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149

Hire the inexperienced programmer with a passion for the craft. A passionate programmer will learn quickly, care about his work and enjoy doing it. I've worked with both types of programmers and I would always hire the passionate type over the experienced. People who don't care about their work eventually lead to problems in quality as well as in meeting ...


112

Whilst no one posting here is in a position to tell you which to hire, I'd like to offer a little counterpoint to the proceedings... One of our most recent new starters is the absolute image of professional experience. In at 9, out at 5, one hour for lunch. No lates, no weekends. Which probibly sounds terrible to most of the people who have responded so ...


89

Great developers once had no experience, too. Great developers are not only expensive but also hard to find. So, if you have a high-quality screening and hiring process, hiring entry-level developers can be a great way to find those up-and-comers and turn them into great developers.


88

I'm 52, and Technology Director of a company I co-founded 15 years ago, and this is a question close to my heart. I spend about 40% of my time coding, mainly developing existing and new products and I truly hope to be doing the same thing in 10 years time. I'm intrigued by the notion that older programmers are uniquely hampered by irrelevant skillsets. I ...


65

I regularly end up working 50+ hours a week To me thats all you need to tell your manager. "Im working 50+ hours a week to make sure the work gets done. Im a hard worker but this is unsustainable long term, you should hire another developer". If that dosent work then I suggest you start looking for a new job.


61

From the hiring side here is how it works Development lead writes down the requirements for two jobs Project manager merges them into a single ad = "web designer who knows erlang" This is passed through layers of management to comment - comment consists of them adding the only language/technology they have heard of HR then 'fixes' this by changing the ...


61

I was in your exact situation recently. My company wanted to hire another programmer and I specifically wanted someone with more experience than me so I could continue to learn and grow. I was most nervous about the Interviews, so asked a question on here. To summarize, ask questions you know the answer to, are related to problems you have, or are ...


59

Having just got a new job at nearly 50 in the UK I can say that it's possible and you're never too old. There are two approaches - both rely on your skills being relevant to the job. Stick with what you know and become a guru. This is risky as the number of jobs requiring "old" technologies are becoming fewer and further between as each year passes. ...


58

There is an old saying, variously attributed: A level people want to work with A level people. B level people want to work with C level people. Do you aspire to be an A level person or a B level one? Answer honestly. The reason why this happens is very simple. A level people get to be A level people by challenging themselves and learning from the best ...


53

I'd pick the guy with the work experience. He's a whole lot more likely to have experience with stuff like source control, team software development, edge cases/error handling and all those real-world things that programming classes don't tend to cover much, if at all. This may or may not count for anything, depending on who the previous employer was, but ...


49

I would say it depends on the rest of the team: if you have a lot of experienced programmers already, then pick the passionate if, on the other hand, you have only one or two experienced programmers plus many students/cheap-labor-with-little-experience-but-that-don't-cost-much, then the experienced one will be more useful.


47

Some employers ask for gold when they really need silver; if they can get it on a tin salary, so much the better. It's wrong thinking, IMO. What they should really be looking for are steel tools to make gold, and that is what you have to convince them.


45

Pay lots of money. If they can't do that they offer stock options and nice perks like free food, drink, nice working environment with latest equipment and good benefits. Basically you have to give them something worthwhile, no one is interested in making you rich for their toil.


43

Ask about what tech blogs they read, ask what the applicant finds interesting in current tech and why. Essentially, for a phone interview you want to figure out if this is someone who is enthusiastic about technology and programming and is interested in learning and knowing more. Since this is a junior, you can't expect that they know many advanced topics, ...


42

Do some people have a knack for programming? Absolutely. If you don't have a knack for it, can you still be a great programmer? Yes, but it'll take more practice. Either way, being really good at programming takes time. It's sort of like playing an instrument. Are some people naturally gifted? Yep. But many of the greats just practiced longer, and ...


41

A book that I really like is First break all the rules. It has a lot of information about the differences between average managers and good managers. One of the key insights that good managers said over and over again was summed up by one of them in the sentence, I've never waited too long to find the right hire, and I've never fired the wrong hire fast ...


40

Experience is (Often) Key Unfortunately, while this may be very frustrating, your skills and the knowledge of project management that you acquired at university or during your previous projects appears insufficient to a lot of people; I know I would be cautious. I can understand the frustration, but there's always the danger that, while you seem like a ...


37

I got my first programming job at age 37. So that's not too old to start, if you are bright, eager to learn, and willing to accept the salary of a junior programmer.


37

How do you know that (s)he will have trouble adapting? Just because they use a different coding style? That's pretty presumptuous. I have been a contractor for a long time, and no matter what coding style is used, you adapt. It may take some time, but the habits form pretty quickly. I do hope that by coding style you do not just mean indentation and layout ...


37

How can I check if he will get the programming skills he needs You can't. It's impossible to accurately test for a skill he doesn't have yet. You have to make a judgment call based on his intelligence and attitude. It's ultimately always going to be a risk. From personal experience I can say it's very possible to transition from science to programming. ...


36

When I was working on finding my current position, I attended a workshop where I was the youngest person by at least a decade. A number of the other people in the workshop were 50+ and having a very hard time finding work. A few of the observations on why this is were: A lot of employers assume that since you're older you're also looking to score a couple ...


35

Anecdotally, if you look at any of the job boards such as Dice, you will find that the number of job postings for VB developers has remained relatively steady over time, while the number of job postings for C# developers has gradually increased. While this does not say anything about availability of programmers, it does suggest a gradual move in the ...


34

Context is everything. Silicon Valley isn't the only place with unstable employers; somebody who likes working for startups* is going to bounce around a lot between stable gigs. Look at the employers: staying no more than six months at, say, Apple, Bank of America, and Carnegie-Melon University is far more ominous than brief stays at Frank's ...


33

Assuming that this was for a permanent position it would raise a warning in my mind. Basically I don't want to be training this person's replacement in a year's time. However, I would look at the circumstances for each move. Were any redundancies? Was the move due to the relocation of a spouse? etc. If there were legitimate reasons for most of the moves ...


32

More than you realize. Think about it, if you have to fight with someone every day, it gets exhausting. When that happens, only a few options are available to you: Give up and let the bad fit do what they want all the time, even if it destroys the project. Leave the team/company to avoid the bad fit. Fire the bad fit and hire someone you can work ...


32

The purpose of fizzbuzz isn't to find good programmers, it's to find a certain class of bad programmers, which is people who can't implement a simple algorithm. Your question is sort of like asking how many Nascar champions are identified during their driver license exams. There's a lot of middle ground between someone you definitely don't want to hire and ...


30

Here's a reason nobody has covered yet: Government department wants to hire a specific person for an open position. Due to public service hiring rules, they can't do that. They need to have a competition and look at all applicable candidates. But they already have who they want on contract, and getting the person into that position is the desired outcome. ...



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