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How To Find Bad Programmers 359

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-little-work-can-you-do-in-a-day dept.
AmberShah writes "The job post is your potential programmer's first impression of your company, so make it count with these offputting features. There are plenty of articles about recruiting great developers, but what if you are only interested in the crappy ones?" I think much of the industry is already following these guidelines.

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How To Find Bad Programmers

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  • Crappy programmers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:20AM (#31790704)

    Go to India?

  • by hattig (47930) on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:24AM (#31790780) Journal

    Use a recruitment agency.

    Most of them just do buzzword matching on CVs rather than actual filtering by skill, so you'll get some really rubbish dregs turn up with inflated CVs.

    Also, try to get one going through a relationship break-up (especially an expensive divorce), or one with criminal/drug addict children / wife. These will increase their productivity as they will want to stay in work.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:28AM (#31790832)

    Young programmers always say things like "proficiency with the technology is more important than years of experience" and "Old programmers probably can't make use of new technologies" and "I don't have much working experience but I guarantee I am a better choice that someone who does, just because I am that smart!"

    Once they work for a while, get bitten a few times by their own crappy code, learn a few things, and realize just how worthless they actually were right after they graduated...they change their tune. It never fails.

  • by oldspewey (1303305) on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:34AM (#31790932)

    Recruiters are a great source of entertainment.

    Week 1: "Technology XYZ is really hot right now. If you can put some of that on your resume I can get you all kinds of interviews."

    Week 12: "Technology ABC is really hot right now. If you can put some of that on your resume I can get you all kinds of interviews."

    Week 24: "Say, do you know anything about technology QRS? I was just talking to the program director at one of my biggest clients and ..."

  • Re:Call Bill (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:39AM (#31791008)

    Microsoft full of bad programmers?

    Linus Torvalds wouldn't say that.
    Theo de Raadt wouldn't say that.
    Larry Wall wouldn't say that.
    RMS wouldn't say that.
    Anybody on a major OSS project wouldn't say that.

    The reason we will never win is because the OSS movement consists more of ignorant fanboys than competent programmers dedicated to the cause.

  • Resume in Word (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Selfbain (624722) on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:45AM (#31791128)
    Personally I love it when they ask for this. Nothing pleases me more than writing a resume whose formatting seems to change based on what version of Office you're using...
  • by GasparGMSwordsman (753396) on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:46AM (#31791136)

    Have them write you something small for free.

    I have seen exactly one instance of this happening. I walked right out. Four months later the company as charged with unethical buisness practices. They even got sued by a Church of all things.

    Asking to look at existing samples (a portfolio) or testing is one thing. Asking for free work is bound to get only inferior employees, lawsuits and criminal charges.

  • Wanted! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:00PM (#31791324)

    Immediate need for programmer with 10 years experience developing Objective C 2.0 for the iPad. Experience with developing for Intel i9 based Mac Pros is a major plus!

  • by FF8Jake (929704) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:00PM (#31791328)
    Agism: Discrimination based on age.

    Opening line on the post referencing agism: "Young programmers always say things like..."

    More: "Once they work for a while, get bitten a few times by their own crappy code, learn a few things, and realize just how worthless they actually were right after they graduated...they change their tune. It never fails."

    Hypocrite much? You sound just as bad as the young programmers you are condemning.
  • by s73v3r (963317) <s73v3r AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:01PM (#31791354)

    There's a difference between example or interview code ("Write a function to reverse a string"), and asking them to do part of the work, up front, for free. Anyone worth their salt will correctly balk when asked to do the latter.

  • Re:Step 1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ClosedSource (238333) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:05PM (#31791398)

    There's definitely some truth in that. It seems like 80% of Slashdotters think that 80% of programmers suck but they're not part of that 80%.

  • Re:Call Bill (Score:4, Insightful)

    by X0563511 (793323) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:05PM (#31791404) Homepage Journal

    You only ever hear the fanboys. The real supporters are too busy doing things that matter.

  • by oatworm (969674) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:06PM (#31791432) Homepage
    The problem isn't about whether it's hard or not for those that don't wish to use proprietary software to open Word docs. The problem is that Word docs are not platform neutral - the font that you used on your resume' might not line up with the fonts that I have installed on my system and vice-versa. Plus, the version you're using might not be the same as the version I'm using and might get rendered differently if you use any sort of fancy-ish formatting (tables, columns, sections, etc.). This would be an issue whether the person on the other end wanted a Word doc, an ODF file, or any other non-trivial word processing document. Realistically, if you want to submit your resume' and have it look as good as possible, you want to know that the person on the other end will be able to see the same thing that you see when you created it; if they're making that functionally impossible by requiring it in a non-print safe non-vendor neutral format, it shows they don't understand such issues, which hints strongly at how well they pay attention to such issues with the rest of their work.

    Put another way, imagine working for an employer whose corporate culture can be summed up as "Works for me", then imagine how much fun it would be to fix the consequences of such an ethos when a major customer or the CEO finds something is broken.
  • Re:Wanted! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:12PM (#31791506)

    You nailed it. I've seen this a lot. Just impossible odds those are, and that's what many are asking. What a load of crap.

    In my experience, a coder that started out on the C64 and evolved from there always delivers. They do their job for fun. That's who I'd want to hire, not some idiot programming because it seemed like a good career choice at the time.

  • Re:Thanks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@b ... h u d s o n .com> on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:17PM (#31791594) Journal

    Add me to it.

    Simple test: Ask me what 3 questions *I* would ask if I were looking to hire someone, and what my answers would be. Then see how many of them *you* would have gotten right. And wonder why not *one* of those 3 questions had anything directly to do with writing code ...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:18PM (#31791610)

    Well, I'm not a programmer per se, but am a statistician, and write a fair amount of code. I've applied and worked at places that required a .doc CV/resume. I do almost everything in LaTeX, and if you require the .doc CV, I've found that Word has permeated the very fabric of the place, and I won't be happy at all working there. I will never work in a place like that again. It is a fairly decent litmus test regarding the software culture of the place. The question remains as to whether I'm a 'good' worker and companies who require .doc CVs are missing out on people like me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:21PM (#31791652)

    There's all sorts of relevant, pertinent information about people that can be found on Google. And, as long as you don't use anything from one of the legally protected classes of information to base your hiring on (such as race, religion, gender, etc), you'd be a fool not to use it.

    I once had a candidate tell me they were the primary developer of a certain open source application. By looking them and the project up on Google, I was able to determine they were lying out of their ass. So, I was able to weed them out.

  • by lgw (121541) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:36PM (#31791908) Journal

    I've never had a problem with Indian programmers. I've often had problems with programmers working in India. Partly it's the time zone difference that makes every little thing a pain in the ass, but there is also a tendency for companies to bring the best to America. While this is finally starting to change, it's still quite rare for a senior guy still working from India to be better than average.

    So, yeah, the market does tend to sort out the whole price v quality thing in the long haul, but race doesn't really enter into it.

  • Easy... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by warGod3 (198094) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:37PM (#31791928)

    Let HR write the job requirements, conduct the interviews and hire, all without the input of ANYONE that knows how to do more with a computer, than just turn it on.

  • Re:Step 1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by forsey (1136633) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:49PM (#31792126)
    Most crappy programmers I know don't read Slashdot, nor do they read anything else that could be considered "industry material". Hard to stay crappy if you keep learning.
  • by FF8Jake (929704) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:51PM (#31792176)
    I agree that not all discrimination is bad; however, the original poster is clearly referring to agism by young programmers as a bad thing, then following up with sweeping statement that all young programmers are worthless right after graduating.

    I am not trying to argue that experience has no worth or that older workers have don't issues getting jobs due to age; however, I am stating that the original poster is spewing as much crap about young programmers as the young programmers he is referring to spew about old programmers.
  • by Jiro (131519) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:54PM (#31792214)

    For instance, requiring that prospective hires know how to use Linux, Unix, and Solaris. Or require knowledge of Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008. An alternative is to require just one such thing with the implication that you'll throw out all the others, so your job posting says Visual Studio 2005, leaving the guys who used 2008 wondering if their resumes are going to be thrown out.

    Another is to be overly specific. We don't just want SQL, we want this brand of SQL from this company and this year. Yeah, they're not all exactly the same, but still. You can do this for non-language requirements too. "Experience with data driven applications involving medium-sized distributed computer systems which process customer orders in Swiss French in the used wristwatch industry. Swiss German not acceptable."

    Also, I could never figure out why companies who want C++ and not C always say "C/C++".

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:55PM (#31792236)

    And as someone who codes, and has hired coders, I would reply "Please don't let the door hit you on the way out, and by the way, there are 199 other people waiting to interview for that position. Please try and stay out of their way as you go down the stairs."

    And by the way, the fact that you didn't get that "write something for free" means, a small, noncommercial piece of sample code that demonstrates that you know how to create class foo with a member function that loops from 1 to 10, exits appropriately and returns a string that says "I'm finished." is indication number two that you are a f***ing lamebrain with neither perspective nor common sense.

    In short, you just lost the job due to stupidity, an overblown sense of entitlement and childish arrogance. I have time for none of these.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:55PM (#31792242)

    I've had excellent results finding poor coders by hiring ones that have MSCE listed on their resume.

  • by mujadaddy (1238164) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:58PM (#31792282)

    Business Analyst

    experience as Admin Assistant with relevant skills in typing, scheduling and filing

    They sound overqualified. Can they suck the life out of a roomful of people?

  • by elnyka (803306) on Friday April 09, 2010 @01:09PM (#31792462) Homepage

    Immediate need for programmer with 10 years experience developing Objective C 2.0 for the iPad. Experience with developing for Intel i9 based Mac Pros is a major plus!

    I've seen that sh*t too. Back in 1995 I was applying for a VB 3.0 job and got rejected because I didn't have 7 years of experience (VB 3.0 was less than two years old, and the whole VB line wasn't 7 years old at all.)

    Move the clock forwards to 1998, same deal, got rejected at two applications: one for not having 7 years of experience in Java and another one for not having 8 years of experience with C++ STL. 1998 people!!!. And then in 2001, same again, but this time it was 10 years of Java experience. How the hell can HR screw up like that is beyond me. I was very desperate to get a job on those years, leaving me very bitter against HR and recruiters. Now I laugh.

    If someone tells me that they are looking someone with 7 years in JavaFX, I'll just laugh, looking at the whole thing as a sign of God to avoid working with retards.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2010 @01:35PM (#31792852)

    Proficiency matters more than years of experience

    Proficiency only comes with experience. Which isn't to say that everyone with experience becomes proficient, just that those who are proficient became proficient through experience.

    The "fresh from the oven" coders who think they're proficient, aren't.

  • by oatworm (969674) on Friday April 09, 2010 @01:42PM (#31792974) Homepage
    Fair enough - there's definitely value in having clear shop standards, so I can certainly understand wanting to weed out those that are too inflexible in their own ways to work properly with a team. Personally, I keep my resume' in a variety of formats so I can "play along" anyway, so it's not a huge deal; that said, I'll have to remember to create a Times New Roman vanilla formatting version one for companies like yours.

    This being Slashdot and all, though, I will note that binary Word docs are neither simple, clear, nor standard, even among versions of Word, much less non-MS products. I'll also note that allowing Word docs as your only standard opens the door to a ton of undesirable and unintended flexibility, such as using complex sectioning, versioning, and incompatible fonts, which might freeze up your OCR systems. Given what you've stated thus far, a far more simple and clear test of shop standard adherence would be just requiring plain-text resumes, which I've seen many places do quite successfully.
  • by X0563511 (793323) on Friday April 09, 2010 @01:42PM (#31792976) Homepage Journal

    All 10-15 minutes of said time?

  • by Tenek (738297) on Friday April 09, 2010 @01:57PM (#31793146)
    If you have a full-time job you like and do consulting work on the side, why would you be applying for another job? If you hate your job, it's probably worth a code sample or two to get a better one.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:14PM (#31793346)

    In short, you just lost the job due to stupidity, an overblown sense of entitlement and childish arrogance.

    Maybe, but since I didn't want to work for a condescending dick, I'll still chalk that up as a win.

    I have time for none of these.

    The fact that you replied demonstrates otherwise.

  • by cusco (717999) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ybxib.nairb>> on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:42PM (#31793748)
    This is the third post today where I've thought, "Damn I wish I could mod that up!" Why do I only get mod points when the page is full of Idle crap?
  • by ralphdaugherty (225648) <ralph@ee.net> on Friday April 09, 2010 @03:35PM (#31794490) Homepage

    Maybe I'm a good programmer or maybe I'm not, but I'm with you that programmers will be more likely to take a test when the risk/reward balance is topped to the correct side.

          Well put. Excellent comparison. And it's clear you are a good programmer. A one hour estimate taking seven hours to do correctly is par for our industry.

      rd

  • by russotto (537200) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @03:34PM (#31801354) Journal

    However, there is no such thing as brilliant but unmaintainable code.

    There is, but there's not much call for it nowadays. The kind of stuff Steve Wozniak could do in 256 bytes of 6502 assembler (e.g. stuff which behaved differently -- and usefully differently -- if you jumped into the middle of an instruction).

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