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Ask Slashdot: Minimum Programming Competence In Order To Get a Job? 466

First time accepted submitter Wisecat (3651085) writes "So we all know that computer programming jobs are hot right now. Heck, even President Obama has been urging Americans to learn the skill. But all of us in tech know that not everyone can hack it, and what's more it takes a while to learn anything, and keep up your skills as technology changes. Add to that the fact that companies (and their hiring managers) are always looking for 'the best of the best of the best' talent, and one starts to wonder: just how good does one actually have to BE to get hired? Certainly, there must be plenty of jobs where a level 7/10 programmer would be plenty good enough, and even some that a level 5/10 would be enough. And perhaps we can agree that a level 2/10 would not likely get hired anywhere. So the question is: given that we have such huge demand for programmers, can a level 5, 6, or 7 ever get past the hiring manager? Or is he doomed to sit on the sidelines while the position goes unfilled, or goes to someone willing to lie about their skill level, or perhaps to an H1-B who will work cheaper (but not necessarily better)? I'm a hardware engineer with embedded software experience, and have considered jumping over to pure software (since there are so many jobs, so much demand) but at age 40, and needing to pick a language and get good at it, I wonder whether it would even be possible to get a job (with my previous work experience not being directly related). Thoughts?"
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Ask Slashdot: Minimum Programming Competence In Order To Get a Job?

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  • Average (Score:5, Informative)

    by digsbo ( 1292334 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @11:05AM (#46989623)
    Most programmers fall into the average range. Some are better, some worse. Remarkable.

    40? Whatever. Lots of people in their 40s and 50s and 60s have mediocre jobs writing 200 lines of code per quarter in some large corporation. My team of ten has only two programmers under 40, and just barely (38 and 39).

    Just dig in and apply for jobs until you get one. Work as hard as you can at being good at your job.

  • Re:Relax (Score:5, Informative)

    by luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @11:20AM (#46989831) Homepage

    Ah, you work in government contracting too?

    Enterprise, government contracting. It's all the same (I know, I've seen it, it's ugly.)

  • by TemperedAlchemist ( 2045966 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @11:55AM (#46990215)

    You mean a few companies who aren't willing to pay what developers are asking.

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @11:57AM (#46990243)

    that does not work. I tried, many MANY times.

    I have open source code (about 13k lines of c/c++ for embedded platform) and I happen to interview 'badly' when I am put on the spot and asked to code up something in 15 minutes while someone watches me. that's not how I work and I fail horribly at THAT style of interview. note, I am fairly good (not a+ but definitely better than average) at coding in the real world - just NOT in synthetic white-board style interviews.

    I've repeatedly asked companies to accept my public source code, review it and ask me about it, if they wish. its what they'd get from me if they hired me and I don't have a problem with them judging me based on my submitted public code. but they just don't download it, they dont' ask, they don't care. they ONLY know the stupid 'script' shit of asking to have a guy code while standing on one leg and twirling a hula hoop on the left arm. well, might as well be, for me; I just don't do 'live/standup' coding. just don't do it and I resent being judged on this artificial metric.

    I might have been able to do the stand-up thing in my 20's, but I'm in my 50's now and it does not work for me anymore. I wish employers would get beyond this broken method of interview style. or at least admit that not everyone writes code in 15 minutes while being watched and under pressure. in my years of writing code on the job, never once was there this kind of condition while I worked.

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.