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I think what I'm what I'm geting out of this is that anybody looking for a programming job should brush up on their CS 101 textbook exercises? I tend to side with Joseph Connolly's 6:22 AM post: sometimes interviewers are looking for a "stock" answer, and someone without a Math or CS degree will never know the magic phrase. I'm not so sure that being able to code a "small" program like a linked list will accurately predict someone's competence as a programmer (although I agree it's a reasonable baseline requirement for any applicant with a CS degree or 5+ years of experience). When I interview candidates, I always show them a "Rorschach Test" - a Java class that is a sort of Frankenstein monster of unclean code, anti-patterns and lurking runtime exceptions (all lifted from "Production" code I've had to support over the years). I would show them the code and say "this code compiles and is functional, but it's got some problems. How would you make it better?" The best candidates would look at it and laughingly go through all the problems and start discussing refactorings. The worst candidates - some who had newly-minted CS degrees and no doubt could crank out a mean linked list implementation - would stare blankly at the sheet for several minutes or even say (unbelievably) "looks pretty good!" Finally, I've noticed some of the comments here are by people who have apparently used the interview process as an opportunity to "toy" with candidates and thus boost their own ego. Unprofessional and lame.
Toggle Commented Feb 23, 2010 on The Non-Programming Programmer at Coding Horror
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Feb 22, 2010