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Those examples are exactly NOT the same thing as what you ask a programming job candidate to do. A lawyer would talk in an interview about the cases they have argued and what they've been involved in - in short, what -work- they have done. I imagine a doctor's interview would be the same thing. The focus is on what you have done in your professional life, not "I'm going to assume you're a loser and don't know ANYTHING until you jump through some hoops for me". Perfectly well and I would expect "what you've done" to be an important topic in interviews. Anyway, "Showing you can program" means that you can take a design and translate it into solid, working code. It's not regurgitating algorithms from compsci 301. All of this commentary is just proving to me that programmers are bad at interviewing and selecting good candidates... maybe that's my psychology background speaking ;) (Interviews, BTW, are the worst predictors of future job performance) Actually, to prove programming ability aptitude tests are much more effective. It looks at the mind's core ability to compute, adapt and think, rather than what you've memorized about language syntax and algorithms. I'm sure all can agree that memorizing syntax does not make one a good programmer. Then again you never know with this bunch!
Toggle Commented Mar 13, 2010 on The Non-Programming Programmer at Coding Horror
Ryan Fisch put it more eloquently than i could. ;) someone should examine the phenomenon of programmer elitism from a psychological standpoint and analyze why this attitude is so prevalent. Here's an interesting counterpoint read that I found compelling and entertaining:
Toggle Commented Mar 12, 2010 on The Non-Programming Programmer at Coding Horror
This is a really annoying topic which seems to come up frequently and I don't know why you (Jeff) are so preoccupied by it. If I apply to be a lawyer do I have to argue a case to get the job? For a doctor to join a hospital, do i need to operate on a patient while someone watches me do it? So why is there such a preoccupiation with programmers 'proving they can program' in an interview? Firstly, your assumption that someone who can't answer a particular knowledge-based question or code a certain function in an interview, "can't program at all" is often false. Sure, there are people who legitimately can't program who would flunk out of those interviews, but what about the ones who are good, just can't recall all the information off the top of their head? Do you really think everyone programs off the top of their head with no resources, no information? I look at programming as being a builder, a constructor. Often you need tools to build something. A house builder can't build a house without a hammer, nails, and a toolbox. A programmer's toolbox is part Head knowledge, part Experience, part Information Gathering acumen (google, stack overflow, other resources) but most of all ability to get something done and solve a problem -- and i'm sorry but asking someone to define this or that term does NOT prove problem solving ability.
Toggle Commented Mar 12, 2010 on The Non-Programming Programmer at Coding Horror
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Mar 11, 2010