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Thread: The Work Thread

  1. #381
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RainMan View Post
    Frankly, the kind of engineer who can code Dykstra's algorithm off the top of his head, and can quote the complexity of each tree traversal algorithm is probably a prima donna and won't be much fun to deal with over the long haul.
    Or they have a PhD and zero practical experience, and will be useless.

    Quote Originally Posted by RainMan View Post
    I found this article interesting.
    I like how the guys all go "lol I don't know what a long is" but the women in this set of tweets say, "Hi I'm ____ and I'm not going to tell you what I suck at, because it would be career suicide for a woman. Fuck you."

  2. #382
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    All of that said, it's not always the fault of the interview question. I had a video phone screen today with a 3rd party that does phone screens for companies (more on that later).

    The guy asked me a perfectly reasonable question:

    Write a function that, given an array of 1's and 0's will return the coordinates of a "rectangle of 0's" within the array.

    For example:

    11111111
    11111111
    11000111
    11000111
    11111111

    has a rectangle starting at 2,2 and ending at 4,3. There will only be one rectangle of 0's. The only 0's will be in the rectangle of 0's.

    In principle it's easy. Well, I started coding it and, unknowingly, got my X's and Y's reversed in my brain, thus introducing a stupid bug early on which I didn't catch. That screwed me up further down in my code. I spent the entire time debugging my code rather than coding this simple thing and moving on to something harder.

    I honestly think I become 50% dumber when someone watches me code.

    In real life I would have gotten up from my desk and wandered around for a few minutes to clear my head before going back and solving it. That's not an option in an interview.

    Argh!

    To me this is a good interview problem. It should allow you to demonstrate that you can code without having to come up with some crazy algorithm on the spot. I just choked for reasons having nothing to do with how good an engineer I am.

    This 3rd party company allows you to do a do-over interview if you feel that your experience didn't truly represent you accurately. I have to decide if it's worth it to me to do it over.

    That brings me to another thing. Companies can now outsource their phone screens to 3rd parties. I think that's a terrible thing. That makes it impossible for me, as a candidate, to get any information about the company or the people who work there. I can learn a lot about the engineering culture of a company by interacting with engineers on a technical level. This takes that away.
    - Definitely

  3. #383
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    When the interviewer sees that you've had 10+ years of experience building enterprise systems at Fortune 500 companies, then proceeds to ask you to program a solution to sort an array as 'evidence' of your abilities, it says more about that company than it says about you. First, they shouldn't have put this idiot on the interview roster. Second, you don't really want to work in an environment surrounded by developers whose skills revolve around problems that have already been solved 100 times over and are readily provided by every library out there.

    My answer to "How do you bubble sort an array" is: "I Google Bubble Sort, copy the first answer found in StackOverflow, and move on to the actual problem I am trying to solve."

  4. #384
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    I get why they ask toy programming questions. I've interviewed people who claimed great things and didn't know crap. So, yeah, you need to make sure they're not lying on their resume.

    But super tricky gotcha questions are about making the interviewer feel superior, not honestly evaluating the candidate.

    I once worked with a rather superior prima-donna-ish engineer. He actually said that he believed any good engineer should be able to program these sorts of algorithms at the drop of a hat.

    What a tool.
    - Definitely

  5. #385
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    This was a new one on me job search-wise:

    I submitted my resume for this job which seemed interesting. I expected to be contacted by a recruiter to have an initial discussion to see if I might be a fit. Nope, instead I got an email from hackerrank on behalf of this company saying I had been invited to take a "challenge" which expired tomorrow afternoon. I just happened to see it in time, so I took it. I did okay, I suppose. I didn't exactly kill it because I had to take it right away or let it pass by, and probably because I'm not 100% awesome all the time.

    I have to say I absolutely hate this trend. I hadn't spoken to anybody. They didn't even watch me code to get an idea of my thought process. I was totally at the mercy of the questions that happened to come up at that time. This strikes me as lazy screening.

    For the record, on the first question I had to spend something like 10 minutes just trying to figure out what the heck they were trying to ask. I wound up solving it, but, as is sometimes the case with hackerrank questions, some engineer got carried away formulating a question that bogs you down in the details of understanding it rather than showing that you know how to code.
    - Definitely

  6. #386
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    I am exploring the idea of freelance work as a way to expand my domain experience and get a bit of diversion from the mundane (and sometimes non-existent) day to day work. Also, I am always dreaming of the day I retire early and can spend my time traveling or working on projects at my leisure, so freelancing now this would be a good way to get introduced to this field. Finally, a bit of extra income never hurts.

    Does anyone have any experience with Toptal? I'm on step 2 of their process (the coding challenge), but after reading up on their month long, 7-step process, I'm not sure I have it in me to go through the whole thing.

    Any other freelancing ideas? (No, I am not going to start a new developer blog).

  7. #387
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    And another wrinkle with the go-to-the-website-and-do-a-code-challenge thing: Sometimes those sites are crappy and don't work. Then what?
    - Definitely

  8. #388
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    Finally had my meeting which I had requested 15 weeks ago today. My boss did not bring her co-owner sister into the meeting, which really told me all I wanted to know about how it would go. I let her talk about all the things they're working on that don't really rise to the level of making a difference in how the company operates. I laid out information tied to our growth curve, and how we're just riding the current employees harder rather than finding ways to be better. How all our software is at least 8 years and 3+ versions old. How expectations are not conveyed, but bitterness about those unconveyed expectations not being met is very often spouted.

    I went in wanting another meeting and got that. I also got the feeling that it wouldn't matter so I'm redoubling my efforts to get out of here. I'm looking at sales jobs even though I never wanted to get back into that, but I just need to do something else.

    As a final middle finger of a sort, I took a note I've had on my wall for 3 months and put it in a frame. It said, "No response is a response and it's a powerful one. Remember that." I gave it to my boss and said I've been staring at that for months and it wasn't making anything better, but my hope in giving it to her was that she would remember it so this type of thing can finally stop. She got, reasonably, quite defensive and said that people need to understand what is involved in responding to things. I agreed, but said that that's no reason not to acknowledge the request, layout a timeline, then followup when feasible. Feeling like your requests go into a hole aren't acceptable to our customers and they shouldn't be to their employees either. She took it poorly and I walked back to my office, carrying the frame which she explicitly stated she did not wish to have in her office.

    So, happy Friday!

  9. #389
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    Those are some nice balls you've got! If we lived closer I'd take you out for a beer.

    Happy Friday, cheers!

  10. #390
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
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    Yowza, sounds like you've got some fun communication going on there. I'm glad you're looking for ways out of the company, the leadership really sounds like crap!

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