Saturday, October 18, 2008

Linux/Unix Want Ads - Humor That's Sad But True

Hey There,

This Saturday's post is from a pretty interesting site dealing with all things Linux. It goes by the name of This piece, that I found on there, interested me because, especially in dubious economic times like we find ourselves in these days, I'm often amazed at the sheer amount of diversity and depth of experience employers seek to acquire for less-than-bottom dollar.

I think I have a fair understanding of the basics of capitalism and a free-market economy, but some folks take it a bit too far. If you need an Oracle expert, a Unix/Linux sysadmin, a Windows administrator, a Cisco network engineer and a technical manager to flesh out your IT staff, you should be writing up more than one work specification ;) Maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps a good segment of our society out there, who aren't pathologically lying train-wrecks, can do it all and are willing to do so for just enough money per paycheck to inch them closer to homelessness ;)

In that spirit, I present this piece. You can find the original version here, plus a few other goodies.

Enjoy and have a safe and happy Saturday :)

inux Job Want Ads Gone Mad

by Walter V. Koenning, for humor section.

Perhaps it's a result of the massive
outsourcing of programmer skills? Or maybe it's a response to
ridiculous resumes where recent college graduates tout twenty years
of collective experience. Resumes that include expertise with LISP
and Prolog, and list achievements such as replication of human brain
capacity through neural networks created with spare computer parts
and cottage cheese.

But the result is that Linux related
job ads have started to take on a rather mad style. I've seen a
rash of the most ridiculous want ads for Linux computer engineers.
Is the industry so bad off? Are some recruiters not getting enough

Here is an example for you to muse

Wanted C/C++ Programmer with Linux

Opportunity to work in a large
enterprise environment with significant career growth.

Required skills include 10 years
experience with ANSI/C, C++, TASM or related Assembly experience,
Linux/UNIX kernel development, OOP experience, and at least 7 years
writing device drivers.

Starting salary $29,000 /yr.

Am I missing something? Is someone
actually paying for recruitment ads like this? This is the kind of
ad that makes me wonder seriously about the software industry.

This is not an isolated case. I've
seen countless ads that offer ridiculous salaries for extremely
difficult work. Writing device drivers is no cup of tea. It's
often a grueling, thankless, taxing job that few are willing to do
even if they can do it.

I've seen similar ads recently on
some of the big technology websites, offering hourly wages for
writing code.

Here are some quotes:

"Hourly $25-$35 based on experience;
Required: C, UNIX, SQL, Java, embedded Linux"

"$45k Required skills: 8 yrs C programming in the Linux or Unix environment"

On another ad,

"Caltech, MIT or Berkeley grads
highly preferred."

No bias at all, really!

They also include "essentials" such

"superior communication skills,
writing skills and ability to work across teams and organizations"

My favorite one:

"possess aptitude to implement code
and manage the team"

Include tech management as a throw in
for software engineering... sure why not!

I've seen management jobs paid as
mid-level tech jobs.

The way the company gets around this is
to advertise it as a "team leader" opportunity. Hey, why not
manage a handful of programmers while writing C code until 2am?
After all, you're expected to live in the office anyway, might as
well get to know the team and write up their annal reviews, work out
vacation scheduling, and address personnel problems so someone else
doesn't have to.

These jobs often have salary listings
so outrageous I have to wonder if someone can possibly reply to them.
When they do include something substantial financially, they often
add a statement like:

"must be willing to work 70+ hrs/wk
and weekends"

If this trend continues, and if people
don't wake up and realize the challenge of finding good code
writers, we may end up having to face ads similar to this:

Wanted: Demi-god Software Programmer

Capability to write code for any device
including pacemakers, wrist watches and staplers.

Requires expertise in all languages
invented since Pascal, and preferably including every toolset and
language with a three letter word (OOP, ASM. ARM, iHA, CLI, GSM, ATG,

Although advertised as a Linux
programmer job, must be willing to write code for any OS including:
BSD, UNIX, Windows NT, Solaris, Windows CE, Amiga DOS, and VMS VAX.

Must be willing to kiss your family
and work your life off in an enclosed cubicle.

Must be capable of producing at least
30,000 lines of code per week while ingesting coffee that tastes like
river silt.

Must be willing to take any salary we
post and grovel during the interview for an extra $300 per month,
which will be promptly deducted to pay for the increasing health care

Must be ready to work immediately, with
or without a computer or chair. In fact, we prefer BYOC, bring your
own computer.

Send us your resume ASAP in order for
us to create the longest possible delay in response time. Contact

This kind of thing makes me wonder if it might not be a smart idea for me to move overseas!

This brief HUMOR piece should not be construed as factual information, and only contains the jokes and personal experiences of the author at the time of publication. You take this article seriously at your own risk. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. IBM, PC-DOS, and OS/2 are the registered trademarks or trademarks of International Business Machines. Microsoft, Microsoft Service Agreement, Microsoft Windows are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation both in the United States and Internationally. All other trademarks or registered trademarks in this opinion piece belong to their respective owners.

, Mike

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