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back to article Are you an IT pro? It's no longer safe to bet your career on Microsoft

Is Microsoft still a safe bet for the IT pro? In a word: No. As an IT worker, you have to gamble on which technology will keep you fed and housed over the coming years. For a really long time that has been Microsoft, but you don’t get paid on the past. Instead you need to peer into an uncertain future. The Windows 8 launch was …

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Anonymous Coward

duh

Microsoft is on the way out. Once people realise that all this time they could have had better, theyre going to be pretty upset.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: duh

That's funny, 92% market share of desktop OSes. Hardly call that on the way out?

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Re: duh, 92% of desktop O/S

Yes, MS own the desktop and a shedload of servers, why should you or I care ?

The thing that drives your pay and even whether you have a job is supply and demand, not the absolute number.

In the UK, US etc almost everyone who will ever have a desktop computer already has one and given 93% market share MS can't really grow in that area.

People are gaining skills and bits of paper in Windows every day, which means that there will be excess supply of skills if the MS product set goes into any sort of decline.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: duh, 92% of desktop O/S

Perhaps because that's 93 % & 40-50 % of "the" industry the people you are addressing are looking to work in. Suggesting an avoidance of a certain technology because of a potential over supply or under supply is naive in extremis. You learn skills and add value to those skills through your understanding of needs.

The same people gaining "bits of paper" are gaining the same bits of paper in other areas too. As such, experience matters. It's a vocational career, and that means experience will always matter more than certifications.

It's why we in the industry largely laugh (when we're not in tears) at the garbage that come of of the MBA set/ Analyst set/ PHB's etc.

No doubt you have some time at the coal face, but your advice is not correct for those new or middling in the industry. In fact, it seems very off kilter.

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Re: duh, 92% of desktop O/S

I note the use of the word "if" in your last sentence there. Whilst it's not about absolute numbers as you point out, nor is it entirely about the delta. The fact that Microsoft products are ubiquitous means that there is a steady turn over of opportunities regardless of whether it rises or falls. For developers in the UK and USA, by far the largest factor in availability of opportunities is the coming online of India and other nations. Something that both increases the size of the market, but also impacts on local developers due to pay differentials between countries.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: duh

if they weren't backed into a corner, would they have completely sidelined the interface they've been working on since, well since they gave it the name Windows?

If someone has the curiousity to wonder why it's called Windows (yeah I know, unusual for anyone to have curiosity these days) what are we going to tell them? Urrm a tile looks kinda like a window? its a joke

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Re: duh

"if they weren't backed into a corner, would they have completely sidelined the interface they've been working on since, well since they gave it the name Windows?"

You have an unusual definition of the word "completely" seeing as the Desktop is still there and all the programs that were working on Windows 7 are still usable in Win 8 in the same way on any desktop machine.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: duh

"That's funny, 92% market share of desktop OSes. Hardly call that on the way out?"

..like the desktop?

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FAIL

SRSLY?

"Good scripts, the ones you are proud of, have Ifs and loops and other constructs that mean even a scripting ace will need time to make any sense of them and will be reluctant to change them."

A 'scripting ace', like a C++ ace, would have no fear in modifying another's work (if it made good sense in the grand scheme of things).

A script without Ifs and Loops is normally known as a Batch File. I mean.....SRSLY???

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FAIL

Re: duh

92% of the desktop market? maybe in the USA, but NOWHERE else! Also <1% of web servers, 0% of HPC servers, 0% of DNS servers, routers or anything else that matters....

If Windows is the answer, you're asking the wrong question!

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Re: duh

I don't know what market share Windows Server HPC has in different markets, but it's certainly a lot more than 0%.

As a vendor selling enterprise software to very large organizations (global banks), we choose windows HPC because their IT depts like windows servers - certainly more than Linux servers. Can't see that changing in the next 5 years.

As HPC creeps out of labs and IT-specialist companies and into business, the market share for windows HPC (a specialized version of their windows server OS) is increasing and will increase. It isn't cutting-edge, but most IT work (and pay) isn't at the bleeding edge.

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Linux

And the public *still* hasn't really seen Win 8

The shitstorm when it does will be in a whole different league to Vista.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And the public *still* hasn't really seen Win 8

A bit like GNOME 3 then?

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Re: And the public *still* hasn't really seen Win 8

Apart from Joe Punter has never heard of gnome. Chances are, he's probably never even heard of UNIX/Linux either. He probably only even has a vague notion of what a "server" is, other than that's where his files and emails are.

He cruises into Comet (ha, ha!) or PC World and he sees Windows boxes or Apples. To him, that's the entire PC/IT market.

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this is irrelevant. everyone said microsoft was dead with vista. now I am using windows 7. from what I've sensed (using various magics) windows has a better development platform than any other.

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Ok, so if Silverlight is on the way out and HTML5 requires a browser that can read it, what do people program in that customers with older OS/Browsers can still use? I take there are more popular web tools to use, moving people further away from MS?

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"what do people program in that customers with older OS/Browsers can still use?"

How about industry standard HTML? It's worked for years (with the exception of ****ing idiots who insist on putting in IE only "features") and is the underpinning behind the additional features available in HTML5. A good HTML5 website (application) will still be usable in browsers that do not support all of the new features - a bad one will crap itself and be unusable... if the application is still usable but not quite optimal then that is much better than not usable at all. In any case, having compatibility like this allows the application to support the required accessibility laws and guidelines.

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what i do is just target whatever browser *I* use (it's MY website) and put out a message box saying "sorry you must use Internet Explorer 6.1 to view this website". This also reduces traffic.

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Anonymous Coward

"target whatever browser *I* use (it's MY website) "

You're the IT Manager at [a million candidate companies] aren't you?

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"Ok, so if Silverlight is on the way out and HTML5 requires a browser that can read it, what do people program in that customers with older OS/Browsers can still use?"

AJAX when I can, Flash when I have to. I work for an organization that's not moving off IE8 for at least another 3 years. That's when we finally get to cycle out the last of our XP machines (I didn't set the policy so don't blame me).

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FAIL

@ NomNom

"sorry you must use Internet Explorer 6.1 to view this website". This also reduces traffic.

a) If your site only advocates using a Swiss Cheese browser, I'd steer clear of it too. To my mind, there is only one reason you could possibly want me to use IE6...

b) You do know IE 6 is dead, right?

c) You wrote a site for yourself? Why bother with a website at all then?

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I think technology lock-in will keep Microsoft on top for a while yet

IT people don't like windows (usually) but know how to use it.

Non-IT people don't really know anything else exists, and would grind to a halt without it.

That's why microsoft continue to be so valuable despite screwing so much up. Once you're the only platform most people know how to use it takes years of substandard delivery before you get shifted out.

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft mindset article

I've developed scripts on all the popular operating systems but it's only when I got into shell scripting on Linux/UNIX that I got into good habits, like saving scripts to repositories and heavily commenting code.

Both of the above are in the person writing the scripts best interests, I developed the habit after writing lots of very similar scripts for file transfer for one client, 6 months down the line when they come back to have something rejigged and you look at it and think "what the hell was I drinking the night before I wrote this" or "that' s an early version I totally rewrote this ...now where is the decent version?".

Most Microsoft developers have Sourcesafe lying around if nothing else, most of the problems with Microsoft only sites is the cultures never been learned

These days I tend to also copy scripts to something like Google Drive so I have access to them whichever machine you are on, most of the cloud storage can be used as poor mans repositories, though of course versioning etc is all manual

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Re: Microsoft mindset article

Sourcesafe is probably why those Windows guys don't use source control.

Worst piece of frack I've ever had the misfortune to use, as it punishes you for trying to use it - and we've even had an RC broken by Sourcesafe. So we threw it away.

I now use GIT for "unofficial" projects, as you can make a repo anywhere that you have read/write access to and it does 90% of what's useful.

No reason why everyone shouldn't use it for their "personal" projects, even if you never upload the repo to anywhere it can still save your bacon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft mindset article

As I said "Sourcesafe lying around if nothing else", Sourcesafe is pants and yes GIT,or SVN with say tortoise on Windows and other tools are better but it's better than absolutely nothing which is what a lot of Microsoft only shops have (talking support scripting rather than development here)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft mindset article

"Sourcesafe is probably why those Windows guys don't use source control."

Indeed, "Microsoft Sourcesafe" may actually be the biggest IT oxymoron since "Microsoft Works". Given that there are faster and safer alternatives that are free, you'd be mad to trust your source to the darned thing.

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SourceUnsafe

I had the misfortune to work somewhere that used SourceSafe once. We (i.e. the people who had to use version control) finally managed to persuade the sysadmin to set us up with a Linux box on which I had admin rights. I installed CVS and found a lovely script that would check every revision of every file out of SourceSafe and into CVS complete with the log entries, effectively replicating the entire history. Bliss! Left it running over a weekend and we never had a repository-induced snafu after that.

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The entire article reads like it's wishful thinking

"Developers face the problem that MS doesn’t love them anymore, seeing us as disloyal peasants, best expressed when Visual Studio Express was intentionally crippled to produce only Metro (or No-tro, or whatever it’s called) apps."

These poor developers all got their own online Visual Team System server last week, for source control and agile project management for.. free. They could also get a year's windows phone developer account for a mere $8 too.

End users tend to like Windows 8. It's technical people that think people won't like it. Windows 8 will be big and Metro will become ubiquitous and people will start to enjoy that the apps they buy work on their phone, their tablet, their PC.

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Alert

Re: The entire article reads like it's wishful thinking

Everything I have seen so far shows end users do NOT like Windows 8's new interface. It is confusing and unproductive and very unintuitive.

I think people were a bit too harsh on Vista, but Windows 8 is getting exactly what it deserves so far.

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Happy

Re: The entire article reads like it's wishful thinking

I've read loads of reports of people who love the Window 8 UI, so I guess you need to read a bit more. Personally I like it too. I have it at home and I miss it when I'm at work.

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Anonymous Coward

Stay sharp on 'nix

You'll be looking at good long term career.

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Re: Stay sharp on 'nix

Yup. Back in 1996, a colleague told me to get shot of all my Unix books, since Windows NT was the future. I stuck with Unix (Solaris and then Linux, with some BSD in between) and I'm damn glad I did. Recently spent a couple of months with Windows 7 on the desktop, and I was amused at what a mess it is from performance, usability and productivity perspectives.

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Coffee/keyboard

lolwut

"Apple has almost no presence in ... music creation"

I've heard estimates that 80% of professional ProTools installs are on Mac. What are you basing this on?

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Re: lolwut

Every studio I've been in for the last ten years has a Mac as the main tool, usually running Logic. Take Miloco for instance (http://www.miloco.co.uk/), even their massive studios like Assault & Battery 2 are basically a sound room and a Mac.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: lolwut

I can tell you've never built a studio.

"Google offices are basically a screen and keyboard." ;)

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Anonymous Coward

One of the best things to consider is not being a Fandroid, iTard or WinPhoney.

That is, don't be a fanboy and cloud your vision. Bias towards any particular technology is not an attractive thing for an employer and your lack of experience on alternative technologies can make you the first person to be out of the door if your company gets taken over or there is a significant change in your company.

I know Linux/Unix/OSX and Windows. I always objectively look at the merit in anything as well as the negatives. So many other people are so biased towards certain technologies it is unreal.

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Anonymous Coward

The future is the server and you should be technology and vendor independent

No shit Sherlock!

Anyone with more than a passing interest in IT knows this.

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N2
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Re: The future is the server and you should be technology and vendor independent

And very independent of those that try & kick you in the bollox.

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Devil

"adapt or die"

Yep. "Adapt or Die".

These sage words were uttered to me (I'm a UNIX/FOSS guy) a few years ago by a Microsoft developer when I dared express my preferred environment.

Looks like those words were right.

I hope he took heed.

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Joke

Good one!

"Gone are the days when the users neither knew nor cared if their email client was Notes or Exchange... now they do care and they do blame you for choosing Notes."

Oh come on, users have always hated sysadmins for inflicting Notes on them.

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Re: Good one! -Notes

Yes, you're right I got my tense wrong, I've hated Lotus Notes since 1993, I believe I was the first person to write a negative review of it, I was quite proud of the sentence "eskimos have 24 words for snow, Notes has that many 'please wait' icons for the same reason".

MS chooses not to kill Notes for reasons never made clear to me.

The reason I thought of Notes hatred being common is that so many users now have experience of Outlook that they are incredulous that Notes was actually chosen on purpose and not out of spite or revenge.

MS chooses not to include Outlook in consumer bundles of MS Office, if it did so then the pressure to ditch Notes would become unbearable.

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Re: Good one! -Notes

We all know that Notes is a distributed database system that does email as a side effect. I think the Y2K killed off most Notes installations?

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Re: Good one! -Notes

Back in the days of the still not quite standard £2000 286, I was in on a secret squirrel manufacturer-only Notes test*. Instantly hated it with a passion.

*That's what they told us, anyway. Ooh, may have been '92

> MS chooses not to include Outlook in consumer bundles of MS Office, if it did so then the pressure to ditch Notes would become unbearable.

Er, because of all those home users buying Notes?

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Meh

Re: Good one! -Notes

"Er, because of all those home users buying Notes?"

Na, Outlook Express was usually forced on home users. Choice between Notes and OE, isn't much of a choice.

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Unhappy

Microsoft really doesnt like developers

A few months ago a dev i know wrote an article about using Cloudy TFS to do Windows Azure Continuous build and unit testing, however it used Cerebrata Cmd Widgets and some other 3rd party tools, Microsoft contacted them and said "this looks great can we publish it on the Microsoft MSDN Newsletter" So they said yes and then had to rework the article to remove any and ALL references to InteliJ Resharper, CmdLets and some other stuff.

So they certainly don't like developers using their brains and doing something else.

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Unhappy

So can anyone suggest a realistic alternative....

....with a straight face?

No?

Okay so another pointless bandwagon chasing article then form another tech journo who like many in their arena doesn't need any tech more advanced than a tablet to do their oh so demanding job on?

Must be hard work having to think unoriginal crap up while sitting in Starbucks all day.

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Re: So can anyone suggest a realistic alternative....

Actually Jason, I've spent most of the last couple of days writing C++ code to parse semi-structured data.

I don't have a tablet partly because you can't code on the bloody things, but also because when I broke mine I couldn't think of why I wold pay money to get another.

Also I prefer the coffee in Pret a Manger.

Thank you for your feedback, please enjoy the mundane Java coding that occupies your life.

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Re: So can anyone suggest a realistic alternative....

C++ to parse "semi-structured" data? You must be a masochist. Try using something like Perl instead.

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Facepalm

Re: So can anyone suggest a realistic alternative....

Coding? Christ why would anyone do that? More exciting this to do.

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