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Comment Re:Article is dead on (Score 2) 609

If you have experience in PL/SQL and can't sit in front of a SQL Server management studio session with help files and internet and muddle your way through some SELECT statements, I don't want you. Someone who understands OO programming languages should be able to take the help files and be writing beginner level code within a few hours in a completely new language. That's what separates a knowledge worker from a replaceable cog.

Comment Re:The real problem (Score 1) 609

Wrong. Your CS degree should include a project where you design a relational database that models a common business structure like a CMS or Invoicing system. You should write all the database code to generate the tables and access/modify the data. Then you should write a UI, web, desktop, whatever that accesses it in a useful way.

Pick any language, database, ui stack you want. We in the business world don't give a crap. But if you want to be a business developer and you can't do this, you are of no use to us.

Comment Re:Article is dead on (Score 1) 609

That's been my experience. People who can't code... they can't code at all, even the simple things.
I used to ask people to write their own function to take a string input and print it back in reverse. Simple array and decrementing loop. Like you, I found that the majority of new grads couldn't do it. I have no idea what they're teaching these days, but it isn't anything of business value.

Comment Re:Article is dead on (Score 1) 609

You do realize that in a business in any of the major sectors like insurance, finance, etc nearly EVERY piece of code a developer will write interacts with data in some way? Data is going to be exposed through a webservice (xml), or a database (SQL variant). I tossed in CSS/HTML as an example because it's a skill gap I've encountered. I am flat out shocked that someone who is serious about development and finished a degree has never built a webpage.

Specific technologies that change over time? Really? Relational databases models have been around since 1969! Not only are most relevant businesses running them, most of your major software packages have relational databases running in the back end. And yes, SQL is pretty easy to pick up, that is why it shocks me in a 136 hour undergrad degree they can't take a 3 credit hour course on writing standard SQL.

For the record, I develop my employees quite well. We have a training budget, I send everyone to classes in technologies that provide value to the business. What I refuse to do is bring in some college grad with a chip on their shoulder who demands $50k salary and can't do anything of value. I will not spend 6 months salary + training + taxes to see if they can learn SQL and C#. If you want a job with me as an entry level developer, show some initiative: take your ass over to Amazon.com, order a C# and a SQL book, and build some sample projects at home. Then when you come in to interview and I give you a open help files open internet development test you can pass it.

To come in and say hey I have a degree, pay 10s of thousands to make me useful is not going to cut it with me or with most employers. I don't care about your degree, nor do I require one. I want employees that are motivated, passionate, and can actually do something.

Comment Re:Companies need to do their part too (Score 1) 609

It's a failure of education. Look at your average IT training catalog for certifications. You want to learn SQL? You can take 1-2 classes, 10 days of training, and you will have some knowledge and skills that are useful for a business. Doesn't it piss you off that in 136 credit hours and tens of thousands of dollars in loans that your university couldn't find the time to teach you a database language that is nearly ubiquitous in business?

Comment Re:It's Called 'Experience'! (Score 2) 609

I recently hired a new grad who came into the interview with a sample website tied to a simple sql backend she had created. She walked me through the source code and spoke intelligently about the design and areas that she had trouble with and how she solved them. I pointed out places where alternative methods would have been better and she quickly grasped my concepts and spoke intelligently about them. She had no "real job experience" but she showed a knowledge and passion for the craft.

She's Chinese. I have never once, in 12 years in IT had an American do something like this.

Comment Re:It's Called 'Experience'! (Score 1) 609

You are correct. Degree or not if you can walk into an interview and show fundamental knowledge of the skills required and a passion for the craft you're likely to get hired. Even people with degrees quite often fail because in IT, particularly in development there are demands for a high amount of logical reasoning and meticulousness which can't really be taught in a university. I have not hired and fired many an IT worker for lack of common sense, carelessness, and inability to follow written instructions.

Comment Re:Article is dead on (Score 1) 609

I tossed CSS and web services in there because the whole web developer thing tends to be hot right now. Just an example.

Relational databases are nearly ubiquitous today though. I strongly feel there's no excuse for any college grad not to be versed in at least rudimentary SQL and relational structure of some kind.

It's cool that you give them the data. I like to make sure people can read documentation and apply it. Parsing a flat file is one of the most basic things you can do in most languages, and is generally straightforward and well documented. If they can't figure out how to do it with help files, I know I have a hopeless case. :)

Comment Re:Article is dead on (Score 2) 609

The point I was making up above that people are glossing over is that my coding exercises are open help files. I also do have a basic SQL query writing test I give experienced candidates because we are a small shop and like most small shops we have a jack of all trades need for our candidates. Both of these tests have a development IDE and a database IDE on the machine, with help files and internet.

What that means to me is that even if the candidate lacks specific domain experience, if given a few hours on an exercise with these resources they should be able to use their vaunted theoretical collegiate skills to figure out how to complete the task. Unfortunately the vast majority can not.

So explain to me, if after 4 years of "study", given technical documentation and a beginner level exercise (experienced people can solve my test in under 15 minutes) and you can't figure a solution out in less than 3 hours... why should I spend any time on you? Any candidate without domain experience, reading the job description and spending a weekend reading even a .."for dummies" book should be able to easily pass this test. They are all aware before interviewing that there is a test. That they come unprepared tells me a lot about the candidate and that they can't figure stuff out given real job resources tells me even more.

The colleges are mostly to blame for not requiring real world exercises in school since theory is worthless without application. The students are also to blame because most of them seem to be too dumb to realize that they should spend some personal time actually writing code on their own if they expect someone to hire them to write code.

Comment Article is dead on (Score 1, Redundant) 609

I am a development director for a business. It is astonishing to me how ill prepared new grads are. Most do not know SQL, most have never used a webservice, CSS, or any number if common relevant skills. I give a coding test to candidates. It involves a solution that requires a dictionary class and about 15 lines of code to loop through a flat file. It is open help files. 80% of new grads fail it. It is easier than most classroom assignments I had coming up.

Comment Re:No surprise (Score 1) 371

Lots of people think they're good, but they're not. You'd be shocked (or not) at how many people fail the fizzbuzz coding exercise.

My general interview process is a brief verbal over their resume and some light tech questions, then you get a laptop with a dev environment and help files. You write a few coding exercises, stuff that would take a "good" coder probably 5-10 minutes.

My most recent hire was fresh out of college, he nailed it. I've had dozens of people claiming 5+ years experience that can't even finish it.

In any career you're going to be a lot like high school: You have your top 10%, your 10-25% that can bumble along, and then the other 75% who you wouldn't trust anything of value to.

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