October 4, 2000: Headlines: Recruitment: Technology: Slashdot: Computers: Slashdot: Nerd joining the Peace Corps for two years wonders if he'll be able to catch up with technology when he gets back

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Library: Peace Corps: Computers: Computers: October 4, 2000: Headlines: Recruitment: Technology: Slashdot: Computers: Slashdot: Nerd joining the Peace Corps for two years wonders if he'll be able to catch up with technology when he gets back

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-13-244.balt.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, January 22, 2005 - 12:07 am: Edit Post

Nerd joining the Peace Corps for two years wonders if he'll be able to catch up with technology when he gets back

Nerd joining the Peace Corps for two years wonders if he'll be able to catch up with technology when he gets back

Can You Catch Up With Technology?

Posted by Cliff on Wednesday October 04, @11:56AM

from the when-you-want-a-break-from-the-ratrace dept.

MmmmJoel asks: "I'm currently a junior in college and am considering volunteering with the Peace Corps after graduation. Being in the computer field, I'm worried that the pace of technology may make it extremely challenging to catch up after a two-year absence. How hard is it to be completely isolated from technology for two years and come back strong? Is getting a job more difficult?"

Some thoughts (Score:3)

by scotpurl (28825) on Wednesday October 04, @07:01AM (#731768)

1. It doesn't change that fast. (it seems to, but it's still C, perl, and HTML on the back end)

2. You'll be playing catch-up whether you're isolated, or in the thick of it. Staying up to date is a choice few choose to make. Most are happy to be stale.

3. It's about life and living. Go. Have fun. I know several folks who have done the Peace Corps gig, and it was a life-altering experience. Experience the bio-mass. See other cultures. You can Geek the rest of your life, but few of us have the chance to spend serious time overseas, and fewer still of us take those chances.

100% Right (Score:3)

by FoxIVX (104861) on Wednesday October 04, @07:52AM (#731769)


Take a look at the last 2 years. Not the 2 before that, or the 2 that are coming, just that blip on the radar we called 1998-2000. Not that much changed. PCs still run on on intel-based 386 variant chips. HTML is still the dominant language on the web. TCP/IP is still running the internet, and ethernet isn't going anywhere. Every other change is just superficial, and wont take that long to catch up on. All the big things that would take a long time to learn about probably will happen slowly, and you'd still have to learn them anways.

Worst case, you miss out on IPv6 and have to come back and sit down with a book and learn about it. Best case, you miss out on IPv6, and they come out with IPv8 before you get back, saving you from learing the middle-step.

And yes, think of the learning experience. I'm not in a position where I can uproot myself and see the world. I'm envious of your opportunity. Well, make the descision that works best for you, and go with what feels right. Just dont make the descision based on some unfeeling bits of copper and electrical signals that will be here when you get back.


Do it now! (Score:1)

by jon_adair (142541) on Wednesday October 04, @03:22PM (#731770)


If you don't do it now, you'll never do it (unless the IPO market picks back up).

I stayed in graduate school for about 3 years after seeing Mosaic, checking out yahoo.stanford.edu and lycos.cs.cmu.edu, and laughing at this stupid kid that was going to start a company called Netscape and build a better browser.

If I could recover from that, you could do 2 years in Ghana or wherever and make it.

Who says you have to be isolated from technology? (Score:3)

by blameless (203912) on Wednesday October 04, @08:17AM (#731771)

Amazon ships books anywhere. Even to the Amazon.

Browser? I barely know her!

I found no real problems... (Score:1)

by ayjay29 (144994) on Thursday October 05, @12:57AM (#731772)

I did a degree in Electronics, with lots of programming (C mostly). After that I dropped out for 3 years and was a beach bum, then a ski bum.

On returning to the UK CD-ROMS were all the rage and the Internet was startin to boom. I got a job working for a multimedia company and quickly managed to pick up C++ and Windows programming. Five years later I am working as a tech lead in a leading internet company.

It took a lot of work and quite a few late nights getting my head around the new technologies, but the skills required to write solid code and plan a project have not changed form the days of the ZX-81 (and before that I think).

As the others have said, go for it, wherever you are you can still pop in here once in a while and check up on the latest stuff...

Instant Karma's gonna get you Gonna knock you right on the head -John Lennon

A few thoughts (Score:3)

by OlympicSponsor (236309) on Wednesday October 04, @09:49AM (#731773)

What makes you think you know about technology NOW? When I graduated from college I didn't know diddly...about technology. I knew about programming. Programming hasn't changed in the last 2 years so don't worry about it.

However, if you were dumb and got some time-limited degree like "IT Systems" or something then maybe you WILL get behind in 2 years with no exposure to tech. So why not do your volunteering with an organization that needs techs? Surely the Peace Corp runs a website or a database or something that needs looking after.

If you can't find such an org (or the existing orgs don't need you for that) then you have two choices: 1) don't volunteer 2) realize that volunteering requires sacrifice--that's not just a word, it's a real thing. It means you have to give something up.



Non-meta-modded "Overrated" mods are killing Slashdot

(Hey Ryan! Here's your proof!)

"Catching up" implies continuous progress (Score:1)

by geophile (16995) <jao@geophile.cMENCKENom minus author> on Wednesday October 04, @11:09AM (#731774)


But we now know that technology is really about fads that come and go with increasing frequency. If I had spent the last five years windsurfing in Aruba, 1) I would be much, much happier and healthier, 2) I would have missed B2C, B2B, Java AWT, push technology, and Y2K. In another year you can probably forget about C# and COM. If you have a good solid understanding of computer science, and some experience in the real world, you should be able to pick up the new fads when you return.

A completely different issue is how prospective employers will view your n-year absence.

Getting a job afterwards requires more effort (Score:1)

by RhetoricalQuestion (213393) on Wednesday October 04, @12:52PM (#731775)


Other people here have already discussed how you shouldn't need to worry about catching up with technology. Essentially, if you're getting a strong background in tech at school, it should not be too hard to find out how the new trends fit with what you already know. Talk to some of your classmates when you get back, and then get some books, and then write small apps on your own to test what you've learned.

As for getting a job afterwards, your main problem there would be whether or not a machine is scanning your resume. If so, the machine is likely to look for recent buzzwords that you won't have, and you'll get dismissed very quickly.

If you get a human to look at your resume, you may be lucky in that that person could be very intrigued by your experiences in the Peace Corps. Since most companies prefer to hire referrals rather than outsiders, this is the best approach in any case. Read Ask the Headhunter for very different, very gutsy, and (IMO) very sensible approach to doing this. The author (a headhunter) tends to overstate his point a little, but it's still very useful.

If you stick to a more traditional job-seeking approach, try larger companies that are not strictly tech-focused. (e.g., banks, and not software companies.) Companies like these typically are more willing to spend money on training, so you can get some work experience and some on the job training, and then you're in a better position to move on.

After you've spent two years in the Peace Corps, I wonder if you'll even want to go into the IT field. You're embarking on a very big, and possibly life-altering experience, so keep in mind that who you are now, and what you want to do with your life now, may be very different from who will be then. This is neither a good thing nor a bad thing, but I'd advise you to simply keep that possibility in mind.

I can spell. I just can't type.

Go for it (Score:2)

by rjamestaylor (117847) <slashdot@rjamestaylor.com> on Wednesday October 04, @02:40PM (#731776)

(http://rjamestaylor.com/ | Last Journal: Monday December 23, @02:29PM)

I took two years after getting my BS/IS to attend a Bible school. Of course, during those two years I didn't keep up with the emerging technologies. And that was 1994 to 1996! Did I miss out on the Internet? Kinda.

I wasn't one of the early adopters. I had to play catch up. But, guess what? I didn't start off with Netscape Navigator HTML extensions and its perculiar JavaScript. Instead, I started learning HTML, DOM (1&2), ECMAScript in late 1998 and early 1999. Now, even Netscape has abandoned the Navigator-only extensions (Layers, for example) in favor of W3C, et al, standards.

Moral? Sometimes it pays not to be leading the pack...sometimes hanging back and seeing where you're going will help you leap frog over the early adopters.

More importantly: doing something non-technical is good for your humanity. Return to technoology after the Peace Corp with a matured character, wisened outlook. That's what counts.

(My .sig finishes the tale...)

Now hiring experienced client- & server-side developers

Stop the killing - Boycott war protests [washingtonpost.com]

When this story was posted in October 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Kerry reaches out to Returned Volunteers Kerry reaches out to Returned Volunteers
The Kerry campaign wants the RPCV vote. Read our interview with Dave Magnani, Massachusetts State Senator and Founder of "RPCVs for Kerry," and his answers to our questions about Kerry's plan to triple the size of the Peace Corps, should the next PC Director be an RPCV, and Safety and Security issues. Then read the "RPCVs for Kerry" statement of support and statements by Dr. Robert Pastor, Ambassador Parker Borg, and Paul Oostburg Sanz made at the "RPCVs for Kerry" Press Conference.

RPCV Carl Pope says the key to winning this election is not swaying undecided voters, but persuading those already willing to vote for your candidate to actually go to the polls.

Take our poll and tell us what you are doing to support your candidate.

Finally read our wrap-up of the eight RPCVs in Senate and House races around the country and where the candidates are in their races.

Director Gaddi Vasquez:  The PCOL Interview Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview
PCOL sits down for an extended interview with Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. Read the entire interview from start to finish and we promise you will learn something about the Peace Corps you didn't know before.

Plus the debate continues over Safety and Security.
Schwarzenegger praises PC at Convention Schwarzenegger praises PC at Convention
Governor Schwarzenegger praised the Peace Corps at the Republican National Convention: "We're the America that sends out Peace Corps volunteers to teach village children." Schwarzenegger has previously acknowledged his debt to his father-in-law, Peace Corps Founding Director Sargent Shriver, for teaching him "the joy of public service" and Arnold is encouraging volunteerism by creating California Service Corps and tapping his wife, Maria Shriver, to lead it. Leave your comments and who can come up with the best Current Events Funny?
 Peace Corps: One of the Best Faces of America Peace Corps: One of the Best Faces of America
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and can you come up with a Political Funny?

Read the stories and leave your comments.

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Story Source: Slashdot

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Recruitment; Technology; Slashdot; Computers



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