I have been around in the design and development element of the web technology far before the first bubble bursted around the millennium change. And to be honest, it has to come around at one time. Everyone who kept an eye open – if possible – during high-school economy lessons knew that it cannot happen that everyone keeps making money. Especially not without doing anything for it. Or, to get Newton in this conversation; What goes up, must come down.
To be honest, being the sarcastic person myself, I could not help showing an evil grin when I saw some of the empty companies vaporize as they did. Of course, a lot of them ‘vaporized’ with more money in their accounts that I will ever see in my account. Envy? Nah, not so much. I love the work that I do, and take pride in it. That Soap-bubble that burst at the beginning of the millennium did clean the market up a little bit. Finally, people who simply bought a computer and called themselves designers were kicked out again. Programmers that only were able to write limited HTML were finally launched into welfare. True, I am not someone who advocates the use of welfare if you can work, but I like my competitors to be people who are really hard to impress, that I can learn from.
When I moved to the United States late 2005 I had hoped to be very impressed. After all, I was in New York, the capital in the world of design and IT. And believe me, there are some very impressive people dealing in the IT world over there, but still, not as much as I had hoped for. What I noticed that the most people I had to deal with, were trying to hold up the attitude and the impression of being amazing. I have been the interviewer of many job interviews with people who had all the certificates and graduations in their resume, but were not able to answer the most simple job-related questions.
And that was also when I remembered the story that was told to me by an insider of the NYU about the university in Harlem. How it once was a great university, but when Harlem slowly turned into a more difficult neighborhood and people living around it claimed to have the right to be admitted to the school, they had to lower their quality and standards for admittance. Which brought the following problem into the daylight; budgets. They were related to the amount of graduates, so they had to have more students pass their tests. But the only way to do that, was lowering the difficulty level and professionalism. I have worked on a project teaching future elementary school teachers to understand how children actually learn mathematical problems; something they should have learned in the university in the first year, but now was not a part of the whole curriculum anymore.
I don’t mind working with people who are not on the level as the position they claim to have, as long as they do not pretend. I work closely with someone from a major national TV network who is the manager of IT, but he is very clear; he knows a lot of the managing, but not of the tech itself. I love to help him out wherever I can. I have worked with some of the great programmers and designers and visionaries, that taught me so much of what I know right now. But I have to admit, most people I deal with spend too much time with pushing around air, trying to tell me how good they actually are. You don’t have to tell someone, if you are that good, it will show. I am absolutely not, in my eyes, so very good in what I do, but I love to improve, but for that, I need to work with the people who are simply amazing.
So, let this bubble burst too. Don’t expect the certificates and the grades to mean anything. Let someone show the work they do, and if you are really impressed, than that is the person you want to work with. Because the IT world is far too virtual, where we need some non-virtual qualified people. Because I think we are not even through the baby-fase of the IT-evolution.