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Saying that the Mayor of New York City shouldn't be interested in code because "he's got better things to do" strikes me as very backward thinking. What if he could update city websites or web scripts himself unassisted? What if he could create apps for New Yorkers to use? Think of the possibilities. Yes, things could go terribly wrong, but things go terribly wrong with dedicated teams of software developers. Just imagine the possible upsides for a minute. Or what people in other high authority positions could do if they knew how to code. I agree wholeheartedly with your learn to write/communicate line of thinking. However, learning to write and learning to code aren't mutually exclusive.
Toggle Commented May 16, 2012 on Please Don't Learn to Code at Coding Horror
I read your post, and overall it's really interesting. I think the idea you're getting at is (like other aspects of business) to reduce risk. Like you say, hiring programmers is tough and humans are complicated. Maybe another approach is to look at quantity over quality. That's the whole idea behind continuous integration, right? Keep gathering information and make changes as necessary. The process you've suggested is really time and resource intensive. Imagine coming up with, supervising, and evaluating audition work, in addition to finding applicants, coding tests, telephone screens, resume reading, etc. It's a lot of work for everyone involved. Now imagine you need programmer(s) for a project. Hire the first candidate that meets some very minimal requirements (passes FizzBuzz, has required experience on paper, seems friendly and personality matches). Hire them on a contingent basis (ie you can be dismissed for any reason within the first 60-90 days or whatever, like in Ontario) and go. Repeat as necessary. You may go through a bunch of applicants, but that's why the process is minimal; avoid cost but keep valuable information. You can change your requirements too. "Maybe looking for C++ devs isn't what we really want". "That question about why manhole covers are circular does seem to be a crappy question". Just throwing out ideas, but I have a sinking feeling that this approach might work better in some settings than what places do now.
Toggle Commented Mar 8, 2012 on How to Hire a Programmer at Coding Horror
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Mar 8, 2012