Take the 2-minute tour ×
Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Few days back, I faced two interviews.

It's obvious that they are going to ask about the different techniques I have learned. So, I gave them link of my tutorials while giving telephonic interview (Skype). In short, I explained the things using my blogs which they wanted to know.

Say for example,

Q: What challenge did you face earlier and how did you solve it ?
A: I got stuck when client insist me to have customized moviePlayer in iPhone, I came out to an solution. I have given complete brief of that technique here.

After this conversation, this was their response:

We are happy to see you active in such manner. But our company has some rules and regulations. You are not allowed to post anything regarding our project. If you are willing to obey our rules, we are happy with that and we will hire you.

I just couldn't understand why knowledge sharing is strictly prohibited?

I am fully agree that if company is developing new APIs, or new technologies I should not publicly discuss it.

But my blogs are about some techniques sharing. Why am I forced to shut down my open-source sharing if I want to join that company?

I also explained them, If no one is going to share their knowledge, how are you going to learn such things?

I gave examples like these:

  • If Ray Wenderlich doesn't post about game development, how am I gonna learn game development basics for iPhone / iOS?
  • If Jon Skeet is not allowed to give answer on Stack Overflow, how am I gonna learn superstitious things?

Summary :

  1. Why do company think like that "Our developer share our company's details?"
  2. Why do company think like that "It's their own property, If we do some research regarding development on office? " (need brief, I can elaborate more, just comment for that, I will edit question).

Edit :

Well! I am sharing techniques in small pieces & functionalities. I am not sharing whole project. Similarly, I am also doing some research work at my home & share about my technical experience. What is the reason behind interrupting someone's life. Its all about sharing the stuff that you have learned & it's strongly not about sharing companies client details or company projects.

share

migration rejected from stackoverflow.com Jul 6 at 16:02

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers. Votes, comments, and answers are locked due to the question being closed here, but it may be eligible for editing and reopening on the site where it originated.

put on hold as primarily opinion-based by Jim G., MichaelT, gnat, GlenH7, Ampt Jul 6 at 16:02

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

5  
What's interesting is that most successful companies encourage their developers to share the most non-classified information. Developers at Microsoft who talk a lot are the most valuable (Scott Guthrie for example). Same for Google. Same for Fog Creek. This includes talking about proprietary software currently in development (BUILD Windows at Anaheim, CA today and tomorrow; a blog and dozens of podcasts about Stack Overflow, etc.). –  MainMa Sep 12 '11 at 10:35
1  
Apple thinks different... –  mouviciel Sep 12 '11 at 10:39
    
@mouviciel, Bull... They encourage it with the hyper-competitive app store. –  maple_shaft Sep 12 '11 at 11:54
4  
This is common but it seems much more prevalent in iPhone app companies where even having a seemingly simple idea can potentially make you some money. The VAST majority of iPhone apps are giant FAIL'gasms of time and money but they are all hoping and praying to have the next Angry Birds. They are like sharks looking for even simple ideas or technological solutions to uncommon problems and if they smell blood in the water they will rip apart your company. Naturally they are extremely secretive when even a stupid idea is the difference between feast and famine. –  maple_shaft Sep 12 '11 at 12:00
comments disabled on deleted / locked posts

5 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Many companies are drunk on their own kool-aid and think anything they do is "proprietary knowledge" that would ruin them if it was made public, even if it's some rote or trivial nonsense. I've seen companies refer to things as trivial as a shared library of functions or some pretty CSS wrappers around controls as "trade secrets". IMO the term "intellectual property" is widely abused, and the law covers it without regard (similar to how the patent system is broken).

Personally, I would consider it a red flag. There are very few cases of something being an actual, honest-to-God trade secret (usually in actual scientific fields like medicine and chemistry) and the majority of companies don't fall into that category, even if they think they do. The way most of these companies seem to act is like Wrangler and Levis claiming that how they make jeans is some "secret recipe" even though both are made in the same factory and have different logos slapped on.

share
1  
Some fields in finance also have real trade secrets (eg, algorithmic trading) –  SLaks Sep 12 '11 at 18:08
add comment

What is the problem with:

You are not allowed to post anything regarding our project.

Why do you think that:

[you are] forced to shut down [your] open-source sharing if [you] want to join that company?

These are not mutually exclusive.

share
1  
@sugar - I don't think they assume you will post company secrets, but it still needs to be said that this is their policy. By being as upfront as possible, they are doing you a favor by giving as much insight into their policies as possible. –  JeffO Sep 12 '11 at 12:30
    
"They are forcing me not to use my own blog ?" Nobody is forcing you to do anything. If you can't work for them without writing about what you're doing, don't work for them. –  user1936 Sep 12 '11 at 13:44
add comment

They may be afraid that their competitor will gain a glimpse of the stuff they're working on by analyzing the content of their developers' blogs. Maybe they're overly paranoid about security, maybe not.

I would definitely demand additional compensation for such gag order.

share
    
They might also worry about you being recruited away -- you post stuff in your blogs, another company needs those skills and makes you an attractive offer. (But how often does this really happen?) –  Jay Elston Sep 12 '11 at 15:00
1  
@Jay Gag orders as means of reducing employee turnover? That's a novelty. –  quant_dev Sep 12 '11 at 15:22
1  
@quant_dev seems to be an obvious extention of the philosphy: "The beatings will continue until morale improves!" –  Chad Sep 12 '11 at 16:20
add comment

In answer to this question:

I just couldn't understand why knowledge sharing is strictly prohibited?

Because that knowledge is considered intellectual property that makes the business money. Even the smallest details about a project may provide clues into how it is designed, developed, and released. These could lead to security problems, competition problems and potentially even marketing/image problems. Your blog is a personal outlet that they can't explicitly control (you control it), so they want pieces in the employment contract that control their relationship with you that allow them to at least react in a suitable manner if your "knowledge sharing" threatens to impact their bottom line.

share
add comment

In answer to

2.Why do company think like that "It's their own property, If we do some research regarding development on office? " (need brief, I can elaborate more, just comment for that, I will edit question).

It is legally their property in the United States and I suspect most other countries. They are paying you to do the research and they own the results.

share
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.