Justice at last
Last week I was on visit at a company that produced medical equipment. This company doesn't employ enough people to keep R&D running at the speed they'd like to, which is why they bring students in to help out. The head of R&D took us into a room and started his presentation, showing what it was the company made and how the equipment they made functioned. One of the things he mentioned during his presentation was that they had to keep the price of their equipment high artificially, since otherwise no hospital would buy their gear.
I can only assume that these hospitals are run by some clueless type of manager that doesn't look at what a piece of equipment does, but at what it cost. Surely if it's more expensive it's a better piece of equipment? Why else would it be expensive? No wonder hospitals are having such a hard time coping.
At our meeting the presentation continued and when he finished, another presentation began about the subject we would be researching for them. We got a pretty vague story about how thinking outside of the box would be a great asset to their scanners, as they decided to use some more conventional hardware instead of the custom made stuff they had been using before. At the end of the presentation we realized that we were being asked to do a research project that would take months. We only got 4 weeks from the teacher that arranged the assignment.
The teacher in question manages the faculty and while it is running, this kind of decisionmaking based on bits and pieces of information is not helping students. He had apparently heard that this medical company needed assistance, but never thought of asking about the scale of the project involved. Our assignment is now to "see how far we can get in the allotted time".
With this kind of people running schools and companies alike, the job market is polluting itself. Students finishing school needs months of guidance from a real programmer before they are actually profitable in any company and if they don't get that guidance they will always stay behind the facts. Yet, because managers in companies have no clue what they're doing either, these people can be found in any company and at any level.
Fortunately the credit crash is forcing many managers to start thinking for themselves in order to try and actually save some money. Companies led by people that know what they're doing are not exactly thriving, but at least they're feeling the effect of the crash least of all. Justice at last.