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Re: Code plagiarism and clueless newbs

by sundialsvc4 (Abbot)
on May 30, 2017 at 14:55 UTC ( #1191598=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Code plagiarism and clueless newbs

People have been copying other sources to create their term papers for as long as there has been Cliff’s Notes.®   In fact, there is a not-so cottage industry of professional authors ... and enterprising fellow-students or recent graduates ... who specialize in helping people to cheat.   Nothing new about that.

However, it is a very long distance from the college classroom to actual success in the workplace ... especially in this business.   I have encountered, and interviewed, many people who I felt were reaching beyond their present level of competency, and I have always tried to gently-but-firmly tell them that.   Also, I have never discovered, ex post facto, that I was somehow “hoodwinked” by a candidate.   I know the business well enough to know whether or not you know it, too.

The only way to be successful in the software business is to be able to concoct, and to debug, algorithms.   The ability to correctly express that algorithm in this-or-that source code language is secondary, although it is of course important to be able to understand what the source code that is presently in front of you is actually saying to the computer (knowing that it is ... or might be ... somehow wrong).   These are craft skills that ultimately can be learned only through experience.

Of equal or perhaps much-greater importance are your interpersonal skills.   (To borrow from the old cornpone ... there is no “I” in the word, “TEAM.”)   You will be doing lots of sometimes dreadfully-boring work under high pressure and to exacting standards ... alongside everyone else on your team.   Do you actually know how to do that?   Many people don’t.

This is why, if I am interviewing you, I’ll be trying to get you to talk about what you have done, and about the teams you have been a part of, and the role that you played on those teams.   Even if this is your first job out of school, you could have found a way to, say, work in the envisioned capacity at the school (apart from classroom exercises), even if you did not get paid for it.   I’m not going to talk about syntax – nor anything else that you can read in a book – nor am I going to try to make you sweat.   We’ll just talk for half an hour or so, and, by then, I will know my next move.

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Re^2: Code plagiarism and clueless newbs
by 1nickt (Canon) on May 30, 2017 at 15:17 UTC

    Iím not going to talk about syntax

    Obviously not. How would you evaluate the candidates?

    The way forward always starts with a minimal test.
      How would you evaluate the candidates?

      As sundialsvc4 wrote: by checking how the person behaves in the teams. Including how enthusiastically the candidate talks about the different aspects of that role. (And a bit by talking about algorithms.)

      And I agree to that approach. In my eyes, that way gives you sufficient information if the person will be suitable for the job you have to offer. And if you really, really fail on someone who is only great doing job interviews, you would soon discover and then fire the impostor...

      So long, Rata

        It's impossible to know fully how someone performs in a team without interviewing their former team(s)—which is largely impossible, against corporate policies today due to the litigious nature of the game—and knowing your own team extremely well; not every player is a match for every team. A terribly genial "interpersonal" person who exhibits all the textbook signs of "team player" can destroy a team's morale with incompetence, interference, lack of discipline, focus, memory, tool adoption…

        Bad hires are extremely expensive in tech and can be disastrous for a project/team. In modern corporate, and highly regulated business, environments firing someone can take months or even a year because the only thing more expensive than a bad hire is a wrongful termination lawsuit.

        Interesting. Just a few hours ago, I answered a mail asking me about a former colleague looking for a new employment.

        The very first thing I wrote in my mail is this:

        Y. is a very helpful and reliable person, and a very good player from the standpoint of the team spirit.

        It is only after that I spoke about Y.'s technical capabilities.

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