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(Transparency Revolution)   Message to college grads: learn some programming   (transparencyrevolution.com) divider line 165
    More: Interesting, Pune, mathematics education, project management, Bell Labs, python, electrical engineers, software applications, messages  
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3706 clicks; posted to Business » on 13 May 2013 at 12:37 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-05-12 09:26:13 PM  
Why?
 
2013-05-12 09:31:15 PM  
I've read this before. My response was "Sorry, d-bag. I won't work for you."
 
2013-05-12 09:32:13 PM  
"and how to diagram sentences "

Know how I know you're way too old to be writing about this subject?
 
2013-05-12 09:39:18 PM  
Well, it's either that or manning the gloryhole for the lunchtime crowd again. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't glad that I have something to fall back on.
 
2013-05-12 09:45:04 PM  
No thanks, subby. I rather focus on something meaningful so that any idiot in Asia can't easily replace me.
 
2013-05-12 10:00:34 PM  

Mangoose: Why?

 
2013-05-12 10:06:02 PM  
If enough people learn programming then you only need to pay 30k for someone with an advanced degree to work the third shift.  Everybody, let's get on this.
 
2013-05-12 10:07:56 PM  
I smell another self promoting "thought leader". Everyone pay attention!
 
2013-05-12 10:20:21 PM  
He has a point in that the bar for being considered technically literate has been raised.  'Knowing computers' used to mean knowing how to use a mouse, save and open files, use MS Office, and with the internet becoming more important, how to use e-mail.  Now, actually understanding how computers do what they do, the difference between local and web apps, some basic scripting, and general application design awareness (so that you can pick up new programs quickly - just knowing the basics of how most applications are organized helps a lot) is important.

I wouldn't go so far as to say you need to be able to program unless you're going to work for a company that develops applications or will be in a roll that involves support them, but knowing how computer programs are written, how they work, and what can and can't be done with current technology could be helpful.
 
2013-05-12 10:20:53 PM  
Message to job creators: PAY FOR MY TRAINING.
 
2013-05-12 10:23:49 PM  
why should I have to learn something that I can just have a computer do for me?
 
2013-05-12 10:30:30 PM  
His advice to young people looking to land their first job in "media, technology, or related fields" can be summed up in three words: learn some programming.

I dropped out of high school. I'm sure I still cannot diagram a sentence. While I was teaching myself web and graphic design, I picked up some HTML, Java and Cold Fusion (ick) along the way. All of it was useful for the tasks at hand and nothing else, and that knowledge became totally and immediately obsolete when my attention shifted toward design and video. And while it is nice to be able to jump into the code side of our magazine's content manager to weed out bugs, it isn't my job - it is just one more thing I know how to do.  If you want to useful in new media, learn how to shoot, edit and produce video.

Assuming there are still some rigorous secondary educational programs out there - the kind where kids have to learn algebra and geometry and how to diagram sentences - a little basic computer programming would fit in nicely.

In the loosest sense I have used geometry and algebra in my adult life, I suppose - the coding advice at least seemed practical.
 
2013-05-12 10:52:40 PM  
Yes, because need more incompetent programmers.
 
2013-05-12 10:53:56 PM  

ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha: Yes, because we need more incompetent programmers.


FTFM

/incompetent programmer
 
2013-05-12 11:00:22 PM  

doglover: Message to job creators: PAY FOR MY TRAINING.


Ah... You've traveled here from the past. Welcome!

Employers stopped paying to train their employees back in the 1990s. They decided that since all the talent was at the top of the company, why spend money training the riffraff? That money can better be spent on sending upper management to a leadership retreat/seminar in Hawaii.
 
2013-05-12 11:59:20 PM  
I know four programming languages (C, C++, Pascal, Fortran - I'm old-school), but I can't program for shiat.  I have made a pretty lucrative career out of taking advantage of people who CAN program.  Realistically, all you have to know is enough to realize when someone is selling you a line of bullshiat.

With the latest push towards everything as a service, I'm finding myself working harder to figure out what the damn business majors are talking about more than anything else.  If you want an IT job these days, you'd be well served reading up on ITIL and perhaps getting the foundation certification.  At the very least you can speak the language of your CIO, who will (I promise) have absolutely no idea what he's talking about, but he's going to be using the right terms.

Learn just enough programming to suck at it, get some ITIL, and write your ticket.  Lamentably, buzzwords are actually increasing these days, and knowing the talk will give the illusion that you know your subject even if you don't.

As far as talent, I've been a hiring manager for almost 10 years and if someone can't troubleshoot a problem, they aren't worth hiring.  We put people in a room just to watch their thought process and it's pretty easy to separate prospective employees who will be able to solve problems on their own and those that will never have a clue.  You want employees that can think on their feet.  I've found time and time again that it's something that can't be taught - you either have it or you don't.

One of the best hires we had this past year got this problem question on her first interview:  A school bus full of kids and one driver is having engine trouble in the Alaskan winter at night and they are 8 hours from their destination.  The bus only has enough power to carry half of the kids to their destination with the heat on, or all of the kids with the heat off.  If the heat is off on the bus until they reach their destination, then everyone on the bus will die.  How would you approach the problem?

We had some ridiculous answers, like "burn the seats inside the bus to provide heat."  We had some good answers, like idle the bus overnight and go for help in the morning.  We had some less creative but fairly standard answers, like use a cell phone to call for help, or drive halfway and wait for morning, when the sun might provide some warmth.

And then we had our winner, who said "If they're going to freeze to death on the bus, make them get off the bus."  It was absurd and logical enough that we all liked it, so we had her back for a second interview. She then followed it up with a marvelous scenario where the kids huddled together in a rotating "heat pack" like penguins while the driver went for help.  When we asked her how the kids were going to figure all that out, she said "impending death makes people really stupid or really smart, but I have faith in these kids."  That was just enough smartass to win us over.
 
2013-05-13 12:33:33 AM  

Lsherm: One of the best hires we had this past year got this problem question on her first interview:  A school bus full of kids and one driver is having engine trouble in the Alaskan winter at night and they are 8 hours from their destination.  The bus only has enough power to carry half of the kids to their destination with the heat on, or all of the kids with the heat off.  If the heat is off on the bus until they reach their destination, then everyone on the bus will die.  How would you approach the problem?

We had some ridiculous answers, like "burn the seats inside the bus to provide heat."  We had some good answers, like idle the bus overnight and go for help in the morning.  We had some less creative but fairly standard answers, like use a cell phone to call for help, or drive halfway and wait for morning, when the sun might provide some warmth.

And then we had our winner, who said "If they're going to freeze to death on the bus, make them get off the bus."  It was absurd and logical enough that we all liked it, so we had her back for a second interview. She then followed it up with a marvelous scenario where the kids huddled together in a rotating "heat pack" like penguins while the driver went for help.  When we asked her how the kids were going to figure all that out, she said "impending death makes people really stupid or really smart, but I have faith in these kids."  That was just enough smartass to win us over.


I'm glad she worked out for you.  But if the kids can stand in the snow making a "rotating heat pack," why can't they do it on an unheated  bus while it gets them to safety in a helluva lot  less time?
 
2013-05-13 12:38:20 AM  

BarkingUnicorn: Lsherm: One of the best hires we had this past year got this problem question on her first interview:  A school bus full of kids and one driver is having engine trouble in the Alaskan winter at night and they are 8 hours from their destination.  The bus only has enough power to carry half of the kids to their destination with the heat on, or all of the kids with the heat off.  If the heat is off on the bus until they reach their destination, then everyone on the bus will die.  How would you approach the problem?

We had some ridiculous answers, like "burn the seats inside the bus to provide heat."  We had some good answers, like idle the bus overnight and go for help in the morning.  We had some less creative but fairly standard answers, like use a cell phone to call for help, or drive halfway and wait for morning, when the sun might provide some warmth.

And then we had our winner, who said "If they're going to freeze to death on the bus, make them get off the bus."  It was absurd and logical enough that we all liked it, so we had her back for a second interview. She then followed it up with a marvelous scenario where the kids huddled together in a rotating "heat pack" like penguins while the driver went for help.  When we asked her how the kids were going to figure all that out, she said "impending death makes people really stupid or really smart, but I have faith in these kids."  That was just enough smartass to win us over.

I'm glad she worked out for you.  But if the kids can stand in the snow making a "rotating heat pack," why can't they do it on an unheated  bus while it gets them to safety in a helluva lot  less time?


No space?

There wasn't a right answer, we just wanted to see what people came up with.  For example, you're assuming there was snow, but it wasn't part of the problem.  It could have just been cold.
 
2013-05-13 12:48:22 AM  
"I have faith in these kids". That's farking hilarious.
 
2013-05-13 12:49:10 AM  
learn COBOL
 
2013-05-13 12:52:34 AM  

BarkingUnicorn: I'm glad she worked out for you. But if the kids can stand in the snow making a "rotating heat pack," why can't they do it on an unheated bus while it gets them to safety in a helluva lot less time?


It's the kobayashi maru of his company. Since the rule said "they die on the bus" they couldn't be on the bus. Reminds me of this old one:

"You're stuck in a steel room with nothing but a table and a saw. How do you escape?"
"Cut the table in half. Two halves make a whole, so climb out the hole"


I'm glad I didn't get any of those questions on my interviews. I was asked if I had heard of Ada and I said "in a chapter of computer history"... Only to find out the company still codes in Ada. I got the job anyway.
 
2013-05-13 12:56:18 AM  

Lsherm: BarkingUnicorn: Lsherm: One of the best hires we had this past year got this problem question on her first interview:  A school bus full of kids and one driver is having engine trouble in the Alaskan winter at night and they are 8 hours from their destination.  The bus only has enough power to carry half of the kids to their destination with the heat on, or all of the kids with the heat off.  If the heat is off on the bus until they reach their destination, then everyone on the bus will die.  How would you approach the problem?

We had some ridiculous answers, like "burn the seats inside the bus to provide heat."  We had some good answers, like idle the bus overnight and go for help in the morning.  We had some less creative but fairly standard answers, like use a cell phone to call for help, or drive halfway and wait for morning, when the sun might provide some warmth.

And then we had our winner, who said "If they're going to freeze to death on the bus, make them get off the bus."  It was absurd and logical enough that we all liked it, so we had her back for a second interview. She then followed it up with a marvelous scenario where the kids huddled together in a rotating "heat pack" like penguins while the driver went for help.  When we asked her how the kids were going to figure all that out, she said "impending death makes people really stupid or really smart, but I have faith in these kids."  That was just enough smartass to win us over.

I'm glad she worked out for you.  But if the kids can stand in the snow making a "rotating heat pack," why can't they do it on an unheated  bus while it gets them to safety in a helluva lot  less time?

No space?

There wasn't a right answer, we just wanted to see what people came up with.  For example, you're assuming there was snow, but it wasn't part of the problem.  It could have just been cold.


Snow or no snow, it's obvious that her solution would result in dead kids, a jailed bus driver, and a sued school district.... assuming there was a school district involved.

The test amounted to, "Amuse us," and you hired the one who amused you most.  Fairly typical, really.

 /i would have sliced open half of the kids and stuffed  the others inside of them
 
2013-05-13 12:56:23 AM  
Cool.  I know some programming.  Give me a job now.

/EE
 
2013-05-13 12:56:59 AM  

The All-Powerful Atheismo: Cool.  I know some programming.  Give me a job now.

/EE


put up or shut up, article writing guy
 
2013-05-13 12:59:53 AM  
Go and and learn to program, it's fun. But if you need serious work done, please hire someone who knows what they're doing.
 
2013-05-13 01:00:31 AM  

MrEricSir: and and


Oops, looks like I need to write a new code generator.
 
2013-05-13 01:02:16 AM  

MrEricSir: MrEricSir: and and

Oops, looks like I need to write a new code generator.


Once you go and, and learn to program, you never go back.
 
2013-05-13 01:03:31 AM  

BarkingUnicorn: Lsherm: BarkingUnicorn: Lsherm: One of the best hires we had this past year got this problem question on her first interview:  A school bus full of kids and one driver is having engine trouble in the Alaskan winter at night and they are 8 hours from their destination.  The bus only has enough power to carry half of the kids to their destination with the heat on, or all of the kids with the heat off.  If the heat is off on the bus until they reach their destination, then everyone on the bus will die.  How would you approach the problem?

We had some ridiculous answers, like "burn the seats inside the bus to provide heat."  We had some good answers, like idle the bus overnight and go for help in the morning.  We had some less creative but fairly standard answers, like use a cell phone to call for help, or drive halfway and wait for morning, when the sun might provide some warmth.

And then we had our winner, who said "If they're going to freeze to death on the bus, make them get off the bus."  It was absurd and logical enough that we all liked it, so we had her back for a second interview. She then followed it up with a marvelous scenario where the kids huddled together in a rotating "heat pack" like penguins while the driver went for help.  When we asked her how the kids were going to figure all that out, she said "impending death makes people really stupid or really smart, but I have faith in these kids."  That was just enough smartass to win us over.

I'm glad she worked out for you.  But if the kids can stand in the snow making a "rotating heat pack," why can't they do it on an unheated  bus while it gets them to safety in a helluva lot  less time?

No space?

There wasn't a right answer, we just wanted to see what people came up with.  For example, you're assuming there was snow, but it wasn't part of the problem.  It could have just been cold.

Snow or no snow, it's obvious that her solution would result in dead kids, a jailed bus driver, and a sued school distr ...


We were looking for creative answers to a problem.  That wasn't the only question.

But yeah, if someone had gone on and on about dead kids and lawsuits, that's a person we would have passed on.
 
2013-05-13 01:04:45 AM  

MrEricSir: MrEricSir: and and

Oops, looks like I need to write a new code generator.


Just thought you were using the logical operator and not the reference to a variable.
 
2013-05-13 01:05:17 AM  

Gig103: I'm glad I didn't get any of those questions on my interviews. I was asked if I had heard of Ada and I said "in a chapter of computer history"... Only to find out the company still codes in Ada. I got the job anyway.


I would have replied that is Will Smith's wife right?
 
2013-05-13 01:06:13 AM  

Lsherm: For example, you're assuming there was snow, but it wasn't part of the problem.  It could have just been cold.


No snow during an Alaskan winter?  Really?

In real life, problem-solving involves the ability to collect and understand facts not laid out neatly for you in the first paragraph.  Application of domain knowledge external to the problem-as-stated is an essential ability.

Suggesting that kids get off the bus if they would freeze to death on it isn't logical.  It's not creative.  It's absurd and foolish, and following that line of reasoning would likely result in a bunch of child corpsicles piled up outside a bus with a functioning heating system.

/Better question: what the hell kind of field trip was this, anyway?
 
2013-05-13 01:06:46 AM  

Lsherm: We were looking for creative answers to a problem.  That wasn't the only question.

But yeah, if someone had gone on and on about dead kids and lawsuits, that's a person we would have passed on.


I see... creative answers, not solutions that would work.  That's some business you have there.

Would my  tauntaun answer have beaten hers?
 
2013-05-13 01:07:38 AM  
Yeah. Jumping through idiot improbable questions at interviews sucks. I can easily go from normal to beyond absurd very, very quickly. Your lack of ability to comb for candidates is only bested by the behavior of 'amuse me or no job.'

I like the sense of higher caste that instills. To quote Michael Caine: "He is not my Superior, he is my boss."

Unless of course you're working in a non sequitur mill, which in that case I applaud your ability to press penguins into the piano, because that's where the shrieking stillness clamors to bite your bones.
 
2013-05-13 01:12:11 AM  

ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha: ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha: Yes, because we need more incompetent programmers.

FTFM

/incompetent programmer


I love incompetent programmers.  Especially overseas incompetent programmers.  They keep high priced clean up work flowing like sweet honey.
 
2013-05-13 01:13:15 AM  

BarkingUnicorn: Lsherm: We were looking for creative answers to a problem.  That wasn't the only question.

But yeah, if someone had gone on and on about dead kids and lawsuits, that's a person we would have passed on.

I see... creative answers, not solutions that would work.  That's some business you have there.

Would my  tauntaun answer have beaten hers?


Probably.  To use an incredibly bad cliche, that would be "thinking outside the box."

poot_rootbeer: Application of domain knowledge external to the problem-as-stated is an essential ability.


It is, but only to a point.  If you let that knowledge restrict what you would do, then you've defeated yourself before you even started.

As I said, it wasn't the only question.
 
2013-05-13 01:13:28 AM  

Lsherm: How would you ...


I applied for a programming job at a large golf club making company. Was told over and over before I went in that you had to eat, breathe, and live golf. The interview was with the owner of the company and when we got to the end and he asked me if I love golf. I thought about it for a second and replied, "I love programming. Do you want to pay me to program or play golf?" I got the job.
 
2013-05-13 01:14:27 AM  

E_Henry_Thripshaws_Disease: learn COBOL


Better to learn BOCCE.
 
2013-05-13 01:15:24 AM  

Harry_Seldon: E_Henry_Thripshaws_Disease: learn COBOL

Better to learn BOCCE.


I'm looking for a programmer who knows the binary language of moisture vaporators
 
2013-05-13 01:18:05 AM  

Do the needful: Lsherm: How would you ...

I applied for a programming job at a large golf club making company. Was told over and over before I went in that you had to eat, breathe, and live golf. The interview was with the owner of the company and when we got to the end and he asked me if I love golf. I thought about it for a second and replied, "I love programming. Do you want to pay me to program or play golf?" I got the job.


I was a little surprised that no one asked "why do we care if the kids stay alive?"

We probably wouldn't have hired them, but it wasn't a requirement in the original scenario.  Everyone just assumes it.
 
2013-05-13 01:20:03 AM  

Lsherm: I was a little surprised that no one asked "why do we care if the kids stay alive?"

We probably wouldn't have hired them,



Gee I think your conundrum has been solved.
 
2013-05-13 01:23:47 AM  

Lsherm: I know four programming languages (C, C++, Pascal, Fortran - I'm old-school), but I can't program for shiat.  I have made a pretty lucrative career out of taking advantage of people who CAN program.  Realistically, all you have to know is enough to realize when someone is selling you a line of bullshiat.

With the latest push towards everything as a service, I'm finding myself working harder to figure out what the damn business majors are talking about more than anything else.  If you want an IT job these days, you'd be well served reading up on ITIL and perhaps getting the foundation certification.  At the very least you can speak the language of your CIO, who will (I promise) have absolutely no idea what he's talking about, but he's going to be using the right terms.

Learn just enough programming to suck at it, get some ITIL, and write your ticket.  Lamentably, buzzwords are actually increasing these days, and knowing the talk will give the illusion that you know your subject even if you don't.

As far as talent, I've been a hiring manager for almost 10 years and if someone can't troubleshoot a problem, they aren't worth hiring.  We put people in a room just to watch their thought process and it's pretty easy to separate prospective employees who will be able to solve problems on their own and those that will never have a clue.  You want employees that can think on their feet.  I've found time and time again that it's something that can't be taught - you either have it or you don't.

One of the best hires we had this past year got this problem question on her first interview:  A school bus full of kids and one driver is having engine trouble in the Alaskan winter at night and they are 8 hours from their destination.  The bus only has enough power to carry half of the kids to their destination with the heat on, or all of the kids with the heat off.  If the heat is off on the bus until they reach their destination, then everyone on the bus will die.  How would you ...


Drive halfway there with no heat. Turn the heat on for the second half.

And tell the driver and the school district to get some very good lawyers.
 
2013-05-13 01:24:13 AM  

Lsherm: I was a little surprised that no one asked "why do we care if the kids stay alive?"

We probably wouldn't have hired them, but it wasn't a requirement in the original scenario.  Everyone just assumes it.


Please tell me what company this is so I can avoid accidentally applying there or hiring anybody who spent a substantial amount of time working for you.
 
2013-05-13 01:29:26 AM  

ongbok: Drive halfway there with no heat. Turn the heat on for the second half.

And tell the driver and the school district to get some very good lawyers.


Very good answer - but no one suggested it.  Again, there was no correct answer, it was more to look for how people worked out a problem in their head.
 
2013-05-13 01:30:24 AM  

poot_rootbeer: Lsherm: I was a little surprised that no one asked "why do we care if the kids stay alive?"

We probably wouldn't have hired them, but it wasn't a requirement in the original scenario.  Everyone just assumes it.

Please tell me what company this is so I can avoid accidentally applying there or hiring anybody who spent a substantial amount of time working for you.


I'll give you four companies to choose from:  Google, Apple, Microsoft, or Dell.  Go nuts.
 
2013-05-13 01:31:10 AM  
Lsherm:

A school bus full of kids and one driver is having engine trouble in the Alaskan winter at night and they are 8 hours from their destination.  The bus only has enough power to carry half of the kids to their destination with the heat on, or all of the kids with the heat off.  If the heat is off on the bus until they reach their destination, then everyone on the bus will die.  How would you ...

So your company pushes piss poor design decisions onto the developers to deal with, huh? Typical.

/drive half speed with the heat on, reach your destination in 16 hours instead
 
2013-05-13 01:34:48 AM  
Also why are you sending a bus of schoolchildren from Coldfoot to Deadhorse in the first place? That's the only part of the Alaskan road system where you can drive eight hours without seeing some human settlement. Hell, just break into a pump station and you'll have a helluva lot of help showing up by helicopter in a relative hurry.
 
2013-05-13 01:40:22 AM  

fredbox: /drive half speed with the heat on, reach your destination in 16 hours instead


The reason it's a question is to see what assumptions people make.  You've made the assumption that heat on the bus is related to the speed the bus is traveling.  That's incorrect, but it lets us know how you're thinking.

There is no correct answer.
 
2013-05-13 01:40:38 AM  
So when I was a schoolchild in Alaska in winter, our favorite game was "freezeout", where everyone on the bus would open their window, and whoever closed the window first lost The Game. Also hooky-bobbing, where you'd grab hold of the bus as it was departing and see how long you could keep on your feet as you it pulled you along the snow and ice (difficulty: potholes). Early retirement from hooky-bobbing (and life generally) sometimes occurred when the bus performed an unanticipated reverse maneuver.

The weak and unwilling didn't make it to adulthood, as it should be.
 
2013-05-13 01:41:24 AM  

The All-Powerful Atheismo: MrEricSir: MrEricSir: and and

Oops, looks like I need to write a new code generator.

Just thought you were using the logical operator and not the reference to a variable.


I !want people to think I meant a bitwise "and."
 
2013-05-13 01:42:25 AM  

Lsherm: BarkingUnicorn: Lsherm: We were looking for creative answers to a problem.  That wasn't the only question.

But yeah, if someone had gone on and on about dead kids and lawsuits, that's a person we would have passed on.

I see... creative answers, not solutions that would work.  That's some business you have there.

Would my  tauntaun answer have beaten hers?

Probably.  To use an incredibly bad cliche, that would be "thinking outside the box."


Both are outside the box, but mine's better because it would make you lol harder.  OTOH, everyone knows that Star Wars scene.  Relatively few know about penguin mosh pits. That indicates a wide-ranging intellect.  She might know things that you don't, and that's definitely worth a closer look. 

As I said, it wasn't the only question.

But it's the question whose answer amused you so much that it got her a second interview, so it was the critical question.  ("we all liked it, so we had her back for a second interview") It amused you so much that you had her elaborate on it in the second interview.  Amusement was so important a hiring criterion that you ignored the fact  that her answer would prove disastrous.

People hire people who make them feel good.  Everything that one does is done for the purpose of making one feel good.  It is not enough to be competent; one must also be amusing
 
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