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I disagree with the suggestion that burnt-out programmers should become sys admins. While the two careers have some surface similarities, the differences will quickly become apparent. Yes, people in either career path work with computers, occasionally (or frequently!) write code, and solve problems. That's all to the good. Programmers are (or should be) encouraged to create things that solve problems. Sys admins, on the other hand, build systems using COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) software to meet business needs. I have known programmers who became sys admins. They were miserable, because they invariably became frustrated with the COTS software they were required to work with, and wailed to anyone who would listen that they could write something better, just give them some time and you'll see what they can do! Well, that's not the job of a sys admin. A sys admin should be busy making all their systems hum, not writing tape backup software or EDI software or a content management suite. If a programmer wants to leave the field, and yet still work with computers, maybe they should become a database admin. DBA's can write small amounts of code, like stored procedures for example, and someone who knows how to write efficient code would probably do well writing efficient SQL.
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Aug 2, 2013