Thursday, January 31st, 2013
It’s been a good four years since I threw in my last paid ride as a web developer… hired for my CSS (cascading stylesheet) expertise in a now defunct public sector department. Time passes faster than you’d think in the quiet leafy suburbs.
As a web professional, in various capacities, I’ve worked for the Tasmanian Department of Education performing quality assurance; TAFE as a part-time teacher; the now defunct Department of Environment, Parks, Heritage and the Arts as a contract and then part-time in-house web developer; and, numerous private sector clients and organisations in Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney, Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the UK and Dubai.
Since then, I’ve finally graduated from the Bachelor of Computing and gained a Master of Business Administration (Specialisation) with some post-graduate study in Journalism. Don’t get me started on the yard arm of industry level certification that sits in my drawers from TAFE and Cisco. Over the years I’ve done pre-vocational plumbing, a certificate in commercial / industrial cleaning, an IT certificate 2, an IT certificate 3 (General), an IT certificate 4 (Website Design), an IT certificate 4 (Website Administration), Cisco’s CCNA1 Networking and CCNA2 Routers and Routing Basics.
I quit that last paid work because the environment was unhealthy. It’s crazy to think a government department would hire somebody specifically for their CSS (cascading stylesheet) expertise and then allow the design team leader to openly fling verbal abuse in a partitioned environment while they all pretend it isn’t happening. And, in such an environment, one dares not open the conversation about strategic ways to improve processes – for example, when a project comes in 3 years overdue and over budget there is a need for a post mortem or after-party. Apparently, in the public sector this would be blaming and shaming. So, that’s where your tax dollars disappear. I currently owe over AUD$50,000 in education debt to the Australian Government.
What really did disenchant me with the web development industry? Clients who you have to physically pull content out of with steel forceps. People willing to work for $5 an hour and clients who want to hire from India or Bulgaria and ask if you can match their prices. If only things were cut and dried and every client had content and every employer gave at least a passing concern about doing things the best way.
So I stepped away from web development work entirely.
But I got to thinking in the last few weeks about how I self-identify. Jokingly, I call myself a stay at home bum but the truth of the matter is I don’t know what I am anymore. I haven’t shipped commercial web development since the end of 2008, so although I’m in step with industry practice it probably isn’t valid to call myself a web-anything anymore. Most of my industry related reference library has been handed away for good causes to make way for more interesting stuff.