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Programming Microsoft

Expensify CEO On 'Why We Won't Hire .NET Developers' 758

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-the-first-world-we-work-hard-to-discriminate dept.
TheGrapeApe writes "The CEO of San Francisco-based, VC-backed startup Expensify wrote a post on the company's blog about why he considers .NET experience on a resume a general liability, saying that it will 'definitely raise questions' when screening for developers in his shop. Quoting: '.NET is a dandy language. It's modern, it's fancy, it's got all the bells and whistles. And if you're doing Windows Mobile 7 apps (which the stats suggest you aren't), it's your only choice. But choosing .NET is a choice, and whenever anybody does it, I can't help but ask "why?"' Does he have a point? Or is it counterproductive to screen devs out based on what platforms or languages they have used in the past?"
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Expensify CEO On 'Why We Won't Hire .NET Developers'

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  • by HornWumpus (783565) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @06:25PM (#35625588)

    See, Microsoft very intentionally (and very successfully) created .NET to be as different as possible from everything else out there, keeping the programmer far away from the details such that they’re wholly and utterly dependent on Microsoft’s truly amazing suite of programming tools to do all the thinking for them.

    The dude doesn't understand the first thing about .NET

    It is not different from everything else out there.

    Programming with .NET is like cooking in a McDonalds kitchen. It is full of amazing tools that automate absolutely everything. Just press the right button and follow the beeping lights, and you can churn out flawless 1.6 oz burgers faster than anybody else on the planet.

    However, if you need to make a 1.7 oz burger, you simply can’t. There’s no button for it. The patties are pre-formed in the wrong size.

    WTF? This dude is on crack.

    Why did this even get posted on /.

    Some pointy haired moron goes on a rant (that will likely be accepted on face value by a plurality of /. readers), why is this newsworthy. Why would anybody want to work for this twit. This story should be moderated flamebait and troll.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 26, 2011 @06:48PM (#35625766)

    Every CIO makes choices for the technologies used inside their companies. They also make choices for technologies to be avoided for a variety of reasons.

    I'm a CIO and to be certain my company isn't stuck with single platform solutions or poor library choices,
    a) all our software runs on Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, Linux, Mac and Windows
    b) The Linux client cannot use Mono (my choice). PERIOD. We don't allow those libraries on Linux at all.
    c) The Windows client cannot have divergent capabilities from the other systems and needs to look and feel like other platforms.
    d) We prefer BSD, MIT, Apache licensed FLOSS over GPL or LGPL. I have to sign-off on GPL/LGPL stuff. Commercial stuff needs my sign-off too, obviously.

    I agree that this CIO may be going too far, but I do not disagree that .NET programmers have to work harder to write cross-platform. All parts of the world are churning out .NET programmers with that a single skill. THOSE are the developers I want to avoid on my teams. Cross-platform developers who happen to know .NET are not a liability unless they enjoy .NET programming too much.

    OTOH, we do have clients that force .NET development for specific projects due to 3rd party mandated tools - ArcGIS, for example. My dev team hates working on that software, so we charge 30% higher rates for that work. ArcGIS is a specialized skill and easily supports the higher costs.

    If I were running a Windows-only shop, then I wouldn't make the same decisions. Thank your-favorite-deity that I'm not.

  • Re:Money (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gutboy (587531) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @06:51PM (#35625796)
    There is no licensing to use .NET. You can even get Visual Studio for free (Express editions) which have no restrictions on developing business applications.
  • Re:My experience (Score:2, Informative)

    by sphealey (2855) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @07:08PM (#35625920)

    > 1) You are a true programmer, not just a code hack. You understand how a computer
    > actually thinks, how data is stored in memory, how a processor works, etc. You
    > understand that languages are just tools to do a job, and all they do is help you describe
    > to the computer what you wish it to do. If required you can pick up a new language with
    > little trouble because you understand it is all the same process, just different grammar
    > and syntax and so on.

    I generally agree with that, and throughout the 80s and 90s it was a good strategy to use when fishing (as opposed to screening) for good candidates.

    I'd still think hard about someone with solid varied experience. But as a technical manager who does a lot of work with databases and database-based applications I am forced to observe that there is a problem with people who have a lot of experience with Microsoft tools: they are often (not always, but often) damaged when it comes to working with databases. They don't understand database theory, they don't understand the practicalities of implementing performant database apps and managing databases in the real world, and they are absolutely wedded to thought processes (and architectural decisions) that lead to sub-optimal results. It just seems to be something that has come with working in Microsoft environments from about 2000 forward.

    Admittedly the same thing often applies to those who have worked with nothing but Java, but the Java-heads are often (not always) re-programmable so to speak.

    That's my 0.02 anyway. Could be wrong, but I have seen it again and again.

    sPh

  • Re:Money (Score:5, Informative)

    by Giometrix (932993) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @07:31PM (#35626106) Homepage
    I make 6 figures coding in c#. Your argument is retarded. And what's a real language anyway. WTF does that even mean?
  • Re:Money (Score:4, Informative)

    by JAlexoi (1085785) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @07:34PM (#35626126) Homepage
    You don't want to work with them because they are a startup. You will not be able to handle the pressure in a startup. The 12hr workdays and weekend long workshops to ship a cool feature. That is common to most enterprise developers. Startups rarely look favourably at such people, while enterprise HR gobble up that crap like it's candy.
    On the other hand I doubt that you will ever be a CIO at a company of the caliber your clients are. Not because you are not smart enough(I am not in a position to comment), but because you don't have the right education and MBA with BA experience. Unfortunately developers rarely rise to any BA role.

    They don't have to cash to do it.

    They actually do. Because MS has a good startup oriented programme. But people know that MS will hit them with licensing as soon as they smell the smallest amount of cash rolling in. And MS licenses are a hell to decipher... One of my former colleagues, that is the lead of MS sales department,has issues in explaining what those licenses mean.

  • Impressions (Score:4, Informative)

    by JBMcB (73720) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @07:35PM (#35626136)

    FTA: ". Big things, like obscuring the networking stack under so many countless layers of abstraction that it’s virtually impossible to even imagine what bytes are actually going over the wire"

    using System.Net.Sockets ...
    IPEndPoint _p = new IPEndPoint (127.0.0.1, 80);
    Socket _s = new Socket(_p, SocketType.Stream, ProtocolType.Tcp);
    _s.Connect(_p);
    _s.Send(...bytestream...);

    Boy howdy, that's just buried in layers.

  • Re:Money (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sir_Sri (199544) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @07:47PM (#35626214)

    Because you don't really want labview skills. You want engineers or physicists, and they can be trained up in labview if needed. That isn't to say people don't use labview, only that it's just a tool, and the hard part is learning the science or engineering. Most of the physicists I know still program in fortran (77, not even 95), but it doesn't show up on want ads for PhD in physics: must know fortran, because well... they can learn fortran.

    CS and Software eng hiring is much more driven by business guys who, ask questions like.. I kid you not "Do you know HTML" (I got asked that in a job interview after my MSc in comp sci). The tools used shouldn't replace the knowledge that drives their use. However, if you did your CS degree and only learned to program using C++ the program probably wasn't very good, but in engineering you can do the whole thing with well.. labview. The question I suppose with .net is if you only really know .net do you know enough about programs to be any good at writing them.

    But of course... you don't choose who offers you a job first, and they pay for .net, you learn .net. Because 50k/year programming .net is better than welfare, and better than 20k/year at macdonalds.

  • Re:Money (Score:5, Informative)

    by gbjbaanb (229885) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @08:42PM (#35626532)

    I think (or would hope) that he means that anyone trained in .NET development is the equivalent of the burger-button-pushers. They only know how to put the burger in the and press the lights,

    That you can do more, or with different tools, isn't the point - it's that these devs are not trained to be that good.

    This is perhaps the problem with the 'easy to use', 'developer productivity' languages. Whilst you'd never question that a dev who only know PHP is likely to be unable to turn his hand to the complex or unusual tasks, the same does apply a lot to the .NET devs too. Its not their fault, its not .NET's fault, its the way its designed. Its the way it's supposed to be as that's the design decisions that were made to make the language that gives you a lot of developer productivity.

    However, I'd be more concerned about devs with *only* .NET on their CVs. They're not not going to worry about a C++ guy who has said he also did a bit of .NET, PHP, javascript, Ruby, Java, C, Smalltalk and Concurrent Euclid. Its the guys who only know how to drive Visual Studio that you do have to worry about.

  • by Locutus (9039) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @09:40PM (#35626818)
    just maybe he wants people who know to keep their option open and their platforms for their code open and not choose to get locked into one platform. To the car reference, a guy who's looking to open a garage for building racing engines is not going to hire someone who picked the most marketing engine and learned it inside and out. He's going to hire people who have made choices based on performance concepts like turbos, aluminum blocks, etc.

    It is not the PC era any longer and anyone who picks PC era tools is not going thinking big or thinking about their future. This might be where the guy is coming from.

    LoB
  • by SecurityGuy (217807) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @10:04PM (#35626916)

    Seriously. I'll do it.

    I RTFA expecting, like most of you, to want to rip this guy a new one, but here's the thing.

    He didn't say he won't hire .net developers. He said he considers it a liability and will want to know why you chose to learn it. He never said there were no good reasons. Hell, a lot of you have posted some. I don't know .net, but if it's what I had to learn to get something done that my client needed, it's what I would do.

    So, dearest editors, how about not massively misrepresenting what people are saying? That, or let someone else do it.

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