CTO commented today that, “there are no ties in technology.” I think he was quoting
somebody, but I’m not certain. Anyway, his statement was in reference to a QA Engineer
candidate who showed up for his interview wearing (what I consider) business semi-formal
attire. In other words, he wasn’t wearing a suit, but he was wearing a collared shirt
with a tie. The tie didn’t bother me a bit – but it did stand out. It also got me
thinking about how my career has steadily increased my professional responsibility
while inversely affecting my attire.
As listed in my
LinkedIn profile, I’ve had four professional software development jobs in my career.
At Louisiana-Pacific (LP), I was just out of school and a very junior programmer.
Our dress code was dress slacks and collared shirt. Some people wore ties, but most
did not. Following that I went to work on the other side of town for Integra Telecom
as a mid-level programmer. Their dress code was still very professional, but since
IT had our own floor, we got away with a more relaxed appearance. I generally wore
khaki pants and polo shirts, but on Fridays we’d go collar-less and sometimes blue
A few months after we moved to Newberg, I found a job with DAC working out of the
bottom floor of a large house on a private vineyard. My responsibility increased a
bit more as I was basically given sole responsibility for one of the major subsystems
– but still carefully supervised by our chief architect. There were only five of us,
and there were no clients and no big bosses, which meant we wore whatever we wanted.
Typically I dressed up more than the rest, wearing jeans and polo shirts or nice tee-shirts.
But in the warm months, I wore shorts.
Flash forward to today and I’m sitting at work wearing nothing … just kidding. I’m
still wearing jeans and polo shirts, but the dress code is no more formal than it
was at DAC. Some of us wear tee-shirts, some wear slacks and polos, and some wear
shorts. No one, however, wears a tie. My responsibility has grown even more as I’m
now expected to operate with little to no oversight and will likely be directing others
as our team grows. It’s a challenge I’m really enjoying and I look forward to doing
it – in my own style.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering; no, the candidate didn’t get the job. But it had
nothing to do with his appearance…