IT People; why do they suck?

A prior thread inspired me to ask this question. You know, a huge amount of our downtime is because our stuff doesn’t work. Or we are waiting for IT to build some simple tool they claim will take months and all this cost and BS, cmon man I can build that tool in Excel in one day. I work at a cutting edge technology VC and things are better here than most places, but we still deal with a certain amount of IT silliness. Why do they suck? Fun horror stories to share?

Having sat on both sides of the fence, I can safely say: there’s plenty of blame to go around. 1. Few people in non-IT understand what IT does. Most of it is risk mitigation, which requires a lot of regression testing and integration with release cycles of other system components. Until you’ve lived in this world you’ll never understand why changing a “+” to a “*” takes three months. 2. Business folks are horrible at specifying requirements for a systems change. If they try really hard they might accurately describe what the system should do in the normal case. Unfortunately, around 2/3 of a system’s complexity is governed by the need to handle failure cases. The average user never sees this. 3. Any non-IT corporation which in-houses IT creates a de facto monopoly. The IT function has no serious competition. This is endemic in finance. 4. With IT being a cost center at such firms, they attract the B and C students – rarely the cream of the crop.

Yeah, I’ve seen #3 happen. And once the monopoly exists they just keep saying they don’t have the manpower, hire more, until there is an entire floor of people doing nothing. Maybe they are doing #1?

I think the nature of in-house IT is inherently a maintenance/support role and it really drains the ambition out of you. Any decent project is given to consultants while in-house IT deals with the same shit over and over again. I’ve seen this happen first-hand and it really drains the motivation out of these guys. This is especially true since banks tend to pay pretty good [starting] money to hire people for roles clearly beneath their skill level (top tier computer science majors).

Thanx calamari, that is food for thought.

  1. They don’t understand the concept of time. 2. All issues must be escalated until they hit someone high enough who’s in a different time zone and therefore unable to be reached. 3. Your problem is only their problem when you show up at their desk. I had an issues where a database they built was coming up with different values that the reports I generated so I asked them where to tell me where it was getting its values from (ie. which overnight files it was pulling data from). They sent someone to my desk after having incorrect values for three days to take a look at what I was talking about because somehow my emails with screenshots, links and descriptions weren’t enough. After sending them emails for the next three days depicting the error someone finally replied saying they were working on it. Eventually they gave me the names of the files the database was pulling the values from…THREE WEEKS LATER. They sent an email asking how to proceed from there - I responded a few months later saying “not sure - let me look into it.”

^ HA what a bunch of d-bags.

#3 is a major issue, and it seems one way to deal with it that is currently gaining ground is to outsource the IT function to the web. Google, Microsoft and some other big players are pushing extremely hard into cloud computing right now. i am curious if this will develop into the next big thing or die out. chinese hackers are doing their best to pull the plug on the initiative :slight_smile:


I think Korean hackers are better but may be too busy winning Warcraft tournaments to hack into Cloud Computing.

Is it hard/costly to get this cloud computing going?

It’s not going to happen any time soon. Do you think investment banks are going to make their proprietary models open source? GS goes to the point of using a proprietary programming language so no one else can use their code.

Hello Mister Walrus Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > GS goes to the point of using a proprietary programming language so no one else can use their code. Slang/SecDB

the financial services or any other industry where security (dont hack into my system) and reliability (can’t have any downtime) is of utmost importance will be the slowest to transition obviously, given that cloud computing is somewhat in its infancy stage. but other industries may lead the way, and especially smaller, cost-sensitive business who can use it on pay-as-you go basis.

We still use the abacus system here since calculators are little computers and we may have to rely on IT to fix them. Also, no digital watches and no internal combustion engines. In fact, im not ever writing this, I am dictating to my secretary via Morse Code.