Welcome to the Java Programming Forums


The professional, friendly Java community. 21,500 members and growing!


The Java Programming Forums are a community of Java programmers from all around the World. Our members have a wide range of skills and they all have one thing in common: A passion to learn and code Java. We invite beginner Java programmers right through to Java professionals to post here and share your knowledge. Become a part of the community, help others, expand your knowledge of Java and enjoy talking with like minded people. Registration is quick and best of all free. We look forward to meeting you.


>> REGISTER NOW TO START POSTING


Members have full access to the forums. Advertisements are removed for registered users.

Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Why The New Guy Canít Code

  1. #1
    Crazy Cat Lady KevinWorkman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    5,453
    My Mood
    Hungover
    Thanks
    144
    Thanked 638 Times in 546 Posts

    Question Why The New Guy Canít Code

    I recently read this article: Why The New Guy Can’t Code (the article is only the top 25% of the page, the rest is comments, don't be intimidated, it's not that long)

    The gist of it is that many new hires can't program (as discussed in this older article: Coding Horror: Why Can't Programmers.. Program?, again that page is mostly comments).

    Both articles blame the interview process: potential employees are given riddles (3 lights, 3 switches or 3 doors, 3 doormen type stuff) instead of technical interviews, which does not actually test a programmer's ability to program, so many new hires are only hired because they knew the answers to some common riddles. So the push is to bring back the technical interview and get away from the riddle interview introduced in the 1990s by Microsoft, then perpetuated by Google.

    But the first article goes a step further, and makes this statement:

    So what should a real interview consist of? Let me offer a humble proposal: donít interview anyone who hasnít accomplished anything. Ever. Certificates and degrees are not accomplishments; I mean real-world projects with real-world users. There is no excuse for software developers who donít have a site, app, or service they can point to and say, ďI did this, all by myself!Ē in a world where Google App Engine and Amazon Web Services have free service tiers, and it costs all of $25 to register as an Android developer and publish an app on the Android Market.
    I'm pretty on the fence about this statement. I do believe that you shouldn't hire somebody who has no interest in programming outside of school or work, but I don't think gaining "real-world users" is as easy to do as the article makes it seem. Or am I wrong? Maybe I haven't programmed a "real" enough application in my spare time?

    What do you guys think?
    Useful links: How to Ask Questions the Smart Way | Use Code Tags | Java Tutorials
    Static Void Games - Play indie games, learn from game tutorials and source code, upload your own games!


  2. #2
    Administrator copeg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    US
    Posts
    5,334
    Thanks
    181
    Thanked 830 Times in 773 Posts
    Blog Entries
    5

    Default Re: Why The New Guy Canít Code

    I've always had a negative outlook regarding those interview questions that companies such as google, facebook, etc...are known for. In my opinion they analyze an applicant less than the typical interview questions in that their answers don't address an applicants drive, experience, skill set, or willingness to learn (in my opinion the first and last of which are a lot more difficult to asses, but are very important traits). One can argue they address things like creativity, and this I won't deny, but I personally wouldn't bet on creativity alone.

    I've always preferred questions which do to some degree address many factors at once - more descriptive questions that rely on an applicants past experiences, which through both verbal and emotional responses seem to evoke a much better assessment of an applicant. Some examples of these might include 'describe a problem you wished (or had) to solve, and how you solved it using programming' or 'have you ever lost sleep over a problem, and if so what was it?'

    As far as not hiring someone who hasn't accomplished something, I find that a bit extreme, but will be honest and say it definitely would come into play when comparing candidates

  3. #3
    Crazy Cat Lady KevinWorkman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    5,453
    My Mood
    Hungover
    Thanks
    144
    Thanked 638 Times in 546 Posts

    Default Re: Why The New Guy Canít Code

    Quote Originally Posted by copeg View Post
    I've always preferred questions which do to some degree address many factors at once - more descriptive questions that rely on an applicants past experiences, which through both verbal and emotional responses seem to evoke a much better assessment of an applicant. Some examples of these might include 'describe a problem you wished (or had) to solve, and how you solved it using programming' or 'have you ever lost sleep over a problem, and if so what was it?'
    I like those. During the interview for my current job, I was asked what my favorite Java class (as in the API, not in school) was. I like that too.

    Quote Originally Posted by copeg View Post
    As far as not hiring someone who hasn't accomplished something, I find that a bit extreme, but will be honest and say it definitely would come into play when comparing candidates
    True. A person who wrote and maintains a program that people actually use has more credibility than a person who hasn't. But setting it as the lowest bar seems like overkill- how many entry-level programmers have written something that people actually use?

    Or again, maybe I'm asking the wrong question. Maybe I should be asking, why haven't more entry-level programmers written something that people actually use? Looks like I have a new goal...
    Useful links: How to Ask Questions the Smart Way | Use Code Tags | Java Tutorials
    Static Void Games - Play indie games, learn from game tutorials and source code, upload your own games!

  4. #4
    Super Moderator helloworld922's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2,896
    Thanks
    23
    Thanked 619 Times in 561 Posts
    Blog Entries
    18

    Default Re: Why The New Guy Canít Code

    At the place I use to work at, they asked me how I go about solving problems. There were some technical points, but they were more interested in my thought process. I think the intent of the questions major software companies ask follow along this line, but since they ask the same questions (or very similar questions), the concept becomes lost.

    I don't know if it's prerequisite that someone has major prior experience, but that's a definite plus (seriously, how can someone go through learning how to program with out at least some experience?). Different places have very unique setups, so you're likely going to have to go through some training anyways. Personally I like the questions which are technical in nature, but also require you to do some problem solving on your own (i.e. write some code, debug some code, etc.).