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I am curious about my work, where I have to work with configurations of servers, linux, databases, some SQLs but there is no line of code for my favorite programming language: Java. Is it normal that developers should have such roles to work so that they can better comprehend? My question is related to career perspective.

I was hired for programming but moved to different project where there is NO CODE at all. I am missing to code.

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closed as not constructive by Walter, Dynamic, Glenn Nelson, Jim G., Tim Post Jan 7 '13 at 1:37

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Were you told there would be programming involved? Maybe there was a project that was dropped after you were hired? –  JeffO Dec 17 '12 at 22:57
Yes I was hired for programming but moved to different project where there is NO CODE at all. I am missing to code. –  Tahir Akram Dec 18 '12 at 10:06
Did you ask why? –  jgauffin Jan 7 '13 at 10:04

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I've been in no-coding-required dev jobs. It's not a bad gig but you need to be aware of what it means for your skills and your career growth. This happens a lot in enterprise IT where there's a big off the self vendor-supplied system (think SAP, the MS SQL family, etc.). You get trained devs in to construct new modules and jobs with user-friendly GUIs and drag and drop widgetry. Your coding skills will start to stagnate aside from the occasional SQL and Javascript work.

It's a valid job choice and it can pay well, but you'll find yourself losing control of your career options. Once you've got 5 years on Huge Vendor Suite X (HVSX), you're going to find that it pays well but there are comparatively few shops using it and that your transferable skills aren't easily sold to companies that don't also use HVSX. You'll find even incremental career advances within the HVSX field require direction competition with your coworkers or even relocation to cities large enough to house other HVSX-friendly corporate headquarters.

General-purpose development (Java, .NET, PHP, Python, Ruby, etc.) is much more broadly applicable and the skills are likely to be transferable to other cool jobs right here in your town. You'll have to work a bit harder on framing yourself though, compared to just submitting a bog standard "HVSX Practitioner Level 2" resume to the tiny list of companies who would even want to hire a HVSXPL2.

Personally I have recently transitioned away from 7 years of Fortune 1000 enterprise business intelligence into consulting Ruby development. I am learning quickly and I now feel much less subservient to the market trends associated with the enterprise BI stacks I've used in the past. Along with this, moving from enterprise IT to dev consulting means that I work in an organization that counts the fruits of my labor as revenues rather than overhead. Things can be a lot easier on you when you're not an expense to be minimized.

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You've caught my condition very well. I've worked in traditional Java+JavaScript+HTML/CSS+SQL for 5 years. Then a Fortune 50 company hired me for their JEE project. But moved me to their HVSX4BI. I'm sitting like fresh grad in other trained BI consultants. I have tough competition (I enjoy it). Sometime my things get delayed coz I'm new to this BI stuff. I also feel good that at any point of time I can switch back to any dev job. But coding is not in practice for couple of months. I guess I should take the benefit of whatever I can get in this big enterprise so that I can encash it later. –  Tahir Akram Dec 19 '12 at 7:52
@TahirAkram I think you're in a bit better spot than I was - you're rounding out your already respectable dev experience with some BI skills, which can't hurt at all. I don't see why you should worry just yet. I would try to dig some 'Big Data' experience out of your BI work when you can though - it's probably easier to sell on the open hiring market. –  Daniel J. Pritchett Dec 19 '12 at 17:44
Yes that also happened to me and like Daniel I moved to ruby (and Rails in my case) 2 years ago and just love the framework. Also I moved to Ubuntu and that's great too. –  Michael Durrant Jan 6 '13 at 23:49

That is not developer, that is system administrator.

While developers should have basic understanding of administration of tools they work with, the production administration should be left to other roles.

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and similarly, it is not uncommon for system admins to do a bit of scripting here and there. –  jmo21 Dec 17 '12 at 10:06
@Ozz: "not uncommon" is an understatement, all the sysadmins I know spend probably a third of their time writing or tweaking scripts. –  TMN Dec 17 '12 at 15:42

It's normal that there are jobs like this but I wouldn't say it was normal to be called a developer (though it's perhaps not incorrect). It would be much more common to see a Database Administrator or System Administrator doing those jobs.

In general though job titles are tricky things that (apart from a few protected titles) don't mean anything outside of a single organization.

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I certainly agree with the other answers. OP's case probably isn't typical usage or application of the role (of developer) to responsibilities (the typical tasks), but it definately happens.

A few times I have been on or saw teams that had a developer allocated to basically manage development and test environments for the rest of the team during the bulk of the project duration. It was a tough fit, but was appropriate since these environments lived outside the netop realm and had vastly different configurations from our development realm.

The caveot was this person who was assigned as a 'developer' had a background that was closer to 'sysadmin', and that was what they wanted to do anyway. This was done because job classifications/descriptions and policy didn't allow assignment of a sysadmin proper to particular development projects.

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