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Al Newman
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Originally posted by Tony Collins:
Well maybe I overreacted. Sorry. But my pet hate are employers that say they can't find the people when they put nothing into training and development. It will end in tears, there are lots of very bright people out there not working. As I said earlier just look at the problems we have in England finding tradesmen, all due to the destruction of training in the eighties.
Tony

The most hilarious thing is the complaint that they cannot find good people. Meaning people currently employed with up-to-date skills. The guy at the head of my current large project is a perfect example. He's an IBM'er, ex Price Waterhouse-Cooper partner and he can't find enough good people to staff the project.
Gee, guy. Do you suppose it has anything to do with the fact that PWC purged about 70% of it's programming staff between 2000 and this spring? This fellow came in to give us a pep talk this week about how we have to crank up the hours and make his deadline. Beautiful tan, nice clothes, some discreet jewelry. Perhaps not the best image to present a bunch of tired, fish-belly white engineers who are already spending too much time working and commuting (London commutes are viciously long at best, and this commute is double the usual.
I don't know for sure. He could be the soul of enlightenment. I worked for another big-5 outfit and learned not to trust the partners (or anyone who wanted to be a partner) an inch. And this chap looks like the epitome of that. Suck you dry and throw away the bones. We'll see, but my trust quotient is way down......
 
Matt Cao
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Originally posted by Alfred Neumann:
Is it really hard to find people who understand gc and hash tables? Any scjp 1.4 should know these issues, cold. Save yourself time, just interview people who are certified.
MCAO, I'm a SCJP 1.4 and I don't know gc and hash tables cold. Not right this moment. Oh, it's only a short review to read over the collections and garbage collection sections of the proper book, but right now I'm up to my ass in Ant and extracting Cactus thorns from my butt! Not to mention ejb.
If I go talk to Mark before doing that review I'm going to look like an idiot and he's going to put me on his idiots list. Why should I bother?
In my view it says more about Mark that it does about the ones who don't cut the mustard......
BTW, you are perfectly correct about the ease of finding people with *enough* hashtable and gc knowledge. It's not hard stuff, but many of us don't have it memorized. Mark wants it memorized, perhaps because that's his own personal style....

Hi Alfred,
I think you confused me with Rufus. . BTW you can called me Matt. I respect your wisdoms.
Regards,
MCao
 
Svetlana Koshkina
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You know people,
I ran into job announcement at U of Chicago that said:
blah-blah (no problem) required
Java, Perl, C/C++ knowlege *preferred*;
MySQL, JDBC, Tomcat *preferred*...
blah-blah (no problem)
....
I applied because I know Java and have everything: MySQL, Tomcat and much more at home. Have it or it has me? on daily basis. I know basics of C and Perl programming. Lately I gave to C much more thought.
I applied naturally. I was given 'technical' interview. It was laughable and did not do anything with daily programming and above all bioinformatics (how to print word in Perl or in Java - no kidding).
The guy who did the interview said that "strong ability" in C is essential. It'd thrown me off track right away. What the heck? Look at your job announcement - right?
Afterwards, i gave phone call to the 'would-to-be-boss' (she has no idea about programming' and asked her to give me some trial assignment, so while she was looking i could at least test my skills and my ability and do some useful stuff. She was rude, did not acknowlege that she gave wrong and misleading announcement (i did not asked her about that - i was polite and very tactful), she said that all most talented and gifted programmers from coast to coast are just lined up for her and i can shove it big deal and i eat up her precious time just by calling and bothering her.
I was so insulted, guys, i was near to puking after that 'chat'.
Just experience.
 
Alenka Shtykel
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Originally posted by Svetlana Koshkina:
You know people,
I ran into job announcement at U of Chicago that said:
blah-blah (no problem) required
Java, Perl, C/C++ knowlege *preferred*;
MySQL, JDBC, Tomcat *preferred*...
blah-blah (no problem)
....
I applied because I know Java and have everything: MySQL, Tomcat and much more at home. Have it or it has me? on daily basis. I know basics of C and Perl programming. Lately I gave to C much more thought.
I applied naturally. I was given 'technical' interview. It was laughable and did not do anything with daily programming and above all bioinformatics (how to print word in Perl or in Java - no kidding).
The guy who did the interview said that "strong ability" in C is essential. It'd thrown me off track right away. What the heck? Look at your job announcement - right?
Afterwards, i gave phone call to the 'would-to-be-boss' (she has no idea about programming' and asked her to give me some trial assignment, so while she was looking i could at least test my skills and my ability and do some useful stuff. She was rude, did not acknowlege that she gave wrong and misleading announcement (i did not asked her about that - i was polite and very tactful), she said that all most talented and gifted programmers from coast to coast are just lined up for her and i can shove it big deal and i eat up her precious time just by calling and bothering her.
I was so insulted, guys, i was near to puking after that 'chat'.
Just experience.

Ahh, I am so sorry to hear that. I have had some not pleasant interview experiences and I know how you feel. It's really their loss. I wish you to find a better position and become top programmer in the field. Show them! If I ever be interviewing someone, I'll be nice and courteous with them.. and I'll make them feel comfortable. Good luck!
 
Tony Collins
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I think there are just no jobs. I applied for a telecoms job, I'd developed the same product at a different company, didn't even get an interview.
And i'm begining to think that the industry is dead in the west. If you look at the posts on this board Indian companies are recruiting heavily, why not Americian or British.
Tony
[ November 16, 2003: Message edited by: Tony Collins ]
 
HS Thomas
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Agencies in the west are thriving though. :roll:
Perhaps they are trading in other meat markets.
regards
 
Al Newman
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Originally posted by Matt Cao:

Hi Alfred,
I think you confused me with Rufus. . BTW you can called me Matt. I respect your wisdoms.
Regards,
MCao


Sorry, Matt. Apologies to Rufus also....
I respect your opinions as well. Both of you, and Mark H's as well. It's just that I've had an unpleasant experience or two with people with views like his who fought religious wars while the rest of the team was trying to get quality product out the door.
 
David Weitzman
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If you go in for an interview at Mark's company, for gosh sakes pull out your old copy of Sedgwick and review the hashtable.
Perhaps the grunt programmer doesn't need to know this (although at minimum I'd expect them to know comparatively what using HashMap vs. TreeMap means for performance both in terms of time and memory, as well as why you'd choose one over the other). But I second Mark's sentiment that anyone with a CS degree will and any software engineer should.
How can you design scalable applications if you don't have the background in data structures to know what scales in what ways?
Also, familiarity with design patterns is rather essential. Data structures are just design patterns that solve data access problems.
 
Mark Herschberg
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Originally posted by Alfred Neumann:

I respect your opinions as well. Both of you, and Mark H's as well. It's just that I've had an unpleasant experience or two with people with views like his who fought religious wars while the rest of the team was trying to get quality product out the door.

Well, I feel better, I wasn't sure if you were totally put off by me now.
I think the difference is the degree. I expect them to know basic data structures for the reasons David gave. If they seem to know data structures in general, but forget that a tree's search time is log(N), I don't care. I recognize that people can look things up, e.g. if you know about sorting algorithms, you can look up what you need, when you need it. Likewise, you may not remember how collision algorithms work with hash tables but you can look tht up if necessary, But if you don't even know what a hashtable is, or a tree, or the difference between them, how can you use them, or even know to go look them up to refresh your memory?
The wrong way to do it is to ask 20 questions and knock a guy off for missing one.* When I said the guy didn't know hash tables, that wasn't the one wrong answer, it was indicative of his general lack of knowledge. Not knowing hash tables alone won't disqualify you in my book (although it's a big flag).

*Arguably, going back to my hiring triangle theory, this could be the right way if you are getting lots of qualified people and need some way to cut some quickly, and this particular cut across your sample space has net positive impact on your overall result.
--Mark
[ November 16, 2003: Message edited by: Mark Herschberg ]
 
D. Rose
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It is true that IT companies never invested in training and development of people and keeping them uptodate. One reason why companies were reluctant was that employees may use that training and go for greener pastures. I think there was no trust built up between employees and comapines. Both sides are to blame for this.
 
HS Thomas
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*Arguably, going back to my hiring triangle theory, this could be the right way if you are getting lots of qualified people and need some way to cut some quickly, and this particular cut across your sample space has net positive impact on your overall result.

As you go through your hiring process , do you work out who is the weakest link of the ones you hired ? It must change as you the list changes! A hiring triangle may become rhomboid or is triangle the perfect shape to aim for when hiring. Sorry I have just never heard of this.
I worked for a manager who believed the perfect change program was finally ready to cut loose when it achieved a rhomboid shape. Time and time again it seemed that the dust begamn to settle when the program on paper took on a rhomboid shape.
regards
[ November 17, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
Al Newman
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Originally posted by Tony Collins:
I think there are just no jobs. I applied for a telecoms job, I'd developed the same product at a different company, didn't even get an interview.
And i'm begining to think that the industry is dead in the west. If you look at the posts on this board Indian companies are recruiting heavily, why not Americian or British.

It's a really mixed-up situation, Tony. It's not that there are no jobs, I think. In late summer-early fall I know my company was hiring with some urgency but couldn't find enough 'good' candidates at that time.
During the dot.com days I think too many underqualified hires were made just to keep up with demand. During the dot.bust the opposite happened. Very little hiring, and the few hires there were had to be cheap and practically perfect. So now 'qualified' has come to mean 'practically perfect' to many hiring managers, and anyone who is not is considered underqualified.
Yet if you look at the history of the industry, hiring usually has to be done on the speculation that people with a good track record will work out. In a normal market one can rarely hire someone who has 'done it before', and the need usually can't wait for that person to become available.
In short, I'd say that the industry has to learn to take a risk on people again or we'll never get anywhere. Right now they are being extremely risk-averse.
The Telecoms industry is particularly horrible currently, Tony, probably twice as bad as any other sector. Look no further than the bankruptcies and near-bankruptcies in the sector for the reasons why! Worldcom, Global Crossing, Marconi, Lucent, Nortel Networks, Ericsson, Sprint, AT&T, etc. There is a glut of talent available in the sector, and they can afford to be very choosy. Or possibly to scan the top 20 CV's on the pile, interview a few of them and throw away the rest.
 
Al Newman
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Originally posted by Rei Damle:
It is true that IT companies never invested in training and development of people and keeping them uptodate. One reason why companies were reluctant was that employees may use that training and go for greener pastures. I think there was no trust built up between employees and comapines. Both sides are to blame for this.

Hmmm, I'm not sure what form that investment should take. A lot of people expect to be sent to training classes, but I don't think many training classes repay the investment.
What frustrates me is that many companies are averse to spending anything! On a decent book collection for example! I buy my own books because I've concluded that my career cannot wait for the employer to decide to invest.....
A recent employer of mine actually had the gall to put my personal book collection out onto public shelving as 'company resources' while I was out working on a client site for a time. Without asking permission. My Oracle books proved too much of a temptation for someone and I lost about �200 worth! The books had been safely locked away in drawers until a facilities manager 'discovered' them and put them out. Compensation? Nope!
 
Tony Collins
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It is also very difficult to switch sectors, so an unemployed software engineer can retrain into web technologies, but then not get a Java role because they have no experience in that sector. Meanwhile companies, like Symbian, won't interview you if you've been unemployed for over a month.
So your totally screwed, either way.
Tony
 
Mark Herschberg
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Originally posted by HS Thomas:

As you go through your hiring process , do you work out who is the weakest link of the ones you hired ? It must change as you the list changes! A hiring triangle may become rhomboid or is triangle the perfect shape to aim for when hiring. Sorry I have just never heard of this.
I worked for a manager who believed the perfect change program was finally ready to cut loose when it achieved a rhomboid shape. Time and time again it seemed that the dust begamn to settle when the program on paper took on a rhomboid shape.

I think you're misunderstanding what I mean by hiring triangle. See my post in this forum on November 14, 2003 at 12:59 PM where I define a hiring triangle similar to an engineering triangle.
I don't know the term "change program" let alone how you represent one as a triangle.
--Mark
 
HS Thomas
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Thanks Mark. I can't find the thread but I think you mean a structural / organisational triangle.

The rhomboid I was referring to was in Project/Software/Quality Metrics of which there are many kinds of change programs.
regards
[ November 17, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
Mark Herschberg
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Oops, I meant in this thread on that date. It's towards the bottom of page 1 of this thread (just open page 1 and search for triangle). :-)
--Mark
 
Al Newman
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Originally posted by Tony Collins:
It is also very difficult to switch sectors, so an unemployed software engineer can retrain into web technologies, but then not get a Java role because they have no experience in that sector. Meanwhile companies, like Symbian, won't interview you if you've been unemployed for over a month.
So your totally screwed, either way.
Tony

Well, Tony - yes and no. I'd say it's largely a matter of how well you prepare, how well you market yourself - and how patient you are. If you understand going in that your chances of landing a job (or even of getting serious interest) are low, perhaps very low, going in, you will not set your expectations too high.
I have found that a good strategy is to cultivate a personal relationship with a good recruiter or two. Once you're on their 'A' list you'll find yourself submitted for everything which fits your background fairly well, and a good recruiter can get one into a quality interview as often as once a week, cerainly twice a month. Even in bad times like these.
I ended up with two close relationships with recruiters in late spring and summer this year. One got me a good interview perhaps once a month the other bi-weekly. Add in all the other activity and I was interviewing once a week in that time period. Many of those interviews were high-probability interviews, with probability of landing an offer ranging between 10% and 50%.
I cannot argue (too much) with the situation you lay out because I know it happens. But there are exceptions and your challenge is to find the exceptions. A good recruiter (not just an order-filler, but a good one) can be invaluable in getting you into the interview and also in getting good feedback when you fail (so that you can improve). They can also alert you on how to prepare since they may have sent other candidates in there.
Try this one, and ask for Michael. This man helped land me a contract and a job plus about 4 more quality interviews.
 
Jane Somerfield
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Michigan's unemployment rate reached the eleven years' high last month.
Any comments on this recovery? Will it last or we have to wait for
Hillary back?
 
Rufus BugleWeed
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Cheap Indians undercut the going market rate. They work long hours even at the low rate. They work in smaller cubicles comparable employees without complaint ( even though H1-B law outlaws this ). They want a job in America, pay is not really that important to them.
I suppose things are relative and working a luxury sweatshop is better than a real sweatshop. But there is no end to the capatilist's greed. You will not relent until the squalor so common in India covers the globe.
Calling a person a smartass is a personal attack. Maybe you do not like the truth. Maybe you find it offending. Maybe you are desperate to escape a failed culture on a collision course with catastrophe. I see you spreading your failed culture and I have but one weapon to stop you.
 
Ashok Mash
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Rufus is such a . Sorry, I had to say this. No offense meant to anyone else, but to Rufus.
 
Al Newman
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Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:
Cheap Indians undercut the going market rate. They work long hours even at the low rate. They work in smaller cubicles comparable employees without complaint

Rufus, right now I'd take a proper cubicle of almost any size. With gratitude.
Open (small) desks without furniture of any description have been my working environment for 3 years now (2 jobs). We're working in left-over office space in an old aircraft factory due for demolition inside a year, really when this project ends.
I'm on a shoestring project right now so they at least have that much excuse. But my last job was in a state of the art facility reflecting the latest thinking about flexible workplaces and hot-desking. No expense barred. A frigging beehive or worse.
Lets face it, our profession no longer holds any prestige at all. They can dump us in any old warehouse or leaky hanger on the edge of nowhere, work us 10 hours a day, and pay us peanuts. Why not?
 
Mark Herschberg
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I'd like to remind everyone that while I encourage you to tear apart each other's arguments, negative personal comments are inappropriate to this or any other discussion in on this website.
--Mark
 
Al Newman
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Mark, no personal attack was intended.
But we work in beehives now. Worse, we are the drones....
 
Mark Fletcher
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Probably a bit obvious, but Ive found when being interviewed, if asked a question that you dont know, its better just to say "Sorry, I dont know that." rather than "Hey yeah... " and spout some waffle.
I did that in my last two interviews and I got offers for both. Hopefully, that winning streak will last me a while longer
 
Mark Fletcher
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Aggh. I posted that whilst I was still on the first page of the thread... didnt realise that it devolved into a flamewar on the second. Apologies anyway as my last post is probably off topic now
<ducks down and runs for trench>
 
Ashok Mash
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Mark,
I appologize for the post the above post, which clearly is a personal attack and not at all suitable for JR. But I wouldn't offer to remove it though, at least not yet. I am sad I had to post it that way, but I really mean it.
Thanks!
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