I noticed that my company, Red Gate Software, was looking for a support engineer in our CA office awhile back. It’s a good job, and while the salary is lower than that which experienced SQL Server professionals might make elsewhere, there are some good benefits, not the least of which are a generous vacation allowance and the chance to get a sabbatical. At first, I suggested looking at recent graduates from local colleges for candidates, as well as junior people at user groups or SQL Saturdays, but then I had another thought.
Working as a support engineer can be an interesting job, seeing lots of different types of problems with software. It can also be less stressful since you work on lots of small issues without looming, deadlines. With great benefits, it might be the kind of job that an older technology worker would want. Especially if this were a part time position. Experienced, semi-retired professionals might really enjoy this job. I know this is something that might intrigue me in 15 or 20 years.
QA certainly needs more quality workers, and with the sporadic nature of the job, I could see organizations benefiting from using flexible workers that might not even want or need a full time job. Perhaps having a larger group of people available on demand, as many customer support centers use, might be a good way to take advantage of skilled workers that are looking for extra money.
We have lots of positions in technology that require lots of experience, but aren’t necessarily full time engagements in many companies. I would expect that much like Remote DBA services, we will see more and more limited engagements in the future, either part time or contract based. Hopefully many of us will find both fulfillment and excitement throughout our careers, perhaps slowing down over time, but still being engaged and excited in technology.