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9 key career issues software developers face

Peter Wayner | Sept. 18, 2012
The path from birth to death is filled with choices about where to work and what kind of work to do.

Understanding a company's business and technology is one of the best defenses against outsourcing. Knowledge about many of the popular tools often becomes commoditized, and that often means competing with programmers overseas with much lower costs. But knowledge of two (or more) different realms is not a commodity, and it's hard to replace.

Smart companies will often create managerial tracks for technology specialists if it's clear that technology will be a key part of its future. A company with a heavily computerized warehouse would be a great management opportunity for technologists because the software development the company does in the future will be a big part of their future strategy. Tech specialists can often play key roles in nontech companies.

The key question is how willing you are to learn the business, whatever it may be. If you just want to talk about pointers and data structures, stick with the tech company. But if you are naturally curious about warehouse design and have always had a thing for other aspects of business beyond IT, recognize that computer-savvy people are much in demand in other sectors as well.


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