back to article You can't find tech staff – wah, wah, wah. Start with your ridiculous job spec

In a recent IDG survey, the number of execs worried about a skills gap in IT grew from 49 per cent in 2016 to 60 per cent this year. Other surveys shore up this finding as well: a Cloud Foundry Foundation survey from late 2016 had 64 per cent of respondents worried about getting the skilled staff needed. “Is there a skills …

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Bucolic programming

The problem with this is that management equates the high salaries paid to skills-shortage staff in hotspots like Silicon Valley with exceptional talent. If they expand their horizons, it's to acquire people they perceive as having lower skills and for that they'll skip Ruritania and head for India as they also get significantly lower costs.

They're not going to go searching in Cedar Rapids or Bradford because there must clearly be something wrong with those people if they've failed to make it in San Francisco or London.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bucolic programming

Many years ago BT wanted to hire software folks, but found it (unsurprisingly) hard to attact them to the delights of Ipswich (this was in the days when everything shut at 5pm, and a deep pan at Pizza Hut was the highlight of a night out).

Instead of trying to attract the talent to HQ, they took the jobs to the talent, opening software centres in Newcastle, Belfast and London. It worked, they got many high-quality engineers and although they have since screwed up by outsourcing everything to India it showed that the principle is sound.

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Re: Bucolic programming

Interesting you should mention Bradford. We're a tech firm based on it's outskirts and we're certainly not alone in this region. And yeah, we struggle to recruit good engineers too.

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Re: Bucolic programming

they have since screwed up by outsourcing everything to India

One of the reasons there are lots of IT companies in the M4 corridor is that it was becoming difficult to find IT talent in New England, when that used to be the technology hub. A lot of those jobs have moved further east as well. And that's the issue: once the principle of outsourcing is established, it gets pursued to its apparently logical conculstion.

I know a number of talented engineers working in Newcastle - but they don't work for companies with a local presence and are people who have moved back from the hotspots, retaining previous relationships and networks. Much more difficult if you're starting a career.

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Re: Bucolic programming

Split the difference between local and London market pay rates?

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Re: Bucolic programming

Ipswich is still the same today.

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FAIL

The talent is out there but most businesses treat staff as a cost and do everything to drive it down. No training in case they get poached and people get treated as interchangable. Of course there is plain pig headedness. I place I worked at flushed several million down the toilet as the only person with the authority and ability was moving due to a partner's relocation and there was a strict no work from home policy (unless you were on support out of hours then you could do everything you could do in the office from the comfort of your couch). Years later no one had either the courage or the authority to pick that baton up.

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@ James 51

No training in case they get poached and people get treated as interchangable.

In another life, I was a software trainer (most enjoyable job ever) and your point came up one day in class. This was the first course one of the delegates had been sent on for years - for the very reason that his boss was afraid that the staff would get trained and leave.

Quick as a flesh, one of the other delegates responded

"Go back and ask him, how bad might it be if they don't train you and you stay?"

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Pint

Quick as a flesh, one of the other delegates responded

"Go back and ask him, how bad might it be if they don't train you and you stay?"

wasn't that the 'famous' quote from El Branston ?

or was that the 'Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to' one, never certain which came first, either way, it makes THE point on training

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I think some of the skills gap problem is that the job spec goes through hr.

After they add a whole bunch of acronyms they heard once while watching Silicon Valley, the number of people with those skills drops to just about zero.

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Then you get the idiots who say "must have 10 years experience in docker"

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And then HR slap on their standard requirement that anyone programming in a particular language must have X years previous experience in that language.

Even when the language was created less than X years ago.

And back when you could still specify age in job adverts I remember seeing one requiring a degree, X years experience, and < Y years old. Working it out there was a window of about one year of age where someone could just possibly satisfy all three requirements.

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or 10 years with windows server 2016.

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Anonymous Coward

It's even better in the public sector. In order to hit a roughly competitive pay grade (the public sector tends to pay a bit less, but to get it in the same ballpark) HR will hack technical job descriptions to make them look like management posts.

Memorably, I once reviewed a job description for an NHS organisation that was colour-coded. Blue text was stuff the hiring manager could edit. Red was inviolate and MUST NOT BE CHANGED etc.

The blue text ended up being a few paragraphs at the bottom of the second page. All the other required skills were "leading and collaborating" and suchlike. I felt quite sorry for any potential candidates trying to understand what the actual job was.

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Then you get the idiots who say "must have 10 years experience in docker"

I suspect that this might stem from their ISO 9000 implementation specifying such nonsense. Whoever wrote the quality manual is patting themselves on the back saying "we only employ the highest quality staff" when it translates to "we only employ liars".

I do, however, habitually suspect ISO 9000 as being responsible for a lot of bad management.

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"In order to hit a roughly competitive pay grade (the public sector tends to pay a bit less, but to get it in the same ballpark) HR will hack technical job descriptions to make them look like management posts."

I had roughly this sort of experience. In order to make a competitive offer (e.g. they couldn't match the company care) they nominated the post as management. Fair enough, it involved systems management. One of the amusing aspects was that a little later the grade was given company cars. However HR eventually started having problems with the notion that what was essentially a technical post didn't have much people management content.

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Anonymous Coward

Rant

Then there’s the ones where it says (for example) “must have experience of SCCM and SQL 2008”, and you put down the fact that you’ve got experience of Altiris and SQL 2005 and the muppets shoot you down in flames evening thought it’s the same damn thing with a different splash screen.

Another one listed a dozen things, of which I knew ten – the twelfth was “Lotus” Domino. As I said to the droid from the agency, you’re never going to find anyone in this small town who knows Domino, because nobody bloody well uses it.

Rant 3: applied for a job with Dimsdale Council online. Question 1, page 1: provide two references, name, address, phone number, etc etc. Now as you, I and everyone knows, references are no longer a thing for a multitude of reasons. But these fields on the web page were mandatory and I couldn’t click any further. Emailed the HR muppets and the reply was “If you could ask e.g. a policeman, JP, Head Teacher someone in a position of authority.”

Well, funnily enough, I don’t hang out with policemen or head teachers, and this isn’t a sodding passport application. So I made an official complaint.

http://www.commitstrip.com

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After they add a whole bunch of acronyms they heard once while watching Silicon Valley, the number of people with those skills drops to just about zero.

Alternatively, the specs are real, but the *ONLY* person remotely qualified for the job is the person who just left it.

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WTF?

"Skills Gap"

I once saw a modest IT job, at an extremely modest salary, advertised in the London Evening Standard. The list of requirments was so long, that literally no-one alive could possibly have ahcieved them.

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Anonymous Coward

@jelabarre59: I'll second that. Often when wanting to hire a replacement for someone who is leaving, managers will list the skill-set of the departing employee rather than specify what the new one actually needs. It's laziness really. I have a varied set of skills from working for over 20 years as a desk developer. It still amazes me that my list gets used in replacement ads when only a small sub-set is actually required. Things like that really shrink the talent pool you can target.

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Don't worry your PHB's

There is plenty of really top notch skilled staff just waiting to work for you in India.

Well, that's what British MBA/PHB's seem to think. I've lost count of the number of my former colleagues who have been 'righsized', 'downsized', 'let go' as their employer moves the whole IT department to Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai or Kolkata.

Mine went this time last year. I've been 'on the bench' so to speak ever since.

There is no sign of this trend letting up.

So? What Skills shortage? There are plenty of people out there but the agencies want a 1,000,000% match to a job spec that can't be filled by anyone. This might be by accident but personally, I think it is deliberate. Then the PHB can state that they can't find anyone so they'd better sent the job to India.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Don't worry your PHB's

There are plenty of 'under the radar' jobs that involve reviewing and fixing the execrable muck churned out by the Indian code-shops everyone's outsourced to. Look for anything mentioning Quality Assurance, mentoring or Partnerships: 95% chance this is what the job will be about. Slightly soul-destroying work, but it puts food on the table, and you can keep your dev skills up and current by simply throwing away the crap from India and writing it yourself. Friends of mine are making very good second careers doing this, and as long as a monthly salary/daily rate is all the credit and recognition you seek, you'll do ok.

A/C for obvious reasons. But good luck getting 'off the bench'.

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Re: Don't worry your PHB's

"Mine went this time last year."

This is the time to g freelance. You can then charge an appropriate fee for sorting out the problems they brought on themselves. For IR35 reasons, of course, it might be better to sort out problems that other people brought on themselves in like manner.

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Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

An experienced IT recruiter, Gayle Laakmann McDowell, say in her book Cracking the Coding Interview that doing well in a typical coding interview requires totally different skills from those of everyday work in the IT industry.

She also says in her book that employers don't mind getting false negatives and rejecting good workers, as long as they eventually find somebody good.

I think this says a lot about why so many employers are having such a hard time finding good IT staff. They are testing people for knowledge and skills that have little to do with everyday work. Which leads to a lot of false negatives.

The problem is that employers don't know how to look for good workers. And that's why they are having such a hard time finding people.

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Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

That's certainly not true of everywhere. A lot of what gets written about recruiting software engineers implies the employer is awash with candidates and it's a case of whittling the list down to the number of vacancies.

In my experience that's often not the case, at least in the regions we work in. Our interviews are very real-world, and of course still many people don't make the grade.

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Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

Typical recruitment process is that companies employ an agency. The agency find that the client is not very good at specifying what they want, so the agency says "What about skills X, Y, or Z?", and the client goes "Yes, all of them!". Then they move on to qualifications, and the client is still clueless. Agency says "Well, do you want a CompSci degree?" "Yes, Yes, of course yes!". "Do you want to restrict that to upper tier universities?" "Of course". And any degree, or cut off at a 2:1 minimum?" "Oooh, yes,2:1 and above". So although they only needed somebody good at X & Y, they've ruled out the 40-60% of people who haven't been to university, they've ruled out the 90%+ that didn't graduate in CompSci, then they've ruled half of that tiny group out on the basis of grade, and they've put in an overlay of "skills in Z" which isn't really important here.

Now, what's going on here is that the recruitment agency are trying to create a person spec because they'll only get paid when somebody is hired through them, or (for other contracts) when they put forward candidates meeting the spec. From ther point of view, they want a simple shape sorter that is easy to operate, screens out the people the client doesn't want, and bingo, its payday. Unfortunately, given the way companies tend to unwittingly gold plate the specification, this means they narrow down the pool of candidates to a miniscule subset, and then try and recruit people who can do the job so easily that they already have all the skills, stand to learn nothing new, and there's no reason why they should apply for such a Grounghog Day job. Recruiting managers rarely say "All I want is a good, experienced developer with skills in X, able to understand Y, couldn't give a toss about the academic education, but needs to fit into our corporate environment, and has suitable prior experience."

The vast majority of managers complaining about skills shortages are talking out of their arses, and their companies can't find skills purely because they rule so much of it out on spurious grounds.

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Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

Our interviews are very real-world, and of course still many people don't make the grade.

I'm sure I wouldn't. I have software deployed in C, C++, C#, Go, Python, SQL92, JavaScript, TypeScript and Kotlin on 4 different embedded ARM architectures plus Linux, Windows and FreeRTOS.

Can I remember the exact syntax, APIs, class libraries etc for all of them off the top of my head? Of course not. As with law (my other subject), you pull all the relevant information from archive into active memory to deal with the case you're handling, then flush most of it again when you context switch to something else.

If you ask me a programming question "cold" you'll get an answer in procedural Pascal. I can't remember map/reduce syntax in every damn language off the top of my head and I'm not going to try. As with law (again), the key to productivity isn't remembering every precedent verbatim it is knowing: that a precedent exists, where to find the details and how to apply it to the problem at hand.

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Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

Perhaps there is a problem with the whole concept of hiring people on the basis of an interview.

Because it's a well known fact in statistics that any kind of human performance is distributed on a normal curve. Any single sample can be anywhere on that curve. It's not representative at all of the person's typical ability and performance.

The smaller your sample, the less representative it is of the person's general ability and performance.

A person's performance over months and years at school or on a previous job is much more representative of his or her general ability than any coding interview that lasts for an hour or two.

Relying a lot on interviews is bound to produce a lot of false positives and false negatives. This is just common sense from a statistical point of view.

But employers don't seem to realize this for some reason. It's as if they still living in the Dark Ages, before statistical science was discovered.

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Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

It's as if they still living in the Dark Ages, before statistical science was discovered.

A surprisingly large number of people still fall for Gambler's Fallacy, but even those who don't are often guilty of faulty reasoning and imprecision.

For example, given the premise:

"if I toss this coin five times and get 'heads' every time, what is the sixth toss likely to produce?"

... the 'enlightened' person may answer that the sixth toss has a 50:50 probability whereas the gambler's fallacy predicts that it is time for "tails". They're both wrong. There is only a 3.125% chance of tossing "heads" five times with a fair coin so the balance of probability is that the coin is loaded or some other trickery is at work. That means the likely outcome is either "heads" again or else the answer will dictate the outcome by causing the tosser (oooh, err) to alter his technique.

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Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

I once got a job, instead of the other candidate I was up against, because when asked a very technical question, my response was 'not a clue, I'd have to go and look that up', rather than waffling, which is apparently what the other candidate did.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

Ah, that education thing.

Aged 50 I went for an interview with a 'big consultancy'. The HR womble spent 50 minutes trying to understand why I had no 'A' Levels but claimed that I had a 2:1 in Engineering and an MSC.

Even showing her the degree certs didn't cut it.

She hadn't a clue what an ONC/HNC was.

By the time you are 50 what you did or didn't do for A Levels does not matter.

I called it a day as regards working last year. I get my state pension next month and you know what, I don't miss it. I'm doing an OU degree now and loving it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

"Can I remember the exact syntax, APIs, class libraries etc for all of them off the top of my head? Of course not."

Big thumbs up to this comment which shows the totally erroneous thinking of interviewers on this subject.

I spent around 17 years contracting, going from C# in one job to UNIX shell scripting the next, followed by SQL and JavaScript after that and so on, as the job demanded for 6 months to a couple of years depending on the term of the contract.

Quite often you'd find the client didn't actually know what he really needed so you'd end up working on something quite different once they realised, or you suggested it, and you hardly ever used one tenth of the skills originally asked for.

In my experience the software, language, skills, or whatever, you are using are only instantly accessible mentally for what you've been using for the last 6 months, after that of course you'll remember the gist of that skill but you won't remember the niceties and you won't be as "sharp" as you were with that skill mid job a few years ago.

The truth is for the stuff you don't know you get a book, browse the web or get some training to get the required skills, and rely on a helpful IDE to prompt you, what most managers seem to forget is that when they bring in new software or a new language their existing staff miraculously manage to master it after a few months, and unless it's something very esoteric it's likely to be based on something familiar anyway, but somehow this doesn't apply to interviewees unless they have managed to memorise the answers from multiple vendors certification course questions.

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Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

Yup, even remembering exactly what the interface is to a string package you haven't used for a year takes a search for me. Javascript, Objective C, C++, C, and Python all have slightly different versions, and I'm just not going to remember the parameters to substr in something I haven't used in > 12 months.

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Re: "Gambler's Fallacy"

This is Bayesian, yes? But the probability that your five-heads coin is crooked depends on the prior probability of you obtaining - accidentally no doubt - such a crooked coin. If they are very rare then you are probably just looking at luck and a fair coin.

I expect without checking that it's physically difficult anyway to make a coin which favours heads over tails, except of course by printing heads on both sides of the coin which is rather a giveaway. Of course, making sure that when the referee inspects the coin, they aren't inspecting the one with two heads, is just a matter of dexterity.

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Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

Hah! A friend of my wife's, a woman then about 50, applied for a job with an electronic publisher. The latter asked her what her SAT scores were. (Note to those from outside the US: this has nothing to do with P/NP. The SATs are the Scholastic Aptitude Tests that American teens take when applying to college.)

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Yup

Been asked for my transcript a few times by US recruitment, and got bewilderment every time on disclosing that UK universities don't do that.

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Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

My answer to questions like that is “They were good enough to get me an academic scholarship to Notre Dame, that’s what they were.” Tends to shut the idiots up. For those in heathen lands which know not The Fighting Irish, it ain’t easy to get an athletic schoarship under The Golden Dome, and _much_ harder to get an academic one; actual students aren’t trained monkeys performing under bright lights to make the school vast amounts of money. (Notre Dame Stadium currently seats in excess of 82,000; before that, more than 54,000. They have failed to sell out on home football Saturdays exactly once since 1963, and before that exactly once dating back to 1947. The school has a deal with NBC, every single home game is televised nationally, and NBC pays hansomely for the priviledge. For some strange reason, none of that mountain of cash filters down to the trained monkeys. Cynical, moi? To be fair, one of my suite mates, I spent most of my time there in a five-man suite, was a starting linebacker until he messed up his right knee really good. The school let him finish his degree even though he couldn’t play any more. Some places <cough> Ohio State</cough> would have bounced his ass out so fast he’d have trailed Cherenkov radiation.)

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Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

"I spent around 17 years contracting"

I didn't spend quite that long freelance - I retired instead - but I did find that a lot of work came from existing contacts, word of mouth and repeat business. It bypassed all the HR crap.

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Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

"a woman then about 50, applied for a job with an electronic publisher. The latter asked her what her SAT scores were."

ISO 9000 strikes again, no doubt.

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Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

Our interviews are very real-world, and of course still many people don't make the grade.

I'm sure I wouldn't. I have software deployed in C, C++, C#, Go, Python, SQL92, JavaScript, TypeScript and Kotlin on 4 different embedded ARM architectures plus Linux, Windows and FreeRTOS.

Can I remember the exact syntax, APIs, class libraries etc for all of them off the top of my head? Of course not.

Absolutely, and what about me saying our interviews are very real-world made you think I'd expect you to know all the syntax etc?

In the real world, people use Google. They look at books. They ask people for help. No, we don't let people use Google in our interviews but we do give people help and drop clues. It tells you more if someone can pick up on a clue and run with it rather than stare at you blankly (or argue that your clue is wrong). If someone says "I'm not sure but I'd look it up" I'd ask them what they would look up - it's no good searching Google if you don't know what you are searching for. It's no good reading an answer on StackOverflow if you can't understand it and tell the good answers from the bad ones - so we give people code to read and ask them to find what's wrong with it, and why. Would this code work? Could it be done better a different way? What do you mean by "better"?

etc

Still, I've had more than one candidate who couldn't write a 'for' loop without help...that much I do expect you to know, in at least one language...

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Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

"...In my experience that's often not the case, at least in the regions we work in. Our interviews are very real-world, and of course still many people don't make the grade..."

This isn't always fair.

I have 20 years of experience across various roles. Asking me to recall things ad-hoc that may be obscure or esoteric proves memory not experience.

Mind you then there's the interviews where the person interviewing you has a networking background (I don't) then wants to drill down into network architecture.

And says stupid things like "well wouldn't you use BitLocker as a start to securing your Office 365 implementations...?"

And we're not talking the application suite here.

Testing memory ain't the same as testing knowledge and is why so many "professional" certifications aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

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Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

"I have software deployed in C, C++, C#, Go, Python, SQL92, JavaScript, TypeScript and Kotlin on 4 different embedded ARM architectures plus Linux, Windows and FreeRTOS.

Can I remember the exact syntax, APIs, class libraries etc for all of them off the top of my head? Of course not."

I'd hope that you'd be able to get close to the right suntax for whichever one of those you claim you were using last week.

And I'd also hope that, unlike some of the interviewees I've seen, you would not totally freeze up and refuse to write anything at all in that situation.

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Re: "Gambler's Fallacy"

This is Bayesian, yes? But the probability that your five-heads coin is crooked depends on the prior probability of you obtaining - accidentally no doubt - such a crooked coin

All you know I that I am going to toss a coin. You have no data regarding my intentions or the provenance of the coin, so your analysis assumes facts not in evidence.

As an example of why this matters (and this will be a very brief synopsis), I was asked to do a code review to determine why there was a huge spike in serious bugs being reported by a (actually "the") major customer. This was a departure from previous experience with no major staff or technology changes (though there were new releases) and the dev team claimed they couldn't reproduce most of the problems.

After a quick read through, I found no major code quality problems, which is exactly what the in house dev team had reported. Management thought that the devs were covering for each other, but no-one had considered that the customer might be lying (law is my other field). A bit of targeted "debugging" established that the customer owed a lot of money and had a cash flow problem. The bug reports were deliberately exaggerated/fabricated as part of a customer strategy to avoid paying. Assuming facts not in evidence (in this case, customer integrity) resulted in futile expenditure running to thousands of pounds and serious damage to team morale.

That was my point about the coins. When there is only a 3.125% chance of a fair test producing the results to date, the balance of probability is that the test isn't fair.

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Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

And I'd also hope that, unlike some of the interviewees I've seen, you would not totally freeze up and refuse to write anything at all in that situation.

It would depend. If you wanted me to code sketch a process I would do it in Pascal. I don't actually use Pascal for anything, but it is the best language (IMO) for explaining things because you can add type declarations, pointer math, manual memory management etc. (if you need to) while staying within syntax and it avoids the temptation to use syntax sugar like map/reduce which can easily cover up the fact that you don't really understand the algorithms you're using (e.g. people who claim "map" is more efficient than "for" but can't actually read the generated assembly language).

I'd you wanted me to do a "fizzbuzz" then I would probably refuse. I know how to do it in one line with Python, but that's a party trick, not professional programming, and I wouldn't be good fit for an organization impressed by party tricks.

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Re: Not knowing how to look can make it hard to find

> There is only a 3.125% chance of tossing "heads" five times with a fair coin so the balance of probability is that the coin is loaded or some other trickery is at work.

No. As more than 32 people who have commented on this article so far, I would expect one of them to have tossed 5 consecutive heads on a fair coin.

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Anonymous Coward

Depends What You're Looking For

If you want a bum on a seat, then hiring is easy.

And I don't buy the "HR are blocking all the good people" argument. Any sensible hiring manager has back-channels to recruitment agents/friends/former colleagues that allow them to short-circuit the HR checks.

What we're really talking about is hiring people who are able to program, who enjoy programming and aren't asses. There are fewer of these people about.

There are a surprising number of developers who can't code. And by can't code I mean fail when doing a FizzBuzz test with a pen and paper. Once you dump this group of people you look at the next hurdle: is the person someone I can work with with and who will fit with the team. There are a surprising number of people who fail this test as well, and we shouldn't discount how much damage having an ass in your team can cause.

How do you get access to a larger talent pool? Go to a big city. There are more people and more chance of hiring. You also want all your people in one place: face to face communication helps them gel as a team (the after work beer, team lunch, general banter) and encourages impromptu help/design/peer-programming.

You could do all this with remote workers but it's harder. There's less of a personal connection and the team has less opportunities to gel. I currently work in a multi-location team and we do plenty of screen-shares and conference calls to discuss problems and do design but it's at the London hub where new ideas come out because we have a chat when going for coffee or after work over a beer.

Hiring good people is hard. Not much of a story, but there it is.

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Re: Depends What You're Looking For

"There are a surprising number of developers who can't code. "

Make that "astonishing". I tend to get the reputation of "The Guy" because I use modularity, structure, patterns etc. and don't just cut and paste example code. Of course if feels like climbing Everest in your underwear sometimes but results are gotten and they tend to be good. Not so with the C&P brigade or the "screw the design spec, I need this piece so I'm going to grab it even if I introduce pathological dependencies in the process" people.

Unfortunately the people who preside over chaos are the least well equipped to understand who can be expected to clear it up rather than make it worse. I did a major cleanup of a process once and got the cycle time down from weeks to hours. What got me noticed? Presenting the output in HTML instead of bog roll text.

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Anonymous Coward

Training spend

PHB's see all training as a cost, and lump it all together. Therefore all of the corporate policy rubbish that gets pushed down the tree from senior management gets to eat the budget before any work-relevant training is even considered. So it's perfectly possible that the PHB perception that they're paying enough for training is correct, even while the employees are also correct that they're not getting enough training to do their jobs.

This is part of a bigger problem. Current corporate culture is focused on keeping authority (and the budgets that go with it) more and more concentrated at the top of companies, as it's part of the justification for increasing executive pay while suppressing everyone else's. The result is we get to enjoy C-level flights of fancy at the same time as coping with the joys of budgetary constraints on the daily grind. Unfortunately there's not much to be done about this until investors realise what damage this kind of board level hubris is doing to companies.

Yeah, I'm not holding my breath for that either.

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