Sunday, December 15, 2013

##strategic(5Y+) investment in tech xx, again

custom wait/notify framework?

Q3: Out of so many tech topics, what can I invest now? In 5 years when I look back, what kind of learning today would prove strategic? What would give me the long-term confidence, the non-trivial long-term competitive edge [1], the sense of long-term employ-ability and long term market value, the long-term buoyant demand. What tech skills are churn-resistant?

[1] "competence" or zbs is less relevant -- when competing for a role our potential on-the-job competence is evaluated only through tech quizzes. I have witnessed countless competent developers showing lack of theoretical knowledge in tech quizzes. You can complete 3 WCF projects with barely 1% of WCF knowledge -- #1 reality in developer knowledge. Wizards like Venkat and the Swedish hacker in can get many tricky things done in no time, but their theoretical knowledge (not wizardry) is what matters on job market.

Q5: Looking back at my last 7 years (after those 3 years of self-employment), which specific acquired skills have proven strategic?

A key factor is getting into Wall St. Without entering Wall St, my "world view" would be completely different.

Fundamentally, the boat we are in is unstable. Technology Churn. Competition from young Indian guys. Unlike medical doctors, the older guys lose market value. Any in-demand skill may fall out of favor in 10 years. I doubt I can pick some skill to invest, which will provide an iron rice bowl till age 55. Most of my prognosis would be uncertain, but some are less uncertain than others.

Less uncertain -- As I age, salary and job security are becoming more important than glamour, buzzwords... but I want to remain relevant.
Less uncertain -- better to keep the focus on interview topics not on-the-job GTD skills. Real world problem solving skills (untested in IV) are less market-strategic
Less uncertain -- shelf live is longer in the US, so pay attention to US style IV
Less uncertain -- diminishing return on additional investment in java or SQL
Less uncertain -- c++ xx has paid off in numerous job interviews.
Less uncertain -- knowledge of "major" languages offers better shelf-life and value than scripting but python might buck the trend.
Less uncertain -- what gives me self-confidence in any tech is not GTD experience, but successful IV experience. Many know SQL for a long time but fail non-trivial IV questions.
Uncertain -- better stand ready to accept and embrace relocation
Uncertain -- get closer to trading and decision making
Uncertain -- c++ will hold its ground for 10Y
uncertain -- continue to identify and invest in the non-trivial, somewhat niche technical skills with high market value. Avoid mainstream stuff like ASP or web technology.
Uncertain -- java may not maintain its dominance
Uncertain -- financial centers may or may not continue outsourcing

A5: (loosely ranked) threading, collections, c#, Xaml, STL, smart pointers, memory management, SQL, swing, sort/search algo
A5: the non-trivial experience applying comp sci constructs to real problems such as my custom wait/notify framework in BAML. This is one of the few successful and innovative designs
A5: big outer-joins experience in GS
A5: dnlg - 3 types
A5: not sure at this moment -- socket, linux, other boost libraries, python, ajax, FIX

A3: learning more java high-level components (like frameworks, messaging...) has diminishing returns
A3:  More c#  zbs may not help, but more interviews will.
A3: More c++ zbs may not help, but more interviews will.

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