Sup­pose you’re do­ing tech­nol­o­gy, and like do­ing tech­nol­o­gy, and your career’s go­ing well, and you find your­self won­der­ing what you’re go­ing to be do­ing in twen­ty years. I’ve been down sev­er­al of the roads you might de­cide to take, and it oc­curs to me that talk­ing them over might amuse and in­for­m.

Thanks are due to An­dre Lei­bovi­ci, who tweet­ed Is it pos­si­ble to be in a sr. lead­er­ship po­si­tion and still be hands-on w/ tech & code? For geek lead­ers out there... how to jug­gle? and got me think­ing about this.

Q: Should you stay in tech-related work? · Se­ri­ous­ly, this is the most im­por­tant ques­tion. I know of knitting-store own­ers and car­pen­ters and luthiers and mi­cro­brew­ers and doc­tors who walked away from tech life. Their rea­sons were good: They want­ed to en­gage with life phys­i­cal­ly, to get away from rows of desks, to be out­side, to be around wom­en.

Me, I was nev­er tempt­ed; I’ve liked com­put­ers for their own sake for decades and still do. But I’ve watched peo­ple do this, and I’m pret­ty con­vinced that if you’re go­ing to, it’s nev­er too late or too ear­ly. When you’re young you can get by on less, have more en­er­gy, and have lots of years to flail around till some­thing work­s. When you’re old­er, you prob­a­bly have more mon­ey, which can be used to solve a re­mark­able va­ri­ety of prob­lem­s, and more ex­pe­ri­ence as to how the world work­s.

For the pur­pos­es of this piece, let’s as­sume you’re stay­ing on the tech train.

Q: Should you stay tech­ni­cal? · The bad news that it’s a lot of work. We’re a young pro­fes­sion and we’re still work­ing out our best prac­tices, so the ground keeps chang­ing un­der you; it doesn’t get eas­i­er as the decades go by.

The good news is that it doesn’t get hard­er ei­ther. Once you learn to stop ex­pect­ing your knowl­edge to stay fresh, the pace of in­no­va­tion doesn’t feel to me like it’s much faster (or slow­er) now than it was in 1987 or 1997 or 2007. More good news: The tech­nol­o­gy gets bet­ter. Se­ri­ous­ly, we are so much bet­ter at build­ing soft­ware now than we used to be in any of those oth­er years end­ing in 7.

And an­oth­er thing that may not be ob­vi­ous: It’s not a one-way door. I stepped off the tech­nol­o­gy train, spent years in start­up man­age­ment and tech­nol­o­gy evan­ge­lis­m, and climbed back in­to en­gi­neer­ing life with­out too much pain.

It hurts me to say this, but there are gen­der is­sues here. There is a per­ni­cious ten­den­cy for smart wom­en to get streamed away from ac­tu­al­ly do­ing tech­nol­o­gy to, well, al­most any of the al­ter­na­tives I’m go­ing to talk about be­low. I’ve been in the room when it hap­pen­s: “She’s great with cus­tomers and super-organized, let’s en­cour­age her to look at a man­age­ment role.” Not that there’s any­thing wrong with a man­age­ment role, but the en­gi­neer­ing ranks need wom­en too.

Q: Should you go in­to man­age­men­t? · I tried it, was a CTO and a CEO. I liked be­ing on the spot for ev­ery­thing that mat­tered, and rarely hav­ing to wait for some­one else to make a de­ci­sion. Al­so, of course, get­ting the biggest pay­check.

But I hat­ed lots of things: find­ing in­vestors and deal­ing with them, man­ag­ing cash-flow, be­ing pulled in a thou­sand di­rec­tions ev­ery min­ute, the re­al­ly hard shit­ty HR prob­lems that get to the top, and nev­er be­ing able to say any­thing that wasn’t on-message. I al­so dis­liked the com­pa­ny of my fel­low CEOs, be­cause they are peo­ple who can nev­er say any­thing that’s not on-message.

A lot of the best ex­ec­u­tives start­ed out as en­gi­neer­s. And there are re­al­ly no bar­ri­er­s. In ev­ery tech com­pa­ny I’ve been in, if you’re a com­pe­tent en­gi­neer and al­so a good com­mu­ni­ca­tor, and show ev­i­dence of see­ing the big­ger pic­ture, then if you tell your boss you’d like to try man­age­ment some­day, that day may come a lot faster than you ex­pec­t.

Q: Should you go in­to Prod­uct Man­age­men­t? · FYI: Good prod­uct man­agers are re­al­ly hard to grow and hard to hire. So if you com­bine those tech­ni­cal, busi­ness, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skill­s, you won’t have any trou­ble find­ing work.

But it’s prob­a­bly not a good long-term choice; most com­pa­nies don’t have much of a ca­reer path for PMs. That may not be a prob­lem; many PMs trans­fer to man­age­ment or mar­ket­ing po­si­tions af­ter a while, with­out ob­vi­ous strain.

So while it might be a good choice right now, you’re prob­a­bly not go­ing to be a PM in twen­ty years.

Q: Should you go in­to sales? · I’ve been on a lot of sales call­s, and closed a cou­ple of big deals all by my­self, which is one of the most in­sane­ly sat­is­fy­ing things you can get paid for (and you can get paid a lot). It’s easy enough to find out; most tech­nol­o­gy companies’ sales­peo­ple reg­u­lar­ly need geek sup­port and well-run ones are hap­py to send en­gi­neers out on sales call­s. If you like what you see, give it a try.

Yes, there’s the risk of end­ing up in Glen­gar­ry Glen Ross. And that re­morse­less pres­sure to close is im­plic­it in the pro­fes­sion. But a lot of re­al­ly suc­cess­ful sales peo­ple are ex-engineers; is the re­morse­less pres­sure to ship that much bet­ter?

Here’s a hin­t: All the tru­ly great sales pros I’ve known have been peo­ple peo­ple; would gen­uine­ly rather hang out and shoot the shit all day than any­thing else. If that’s not you, then prob­a­bly not.

Q: Should you go in­to mar­ket­ing? · Mar­ket­ing is at the cen­ter of ev­ery­thing. You prob­a­bly know why you’re build­ing the tech­nol­o­gy you’re work­ing on, and what it’s good for, But it turns out that fig­ur­ing out who out there needs it, what they’d use it for, and how to ex­plain it in sim­ple enough terms that an over­worked non-geek can get it quick­ly, is re­al­ly re­al­ly hard.

There’s a range of mar­ket­ing roles, from tech-oriented ones like “developer advocate” or “evangelist”, all the way over to full-time busi­ness strate­gist. Every one of them is ac­ces­si­ble in prin­ci­ple to a tech­ni­cal per­son who wants to change lanes.

Q: Should you go in­to Ven­ture Cap­i­tal? · Please, please don’t. With the ex­cep­tion of a very few top-tier firm­s, it’s a shit­ty busi­ness that de­liv­ers a lousy re­turn to its in­vestors. A large part of your job con­sists of say­ing “no” to peo­ple, then watch­ing most of the peo­ple you say “yes” to fail any­how.

In my view, most of the patholo­gies that in­fect the tech sec­tor, start­ing with self-absorbedness, ar­ro­gance, and lousy di­ver­si­ty, are joined at the hip with VC cul­ture.

Q: Should you work for star­tup­s? · Ab­so­lute­ly, yes. I have, twice. The best rea­son is that you’ll get to see all the dif­fer­ent parts of a busi­ness up close, how they work, and if you de­cide you want to pitch in with some­thing that looks in­ter­est­ing, you may not en­counter much re­sis­tance, par­tic­u­lar­ly if you turn out to be good at it.

The white-hot team in­ten­si­ty, the feel­ing that you and a few oth­ers are mov­ing the world, is just not some­thing you’re go­ing to find else­where.

You might make a lot of mon­ey, but do bear in mind that most star­tups fail, and there are a lot of ways for a start­up to suc­ceed where most of the mon­ey goes to the VCs and al­most none to foot sol­dier­s.

Q: Should you work for a BigCo? · Yes; you might not like it, but you should try it. Par­tic­u­lar­ly, in a well-run com­pa­ny, when you get to see what high-quality mar­ket­ing and le­gal sup­port is like, and what class­es of prob­lem can be solved by throw­ing mon­ey at them, and maybe most of al­l, how to build sys­tems and pro­cess­es that are sus­tain­able in the long ter­m.

The flip-side of that coin is that you’ll like­ly al­so see in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized stu­pid­i­ty, tox­ic pol­i­tic­s, and patho­log­i­cal cau­tion. But I think the re­wards make up for it.

I should al­so point out that you can make se­ri­ous mon­ey work­ing for a BigCo too, par­tic­u­lar­ly if you get lucky with the share price. I speak from ex­pe­ri­ence here.

Fi­nal­ly, sup­pose you’ve tried man­ag­ing peo­ple and you just don’t like it, but you still want a se­nior job. Most big tech com­pa­nies have a po­si­tion called “Principal Engineer” or “Distinguished Engineer” or some such, which it usu­al­ly takes decades to grow in­to, but is pret­ty well the ide­al job for some­one like me. You get to work on the most in­ter­est­ing prob­lems and feel like you’re part of the lead­er­ship team, and have the chance to move the needle.

Fin­tan Ryan of RedMonk just pub­lished On the Myth of the 10X Engi­neer and the Real­i­ty of the Distin­guished Engi­neer, which I think over­states the won­der­ful­ness of the po­si­tion, but does hit a few key points.

Q: Should you work for a gov­ern­men­t? · Up till maybe five years ago, I would have said “No way, run scream­ing in the oth­er direction.” For decades gov­ern­ments as a mat­ter of pol­i­cy hired no soft­ware de­vel­op­ers and based all their projects on out­sourcing, usu­al­ly to loath­some blue-suit op­er­a­tions whose core com­pe­ten­cies are win­ning public-sector bids then cash­ing in by charg­ing for ev­ery rip­ple com­ing out of those clas­sic wa­ter­fall pro­ject­s.

In re­cent years, led ini­tial­ly by the UK or­ga­ni­za­tion now called the Govern­ment Dig­i­tal Ser­vice, a few gov­ern­ments have clued in­to the fact that in­for­ma­tion pro­cess­ing is an es­sen­tial core com­pe­tence for the pub­lic sec­tor, and start­ed pulling it in-house.

Re­mem­ber when the Oba­ma ad­min­is­tra­tion wrest­ed con­trol of health­care.­gov out of the hands of the con­sul­tants, aimed a bunch of com­pe­tent geeks at it, and res­cued it? I’m think­ing that kind of work could be among the most re­ward­ing things you could load up a tech­ni­cal ca­reer with.

There’s a sub-question here: How about a job in the in­teligence com­mu­ni­ty? I’ve nev­er had one, but I’ve sold them tech­nol­o­gy and worked with them. They have the biggest com­put­ers and maybe the hard­est prob­lem­s, and I firm­ly be­lieve that ef­fec­tive in­tel­li­gence makes the world a safer place.

But the peo­ple I know in the com­mu­ni­ty al­ways seemed more stressed out and less hap­py than your av­er­age geek, and I heard per­sis­tent grum­bling about work-culture prob­lem­s. So I’m not sure I’d rec­om­mend that path.

Q: Should you work for a non-tech com­pa­ny? · I can’t help you here very much; nev­er done it. Since I’ve been work­ing for AWS I’ve got in face time with a lot of IT peo­ple from out­side the geek-o-sphere, and they seem to be pret­ty hap­py. But then, the ones I’m talk­ing to are the ones mixed up in the move to the cloud, which is ab­so­lute­ly the most in­ter­est­ing sin­gle trend in IT these days.

Ob­vi­ous­ly, you’re prob­a­bly at slight­ly high­er risk of a pointy-haired boss who hasn’t the vaguest idea what it is you ac­tu­al­ly do.

Q: Should you be a con­sul­tan­t? · This is re­al­ly two ques­tion­s. First, should you be an in­de­pen­dent con­sul­tan­t, work­ing for your­self? I have, and it was OK, and paid pret­ty well (although both the start­up and the BigCo did bet­ter). You have to be will­ing to mar­ket your­self ag­gres­sive­ly; con­fer­ence speak­ing slots work best, in my ex­pe­ri­ence. Then, af­ter the gig, you have to has­sle your cus­tomers to get paid, which re­al­ly isn’t fun. Fi­nal­ly, you’re go­ing to be spend­ing a lot of time on the road.

I had fun, and sev­er­al re­mark­ably in­ter­est­ing cus­tomer­s. Two things got on my nerves. First, you get to work on the hard prob­lem­s, but you nev­er get to stick around and ship a pro­duc­t. Se­cond: A lot of times you end up telling man­age­ment ex­act­ly the same thing their own smart geeks were telling them, but they lis­ten to you, not their own peo­ple

The sec­ond ques­tion is, should you go work for a big con­sult­ing com­pa­ny? I’d of­fer a firm “No”, even though the pay is good. Th­ese com­pa­nies work their peo­ple in­sane­ly hard, and in my opin­ion, based on thir­ty years of ob­ser­va­tion, charge too much and de­liv­er too lit­tle. They are def­i­nite­ly Part Of The Prob­lem, and you should stay away.

Q: Should you work for a non­prof­it or char­i­ty? · I nev­er have, and I re­gret it. Ob­vi­ous­ly, this is not a tick­et to the 1%, and I sus­pect that the tech­nol­o­gy prob­lems and so­lu­tions are pret­ty mun­dane. But I’d hope there would be oth­er, more im­por­tan­t, re­ward­s.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: John M. (Feb 19 2017, at 00:32)

Thanks for posting this. I found out this week that my current contract won't be renewed due to cash flow problems at the small Japanese company I've been working at for over a year. I helped build large parts of their system (which uses lots of AWS BTW), and no longer being part of their small team definitely hurts.

I'm considering my options, trying to decide whether to remain freelance, apply for a job at a "big co.", or leave tech. Your post is a useful data point. 🙇🏻👍🏼


From: Ade (Feb 19 2017, at 09:54)

Missing: Should you work in academia?

(Yes, definitely. Education needs good technical people, and research needs good ideas. Plus, screw all that corporate bullshit - although it's a creeping menace in the sector.)


From: Brian (Feb 19 2017, at 10:37)

For government, don't forget the NASA and the Department of Energy/National Labs. Very big computers, very hard problems, and a bit more of a "professional academia" vibe with a some of the standard government crap mixed in.


From: Kevin Dangoor (Feb 19 2017, at 10:55)

I have worked at 3 non-profits in my career thus far, and my experience is that they have a different feel. There is a lot more talk about "the mission" and how things that we do support the mission. How the org is doing financially does come up, but it comes up a lot less often in the non-profits I've worked in.

I will say this, though: all three of the non-profits I've worked for (JSTOR, Mozilla and now Khan Academy) are pretty well capitalized organizations. I suspect money would be a bigger topic of discussion in non-profits that are less well established.

Anyhow, I am at Khan Academy specifically for its mission ("free world class education for anyone, anywhere"), and this is true for everyone we hire. For-profits can certainly have that, too, but I think the motivations are less universal at most for-profits.


From: sm (Feb 19 2017, at 11:48)

I find it problematic when people try to straddle the line between engineering and management.

An engineer might think they want to report to a technical manager and the manager might think it's important for them to write code. But at some point a conflict of interest will emerge in dividing work between the manager and his reports.

There is no escaping the reality that a manager buried in meetings doesn't have as much time to develop their technical skills, but as they continue to have technical input and be able to override their reports the arrangement becomes counterproductive.

If you really want to be a manager do it wholeheartedly and honestly.


From: hawkse (Feb 19 2017, at 12:22)

Working in a non-technical company has its upsides. Not being directly involved in the day-to-day grind removes a lot of pressure and it can be immensely satisfying using tech to solve real world problems close to the coalface.

In a small enough company one also tends to get a very good understanding of all aspects of the business as IT today really is the backbone of most companies.

There are some downsides though; the pointy haired boss is real. Be prepared for lot's of "how hard can it be?" and working hard to keep those consultants wasting the tech budget OUT.


From: Twirrim (Feb 19 2017, at 14:47)

> The good news is that it doesn’t get hard­er ei­ther.

It's good to hear that. I'm heading in to my late 30s and every now and then I find myself wondering how long I can keep up with the pace of change in the industry, and if it's even feasible for me to do so.

It always feels a little like I'm sort of scrambling along, surviving, rather than rushing ahead and thriving. Yet I'm managing to have a successful and productive career, and have no end of opportunities for other work presenting themselves, so I'm clearly doing well enough. I guess I just keep expecting that I'm going to fall off the wagon somehow, soon :D


From: Michael R. Bernstein (Feb 19 2017, at 16:11)

Re: nonprofits: "I nev­er have, and I re­gret it."

It is never too late! Check out organizations like

You are right that the technical issues can be rather pedestrian (since as you noted, the tech is *so* much better than it used to be), but the pain you'll be saving users (whether NGO, public service, or the public) from are *very* satisfying to solve, and sometimes the technical issues *are* quite interesting as a result of extreme resource constraints.

Seriously consider it. There are many non-profit organizations tackling really important problems that you probably care about quite a bit, at practically any scale that would suit you.


From: Rob (Feb 19 2017, at 19:30)

"I sus­pect that the tech­nol­o­gy prob­lems and so­lu­tions are pret­ty mun­dane."

Or, um, are so stupendously difficult that they are not terribly amenable to automation (there I am, waaaay down at the bottom at 0.0031:

You might know someone who has worked on medical information systems, who may be able to advise you how mundane the problems are.

But yeah, when the choice is between a really cool and totally useful database app, and several weeks worth of food, clothing, housing, and meds for a drug addled & mentally ill malnourished HIV positive homeless teenager fleeing a pimp, well the teenager wins pretty much every single time when budget questions come up.


From: Alan Little (Feb 19 2017, at 23:38)

> Should you work for a non­prof­it or char­i­ty?

My solution to this one is to work at my day job managing machine learning projects for a large telco during the day, and write an administrative system for my brother's church in the evening. It's a mundane little CRUD app in django, albeit with some interesting little wrinkles, and I'm enjoying it immensely.

I wouldn't have had time for this approach when my son was smaller though.


From: Jim Antoniou (Feb 20 2017, at 13:31)

As someone who was given a promotion opportunity a couple years ago to manage the group I was already in and is now actively working on moving back out of management into technical work, this is a good and relevant read for me.

There is a lot of culture shift and transformation - both good and bad - happening in our department these days which has me pausing to think about my next moves or even if I should make any. The move out of management is highly intentional - I was not asked to step down but rather felt my talents would be put to better use not focused on the day to day management - so I'm inclined to stand pat for now to see where the tides take me at this point. Generally speaking I've always had a pretty clear picture of when it was time to move on from a company and I may be approaching that here - or maybe not. I couldn't possibly be more equivocal :)

I will stay in the technical side of things as long as I can - I'm a long-time IT ops and systems/network engineering person - and yes you're absolutely correct: It's incredibly challenging to stay relevant in that always rapidly changing world we live in. I'm in my 40s now so perhaps I'm a little nuts intentionally stepping out of management - indeed it's almost a rite of passage that you're expected to "graduate" out of being an individual contributor at some point in your career - but I have learned a lot of good things being a manager and who knows may end up back there some day.

I'd agree generally on government or public sector work, at least from an outsider's perspective. Every time I've interviewed at a public sector employer - and I've probably done roughly 6 in my career - I've invariably regretted it. The pay is rarely even close to what I'd consider competitive and the weird panel interview process they tend to do borders on infuriating. There's actually what LOOKS like a good public sector job practically around the corner from my house (vs. the 2+ hours a day I spend on the road now) that SEEMS to have the appropriate pay scale and benefits but I just can't motivate myself to apply. Never say never though :) I'm just not sure I could handle the dramatic culture shift that tends to happen in any government/public sector work.


From: Lauren (Feb 20 2017, at 16:44)

A large number of people leave tech because of sexism and/or ageism (which you discussed in, not because they don't enjoy the technology aspects. If the company employing you lays off half their staff, or the entire IT department, there often isn't a ready replacement job available.


From: Dan Sneddon (Feb 21 2017, at 06:03)

I agree with the comments recommending Academia and the Department of Energy. I've worked in large companies, startups, and ran a consulting business, but working at one of the National Labs that was operated by a university was one of the most rewarding jobs I've had (in every way except pay, which was probably 80% of market rate). One hidden benefit is that you get to work on problems that are more theoretical than standard practice (doing things at unprecedented scale, or developing new hardware to solve a specific problem). Another thing to note is that the benefits are better than in nearly any other sector: 40-hour work weeks (and a more relaxed pace); 4-6 weeks time off per year; reimbursement for education costs for the employee (and their children in some cases); generous retirement packages; good healthcare, etc. Depending on how many of those benefits you make use of, you might even end up better off at the end of the year than someone in corporate tech. Finally, there is an immeasurable reward that comes from helping to find answers to fundamental questions of the nature of the universe, developing new science and materials, and working to make the world a better place.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at that DoE job, and left only because the cost of living increased in the last 10 years and I needed to have a market rate job to put away any savings. The math would have worked out differently if I had a family to take advantage of the benefits, but as a single person I couldn't take full advantage. I would love to go back into a similar position when I'm older and planning more for my retirement than my future career. I miss the conversations with Nobel prize winning scientists at the coffee machine, and it was nice never having to think about revenue or profits.


From: Dave Duchene (Feb 21 2017, at 06:19)

This is advice is timely for me. Thanks for writing.


From: Doug K (Feb 21 2017, at 21:15)

on staying technical - "It’s not a one-way door."

I beg to differ. It is a one-way door for most of us. As you mentioned in Old Geeks, most companies would have to make a special exception to hire James Gosling, because he's perceived as too old for technology now. For those of us that didn't invent Java or XML or Atom, there is not much hope of staying technical following any layoff after 40. Bigcos might hire, but chances are good you'll be the old horse walking in circles on the legacy maintenance mill.

My wife was laid off from a tech job in her mid-30s. She hasn't been able to find a job in the field since. She works for the church now, loves the job and does good every day, making just slightly more than minimum wage.

I really don't see that there is a career path for coders. There are a number of exit strategies as you outline here - marketing, sales, consulting. Consulting only works if you have a good network and some marketing skills.

In my 30s when trying to figure out how to stay employed in the IT business I read a book by Ed Yourdon IIRC, covering this ground. That added training/teaching software and tech support to the list. The training jobs have mostly disappeared into online tutorials and hopelessly optimistic MOOCs. Tech support is still there and is how I've been earning a crust since the coding jobs stopped returning my calls. It has its consolations and I get to write scraps of code in a large variety of dialects, which is kinda fun. When the layoff comes I hope to be able to scavenge another such employment somewhere.

Military intelligence - worked on IT systems and codebreaking for the quaintly-named department of Electronic Warfare, many years ago. Hard and interesting problems, but also real emergencies that involved life and death. That's been my standard for responding to customer crises in tech support - "is anyone actually bleeding to death ? No ? then we can fix this.."

Government - Worked for State of California government for a while, remediating a truly awful system from the blue-suit brigade, worst code I've ever seen including in labs for first-year students back in college. It was spectacularly awful. Working for the new US government IT at looks like it would be fascinating and rewarding, at least until the new administration closes it down. That was a spinoff of the rescue operation, which I was remotely connected to. Their problems were my personal top priority whenever they called in..

Universities - worked in the Witwatersrand University IT department while part-timing a graduate degree. I loved that job, good people doing good work, decent pay and good benefits. Since then applied for jobs at NREL and NCAR but came second each time (or so the nice hiring interviewers said).

Startups - have to be young and without dependents, or old and rich already, to be able to afford to work for a startup. It's the same problem as exiting from tech really.


From: Juergen Hoffmann (Feb 23 2017, at 07:01)

Should you go in­to man­age­men­t? I dislike the term management. I think you should rephrase it to Leadership. Especially being an open leader ( could be a very rewarding role...


From: Kiran (Mar 04 2017, at 22:50)

I am a senior qe in one of the fortune 500 organizations in the cloud/virtualization/storage area. I do see a path for qe till principal engineer.after that I do not see any.many we will go to management position after the principal engineer position . Do you have any other idea for qe?


From: Thom Hickey (Mar 25 2017, at 09:25)

I worked for a non-profit most of my life and, at least in the library world, there are (still) some interesting tech problems.



From: Brett (Mar 29 2017, at 07:23)

I've had a 20 year career as a developer. I've learnt to take the day job money and build a nest egg, and not care too much about trying to change the world.

My last project failed because they wanted me on my own to compete with a 3000 employee company. I am smart but not that smart. These days it's hard to have a hit if you're just one person, much like what we saw when the computer games business turned into a vast industry.

The project before that was good technically but the pointy haired boss should have talked to the pointy haired accountant earlier in the project.

My long term gig before that was easy work - the boss never delegated anything.

It is weird that the most successful things I've worked on have generally been my own.

I suppose I should do something else, but there are so few Python people around that I'm always preferred for this rather than anything else.


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