Dirty laundry: the dark secrets of working in the technology industry

A look at the unspoken side of the IT sector

If you are reading this then it's a good bet that you are interested in technology or more likely, work in IT. But there are secrets within the tech industry that may surprise you – that's probably because no one likes to talk about them.

Whether you have a keen interest in technology or work as a developer, programmer, support professional, administrator or IT manager, you'll likely find these dark secrets fascinating reading…

Why is a lot of software so buggy?

When you have updated the software on your smartphone for the umpteenth time due to "bug fixes and performance improvements" you may wonder why so many updates are needed.

The truth is that most software developers aren't all that good at their job, writing code that is simply not fit for purpose. This leads to bugs, flaws and spiralling costs of developments. We all need software to function in our daily (civilised) life so there is a big demand for programmers that outstrips the number of actual decent developers, leading to the situation we have at present.

But also, fixing bugs is an expensive process, and at some point the money runs out and code has to be released in order to get some revenue back from it. Automated testing can help but this may only reduce failure rates down to about 40%.

Don't get old

We can't stop aging but it appears we also can't stop being discriminated against because of age. The older people get, the more likely they are to find getting a role in IT a hard job in itself.

Technology is obsessed with looking young and being hip and trendy. In the US, according to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census, while salaries increase for engineers in the semiconductor sector in their 30s, this slowed after the age of 40 and actually fell for those in their 50s.

Another survey carried out by recruitment consultants Greythorn found that nearly three quarters of IT professionals thought the industry discriminated against older workers.

Ros Altmann, the government's tsar for older workers, told the Telegraph that workers with the old 'O' levels were suffering rejection from jobs, and were at a disadvantage in the job market.

When old IT equipment goes missing

Old computers never die, they get repurposed by your IT staff in their homes. In fact old IT equipment theft is commonplace. According to a report by the Guardian, more than 600 laptops and 83 iPads belonging to the BBC were stolen over a five-year period. Also, 34 desktop computers were also stolen, along with seven e-readers and four kettles.

It may seem like a victimless crime, but more often than not, computer equipment contains sensitive data that an organisation may not want leaving the infrastructure. Many organisations still haven't got processes in place to make sure that any device leaving the network permanently has data wiped off it completely.