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How to Care For and Feed Software Developers

Jun 10, 2009, 19:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Matt Frye)

[ Thanks to An Anonymous Reader for this link. ]

"Now, I've mellowed a lot with age and experience and interpret the machine room more and more in shades of gray. However, business consolidation and the demand that IT deliver value to the enterprise still rankle my enlightenment. The bean counters treat system administrators as a cost center and, because we don't bring in any revenue, we are forced to overtly demonstrate our value. More often than not, the math doesn't add up for the CFO, and dedicated system staffers are let go or are rolled into engineering organizations. Recently, "Your local sysadmin" has taken on a mind-numbingly literal meaning and we’re often tasked with one thing: developer support.

"Don't get me wrong. It's important to provide all the things that developers need: hardware changes, every possible environment to test with, tweaks, and new boxes. Virtualization has really helped. But we're really mixing with another sect now.

"Developers, though from the same proto-geek family tree, are now a distinct denomination from system administrators, and we don't always integrate well. There was a time when developers had to be their own sysadmins and sysadmins were developers from days of yore. Early on, both developers and system administrators had to write code to make things work, but these days we are each used to our own practices and short cuts. The canon has diverged, and we are used to doing the things that define us as our own professions. Since both groups wear the battle scars of intense flame wars gone by, sometimes things get a little silly and sometimes things get a little tense."

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