guru you  have to be intelligent enough to be a quick learner and have a hackers attitude, making something work  is not their main goal but knowing what make things tick.
0
 
LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:mark2150
ID: 1021014
You can be the quickest learner in the world, but that doesn't help if you're not out in the trenches *seeing* the problems. A 12yo that's coding can only learn about coding. He can't learn about systems and their interactions with the real world 'cause he's not old enough to get out and work at, say, Northrop, NASA, or Martin Marietta and learn how to solve the real problems that occur. You gotta put in the time to get the cajones to be a "capital G" Guru.

"Knowing where to look up the answer!" Jeez, pull the other one! Like, duh, when you're doing *research* no-one *KNOWS* the answer. Any moron with a good search engine can learn to "look up" stuff. A *guru* is the guy you call when the answer is *UNKNOWN* and you need someone to *FIGURE IT OUT*. If it were *SIMPLE*, they'dve done it long ago! This is the difference between a "cookbook" and an *engineer*. The "cookbook" guy can look it up - if *some one else* has figured it out. The *engineer* (not necessarily limited to BSEE's) sits and cogitates and ponders, and pulls his beard and scratches and *then* sits down and pens a *totally new* answer.

*I* have been called a Guru by those I work with. I've been doing computers since my early teens (I'm 42 now). I've worked on missile guidence, robots, image processing, games, industrial automation, embedded controllers, LAN's, WAN's, PC's, Simulators, Mainframes, supermini's, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. Over time I've hooked up computers to just about anything you care to name. You simply *CANNOT* acquire the breadth of knowledge without time. It takes quite a bit of time to learn how to tell someone "I have *NO CLUE*." Part of being a "guru" is learning what you *DON'T* know! Most of the hot-snots assume that 'cause they know their *one trick* that they are *EXPERTS* in the whole field. Give 'em to *me* for a day or two and I'll show 'em what they *don't know* (evil grin)

(BTW: I used to teach computers/electronics, we always got a couple of smarta**es in class. I have a couple of "special" problems in my bag of trix for those *exceptional* students!)

M

0
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:j_powers
ID: 1021015
I, too, Mark, have been working on computers since I was a wee one. And although I am not in my 40's (only 27), I still will disagree with what you said.

I once knew an old Navy Sailor that I met at a job I was working testing software. He was an old hound when it came to hardware. He could diagnose a network problem in no time flat. They decided to let him go because he was worth too much. He retired.

In comes a cocky, arrogant, 22 year old. Although he was annoying, and despicable, he could do the exact same thing in the same time. He disputed athority, and wasn't there for that long. He then got a job for the government because he could also speak russian fluently, and they needed a IT in Washington (makes 7 figures, now).

My oldest brother's friend entered the navy. He has been doing top secret computer work since he was 20.

Another friend, 25, is an NT admin for an insurance company. He beared down on all his books, and got certified in 95, NT (server & wrkstation) and Network Essentials. He just got done upgrading the WAN (a multi billion dollar project). He started computers when he was 23.

Say all you want about how you need to be a war horse to be a guru. I can dipute it all day.

"I disagree about what you said, but I will defend to death your right to say it."

-Voltaire
0
 
LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:mark2150
ID: 1021016
Read the definition of Guru and Genius I posted earlier in the thread. Your citations are not "Gurus", they are Genius's in their one area. Take your 25 YO NT friend, can he write IBM 370 mainframe code? How 'bout 80x86 .ASM code? Design digital circuits? Determine what is problem with automated tape library robot system? Design RF I/O comm links? No? Then he's *NOT* a "guru". His knowledge is too narrow.

M

0
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:j_powers
ID: 1021017
Ya know, I cannot say. But let me ask you this question. when was the last time YOU were asked about them?

It does seem that your definition is different from my definition. But it does bother me when someone defines a guru as 'someone that knows everything about computers'. If you can say that you can do that without needing a reference, then you better be making more money than Bill Gates.

I always defined a guru as 'a person that knows most, but also knows how to get the answer if he or she is not sure'. I cannot ever get to the 'person on top of the mountain' anologies, because how can someone like that be in touch with what happens today.

I guess you have your definition, and I have mine. We both learn, we both excel in our jobs, and undoubtly, our co-workers think we are genius. I know that I have been told that one more than one occasion.

At any rate, let me ask you this: Have you ever heard of a Doctor that knows everything? How about a musician? Maybe an actor? An electrician? I guess then, the definition wouldn't be 'guru', but 'god'.

That is all I have to say about that.
0
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:axar
ID: 1021018
I really don't  agree with  the age thing. I know a guy from who  everybody thinks he sometimes plugs a cable somewhere in his head, because he's that  quick  in problem solving. He studied (all A's) physics, electronics and informatics in no time
He's 27, he does't need 5 years company experience at lets say NASA to code ballistic algorithms he probably arleady tackled the same problems just for fun!! The only thing really matters when it comes to experience is that you have learned how to function among others and how to make good team effort, and how organisations work, your problem solving ability isn't really affected  by that.

What about Linus what age was he when he made version 1.0 ?
Right now he's  still under 40 so it couldn't be that old!
Do we all consider him to be a Guru ? if so we got our example of a young Guru.
I  think he's a Guru.

So mark2150 are you clever enough to  do the same what he did ?  If so why didn't you I know every programmer somewhere would love to build  his own OS, but  most of us are not clever enough or don't have the right amount of ambition to become a Guru.

I think you have to admit you're going to get a lot of **** dumped on you if you stated that our beloved Linus is no Guru!
0
 
LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:mark2150
ID: 1021019
J_powers, I do a variety of stuff in my job. I've had to design PC board interfaces to specialized hardware (and write the I/O drivers in .ASM) Admin the Novell 4.11 LAN. debug the cause of an ABEND, Monitor system performance, use a logic analyzer, LAN protocol analyzer, etc. These type of problems crop up all day, every day. Some days I'm punching down 110 blocks, the next I'm rebuilding the registry or coding a new module in VB. I didn't say I know *everything* about computers, If you read my post one of the skill I have is the ability that I have *no clue* on something.

Axar: you need to have field experience, school is one thing, work is another. We get Computer Science interns thru out facility all the time. I've mentored a few of them. They *ALL* say that there is a *HUGE* delta between "school" and "work".

Part of the knowledge is systems. Working for NASA isn't just an exercise in "code ballistic algorithms" by a *long* shot. You have to understand how a large and complex system works as a *system*. You simply can't become conversant in all of the sub systems without spending *time* learning. There is a *LOT* to know and getting A's in school is maybe 1% of what you need to learn.

Again, you cite examples of people with deapth in one subject but don't seem to show breadth. Bill Gates is the worlds richest man not because of his *computer skills* (which are formidible) but because of his *business acumen*. He didn't *write* DOS, they *BOUGHT IT*. He didn't *code* windows, he *conceptulized* it and sicced the programming teams on it. Fire off the "easter egg" and look at the credits if you think "Bill G" did all the work!

Yes, I *am* clever enough to be a guru. And it's taken me 20 years of *hard friggen work* to get there. No "hot-snot" fresh out of school has put in the time to learn the breadth to make him a "guru".

As for the example of the Dr given by J_Powers, how long does that Dr go to school before he's allowed to practice? Do *you* want to go to the guy/gal that just passed his boards or the guy that's been doing it for 20 years and has "been there, done that" *many, many* times?

If you think that book learning is enough, then you're showing your lack of knowledge on the topic!

M

0
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:j_powers
ID: 1021020
You took the doctor out of context, Mark. From what you say, if this was applied to doctors, there wouldn't be a guru out of one of them.

I agree that all book and no application does not a guru make (hey, that's a good Yoda line), but how can you say that a 20 year old that is programming and rebuilding boards is not a guru. Granted, they are few and far between, but they still exist.

As for Mr. Gates, I hate to break your bubble on that, but he did help on the assemblence of DOS before Microsoft took it over. He does have good business acumen, but remember when he organized Microsoft, he was in his 20's. And he might of not had anything to do with NT2000, or Win98, but he definitely has a lot to do with the other Operating Systems he built. In fact, his mother was the one that restructured the Dial up Networking option, if I remember correctly.


0
 
LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:mark2150
ID: 1021021
Bill bought DOS from the folx that originally coded CP/M. He was in the right place at the right time and landed the contract from IBM to develop the new OS for the 5150 computer (the designation of the original PC).
0
 
LVL 5

Author Comment

by:gbentley
ID: 1021022
Great discussion guys. But, definitions aside, my real question is how do you tell which ones are the gurus or geniuses before you've blown your budget getting them to fix something beyond the ability of the MSCEs.

mark2150 - I also get called a genius, wizard, expert and various other pleasing names! I, however don't consider myself to be as I don't have the breadth that you talk about.

I cover it pretty well as I came to computers from the electronics side 25 years ago, and have a great interest in the hard sciences so I keep up with the research in materials science, maths and the like. I find that most "computer professionals" these days don't have this. How can they even think rationally about a computer problem if they don't know how the things work? It is beyond me! I have heard
professionals" say the most ludicrous things. Like the one about the compression algorithm that will compress ANY file by at least 25%.

Anyway, thanks again for all the contributions.

0
 
LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:mark2150
ID: 1021023
gbently,

As how to figure out what the MSCE knows, look at his track record and bounce him off both the HW and SW crews *before* you hire him. Toss a couple of problems that you've had on your system that yo already know the answer to and see what he says. It's like the time we asked the guy what he knew about ATM and he started talking about cash machines!

I agree that the current crop of CS majors doesn't have sufficient grounding in the hard electronics end of things.

The idiot with the software that will compress *any* file - you should ask him if you recursively compress the compressed file will it eventually go to *zero*?

That too is a clue. Someone that tosses words like *ALL*, *ANY*, *NEVER* and other absolutes in a topic usually hasn't got the experience to know that there are exceptions to most rules.

M

0
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:j_powers
ID: 1021024
That is a good question. What DOES make a person a good tech. This is something I ask about myself all the time.

There is always a risk of some sort in hiring a person, they may work like the dickens, but don't know squat, or may know everything in the world, and can't or won't do the work involved.

We had a networking job that was contracted out. The person had to install CAT5 wire from the wrkstation to the closet. After weeks of careful concideration, we chose a person for it. Although he passed the questions given to him on how he was going to pass the cable through to the closet, when he got to the site, he had not clue 1 about pulling Network Cable. We had to hire another at last minute cost, to do the job. Turned out, that the person WANTED to do it, and thought with his experience pulling phone cable, that this was no different. Wrong answer.

As for techs, I personally like to skip anybody that is 'old school' or 'shotgunners'. These are people that hear what the problem is, and say "It's this," without giving any reason why, or looking at the computer.

I was taught with a 'linear troubleshooting' theory. Ask the 20 questions, try a couple thoughts, then see what happens. Sure, shotgunning is fast to get rid of some problems, but is it fast in the long run? I would say out of all the people that did shotgun, no.

In fact, I have seen more problems attributed to shotgunning, then to the original problem. That tech that said 25% compression has to be a shotgunner. He probobly saw it do it once, then turned around and said that all programs could do it. Those people are the worst, because they know terms, but do not know application.

At any rate, getting back to contractors, Since computers are getting more and more diverse, I couldn't tell you what you could say or ask to get their skill level out. It would depend on what they are doing.

0
 
LVL 5

Accepted Solution

by:
tfabian earned 20 total points
ID: 1021025
what you're looking for are people with the "hacker" mentality..

they are out there, you just have to find them..  some are civil servants (earning below their potential) and others are the dreaded consultants.. still others are in private industry..

you just gotta keep looking...



0
 
LVL 5

Author Comment

by:gbentley
ID: 1021026
Thanks again for all the feedback. I am going to award the points at this time and close this question.

Gordon
0

Featured Post

Find Ransomware Secrets With All-Source Analysis

Ransomware has become a major concern for organizations; its prevalence has grown due to past successes achieved by threat actors. While each ransomware variant is different, we’ve seen some common tactics and trends used among the authors of the malware.

Join & Write a Comment

Suggested Solutions

Title # Comments Views Activity
How to Stream Drone FPV video 6 82
PCI standards 5 45
UAT environment 1 29
Managing unpatched virtual machines 5 42
Upper back Pain: My back hurt for months. Upper back, mostly my neck, spine and across my shoulder blades. I was getting headaches too, that felt like they were caused by tension in my shoulders, but now I feel fine! I'm sharing this hoping someone…
Great sound, comfort and fit, excellent build quality, versatility, compatibility. These are just some of the many reasons for choosing a headset from Sennheiser.
Access reports are powerful and flexible. Learn how to create a query and then a grouped report using the wizard. Modify the report design after the wizard is done to make it look better. There will be another video to explain how to put the final p…
This tutorial demonstrates a quick way of adding group price to multiple Magento products.

708 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question

Need Help in Real-Time?

Connect with top rated Experts

17 Experts available now in Live!

Get 1:1 Help Now