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turgid's Journal: The Other Side of the Table 6

Journal by turgid

In recent times I've been fortunate enough to be the one conducting interviews instead of the one being interviewed. It's been an eye-opening experience. The first few times I was very nervous in case I asked a wrong/stupid question. I wouldn't want to put someone off or give a bad impression of the company.

Without wanting to sound conceited or pompous, I have been absolutely astounded at the apparent lack of ability of some candidates.

Put it this way: I'm completely self taught. I have spoken to people who are claiming to have developed software for nearly 20 years in some cases and make a big song and dance about all the hardware they've programmed for, and all the fancy IDEs, static analysis tools, industry standards they've followed etc. and about their wonderful C and C++ skills.

But what really beats me is how anyone can have been coding for longer than a fortnight and not know what an array is, or to have been doing C++ for 15 years and not know about parameterised types.

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The Other Side of the Table

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  • by gmhowell (26755)

    Heck, I'm no programmer at all (more a PHB), but I could fake my way through explaining both of those.

  • Ok, for the array, that's weird... I've done my share of C and C++ programming and reading this I was like "I don't know what parametrised types are". So, I googled it and it seems you talk about templates. See, there... failed your interview already. I know about them, don't particularly like them because you never know who will maintain your code and this stuff isn't exactly simple.

    Anyway, just wanted to say that.

    • by turgid (580780)

      You wouldn't have failed my interview :-)

      This was an interview for a senior software engineer (so one step below team leader) and this guy claimed to have been doing C++ since the early 1990s. I was trying to gauge how much he knew. I didn't say to him, "So what are parameterised types?" I tried to get him to tell me some of the features in C++ that help with code reuse etc. and I was trying to be diplomatic and lead him into answering the question. When I basically explained it, he looked amazed and when I

      • And if you're an embedded software developer and I ask you what some of the issues might be when using C++ on a resource-constrained embedded system, please don't get uppity, look at me like it's an impertinent question and shrug your shoulders as if it's me that's being unreasonable...

        I'd love to work in that industry. Any openings in Luxembourg? ;-) 1MB of RAM still considered a luxury? I like challenges like that. Mean and lean data structures, if you can use them at all. Last time I did something f

        • by turgid (580780)

          I'd love to work in that industry. Any openings in Luxembourg? ;-) 1MB of RAM still considered a luxury?

          Unfortunately not..

          We have stuff that runs on PIC chips with 14-bit address buses and other stuff with 64-bit CPUs running Linux. It's pretty cool.

          Me, vi, my C compiler and valgrind. Hours of fun.

          You'd fit right in :-)

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.

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