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Comment Re:Most companies (Score 1) 258

I do a lot of recruiting/interviewing for my company, and the list of qualifications on the job ad are not absolutes. In fact, they're often put together by someone with no tech background from the resumes of other successful applicants. So you might be seeing the union of the resumes of the last five guys we hired. Apply anyway. We'll look at your resume. Frankly, I'll skim right past the list of acronyms and crap (unless it says J2EE plus nine other related acronyms, then you go in the trash) and see what projects you've worked on. Work, open source, just tinkering, they all count.

There are two audiences for your resume: the search engine and/or recruiter who gets you to me, and me. The former care about lists of languages and acronyms. I care about what you can do for me, and I'll assume you can learn whatever language our project is in this week.

Knowing this and ensuring there's something on there for both audiences is just part of the game. Though, the long list does do a good job of filtering out whiners or people without the ambition to even bother submitting a resume.

Comment Selection Bias (Score 1) 316

The article doesn't mention selection bias, which almost certainly colored these results. It seems likely to me that externalities other than programming skill biased the entrant pool.

In the US, the best programmers I know have jobs in programming that earn them quite a lot of money. When they go home at night, they may not want to write more code. If they do, they may choose to contribute to open-source projects or their own startup ideas. They're certainly not lining up to enter some silly NSA contest.

If you offered me $1000 to spend my weekend coding some contest, I'd decline. I make enough money programming the other 5 days of the week that I'd rather have my weekend to myself. Or, if I needed some cash, I could make more with those days doing a one-off consulting project.

For a programmer in India or China, that money is worth a lot more (relative to cost of living), and they're not getting paid nearly as much for their full-time job. So, I'd argue that programming contests like this (and TopCoder) have a stronger attraction for non-American programmers and, in order for the results of this to be at all interesting, that variable needs to be controlled for.

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