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Brandon Malicoat
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@Jasmine What I mean is the questions asked at interviews are very different from day-to-day programming and designing. They typically ask questions with bad/good/excellent answers and if you haven't experienced these types of questions you can be out of luck at interview time. Of course you still have to know what the job description outlines but the interview doesn't usually cover that. I think my saying studying is your 'brush up on arcane stuff'.
Toggle Commented Mar 2, 2010 on The Non-Programming Programmer at Coding Horror
Just have one anecdotal data point to add: A few months ago I went on an interview for a Mac Developer position. I have a lot of iPhone and some OS X experience so I felt I had pretty good odds. I spent a lot of time studying Cocoa Design Patterns (great book BTW), Core Data, Core Animation, basically all of the things a good Mac dev would use day to day. I got to the interview and was asked stuff about atoi and itoa and arrays. Granted I was able to answer the stuff but I was pretty caught off guard and had to solve the stuff cold, from scratch. After that experience I realized you don't study for the job, you study for the interview. That was my first technical interview and now I look back and realize how naive I was to think the interviewers would care about my knowledge of Cocoa design patterns and what I had written in Cocoa. Fast forward to last week when I had an interview at a very prestigious company and spent weeks ahead of time solving as many interview questions as I could get my hands on (and consuming the excellent book Programming Interviews Exposed). The position was for basically a C# developer, I have very little experience with C# but got an offer because of (I suppose) my good fundamentals, ability to reason through problems, analytical skills, etc., but definitely not my C# skills. So another possible solution to Jeff's question is that a lot of these interviewers who are coming back saying programmers can't program are interviewing for entry level positions which inherently means the candidates have little to no interviewing experience and probably don't know they are vastly different than traditional interviews. tldr: Don't study for the position, study for the interview.
Toggle Commented Mar 1, 2010 on The Non-Programming Programmer at Coding Horror
I think you are approaching your question "why do people who can't write a simple program even entertain the idea they can get jobs as working programmers?" the wrong way. As a fellow passionate developer it is easy to look at what these people do as not in line with our ideals, that they are frauds and should be ashamed of themselves. The truth is much simpler. Most universities are structured in a way such that you can attain a degree without knowing the subject all that well (whether that be by cheating or just barely passing). This is true not of just CS, but many degrees. So you end up with a student who owes a lot of money with a piece of paper that says he knows how to program, what do you expect him to do?
Toggle Commented Feb 23, 2010 on The Non-Programming Programmer at Coding Horror
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Feb 22, 2010