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Ask Slashdot: Minimum Programming Competence In Order To Get a Job?

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the anything-you-can-yourself-into dept.

Programming 466

First time accepted submitter Wisecat (3651085) writes "So we all know that computer programming jobs are hot right now. Heck, even President Obama has been urging Americans to learn the skill. But all of us in tech know that not everyone can hack it, and what's more it takes a while to learn anything, and keep up your skills as technology changes. Add to that the fact that companies (and their hiring managers) are always looking for 'the best of the best of the best' talent, and one starts to wonder: just how good does one actually have to BE to get hired? Certainly, there must be plenty of jobs where a level 7/10 programmer would be plenty good enough, and even some that a level 5/10 would be enough. And perhaps we can agree that a level 2/10 would not likely get hired anywhere. So the question is: given that we have such huge demand for programmers, can a level 5, 6, or 7 ever get past the hiring manager? Or is he doomed to sit on the sidelines while the position goes unfilled, or goes to someone willing to lie about their skill level, or perhaps to an H1-B who will work cheaper (but not necessarily better)? I'm a hardware engineer with embedded software experience, and have considered jumping over to pure software (since there are so many jobs, so much demand) but at age 40, and needing to pick a language and get good at it, I wonder whether it would even be possible to get a job (with my previous work experience not being directly related). Thoughts?"

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Relax (4, Insightful)

Renegade Lisp (315687) | about 4 months ago | (#46989607)

Given how many 2/10 I see in my everyday job life, it can't be that hard.

Re:Relax (4, Interesting)

SnapShot (171582) | about 4 months ago | (#46989797)

Ah, you work in government contracting too?

Re:Relax (5, Informative)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 4 months ago | (#46989831)

Ah, you work in government contracting too?

Enterprise, government contracting. It's all the same (I know, I've seen it, it's ugly.)

Re:Relax (1)

pelirojatica (533396) | about 4 months ago | (#46989923)

That 2/10 programmer might actually be good in a support/assistant position, if ego doesn't get in the way.

Re:Relax (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46990275)

Given that you are one, it's not surprising.

Re:Relax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46990343)

Correct. There are plenty of opportunities for terrible programmers. Many developer jobs are really just scripting anyway, with no knowledge of the inner-workings of a system required.

At age 40, you should have the skills to adapt to any new language, but even without those skills you can get your foot in the door if you present yourself well. Most applicants will be lack social skills and be physical wrecks, even if they have good technical skills. Be fit and outgoing, and life gets easy.

No. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989609)

I'm not sure whether I'm responding to the last questions, "Thoughts?" or whether the answer to a headline question is always "No", but either way, it's "No."

Easy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989615)

My best employees are the one who get stuff done and are mostly self-managed.

When i give them something to do they don't say "hum i never worked on this tech before, i'll try". They say ok and the work shows up done on time.

Average (5, Informative)

digsbo (1292334) | about 4 months ago | (#46989623)

Most programmers fall into the average range. Some are better, some worse. Remarkable.

40? Whatever. Lots of people in their 40s and 50s and 60s have mediocre jobs writing 200 lines of code per quarter in some large corporation. My team of ten has only two programmers under 40, and just barely (38 and 39).

Just dig in and apply for jobs until you get one. Work as hard as you can at being good at your job.

Re:Average (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46990049)

Its OK scro! Lots of computer tards living TOTALLY kick-ass lives. My first team lead was a tard, now he's CEO!

Re:Average (5, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | about 4 months ago | (#46990107)

Lots of people in their 40s and 50s and 60s have mediocre jobs writing 200 lines of code per quarter in some large corporation.

But maybe it's a damn good 200 lines :-)

Note that measuring productivity by lines-of-code has a lot of caveats. I've seen bad, repetitious code that could have been reduced to 1/5 its size if the repetitious parts were simply put in functions with optional key-word parameters. The programmer didn't "get" key-word parameters.

Re:Average (5, Insightful)

Rob Fielding (3524407) | about 4 months ago | (#46990229)

Even when you get good programmers, projects are often managed to push as many amps through a developer as possible. When that happens to a team, more difficult things do get accomplished, but the code often still looks like it was written by an amateur. Bad code ends up being like credit card charges that never get paid off, while the owed amount continues to climb until bankruptcy occurs. This is because the bad code wastes a percentage of everybody's time every day, and the mess compounds as everybody works around it. So, it is often better to just not hire a developer that isn't "the one" (who is often worth about 10 normal people). We used to do interviews including the entire office, and generally require unanimous approval. Maybe 50 to 100 people between phone screens and actual interviews were done to get one person. I think there is an oversupply of people trying to specialize in programming; and most people should be learning programming as a supplemental skill to a specific business.

As my houseboy always tells me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989631)

I am #10 !!

Number 10 is good. Right?

Re:As my houseboy always tells me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989993)

actually number 10 is 5 x Number 2

Good to go with minimal competence. (1)

jddj (1085169) | about 4 months ago | (#46989647)

That seems to be what most of the programmers around me have.

Re:Good to go with minimal competence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989713)

Ha. That's what happens in an "industry" without standards. Some developers never want to interface with customers and/or manage requirements. Some developers only know one or two core languages. I would consider a 9/10 or 10/10 developer in a language that I won't really want/need who can't (or doesn't want to) interface with customers "minimally competent".

Ha, hot programming jobs (3, Funny)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 4 months ago | (#46989649)

So we all know that computer programming jobs are hot right now.

Only if you have an H1-B visa.

Re:Ha, hot programming jobs (2)

Drethon (1445051) | about 4 months ago | (#46989781)

Or are working in the US. I know a few companies that can't find enough developers, though being avionics may have something to do with it.

Re:Ha, hot programming jobs (3, Informative)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 4 months ago | (#46990215)

You mean a few companies who aren't willing to pay what developers are asking.

Re:Ha, hot programming jobs (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 4 months ago | (#46989843)

So we all know that computer programming jobs are hot right now.

Only if you have an H1-B visa.

Bullshit. I believe there is a problem with too many H1-B visas being given, but your claim is bullshit.

Re:Ha, hot programming jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46990001)

Personally I like having the H1B's they create more work than they take away from USA jobs.

60 % of the H1Bs I've worked in developer jobs with didn't know how to code. A few were ok.

95% of the non-H1Bs I've worked with have been reasonably competent or better.

Re:Ha, hot programming jobs (-1, Flamebait)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 4 months ago | (#46989851)

Speak for yourself. There are 24 year old kids making 6 figures right now! If you have a boring COBOL and java probably not as these jobs have applicants with 15 years experience.

But for HTML 5, iOS, CSS 3, jquery you can be very rich if you have 2 years experience and can be a consultant within 5.

If you still can't make then you suck and this is the wrong field for you or you need to take resume 101 writing skills.

I am sure we can have other slashdotters verify this as a reply.

Re:Ha, hot programming jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989913)

But for HTML 5, iOS, CSS 3, jquery

Apple app development, possibly. Web development? No way.

Re:Ha, hot programming jobs (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#46990059)

Contract COBOL programmers can make 250+ an hour, just so you know.

All my friend who do Java make 150K a year+

"HTML 5, iOS, CSS 3, jquery"
iOS isn't a programming language, the others trivial.

Re:Ha, hot programming jobs (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 4 months ago | (#46990233)

Contract COBOL programmers can make 250+ an hour, just so you know.

Where is this? Not in Europe anyway.

Re:Ha, hot programming jobs (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46990269)

"HTML 5, iOS, CSS 3, jquery"
iOS isn't a programming language, the others trivial.

None of those are programming languages, in fact.

HTML 5 is a specific version of a markup language. iOS is an operating system. CSS 3 is a declarative styling language. And jQuery is a framework that works within a programming language (specifically, JavaScript).

Furthermore, people who use (a.k.a. "know") these things aren't necessarily programmers. Programmers write instructions for computers to follow. Writing markup, styling, or layout instructions are not programming, since the "rendering engine" is using that markup to do the actual layout and styling of what is displayed. Using an operating system is not programming for exactly the same reason. There is a program already capable of doing what you want, and you're giving it commands that it translates into computations and actions.

I'll concede that you can call yourself a programmer if you use jQuery, since you can't really use jQuery in any other context other than programming. Easy-mode programming that shouldn't pay much, but still programming. (As you said, it's "trivial".)

Re:Ha, hot programming jobs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989919)

Perhaps if you spent less time on FB, reddit, /. et al when at work, your employer wouldn't need to import overseas skills who take their job seriously?

Depends on the job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989659)

It depends on the job, industry, and type of work. A basic CRUD web app that's not going on the public internet you could perhaps get away with level 5/10.

Nope (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989665)

> we all know that computer programming jobs are hot right now.

I certainly don't. Also this submission is bad.

Guy who makes $150K a year... (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 4 months ago | (#46989669)

...who only knows HTML, CSS, and JavaScript will be posting in 3....2....1....

.

Re:Guy who makes $150K a year... (2)

StripedCow (776465) | about 4 months ago | (#46989709)


setTimeout(function(){ document.write("I make $150K a year!"); }, 3000);

Re:Guy who makes $150K a year... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989759)

And here I am. Have you tried to hire a javascript programmer these days?

Re:Guy who makes $150K a year... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989927)

And here I am.

Good for you. $150k isn't enough to convince me to write anything in JavaScript. I would view that as pity money for having to do such a unwanted thing.

Re:Guy who makes $150K a year... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989875)

Pfft, you can do all those things with the extensible and powerful HOSTS FILE!

Re:Guy who makes $150K a year... (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 4 months ago | (#46989879)

...who only knows HTML, CSS, and JavaScript will be posting in 3....2....1.... .

Those are hottest paying jobs right now. HR wants people with 5 years experience developing IOS, HTML 5, CSS 3, jquery, and nosql. You can pull in six figures easily if you can do this.

For Cobol and java EE jobs? Uh no as applicants are flooded with many many decades of experience which is something HR weenies love and will devalue you as every applicant has +10 experience? Why don't you etc?

Comes to show you need to stay current in tech if you want the big bugs. Stay behind and your money and worth stay behind with it.

Funniest typo ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989975)

Comes to show you need to stay current in tech if you want the big bugs.

With a nick of "Billy Gates," it makes it even funnier.

Re:Guy who makes $150K a year... (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#46990083)

"you need to stay current in tech if you want the big bugs"
truer words have never been spoken. Although probably not what you intended.

Stop listing iOS as a computer language, moron.

Re:Guy who makes $150K a year... (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 4 months ago | (#46990211)

It is not a language. I put IOS as what employers list as requirements.

Most of iOS development is just some HTML 5 with objective-C logic thrown in for integration sake. I just spoke to someone whose son is making $100,000 a year and he is a 24 year old highschool drop out. He works for Coca Cola, Home Depot, and other companies consulting and he has only 2 years exprience.

He learned HTML 5 and that is how he got in. These companies needed someone to write mobile apps and they couldn't find anyone qualified. Tablet websites, mobile apps all require iOS, Android, mobile app, objective-c, and jquery +html 5.

In the tech field your value can fluctuate widely based on demand. While C++ coders laugh and look down at HTML 5 development the mobile/web coders are the ones getting the last laugh. You can not pull in 6 figures within 3 years or get people to even talk to you at that level of experience with C++. Doesn't matter if it is harder. It matters is the market demand. There was a time when Java programmers 12 years ago were recession proof and could pull in insane amounts of money for kids with HS diplomas too. Not anymore. Yes you can still pull in cash if you have 10 years experience now but it is not like it was in the old days of new.

Re:Guy who makes $150K a year... (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 4 months ago | (#46990121)

you are wrong about the Java EE jobs for over $100K, we certainly have those where I work. Those are with 7+ years on the big EE platforms such as WebSphere or WebLogic on machines that handle money. Yes, the work is complex, tedious and boring as fuck.

Good enough for what? (3, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | about 4 months ago | (#46989673)

Sysadmin scripting? Build tools control? Data modeling? UI development? Maintenance and enhancement on a ERP or SCM system? So it depends on what you are targeting and the demand. No one wants to support COBOL. Everyone wants to do mobile apps. So how do you differentiate in each of those areas? A 2/10 in one area may be considered a 7/10 in another area. That would be the better question. Please resubmit your question with a better statement of goals. Then we may be able to help you.

Re:Good enough for what? (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about 4 months ago | (#46990151)

No one wants to support COBOL. Everyone wants to do mobile apps.

They don't have to be mutually exclusive; invent MOBOL.

Seriously, I once saw Active COBOL Pages for web. The company popped, however.

Sales not Skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989683)

Based on my years of work, skill has very little to do with it. It's all about salesmanship. Can you sell the candidate for a given position to the hiring people, or do you have a contact to sway to hiring VIA networking.

Can't Tell Them Apart (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989689)

a 10% skilled programmer can be identified with simple interview questions. A 20% programmer can be identified with a little more effort. Beyond that? Really hard to differentiate in an interview. You can measure how good they are at language trivia. You can measure there ability to solve easy problems quickly. You can identify basic levels of sanity and social competence. But programming ability? You'll figure it out after they've been working for you over 6 months. So no, you don't have to worry about being a master programmer to get a job, you just need to be a 40% programmer and know how to interview.

Re:Can't Tell Them Apart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989751)

A simple coding test usually separates the wheat from the chaff. My usual test is to have them write code to calculate the nth digit of pi for a very large value of n. Python acceptable, C preferred. Perl gets you shown to the door immediately, with extreme prejudice.

Re:Can't Tell Them Apart (1)

jythie (914043) | about 4 months ago | (#46989887)

Meh, I have found all those tests really show is how often they have heard that particular problem or how well they remember that particular pattern. Thus it is more or less a roll of the dice.

Re:Can't Tell Them Apart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46990061)

No, they show that or people who can actually solve a problem. This tells you that the people who fail the programming test can't solve a problem, and does indeed help you to get rid of the rubbish.

Re:Can't Tell Them Apart (1)

Alioth (221270) | about 4 months ago | (#46990333)

You don't use the coding test alone. You have a coding test, and then in the interview you pick a few of the responses to the test and ask the candidate why they implemented in that particular way (as an example) to show the candidate actually understands what they wrote.

Re:Can't Tell Them Apart (5, Interesting)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 4 months ago | (#46989959)

What is your bias against Perl? Every perl programmer I've met was a decent programmer with the possible
exception of the ones that have done mostly sysadmin and only used perl for simple tasks not programming.
Php and Python on the other hand seem to have alot of people who have picked up the bare minimum to
do a "hello world" and not much else. I have nothing against php and python (except php's random naming
conventions and python's horrible use of whitespace) but it seems like there is alot more beginners using
php and python. You see alot fewer beginners using Java, C, and Perl. Even less for Perl as Perl is usually
a second (or third) language for developers so they are usually highly skilled developers.

Re:Can't Tell Them Apart (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46990189)

This. What is it with people who think Python is the next step in the evolution of dynamic languages, and the other 'P' language is the opposite? They each have their pro's and con's, and if you can't name some of them for each language, you're not qualified to compare them. Lot's of bad code has been written in each language, and Perl got a head start by being the early popular language for the web, with many non-programmers churning out spaghetti code. Don't confuse the programmers with the language.

Re:Can't Tell Them Apart (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989963)

How realistic is that of a test though? I've been programming professionally for a few years now and wouldn't even know where to begin to calculate the digits of pi, why would I need to?

Re:Can't Tell Them Apart (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about 4 months ago | (#46990127)

Instantiate a circle and get the diameter and radius then divide it out. I dont know if it would simple stop at runtime though...or how to control when it stops showing digits...anyone?

As a smartass move id call the extended Math.pi lib in java thats floating around...Math.pi.getdigits(x) or something.

Thats a maths test, not a programming one (2)

Viol8 (599362) | about 4 months ago | (#46990285)

Its probably some simple equation that could be written in 3 lines of code but unless someone knows how to do it I doubt they could figure it out, at least not in the few minutes required in an interview.

Re:Can't Tell Them Apart (1)

DaWhilly (2555136) | about 4 months ago | (#46990315)

Working for you must be interesting.

The test we wrote specifically apply to the skill-sets we need:

  • - SQL Aggregates based on various join types and date ranges. In some cases, asking for rolling totals or even giving questions which cannot be answered accurately. For the later case, we are looking to see either what type of "best effort" they make or what questions they ask to find out more about what we are trying to do vs what we are asking to have done.
  • - Diagnosing a block of code based on a specific "Error Message" to look for it's actual cause and evaluate other areas which may cause bugs. I like to add 1-2 non-obvious issues.
  • - Identify differences between types of the technologies we use (specifically listing the technologies and the limited scope for the review).
  • - Provide a problem domain, identify available toolsets and environments, then ask for 1-2 generic solutions along with possible risks. We keep this generic to reduce the risk they will come up with dumb solutions thinking we want steal their ideas.

We rarely use them as "Pass"/"Fail" questions but grade each question on a 1-10 scale of the answers provided then find the people with the better score. Comparing that to the interview itself helps us decide who we want to interview again with management. We have overridden our scoring system on occasion because someone impressed us on a question but didn't get the highest score. Their answer was sufficient to allow us to make a judgement call. Worked out rather nicely based on the skills they brought that we didn't make a test to measure.

We also change the questions based on how our work changes so that we don't try to test against something we were doing 3+ years ago but aiming for skills we need now or will need in a few months.

Re:Can't Tell Them Apart (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about 4 months ago | (#46990005)

But programming ability? You'll figure it out after they've been working for you over 6 months.

OTOH, if they've ever written any open-source software, you can simply download the source to said software and have a look through it. Chances are it will be quite similar to the quality of code you'll get from them if you hire them.

Re:Can't Tell Them Apart (5, Informative)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 4 months ago | (#46990243)

that does not work. I tried, many MANY times.

I have open source code (about 13k lines of c/c++ for embedded platform) and I happen to interview 'badly' when I am put on the spot and asked to code up something in 15 minutes while someone watches me. that's not how I work and I fail horribly at THAT style of interview. note, I am fairly good (not a+ but definitely better than average) at coding in the real world - just NOT in synthetic white-board style interviews.

I've repeatedly asked companies to accept my public source code, review it and ask me about it, if they wish. its what they'd get from me if they hired me and I don't have a problem with them judging me based on my submitted public code. but they just don't download it, they dont' ask, they don't care. they ONLY know the stupid 'script' shit of asking to have a guy code while standing on one leg and twirling a hula hoop on the left arm. well, might as well be, for me; I just don't do 'live/standup' coding. just don't do it and I resent being judged on this artificial metric.

I might have been able to do the stand-up thing in my 20's, but I'm in my 50's now and it does not work for me anymore. I wish employers would get beyond this broken method of interview style. or at least admit that not everyone writes code in 15 minutes while being watched and under pressure. in my years of writing code on the job, never once was there this kind of condition while I worked.

Key is non-programming skills (4, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 4 months ago | (#46989711)

People often ignore their non-programming skills. Get fired from a manufacturing job? Learn to code and try to get a job coding the software that runs the machines that took your job. Your industry xp will be a plus. Work as an orderly in a hospital? Code for medical machines.

Re:Key is non-programming skills (3, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#46989977)

Exactly this. It's worth mentioning that your interview skills are more important that your actual programming skills. Sad but true.

The main thing is to do a self-analysis. Instead of thinking of things in terms of 2/10 or 7/10, think of actual skills. Can you get the computer to do what you want? 99% of programming is not complex algorithms, it's straightforward moving data from a DB, or reading form data. Being able to validate form data is more important than knowing quicksort.

So if you can write straight-forward code, and can interview well, then you can be a programmer.

Re:Key is non-programming skills (1)

bitt3n (941736) | about 4 months ago | (#46990297)

Learn to code and try to get a job coding the software that runs the machines that took your job.

this is fiendishly clever. if you're bad enough at it, you might end up getting your original job back.

Re:Key is non-programming skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46990301)

HR wants the best of the best, but does not define coding skills as part of their criteria. Only those who need to work with an individual value those skills. Furthermore, unemployment for software developers is quite low compares to the national average. Even the 2/10 skills are getting jobs.
http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/software-developer

Wrong Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989715)

I wouldn't be excited about hiring anyone for any job who was looking at acquiring the bare minimum skill set.

meaning of competence (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | about 4 months ago | (#46989723)

I fancy myself a "knows a LOT of languages and knows how to adapt". So I can sit down in front of a machine running a completely in-house language, and be proficient in it in less than a day, very skilled in under a week. I think this is more important than already being proficient with any given language. Having a very broad background of languages is very useful, because there comes a point where a new language won't really have any surprises you're not used to managing.

Things change so fast with computers, how fast you can adapt is usually more useful than how much you already know. Experience goes stale so quickly, only adaptation remains valuable any distance out into the future.

So this makes it a little tricky to judge "programming competence". If you simply sit them down and see how well they can code in what you use right now, you're not necessarily getting a good measurement on how "competent" they'll be at it in a week. I'd say "throw something at them you know they have ZERO experience with, and see how they react". A competent programmer should be able to have 80%+ comprehension on any code you set in front of them. They should also be capable of very simple edits, and maybe even a little debugging. Have an experienced dev sit down beside them and then give them a simple challenge, with the dev as their assistant. The questions they ask the dev will tell you a lot about their level of competence. Get the dev's input on this later too.

Re:meaning of competence (2)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 4 months ago | (#46989839)

Yup. Really, critical thinking/troubleshooting skills and organizational skills are far more important than your familiarity with any given language. Ability to adapt/learn on your own is next.

In the OP's case, he's probably in very good shape due to his experience with hardware engineering and embedded development. Software guys who understand what the underlying hardware means for them are RARE. The OP might want to look into platform/BSP maintenance jobs for embedded devices - the smartphone software industry is especially hot right now. Lots of companies are having trouble hiring enough competent software engineers.

Re:meaning of competence (1)

Nightwraith (180411) | about 4 months ago | (#46989895)

This is where the understanding of Programming Language Concepts comes into play. If you understand the basic principles of what you want to do the syntax will come.

Mod Parent Up

the syntax is the easy part (2)

Chirs (87576) | about 4 months ago | (#46990091)

The more complicated part is all of the system libraries, the third-party libraries, the "right way" to do things in that language, etc.

Re:meaning of competence (2)

Drethon (1445051) | about 4 months ago | (#46989911)

From my experience, pseudo code or programming design language is a large part of the job. How well can a person organize the process the code will use. The actual implementation can usually be looked up on Google.

I find it a bit hard to believe (1)

Chirs (87576) | about 4 months ago | (#46990081)

I fancy myself a "knows a LOT of languages and knows how to adapt". So I can sit down in front of a machine running a completely in-house language, and be proficient in it in less than a day, very skilled in under a week.

I question the timeframe. While the semantics of the language can be picked up in that time, I find it hard to believe that you can pick up all of the system dependencies, the overall design structure, all the dependent components, etc. for a large software system.

I worked in telecom software for a while. When I was hired, they put me through a week-long training course on the proprietary language, another week-long training course on the proprietary debugger, another week-long course on the design of the proprietary OS, another course on the basics of telecom systems, another on OO-programming as used in their product, etc. Sure, some of it was fluff, but there was a lot of meat there too.

I also worked as a linux kernel developer. It's C, so it's not exactly an unfamiliar language. But it took a long time to get to the point where I understood the structure of the kernel, knew what bits were handled where, understood why things were the way they were, and could submit code that was likely to be accepted by the main developers.

Re:meaning of competence (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#46990177)

" and be proficient in it in less than a day, very skilled in under a week.
no, you can't. I have no doubt you believe you can. Unless it's the most trivial and well documented language ever written.

To me, too be proficient you need to answer how many level of redirection can it use well? How is it manipulating memory, knowing where the flaws are. It simply snt possible to determine that with any accuracy in a day. And this isn't even getting into how it deals with threading, mulit-cores, multi-processors, network latency and so on.

In order to he what I would call 'very skilled' you would be able to use the language to write a compiler. Preferable a better one then the in house one.

Devs are seldom qualified to judge is done is a good employee, or even a good programmer. They general get caught up in how they would do it as opposed to how it can be done.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989727)

Statistically speaking, aren't only half of us between 6 and 10, while the other half are 1-5?

Anecdotally I would say that yes, a "less than 7/10" can, and does "get past HR". I've worked with some stinkers. Your 10 years of Java does not necessarily, by itself, make you a 9/10 versus my 2 years of Java, does it?

I would also ask, how does filling a programmer role (with a range of talent) differ from filling other roles? Would the marketing department ever purposely hire a 2/10 or even a "good enough" 5/10?

Specific to the question and my experience with hiring (and being hired), it's a bit of a nebulous equation that contains at a minimum a combination of years experience (many times regardless of the quality, or lack thereof, of those years) and a more technical interview process, likely to include on-site or at least near-point-in-time testing. With a sufficiently technical interview process, and assuming the hiring company has the luxury of time to search, if they require a "7/10" star, then it's unlikely to get past HR based on any other abilities. If we believe, as is being reported more often, that there is truly a shortage of programmers (of all skill levels), then, like many other worldly analogies, I would have to assume that the demand will force the lowering of the entrance bar.

How do I check my level? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 4 months ago | (#46989755)

WTF is a "X out of 10" programmer? Is there a stamp on me somewhere I can check to see my level?

>> just how good does one actually have to BE to get hired?

Depends who you know, really. (Or whether a posted position is just legalese so they can get their pre-approved candidate through, etc.)

>> perhaps we can agree that a level 2/10 would not likely get hired anywhere

Actually, these are the people I would typically talk up to get other companies to "steal" - saves termination expenses.

Actually quite opposite (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989763)

Well, actually, I have quite the opposite problem. Somehow I found out that to get a job, I have to pretend to be less qualified.
The most job offerings I see are for qualification level I had 6-8 years ago :(

So, dont worry, there is plenty of jobs out there you can get (if you have at least some experience)

What do you think of a person who only does the ba (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989791)

Look, we want you to express yourself, ok? If you think the bare
minimum is enough, then ok. But some people choose to wear more and we
encourage that, ok? You do want to express yourself, don't you?

Probably hire a range of people (0)

hessian (467078) | about 4 months ago | (#46989815)

You only need one 9/10 to organize the project and avoid pitfalls.

Everyone else can write the bog-standard code that doesn't improve between someone with a 5/10 and a 10/10, or at least not by any metric measurable for business logic.

So they offer the 7/10s half what the 9/10 makes, and hire on a 5:1 ratio.

I'm sorry (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989837)

The real demand isn't for programmers, it is for cheap programmers.

That's not how the world works, thankfully. (1)

talldean (1038514) | about 4 months ago | (#46989845)

Your scale implies one set of skills, and there's certainly more than that! As two important ones; the ability and desire to learn, and the tools you already know. I've worked with a lot of junior engineers who didn't know much, but were good at picking things up and moving with them. I've worked with a lot of senior engineers who knew lots of tools and theory, but weren't very good at picking up new things. (I've also worked with junior engineers who were terrible, and senior engineers who could pick up new things faster than me; it's a mix.) To get hired, you need to convince the hiring manager you can do the job, can do it better than the next guy, and can do it at a price they're willing to pay. Right now, there's simply not enough developers who can do the job, so even if you're not great but still get the job done and don't seem awful to work with, the determining factor is "did someone else better apply?"

Wrong Metric. (1)

jythie (914043) | about 4 months ago | (#46989859)

While programming competence often play a role and can sink an interview, social skills tend to play the dominant role in both getting an interview and getting hired. Interviewers will generally find ways to rationalize their choices, either highlighting or downplaying 'signs' they find in the person's work history or test results, but what really ends up mattering is the connection one makes and how good an impression one leaves.

As a Sr. Analytics Manager... (2)

garcia (6573) | about 4 months ago | (#46989873)

What I like to see are the following:

1. Statistics knowledge

2. Excel (pivots, charting, VBA, etc.)

3. SAS/R/SPSS (in order).

4. Unix shell scripting.

5. Some sort of data visualization tool usage (e.g. Tableu)

---

We are currently looking for analysts and the market is tough. We take people from all walks: CS, social sciences, Stats/Math/Econ/Finance, etc. The Analytics market is continually growing and in desperate need of people who are competent until higher education catches up and starts putting people out with a good mix of CS, Stats, and Business knowledge.

Get into Analytics IMO, the pay is great and the work is pretty fun.

Re:As a Sr. Analytics Manager... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 4 months ago | (#46990123)

How do you get in without experience. I graduated in 2009 with a specialty in this area and ended up doing low end desktop support. No one wanted to talk to me unless I had the experience first and then they have to bring in H1b1 visa holders as they couldn't find qualified candidates yada yada.

Re:As a Sr. Analytics Manager... (1)

garcia (6573) | about 4 months ago | (#46990195)

In the work my team is responsible for, I look for culture fit above anything else. I took a guy with some internship work during his graduate schooling and turned him into what I consider a stellar programmer/analyst.

I'd concentrate on your programming skill and your business knowledge, if any. A lot of organizations are looking for report jockeys and/or true analysts and in that case, highlight your visualization and analysis ability first, programming second. What sort of experience did you have during your schooling that you believe makes you a good fit for an analytics role today?

We have sponsored before, but we/I prefer to hire those who don't require it first.

My experience is mixed (1)

AlienSexist (686923) | about 4 months ago | (#46989891)

Having worked with and managed a number of programmers over the years I've had the privilege of working alongside a number of truly gifted people. But for every rock star there are far more mediocre and inept persons for the role. On the lower-end of the quality I've seen work so shoddy that it was insulting - those people don't last long in the role but might be suitable for other positions. We try our hardest to retain the top talent but sometimes they just like to wander from project to project for their own interests. Thankfully they seem to like us enough that they always consider coming back after they've had their walkabout.

Not starting a religious war here, but the only pattern I can offer is that those lacking any formal education (self-taught/hobbyist) and those whose primary skill and experience is PHP have had the most disappointing performance. Those among the best performers stay current and attend technical conferences & seminars on topics that interest them. One particular symposium that yields great results for our team and projects has been No Fluff Just Stuff [nofluffjuststuff.com] YMMV.

Short answer yes, long answer yes, if (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#46989899)

First of all, let me be the one to say that getting past the HR department is independent of skill. Simply because they usually know LESS about programming than you. I don't know how much you know, but I can say with some credibility that if you ever had to do anything with computers other than turning it on, your chances are high that you're a computer wizard compared to anything that could sit in HR.

That aside, you do have some valuable experience and I'd build on that: You worked on embedded hardware. Yes, I'm dead serious, build on THAT. We're getting more and more "smart appliances", the next big thing in IT will probably be how to manipulate all the appliances in your home with your smartphone or your tablet. Let's face it, we've pimped TVs and got people to buy a new one every other year, at least. But their fridges, microwaves, washers and dryers sit there for years and years without being replaced. A marketing nightmare. The next big thing must logically be to get people to throw those out every other year to buy something better, and "better" in this case can only mean that you can somehow network them. My suggestion would be to get on that train.

If you don't want to be the guy designing and developing the hardware/firmware for the appliances, there will most certainly be a spot for a software developer for mobile devices who knows the "other side", read, the hardware in the appliance, and how to string them together sensibly. If you have any kind of experience with WPAN in any of its forms, I'd say you're going to be very popular.

5/10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989931)

For a full-time software development position, you need to be at least 5/10. Anything below that, and you will inevitably cause more issues than you fix. Note that most people are at least 1-2 points below where they think they are.

5/10 is your 'average' developer that can get the job done, but produces average quality code at an average speed.
6/10 is 'above average', does everything that a 5/10 can, but better.
7/10 is a good, solid developer, that can work independently and produce quality code.
8/10 guys are going to be very strong technically and are the ones you want designing systems and writing critical components
9/10 and 10/10 are the Carmacks, Stroustrups, etc.

My theory is that developer competence is a logarithmic scale. As you go up the scale, you will be able to solve more difficult problems, in less time and with better quality. A 6/10 is 2x as productive, and can solve more difficult problems than a 5/10. A 7/10 is 2x more productive than a 6/10, etc. At the extremes, given a large enough and complex enough problem, a 10/10 is ~30x more productive than a 5/10!

With that in mind, you need to be atleast 5/10 to get hired. Personally, I would pass on 5/10s and hire 6/10s (and up) and train them up.

Anyone can get hired (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 4 months ago | (#46989935)

First off, this reeks WAY too much of that bullshit stock question: On a scale of ten where would you rate yourself

8. Everyone is an 8. If you're not an 8, you've probably got issues of one type or another.

As for the actual question, you don't have to know jack fucking shit to get hired by an incompetent manager, dodge all responsibility for as long as you can, and then bail. It happens. People with literally zero experience show up, talk a good talk, and land jobs. Their resume is full of lies and the company doesn't verify.

I know of one case where the guy was desperate for a paycheck and landed an IT gig. During the day he logged everyone's problems, but he was "real busy putting out fires, I'll get to you tomorrow". After work and at night he would learn the shit out of the thing he was asked about and he'd come in fix the thing the next day. He's lead dev at a company now. Eventually you don't have to fake it.

Now, anywhere I work, and have any sort of sway over the hiring process, I'm going to demand that you at least pass a simple coding quiz to weed out the worst offenders. My manager actually asked me for such a test. I pulled this out of my ass. What do you guys think?

In the language of your choice or in pseudocode please provide a solution to the following stub: /*
reverses the string for every sentence.
Ex input: “My test. It works ok.” 21
Ex result: “test My. ok works It.”
*/
void reverseSentence(char* str, int sizeStr)
{

}

After he gets done ask:
-What are the discrepancies in the requirements as stated?
-How would you resolve them?
-What are the undefined cases?

(“reverse the string” is not the same thing as reversing the sentence structure as shown in the examples. And it doesn’t really define what a sentence is.
It says nothing about what to do when there are no periods, or when sizeStr is zero.)

It doesn't really matter how you solve it, as long as you spot the giant glaring pit-trap, and provide some reasonable code to perform what you wanted it to do.

In the end it's actually more a matter of what keywords your have on your resume, how well you can schmooze with HR types and office drones, and how cheap you're willing to work. Sorry if that comes off as cynical, but I'd rather be cynical and true than naive and wrong.

Competence various as allowed (3, Insightful)

Carrot007 (37198) | about 4 months ago | (#46989939)

Your actual competence and achieved competence may vary.

You may be a good 9/10 however you may achieve 2/10 in your job because you are not given the time/resources to do any better.

Shit is complex.

Exhibit the ability to solve problems (1)

Dishwasha (125561) | about 4 months ago | (#46989941)

Nuff said

Re:Exhibit the ability to solve problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46990097)

That.

Ability to solve a range of problems. Cover a gamut of the development process from marketing spec to (successful) product.

No such thing as a 5/10 programmer (1, Insightful)

gwstuff (2067112) | about 4 months ago | (#46989989)

In my experience, there's no such thing as a 5/10 programmer. If a person has good fundamentals (decent math and analytical thinking), the right attitude, and the desire to learn and improve, then while he might find himself at the 5 mark temporarily, he will eventually get to the high mark. Without the right attitude, he'll be stuck at 2 and generally do more damage than good.

Short answer: yes (2)

syzygie (125423) | about 4 months ago | (#46990011)

Warning: lots of terms in quotation marks here because there are no agreed-on definitions for those terms.

In we and mobile development, there is a lot of demand for developers and there are not enough "senior" developers to go around. That means there are opportunities for "junior" and "intermediate" developers to work on teams where they can gain experience and work their way up. It also explains why so many intensive developer training courses have popped up everywhere.

And why shoot for 7/10? That might be a place you live for a while, but with a little discipline and lots of practice, I feel many people have the ability to be great programmers. For most web development, having a great CS background isn't really all that useful.

Having other experience is often (almost always) useful, especially if you have knowledge of the domain you're working in.

It's never too late to start. I've had people well into their 50's come to the Rails Girls workshops I have organized.

It sounds like you would pass my interview. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46990023)

I think if you like coding and can learn from what you find on Google... You would probably pass my interviews.

I don't see why you would not get hired (4, Interesting)

vikingpower (768921) | about 4 months ago | (#46990031)

Your age does not play as large a role as you may think. In 2004, I had 13+ years of experience in pure software on the odometer, but - due to mental illness - first lost my job, then became homeless. I did the only thing I was still able to do: I walked. All over Europe. Homeless, but not giving in. Once back in my home country, in 2006, I managed to settle down again: the clouds in my head had cleared, and a large aerospace constructor gave me chance. I was 39 years old, and it started a great ride in my career, one that I am still on.

What I did, you can do. As to the language: there is not really a problem discernible to me. You probably already master C, or a C-like language. The jump to C++ is not that hard, in that case. Otherwise, you might want to consider ADA, a stunningly elegant language that could very well land you jobs with e.g. Rockwell, Boeing etc. etc. ( assuming you are in the USA ). Good luck, and do not forget: it is not your success that counts - it is the fact that you keep trying.

Good Times, Bad Times, Warning (5, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | about 4 months ago | (#46990035)

I lived in California after the dot-com crash, and the field was tough-going for a few years. I had to take some out-of-state contracts with sleazy agencies to pay the bills. Fortunately I had some "legacy" knowledge to fall back on compared to the web-only developers, who had to compete directly with other webbies recently dumped from the failed dot-coms.

Remember, ups-and-downs are likely and the field changes fast. Being good enough to work in the field during the boom years may not be good enough for the bust years, and you could wind up with the wrong skills at the wrong time.

In my opinion, for a longer view, pick a field you are good at rather than one that appears strong now.

And people skills are always good to have and/or hone because that reduces the chance you'll be off-shored or automated out of the job.

Same Scenario (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46990041)

I too have been looking for jobs as someone who has a decent understanding with both the hardware and software side of a system. After applying for countless jobs and getting only one interview, I can't help but think that companies are hiring people unless you are fresh out of college (I graduated last year with an EET, but am currently employed as an Electronics Technician) or have 5+ years of direct experience.

I guess my suggestion would be to stay away from "Software Engineering" jobs unless you definitely have experience in that field. I would suggest looking into the Embedded Software/Firmware Engineer field. There are lots of good jobs for people who have experience with hardware/software.

As far as language, you can't go wrong with C/C++. It is amazing the number of jobs that require having competency in those fields. I would also look into Arduino, PIC, and Xilinx platforms. Loooots of jobs that use that/similar technology and are less brutal to get into.

Tech support and crystal reports and excel macros (1)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 4 months ago | (#46990045)

Having interviewed plenty of "programmers" who had jobs, the bar is pretty low.
There are plenty of "programming" jobs out there that are not really programming
jobs by my definition. Many "programming" jobs are updating a webpage for
a department occasionally, generating some random report, helping someone
install a printer, creating an excel macro, etc... The minimum competence to
"get a job" is very low. The question is: What kind of job do you really want?

Overqualified, often passed over (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 4 months ago | (#46990051)

I don't know what it is with hiring managers. I've been submitting to jobs that I should be hired for. In one instance in particular, I submitted a job app at Zenimax where they were looking for a DevOps person with a string scripting background. Perl, PHP, Python, JS were all on my resume, even including Python embedding. They said my experience was "thin". I don't know how you an be "thin", when you've embedded Python into C apps, it requires a pretty thorough understanding of Python internals. I've been out of college 13 years now, and I've done everything except GIS, 3D, and mainframe stuff like SAP/PeopleSoft. I've done .NET, Java, C++, full-stack, (Full stack in C++, Python, .NET, Java) I don't consider myself a .NET expert or a Java expert, but I wield these languages without any struggle. Have I done JNI? No. Have I done C++/CLI yes. I've even done project management (in house and international) So I think I'm pretty experienced, but hell if I can get hired. I wonder if all my experience just makes me look "thin". But they passed me over 3 times. Now, they deserve whatever crappy candidate they hire.

These days, I think I need to talk to the actual dev people and not the idiot in HR.

I've worked in call centers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46990079)

I've worked in call centers where programming wasn't in the job description, yet in all of them I wound up programming my own tools because the tools provided by the companies were substandard (well eBay's were all cribbed from previous employees, the tool they use the most was written by people who weren't hired as programmers to begin with.)

So I'm of the opinion that even a 2/10 programmer can be a 7/10 programmer if they aren't hired into a position where programming was in the job description because it's often the people who actually do the work who need tools that they can understand. Tools written for CSR's by programmers have some of the worst designed user interfaces (eBay uses something called KANA in which the web tool is a total piece of crap, slow and when I viewed the source code, it seems like every page was being generated by the server and all the javascript was responsible for was the UI buttons, but it was begin generated on every page, so it was some of the slowest miserable crap I ever had to use. Yet the older Native win32 KANA tool was lightning fast and preferred by staff who knew about it. )

One of the other call centers I worked for, a "knowledge base" system came online written in Java, was miserably slow. The staff who knew better, used the static web pages that predated the crappy knowledge base. This same call center upgraded (or should I say downgraded) to a CRM software for their GSM network called SIEBEL. This program was a royal piece of crap and slow, so slow that they wrote a static web page just to do bill payments that they outsourced to India.

See this is the problem with large companies (AT&T, eBay/Paypal, Comcast, Verizon, Google, Apple, Dell, HP, GoDaddy, etc) is that there is not enough communication between the people at the "front line" of customer experience that care, with the people who actually write the tools they need to use. Crap just gets dictated "ooh this Siebel program is shiney, let's drop a fortune in licensing it, even though it's woefully inappropriate and incompatible with what we already use"

Like I sound really grumpy, but it comes from being "forced" to learn a piece of software that was 10 times slower to actually use that the previous software. Between myself and a handful of people at these call centers, we wrote our own tools with whatever macro language was available on the machine (MS Word/MS Excel, WSH, Macro Express, etc) having to smuggle in/out algorithms since we weren't hired as "programmers" yet the company "owns" anything we create that we don't disclose at hire. The "best" relative experience was eBay, because even though they upgraded to "better" software, they didn't force us to replace what we already used. However the entire data mining bullshit of taxonomy reduced efficiency whenever we had to look up the history of an account.

hw - sw switch is popular (1)

alex4747 (3637571) | about 4 months ago | (#46990089)

I saw 10s of engineers who made this switch. In some industries (telecom equipment, storage) it is very common. I do not understand the question about language - I suppose you can program in C and it is still bread and butter in many cases.

Try to get contract job first. In the past I had good experience with some guys that now are working for http://www.symphonyteleca.com/ [symphonyteleca.com]

From what I've seen as a maintenance programmer... (3, Insightful)

Max Threshold (540114) | about 4 months ago | (#46990109)

...the bar is pretty fucking low. Incompetence rules the industry; everyone is selling snake oil.

You should know enough to be able to debug (2)

quietwalker (969769) | about 4 months ago | (#46990277)

I have fielded this question a number of times.

Right now, the job market for developers is not very discriminatory. They'll take anyone they can. That means your barrier for entry is low. That being said, I've done a bit more research, and I can say that the most lucrative and mobile entry level development job you can land is probably web application developer. Not designer, but rather, someone who makes a web-based application 'go'.

With that in mind, you'll need the following skills: SQL, HTML, CSS, Javascript (jQuery specifically, but other libraries are good), and a backing language - probably Java or C#/ASP.NET. You'll also need to become familiar with your web execution framework - Tomcat is big in the Java world, and naturally IIS is used in the .NET world. Luckily for you, there are many resources to learn all these things absolutely free of charge, with huge communities of volunteers helping each other out. So, what level do you need these skills at?

Well, as a new hire - regardless of your skill level - you're unlikely to be given a new project to start on. Likely, your first few months are going to be a combination of learning your company's domain knowledge (like finances or autos, or whatever), and tackling bug fixes and/or feature enhancements. For that you'll need to understand how the programs work so that you can source problems. You'll have to be familiar with IDE's and the debugging capabilities - especially learning how to setup and debug web based programs on your local system, as well as remote debugging. You're going to have to be able to read code well enough that you can translate most of it into english in your head - without having to go line by line until you have to dig down that deep. That means recognizing structures and flow easily (which is why I also recommend you avoid ruby on rails and spring - and maybe even hibernate/nhibernate until you've learned more).

You're also going to need to know enough about a development environment to know how to ask an intelligent question about it. There's a world of difference between "I can't get it to work," and something like "I tried increasing the max heap size, but I'm still getting an out of memory error each time I execute a prepared statement after the first call." See here: http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/s... [catb.org] . One important quote to take away from this: "What we are, unapologetically, is hostile to people who seem to be unwilling to think or to do their own homework before asking questions." That faq will help you get past the newbie phase without giving up.

So, an unasked followup question, how long will it take to get there? Well, hour-by-hour, you can compress the entirety of a CS degree program into 4 months of 8 hours, 5 days a week, but you won't need all that. I'm going to say that to get there, to really be employable, worst case it'll take about 250 hours of study total. If you take it at a light pace, about 10 hours a week, you should be ready in 6 months.

With today's environment, I wouldn't be at all surprised if you halved that and still got a job, but I would feel bad for suggesting that was an adequate amount of study and practice.

One last important thing that I've only touched on indirectly; you absolutely must learn how to teach yourself. New libraries and frameworks come out every day, and the flavor of the month changes at a rapid pace. At some point, you'll realize that all languages do more or less the same thing, they just have different syntactical sugar, or internal constructs that make a given task easier or harder, sometimes even between versions of the same language. You need to be able to stay on top of those changes, while googling or asking for solutions to odd problems or configuration errors.

Depends on the position (1)

MarkRose (820682) | about 4 months ago | (#46990289)

What is the position? Is it to fill a chair? Is it to produce one-off work? Or is it to produce a larger project that's maintainable for the long term?

It's not simply enough to have some skill: for every bit of skill a person brings to the team, there is the additional overhead of communication with that person. After a point, adding more people to a project is simply not productive and even a hindrance, regardless of the calibre of those people. A small number of great programmers can often outperform a large team, and cost a lot less in salary and benefits.

If someone is 5/10 skilled, that person should spend time to get better at something. Read more books. Watch more talks. Study algorithms, design patterns, anti-patterns, etc. Write more code. Get good at something. I'm not a good C programmer. I like C, but I've never done enough to get good at it (maybe someday). But I built a distributed, fault-tolerant auto-scaling LNMP stack that services thousands of API requests per second, without a rearchitecture, because I studied how to scale and wrote scaling into the system from day one.

Embedded software experience is an in-demand skill. Many programmers can create bloated, slow code, but few can write lean, efficient, and fast code. That's highly valued in the embedded space, of course, as it's needed, but it's also very in demand at scale, because being inefficient costs a lot of money. If I were hiring, I'd look very fondly at someone with this skill, much more than someone who is focused on simply the language de jour. It's easy to find people who can produce code. It's hard to find people who can solve problems well.

I can't speak for every area, but in my locale there are plenty of hardware-oriented startups that have a tough time finding qualified people. The jobs are out there, but I agree the market is smaller than for pure software. One place hardware companies struggle is writing good drivers and application software. Someone who got good at that, along with having the embedded knowledge, would be very in demand.

Not Close to 90s Level Yet (1)

Maltheus (248271) | about 4 months ago | (#46990325)

I worked for a big telecom company, in the 90s, that hired a senior engineer who didn't know how to use a mouse. He had to call someone over to explain it, as the rest of us watched on in awe.

He got over six months of salary before they finally let him go. He cried over it too, which I thought strange. He obviously had someone else do the phone interview for him, not sure what he was expecting the outcome to be.

location, location (2)

ahoffer0 (1372847) | about 4 months ago | (#46990341)

I live in the home Amazon and Microsoft. The region is starving for more developers, but it's very hard to land a job. I'm not a prodigy; just a solid programmer, with a Masters. It took it a couple of dozen interviews and a year to get a job. It is going great. Companies here compete to see who can be the pickiest. I heard some one brag once that they flew in half a dozen candidates from Sweden and that only one Swede made the cut.

So where are you looking for work? Every region has its own peculiarities.

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