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-   -   Re: quickest way to a programming job (http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/t123800-re-quickest-way-to-a-programming-job.html)

D. Lane 06-27-2003 11:45 PM

Re: quickest way to a programming job
 
hi_buzz,

Please forgive me for making assumptions, you provided
little information as to why you asked the question and
what your situation is. My advice will be both theory and
practical.

happyrav <hi_buzz@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:58d691a8.0306270021.6e3b9f86@posting.google.c om...
> For those of you who work as programmers, what is your opinion of
> college education vs. self education?


You want the right answer for a whole lot of reasons dealing both
with learning and life??

Go to college/University. The advice was given to me by very
smart people, and I had the exact same choice as you did.

> Does it come down to convincing
> an employer to hire you by showing him some programs you wrote?


No not usually, I have conducted a lot of technical interviews. There
are more
important abilities to being a programmer. One of the first questions
I ask is:
- approx how many lines of each language have you coded?

Then I ask technical questions about what sort of programming will be
done to figure out how much you will need to learn, or how much you know
?

I also ask _how_ you learn, because for nearly every programming job
you need to learn something new. And you want to know a secret? I
really
cut my teeth and learned how to learn.... in college. I learned how to
really take a test in college. I learned how to research, in college.
Seeing a trend? I also learned how to struggle through doing things
that I really did not think were important at the time, but my teachers
knew that just maybe - I would figure out how important these things
were later in life. And I did figure out a number of them.

And then there are the questions about pointers, memory usage, source
control, testing (automated, GUI, unit, integration), ability to work
from
requirements and what type of "programming" (for it is a very broad
term, unfortunately) one has done.

> I want to get a job programming ASAP without wasting the next 4-5
> years of my life going to college.


What is the hurry? Do you want to program because you love
programming? Or is it for the money?

> I learned enough about computers on my own to have been doing tech
> support for the last 4 years, sometimes making more money than my
> parents, with only a high school diploma. Am I just lucky, or can you
> still make it in the Industry with out a time consuming degree?


Making more money than your parents with a high school degree?

Sounds like you have found a niche, to be a good (or professional)
programmer requires insight and experience. Then you're talking
real money - then the tough part starts: are you doing something
you love, or something for the money ? BTW, going to college
may help you find something you might love (and maybe someone too,
girls can be amazing... cute _and_ smart, what a combo).

And lastly, the best way to do anything, is spend a small amount
planning, ask smart people, plan a little more, and then go for it.

Doug

ps. This advice works for those girls just as well.




happyrav 06-28-2003 07:12 AM

Re: quickest way to a programming job
 
"D. Lane" <laned@ix.netcom.com> wrote in message news:<bdil5c$v8r$1@slb5.atl.mindspring.net>...
> hi_buzz,
>
> Please forgive me for making assumptions, you provided
> little information as to why you asked the question and
> what your situation is. My advice will be both theory and
> practical.
>Thanks alot for the info. guess I'll dive in and go for the CIS

degree. I'm just finishing up a CCNA, and the girls... well, there
aren't any. :/


> happyrav <hi_buzz@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:58d691a8.0306270021.6e3b9f86@posting.google.c om...
> > For those of you who work as programmers, what is your opinion of
> > college education vs. self education?

>
> You want the right answer for a whole lot of reasons dealing both
> with learning and life??
>
> Go to college/University. The advice was given to me by very
> smart people, and I had the exact same choice as you did.
>
> > Does it come down to convincing
> > an employer to hire you by showing him some programs you wrote?

>
> No not usually, I have conducted a lot of technical interviews. There
> are more
> important abilities to being a programmer. One of the first questions
> I ask is:
> - approx how many lines of each language have you coded?
>
> Then I ask technical questions about what sort of programming will be
> done to figure out how much you will need to learn, or how much you know
> ?
>
> I also ask _how_ you learn, because for nearly every programming job
> you need to learn something new. And you want to know a secret? I
> really
> cut my teeth and learned how to learn.... in college. I learned how to
> really take a test in college. I learned how to research, in college.
> Seeing a trend? I also learned how to struggle through doing things
> that I really did not think were important at the time, but my teachers
> knew that just maybe - I would figure out how important these things
> were later in life. And I did figure out a number of them.
>
> And then there are the questions about pointers, memory usage, source
> control, testing (automated, GUI, unit, integration), ability to work
> from
> requirements and what type of "programming" (for it is a very broad
> term, unfortunately) one has done.
>
> > I want to get a job programming ASAP without wasting the next 4-5
> > years of my life going to college.

>
> What is the hurry? Do you want to program because you love
> programming? Or is it for the money?
>
> > I learned enough about computers on my own to have been doing tech
> > support for the last 4 years, sometimes making more money than my
> > parents, with only a high school diploma. Am I just lucky, or can you
> > still make it in the Industry with out a time consuming degree?

>
> Making more money than your parents with a high school degree?
>
> Sounds like you have found a niche, to be a good (or professional)
> programmer requires insight and experience. Then you're talking
> real money - then the tough part starts: are you doing something
> you love, or something for the money ? BTW, going to college
> may help you find something you might love (and maybe someone too,
> girls can be amazing... cute _and_ smart, what a combo).
>
> And lastly, the best way to do anything, is spend a small amount
> planning, ask smart people, plan a little more, and then go for it.
>
> Doug
>
> ps. This advice works for those girls just as well.


amanda 06-28-2003 05:17 PM

Re: quickest way to a programming job
 
hi_buzz@hotmail.com (happyrav) wrote in message news:<58d691a8.0306272312.5312e8cf@posting.google. com>...
> "D. Lane" <laned@ix.netcom.com> wrote in message news:<bdil5c$v8r$1@slb5.atl.mindspring.net>...
> > hi_buzz,
> >
> > Please forgive me for making assumptions, you provided
> > little information as to why you asked the question and
> > what your situation is. My advice will be both theory and
> > practical.
> >Thanks alot for the info. guess I'll dive in and go for the CIS

> degree. I'm just finishing up a CCNA, and the girls... well, there
> aren't any. :/
>
>
> > happyrav <hi_buzz@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> > news:58d691a8.0306270021.6e3b9f86@posting.google.c om...
> > > For those of you who work as programmers, what is your opinion of
> > > college education vs. self education?

> >
> > You want the right answer for a whole lot of reasons dealing both
> > with learning and life??
> >
> > Go to college/University. The advice was given to me by very
> > smart people, and I had the exact same choice as you did.
> >
> > > Does it come down to convincing
> > > an employer to hire you by showing him some programs you wrote?

> >
> > No not usually, I have conducted a lot of technical interviews. There
> > are more
> > important abilities to being a programmer. One of the first questions
> > I ask is:
> > - approx how many lines of each language have you coded?
> >
> > Then I ask technical questions about what sort of programming will be
> > done to figure out how much you will need to learn, or how much you know
> > ?
> >
> > I also ask _how_ you learn, because for nearly every programming job
> > you need to learn something new. And you want to know a secret? I
> > really
> > cut my teeth and learned how to learn.... in college. I learned how to
> > really take a test in college. I learned how to research, in college.
> > Seeing a trend? I also learned how to struggle through doing things
> > that I really did not think were important at the time, but my teachers
> > knew that just maybe - I would figure out how important these things
> > were later in life. And I did figure out a number of them.
> >
> > And then there are the questions about pointers, memory usage, source
> > control, testing (automated, GUI, unit, integration), ability to work
> > from
> > requirements and what type of "programming" (for it is a very broad
> > term, unfortunately) one has done.
> >
> > > I want to get a job programming ASAP without wasting the next 4-5
> > > years of my life going to college.

> >
> > What is the hurry? Do you want to program because you love
> > programming? Or is it for the money?
> >
> > > I learned enough about computers on my own to have been doing tech
> > > support for the last 4 years, sometimes making more money than my
> > > parents, with only a high school diploma. Am I just lucky, or can you
> > > still make it in the Industry with out a time consuming degree?

> >
> > Making more money than your parents with a high school degree?
> >
> > Sounds like you have found a niche, to be a good (or professional)
> > programmer requires insight and experience. Then you're talking
> > real money - then the tough part starts: are you doing something
> > you love, or something for the money ? BTW, going to college
> > may help you find something you might love (and maybe someone too,
> > girls can be amazing... cute _and_ smart, what a combo).
> >
> > And lastly, the best way to do anything, is spend a small amount
> > planning, ask smart people, plan a little more, and then go for it.
> >
> > Doug
> >
> > ps. This advice works for those girls just as well.



It seems that you have found your niche. My suggestion is enhance that
with a degree which you seem to have decided to go for it.

Do not go to college for the following reasons: experiment with drugs,
and rock n' roll, and all in a convenient place where your parents
aren't around.

Once you brain has been fried with drugs, it will never been the same.

Ken Ream 06-28-2003 06:49 PM

Re: quickest way to a programming job
 

"D. Lane" <laned@ix.netcom.com> wrote in message
news:bdil5c$v8r$1@slb5.atl.mindspring.net...
> hi_buzz,


> > Does it come down to convincing
> > an employer to hire you by showing him some programs you wrote?

>
> No not usually, I have conducted a lot of technical interviews. There
> are more
> important abilities to being a programmer. One of the first

questions
> I ask is:
> - approx how many lines of each language have you coded?


Ah! The old standby STUPIDEST INTERVIEW QUESTION EVER
to ask a programmer.

When I get asked that I immediately know the interviewer is clueless and
there's no
way I want to work for him.

This question is a throw back to the early days of structural programming
and
might have meant something then. Programmmers loved to keep track of lines
of code and brag about how many they wrote. But it really has no bearing on
programmer ability these days. After all the name of the game is to write
stable
efficient reusable code and I've seen programmers write dozens of lines of
code
to accomplish the same thing a programmer who knows the tool he's using can
accomplish in 2 or 3 method calls. So is the programmer who took the long
way
better because he wrote more code?





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D. Lane 06-28-2003 11:17 PM

Re: quickest way to a programming job
 
Ken,

See below...

Ken Ream <kreamNOSPAM@zbzoom.net> wrote in message
news:3efde563$1_3@corp.newsgroups.com...
>
> "D. Lane" <laned@ix.netcom.com> wrote in message
> news:bdil5c$v8r$1@slb5.atl.mindspring.net...
> > hi_buzz,

>
> > > Does it come down to convincing
> > > an employer to hire you by showing him some programs you wrote?

> >
> > No not usually, I have conducted a lot of technical interviews.

There
> > are more
> > important abilities to being a programmer. One of the first

> questions
> > I ask is:
> > - approx how many lines of each language have you coded?

>
> Ah! The old standby STUPIDEST INTERVIEW QUESTION EVER
> to ask a programmer.
>
> When I get asked that I immediately know the interviewer is clueless and
> there's no
> way I want to work for him.
>
> This question is a throw back to the early days of structural programming
> and
> might have meant something then. Programmmers loved to keep track of lines
> of code and brag about how many they wrote. But it really has no bearing

on
> programmer ability these days. After all the name of the game is to write
> stable
> efficient reusable code and I've seen programmers write dozens of lines of
> code
> to accomplish the same thing a programmer who knows the tool he's using

can
> accomplish in 2 or 3 method calls. So is the programmer who took the long
> way
> better because he wrote more code?


Ah, if that were the basis for the question you might be right, but alas
it is not the basis for the question. The basis is a quick way to find
out whether this person has coded a great deal or a little.

To point, I asked that question of someone who was interviewing for
a job as a Java programmer, the answer was: approx. 5,000 lines.
I then followed up, how many lines were Java? He answered 500,
and it turned out the remainder of his "coding" was in Visual Basic.
I ended the interview, very helpful, wouldn't you say ?

It is just one of the 60 or so questions I ask to learn what experience
a candidate has.

Thanks for the comment,

Doug




D. Lane 06-29-2003 03:57 AM

Re: quickest way to a programming job
 
brougham3,

Hi there.

The question is not really the important thing, it is what
the answer reveals.

Oh, as to answers... I typically hear "I don't really know, maybe
30K", another thing I watch for is an answer like someone who has been
programming for 3 years saying "3,000,000 lines". (Don't laugh, it
happened) An answer to the question also may reveal qualities like:
judgement, ability to estimate, maturity. If I got a response like
"That is a stupid question". Clearly the candidate, if hired, would need
a manager/buffer that kept him/her away from customers and other people
that would not welcome that sort of response.

Another thing to notice is that the answer can show something special
about
the interviewee as well. It can be very impressive if a dispassionate
cogent response is given, _then_ they continue on to answer the
question.

No more revelations today.. :)

Happy Programming,

Doug

<brougham3@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:naesfvo0dubjv3t0989j3asf451fhh13om@4ax.com...
> "D. Lane" <laned@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>
> > To point, I asked that question of someone who was interviewing for
> > a job as a Java programmer, the answer was: approx. 5,000 lines.
> > I then followed up, how many lines were Java? He answered 500,
> > and it turned out the remainder of his "coding" was in Visual Basic.
> > I ended the interview, very helpful, wouldn't you say ?

>
> I understand your point in that specific instance, but who keeps track of
> that sort of thing? I haven't kept track of lines of code since I was
> trying out Watts Humphrey's PSP. It was a pain to keep track of, so once

I
> learned what I needed to learn about my own habits, I quit collecting
> statistics. :)
>
> I couldn't give you a good estimate on the number of lines I've produced

in
> the last year, let alone over my entire career.








soft-eng 07-02-2003 07:28 PM

Re: quickest way to a programming job
 
"D. Lane" <laned@ix.netcom.com> wrote in message news:<bdlogs$77r$1@slb4.atl.mindspring.net>...
> brougham3,
>
> Hi there.
>
> The question is not really the important thing, it is what
> the answer reveals.
>
> Oh, as to answers... I typically hear "I don't really know, maybe
> 30K", another thing I watch for is an answer like someone who has been
> programming for 3 years saying "3,000,000 lines". (Don't laugh, it
> happened) An answer to the question also may reveal qualities like:
> judgement, ability to estimate, maturity. If I got a response like
> "That is a stupid question". Clearly the candidate, if hired, would need
> a manager/buffer that kept him/her away from customers and other people
> that would not welcome that sort of response.
>
> Another thing to notice is that the answer can show something special
> about
> the interviewee as well. It can be very impressive if a dispassionate
> cogent response is given, _then_ they continue on to answer the
> question.
>
> No more revelations today.. :)
>
> Happy Programming,
>
> Doug
>


The question reveals something about you as well.
If you were interviewing a typist, and you asked

How many times have you typed the letter "A"?

It is true that the answer shows something about
the typist's thinking. But the question also
shows something -- that you have little clue about
asking questions that will give you the information
you need more accurately. For instance, having
the typist run through a typing test will give
you a lot more useful and relevant information
than asking how many times the typist has
typed the letter "A". Or asking the typist's
speed, accuracy, etc will give you more
direct and relevant information. Since you
are the hiring person, most typists will
try to come up with some answer anyway.
But that doesn't change the nature of the question.

Of course, in the case of the typist the question
is seen to be rather strange right away. In the
case of the programmer, it doesn't seem that
strange because the profession is more complex.
But the level of the question is the same.

If you spent some time thinking about it, you
might come up with some questions that show
you how the interviewee solves problems, whether
he/she understands problems well, the
judgement ability, interest in learning, and so on.
As it is, the only thing you are checking is how polite
the interviewee can remain in face of such
a question.

But if you are hiring support engineers who
will take phone calls where they have to answer
question like "why doesn't my computer work when
I unplug the power cable", you have a good strategy.

And if such question are in fact likely to come from
the hierarchy of your organization itself... then
you have a brilliant strategy, because all your
hires will then earn you many good points.

D. Lane 07-09-2003 06:43 PM

Re: quickest way to a programming job
 
soft-eng,

> The question reveals something about you as well.


An implication is that is that I might lack experience or
an evaluative ability. If that is the case, I disagree and the
question reveals little or nothing about me. If not,
oops. :))

The question that has been commented on is a
gateway question to the other 60-80 questions
which I ask. In fact, it is one of the more simple
and trivial/quick questions which is given, odd that
it brings out such commentary.

Gots to run, software to test and release,

Doug

It is easy to judge, it is harder to understand.

soft-eng <softeng3456@netscape.net> wrote in message
news:9fa75d42.0307021128.772cee71@posting.google.c om...
> "D. Lane" <laned@ix.netcom.com> wrote in message

news:<bdlogs$77r$1@slb4.atl.mindspring.net>...
> > brougham3,
> >
> > Hi there.
> >
> > The question is not really the important thing, it is what
> > the answer reveals.
> >
> > Oh, as to answers... I typically hear "I don't really know, maybe
> > 30K", another thing I watch for is an answer like someone who has

been
> > programming for 3 years saying "3,000,000 lines". (Don't laugh, it
> > happened) An answer to the question also may reveal qualities like:
> > judgement, ability to estimate, maturity. If I got a response like
> > "That is a stupid question". Clearly the candidate, if hired, would

need
> > a manager/buffer that kept him/her away from customers and other

people
> > that would not welcome that sort of response.
> >
> > Another thing to notice is that the answer can show something special
> > about
> > the interviewee as well. It can be very impressive if a

dispassionate
> > cogent response is given, _then_ they continue on to answer the
> > question.
> >
> > No more revelations today.. :)
> >
> > Happy Programming,
> >
> > Doug
> >

>
> The question reveals something about you as well.
> If you were interviewing a typist, and you asked
>
> How many times have you typed the letter "A"?
>
> It is true that the answer shows something about
> the typist's thinking. But the question also
> shows something -- that you have little clue about
> asking questions that will give you the information
> you need more accurately. For instance, having
> the typist run through a typing test will give
> you a lot more useful and relevant information
> than asking how many times the typist has
> typed the letter "A". Or asking the typist's
> speed, accuracy, etc will give you more
> direct and relevant information. Since you
> are the hiring person, most typists will
> try to come up with some answer anyway.
> But that doesn't change the nature of the question.
>
> Of course, in the case of the typist the question
> is seen to be rather strange right away. In the
> case of the programmer, it doesn't seem that
> strange because the profession is more complex.
> But the level of the question is the same.
>
> If you spent some time thinking about it, you
> might come up with some questions that show
> you how the interviewee solves problems, whether
> he/she understands problems well, the
> judgement ability, interest in learning, and so on.
> As it is, the only thing you are checking is how polite
> the interviewee can remain in face of such
> a question.
>
> But if you are hiring support engineers who
> will take phone calls where they have to answer
> question like "why doesn't my computer work when
> I unplug the power cable", you have a good strategy.
>
> And if such question are in fact likely to come from
> the hierarchy of your organization itself... then
> you have a brilliant strategy, because all your
> hires will then earn you many good points.




brougham3@yahoo.com 07-10-2003 01:00 AM

Re: quickest way to a programming job
 
"D. Lane" <laned@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

> The question that has been commented on is a
> gateway question to the other 60-80 questions
> which I ask.


I don't want to imply that there's anything wrong with asking all of those
questions, but are you hiring somebody to create software, or are you hiring
a professional question answerer?

If I were coaching an American football team, while I might ask a player
about the types of systems he's familiar with, I think having tryouts would
tell me more about the player's ability to fit in with the team than asking
him to sit across a desk from me and pontificate on the theories of
football. Or how many yards he's run in his life. :)

Yet, we in the software industry prefer hearing how candidates answer
questions to seeing if they'll really fit into the team.

Strange world we live in. :)


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