> Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 14:29:06 -0500 (Eastern Standard Time)
> From: "Booth Martin" <Booth@MartinVT.com>
> To: <consult400@midrange.com>
> Subject: Re: [Consult400] Re: ICCA members
> Reply-To: consult400@midrange.com
> That's a bit harsh isn't it Steve?
> Gosh, anyone willing to improve their skills and then take a test to see
> they've figured it out should be given credit far beyond the person that's
> only interest is whether or not the company's real work stops at noon on
> Friday.

Yes, it was little harsh.  I'm sorry.  I just have this thing about people
having to add titles behind their names...(it's one of MY pet peeves).

I don't know why, but this kind of reminds me of the day I was in Alamo
Rent-a-Car at DFW airport and this guy next to me was giving the clerk at
the counter a really hard time - cursing and screaming because he had to
wait in line for FIVE minutes.  When I asked him "Can you just be nice?"  he
told me to f*ck off, and when I called him an *sshole he said "You better
watch what you say to me, I'm a lawyer!".  So I said, "SUE ME!".  If I had
laid one finger on him he would have sued me...my, what a pretentious fellow
he was...

I have prior experience working and associating with people who carried CDP
or CCP titles, and for the most part wasn't overly impressed with their
skills.  There wasn't anything they did better or faster than anyone else,
based on my review of their work.  On the other hand, I have found that some
of the shyest, most unassuming people I have met without certifications or
college degrees are often technically much better than many of these CCP's
and CDP's.

I don't display my college degrees by putting some title behind my name.
It's on my resume, where it belongs, and any technical certifications that I
hold that I feel relevant to the position are listed there as well.

> One of my pet peeves is that I do not like competing for projects with
> programmers that are looking for consulting jobs because they can't find a
> real job.  I do wish there was a way I could differentiate myself from the
> consultant that leaned over to me on one project and said "What's this DDS
> thing they're talking about?"  Testing seems like a way that I can give an
> objective measure of my skill levels.

I agree, in part ...

I have a very low tolerance for people who bluff their way through an
interview, only to land in a plum position that they really can't handle.  I
also have a low tolerance for those people who have 1 year of experience 10
times...  I have had to clean up behind this type of bozo at least half a
dozen times in the last 20 years.  Often the problem is because the HR
department gets involved in the hiring process and weeds out the
best-qualified technical people for the wrong reasons.


I usually manage to come out on top when I get a chance to interview with
the technical manager, unless it's some young hotshot that is trying to
prove himself or is intimidated by me.  Many times I have found that when
you are interviewing for a position it's really just a matter of being in
the right place at the right time--and it really helps if you have some
well-connected friends.  I have benefited from both at different times.

In my specialty (JDE), to distinguish yourself you also have to know the
application software and the database structure in addition to having
expertise with OS/400 and the languages.  I also have experience in other
areas both as a technical person and as a business person.  I have been on
both sides of the table - as a user of computer services and as a provider
of computer services/systems.

 I don't consider myself just a programmer.  I am a
programmer/analyst/consultant/application specialist/performance tuning
specialist/operations analyst/network specialist/SNA specialist/EDI
specialist/EAI & XML specialist/wash the
windows/do-whatever-you-want-me-to-do.   I have worked alongside many JDE
and big 6 consultants that probably have walls full of JDE and IBM and APICS
certifications and when I review their code I don't see why they are worth
$200.00 - $300.00 per hour when I do as good or better quality work for less
than $100.00 per hour.

When I was working at Blockbuster Video in 1989-1990 in Dallas I was billing
$ 50.00 per hour.  Andersen Consulting was billing $ 75.00-$100.00 per hour
for just-hired college graduates and had ME teaching them JDE and the

By the way, I haven't held a "real" job since 1988, when the AS/400 was
introduced.  That is the year I cofounded my consulting firm.  Also - the
only times I have not worked in the last 14 years were the times I chose not
to work in order to have time with my family.  Over that 14-year period of
time I have also probably averaged 2000 or more billable hours per year.

This is more like a hobby to me than a job!  I have boot-strapped my way to
where I am today.  I am different.  I differentiate myself from others every
day.  I am very motivated to succeed.  Once I figured out what I wanted to
do when I grow up, I never looked back.

You might wonder how I ended up as a programmer, since my college degrees
(BBA/MS) were not particularly computer-related.  I probably have as many
college hours in systems analysis and programming as many computer science
or MIS graduates.  I quit before I finished my second Masters degree in
Information Systems.  I had a 4.0 GPA after completing 24 semester hours
toward this degree.  I finally decided that I had to get on with my life and
spend my effort towards making money rather than finishing the degree (in
1984), and I have never regretted it.

Steve Landess
Austin, Texas
(512) 423-0935

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