Archive for the ‘None’ Category

Technical Resumes and Interviews

Having done a few horrible technical reviews lately, I figured I should post a little info to help prospective interviewees out. So here are some of my pet peeves that I run across during interviews (or on resumes) that will immediately get you removed from consideration.

Listing Skills or Technologies You Don’t Know

Seems obvious, but clearly it is not. If you list a technology on your resume (especially the harder ones or ones not strictly in your specialty), I’m going to ask about it. For instance, if you list all the technologies in a project you were on, but all you did was update ASP.Net pages and someone else did the WCF/SQL Server/whatever it is, you shouldn’t list it. Technology acronyms may get the recruiter’s attention, but I am going to ask you about it, and if you don’t know it, I’m going to assume your resume is a batch of lies. I don’t have the time to figure out what you do know so I’m just going to eliminate you.

And since we’re discussing technologies on resumes, stop applying bold to the technologies and phrases in a seemingly random manner all over your resume (STOP IT!!).  While you may think it’s helping people skim through your resume, it actually harms the people reading it. So my impression of you is that you don’t understand users, and probably make poor choices when trying to build a system that interacts with people, because you can’t format a document intended for people to read.

Listing Clients as Employers

Your clients did not hire you as an employee, but a contractor. Those are very different scenarios. If you work for a contract house and worked on a project at Proctor & Gamble, P&G is not your employer. I have personally seen contractors list Microsoft as an employer because they worked on a project led by Microsoft Consulting Services. You were not an employee of Microsoft, you were a sub-contractor. You did not go through the extensive hiring process at Microsoft and pass. Someone at MS hired your company to provide developers, and not specifically to hire you. That’s not the same thing at all.

Brush up on Basics

If you are a developer whose main skill set is Java or .Net, you should know OOP basics. How about the four pillars of OOP? I am amazed that interviewees with 10+ years of experience can’t answer this question. If you know C#/Java/whatever, you should be able to tell me what the language keywords mean and their effect. I expect you to be able to write code in the interview. I don’t think you should be able to write up a connector for WIF, but some basic coding without the benefit of Uncle Google is a prerequisite.

Opinions

I am consistently shocked by the number of developers who won’t express an opinion, on even the simplest of questions, like what do you like better about C# compared to language X?. I don’t want team members who won’t tell me what they think or even tell me if I’m wrong. I’m pretty sure if you can’t express your opinion in an interview you can’t work on my team.

Look up your Interviewer

Again, seems pretty basic, but it doesn’t happen. I know the recruiter gave you my name. In almost 10 years of interviews, only two people actually looked me up ahead of time. If you are reading this before I interview you, congratulations, you are on the right track, but I’m pretty sure you are the minority. This is an easy way to demonstrate some initiative.

Listen

Again, I can’t believe I have to write about this, but listening to the interviewer is kind of important. I can tell when you aren’t listening to what I say, and if you can’t listen to me in the interview, why would I think you would listen to your team once hired?

Ask Questions

If your only question is what is the project this interview is for, I’ll just assume you are just another contractor looking for a gig and not looking for a career at my company. Again, I don’t want you. If you don’t know anything about my company going in, I’m going to assume you are lazy in your work as well.

Learn About Tech Interviews

Do yourself a favor, learn about tech interviewing:

What Great .NET Developers Ought To Know

On Interviewing Programmers

The Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing

Java Posse Discussion

Loveletter Worm

Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the Loveletter (ILOVEYOU) worm. This was the first real virus/worm that I ever experienced that actually took down a mail server. It was also an early, widespread, damaging worm. At the time, I was in my colleague’s office (he was the network guy), and he got an email. He looked at me and said “Why would Gary send me a message saying ‘I Love You’”? A few seconds and 5 similar messages later it dawned on him what was going on, he ran down the hall to the server room and hard-powered off the Exchange Server. Later we determined only 79 accounts got the email before he stopped it. It still took two days to get the mess cleaned up.

What really struck me about this was the code of the worm. I was doing classic ASP programming at the time, so I was pretty conversant with VBScript. I printed it off the code to check it out (see a description of what the code does). I was really struck by the fact that I understood what they were doing, and it didn’t even seem that hard. It was a real watershed moment for me as a developer, I had reached a point of understanding with that technology; it validated my progress as a developer.

The Love Bug: A Retrospect

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New Job

I recently changed companies, and am now in the second day of my new job. Today I actually got to write code, fixing bugs in a project that is nearing the end, almost ready to move to QA. It’s quite exciting at a new place with the new people and the positive potential. I’ve even already learned some new things, I expect it will keep going that way.

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Becoming A One Man Shop

When I took this job almost four years ago, one of my main motivations was to no longer be a one man shop. Well, a rough time for the automotive industry has me back in that position again. In the middle of December the only remaining member of my team (other than me) was laid off. Now I am a one man shop once again. It’s a big change in coding and testing. I am now realizing how much I relied on my team members for cross-testing my code. It is much more difficult to get the same results myself. I am also missing the second opinion that I didn’t realize I was utilizing so much.

Unlike my previous job, there are other programmers in the department, so I am not completely alone. The other developers are not very familiar with my project though and can’t be of much help. But at least there is still some camaraderie.

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.Net Jobs

The October issue of Dr. Dobbs Journal has a small article called Quantifying Popular Programming Languages. This article is unfortunately not available on-line for free. Dr. Dobbs surveyed web-based job boards to see what percent of the job postings contained references to specific programming languages, but they did not divulge which boards they surveyed. The survey lasted from July 2002 to June 2003. Only 16.4% of the jobs posted contained references to .Net, 5.35% mentioned VB.Net specifically, and 5.16% mentioned C#.  Java ocurred in over 40% of the ads and C++ was in over 50% of the ads. Visual Basic was in 19.2% of the ads. Does this reflect a slow adoption of .Net? Or is this just an effect of the economy, or both? I have lurked around the MCAD usenet group and seen frequent comments about the lack of jobs specfically for .Net. Of course, my company is certainly not hiring (see my post here), and the project I am on is the only .Net project in the company. In my experience the benefits of .Net development are significant compared to what we were doing in the past, even for the customer. Are we just not getting through to the business decision-makers about where we need to go? Or should I really spend more time learning C++?

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OS = Windows 98

In response to: http://dotnetjunkies.com/WebLog/donnymack/posts/2383.aspx

 You are Windows 98.  You're a bit flaky, but well-liked.  You don't have a great memory, but everyone seems to know you.  A great person to hang out with and play some games.
Which OS are You?

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Very Long Week

My company just spent 3 days laying off tons of people. I survived this round, but the development group I am a part of lost three people. The company was about 8000 people worldwide, I wonder what it is now. Management is not interested in distributing the details. It’s pretty rough watching the CIO follow around the HR team that is laying people off, and then getting to listen to them cleaning out the cube on other side of the wall.  I am fortunate to have a good project that lets me learn .Net. If my turn comes at least I am acquiring new skills.

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Why Is This Here?

I figure this first post can be an “About Me” to let readers know what to expect here.

I have been developing application sites with ASP since 1998 or so, mostly straight ASP, but some COM objects. I am currently part of a small team (2 of us) that develops an in-house application for my employer (MSX International in the Detroit area). It is an ASP app that is used internally. We are currently finishing up a small job board that will be part of the external web site and the job board part is 100% ASP.Net. We are about 6 months into the project, which is yet to be released, due to political problems within the company and also some feature creep.

At the same time, we are slowly converting the internal app that I work on from ASP to ASP.Net. We encountered some stumbling blocks along the way, but impressively all the answers were found within the .Net framework.

The main thread of this blog is to describe the stumbling blocks and how we overcome them.

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