Would a professional programmer on this board consent to an interview?

This is a discussion on Would a professional programmer on this board consent to an interview? within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; For a class of mine, I am required to interview a person in the field of work that I intend ...

  1. #1
    Desperate
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    Would a professional programmer on this board consent to an interview?

    For a class of mine, I am required to interview a person in the field of work that I intend to enter. While I have attempted to find a person in my town to do this, I have been unable to find a person willing to be interviewed. Therefore, I am asking for someone here to answer a few general questions about their job.

    1. What is your job title?

    2. What are your routine duties?

    3. What do these entail?

    4. What is the most unusual thing that has happened at work?

    5. How much do you get paid?

    6. How long do you generally work?

    7. How stressful is your job?

    8. Do you have any advice for someone entering the field?

    9. Is there anything else you'd like to say?


    I greatly apreciate any replies I recieve to this.

  2. #2
    pronounced 'fib' FillYourBrain's Avatar
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    most people don't want to talk about what they make but the rest of the questions seem acceptable.
    "You are stupid! You are stupid! Oh, and don't forget, you are STUPID!" - Dexter

  3. #3
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    Hey, I replied to this (except as FYB notes the salary) - where's the reply??
    Truth is a malleable commodity - Dick Cheney

  4. #4
    Shadow12345
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    can you post the interview when you're done.

  5. #5
    Desperate
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    Yes, certainly, assuming the other person agrees. I do need a response soon, however - I'm quite afraid it's due tomorrow.

    Well, it's nothing more than I deserve, I suppose... I should have realized that I it's a bad idea to seek programmers in an area famed for its backwards nature.

  6. #6
    Desperate
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    ...Although with luck, I might be able to get away with another day...

  7. #7
    the hat of redundancy hat nvoigt's Avatar
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    What I do now is more like project management, so this goes for the last years when I was a pure programmer:

    1. What is your job title?

    Software Engineer

    2. What are your routine duties?

    Coding Applications for my Company. Producing concepts for known problems and transfering them into usable programs.

    3. What do these entail?

    Lots of coding in various languages ( whichever best fits the task at hand ), database design and queries, theoretical thoughts about search and inserting mechanisms and a lot of stuff that you have to do when you use a computer ( look for new drivers when yours fail, defrag, sort through your storage and delete unused stuff, backup, look for new hardware that could help, evaluate tools that look helpful ).

    4. What is the most unusual thing that has happened at work?

    Once when we were working late and on a weekend because the database server had to be replaced and we had to make lots of changes to all systems and software without our users losing time one their work, we met a security guy who checked if everything was okay. So far no unusual experience, they make their round trip every hour. This one however was so interested in computers that we spent half an hour chatting about why we are working on weekends and what a database server is why we are replacing it and so on. That was highly unusual.

    A lot of "unusual" computer things happen, too, but if you are working long enough with computers, you don't wonder anymore. Anything you see has been there before or could have been anticipated.

    5. How much do you get paid?

    This is a very private question. I woulnd't exactly mind answering this in private, but the numbers I could give you simply don't translate well. For example: In pure numbers I earn half the sum an american programmer gets. In pure numbers, s/he spends four times the money just to live in the same apartment I do here. Scandinavian programmers earn the same sum I do. They pay six times the sum I pay for alcoholic brewerages. To sum it up: Numbers only compare when you look at the same country.

    6. How long do you generally work?

    40h/week which is 8 hours per day. We have flexible schedules, starting anywhere between 7 and 10 and leaving between 15 and 19. Your choice as long as the work gets done.

    7. How stressful is your job?

    I don't think it's more stressful than other jobs, but I think the peaks are more significant than in other 9 to 5 jobs. There are times when I'm working weekends and nights and there are times when everything is easy.

    8. Do you have any advice for someone entering the field?

    Get a broad education. Don't narrow yourself down to be a C-Programmer. Be a Programmer. Learn as many languages as you can. A Language ( or concept or algorithm ) is a tool. When you master the hammer, you will get in the screw. But with a little knowledge of screwdrivers it could have been easier and elegant.

    9. Is there anything else you'd like to say?

    Have fun. I don't think it's a job where you leave your desk at the sound of the siren. If you have fun doing it, you probably won't leave until the problem at hand is solved. If you have fun doing it, it's a great job. If you just do it to earn money, it might suck.
    hth
    -nv

    She was so Blonde, she spent 20 minutes looking at the orange juice can because it said "Concentrate."

    When in doubt, read the FAQ.
    Then ask a smart question.

  8. #8
    Shadow12345
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    That's cool nvoight, thanks for posting, I always like seeing what real developer's jobs are like. This wasn't one of the questions, and I don't know how relevant it is, but when did you first become interested in programming?

  9. #9
    Desperate
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    Gah!.... I just found out there was a part two to the interview...

    We already covered most of what was asked in the second part, but there were a few more things she wanted me to ask. I can't believe she didn't tell me earlier... One of the reasons I hate my career class. She always does stuff like this...

    But enough about that... These are the rest of the questions she wanted. I'm sorry about the inconvenience...

    1. Are you payed by the hour, or given a flat salary?

    2. Are there any bonuses or incentives?

    3. What kind of education and/or training is necessary (Something I should have thought of myself...)?

    4. Is there any upward mobility?

    5. How structered is your working enviroment?

    6. Are there any physical requirements?

    7. Is there much travel?


    Again, I'm sorry that I needed to ask more questions...

    But thank you very much for what you have already given me. Your advice will be very useful for me as I prepare for my career... And it is very reassuring to know that I won't run into any suprises.

  10. #10
    the hat of redundancy hat nvoigt's Avatar
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    >when did you first become interested in programming?

    When I saw my cousin writing very simple BASIC programs for his Atari ST. Maybe around 15 or 16.


    1. Are you payed by the hour, or given a flat salary?

    Flat.


    2. Are there any bonuses or incentives?

    There are bonuses for accomplishing the deadlines.

    In Germany, it's almost normal to get an additional
    months payment around christmas. We get this too.
    Officially it's a bonus, but here it's not unusual.
    I would expect this from any other company, too.


    3. What kind of education and/or training is necessary ?

    Most of us went to the same programming school and got a degree equivalent to a BSc. Some studied CS and got the equivalent of a Master ( We don't have the BSc/MSc System here ). Some simply had 10 years programming experience with other companies. What I look for in job interview is: Some kind of degree to get an interview in the first place. Acceptable math grades in school. Acceptable use of the german language ( I live in Germany, it's the native language. We get many east european applications, who are good coders. But that doesn't help if I cannot communicate the task at hand. ). Intermediate knowledge of english ( foreign language here ), because all documentation and probably some support calls are to be handled in english. And personal interest. I've yet to see a programmer that was personally interested in what he did and still not good at it. I have seen many, who did this as a job from 9 to 5 and who were uncreative, unimaginative and made mistakes. If someone shows personal interest by coding things for himself in his sparetime, I'm pretty sure that's a good candidate. If he mentiones he doesn't even own a private computer, it's pretty much lost.

    To sum it up: A degree and formal education is necessary to learn the stuff you need. Personal interest and learning other things on the sidelines of your education is what will get you in.


    4. Is there any upward mobility?

    If a company grows, the department gets larger, the need for managers gets stronger. But that's maybe one on ten, and if you start at a large company, might never happen at all. Despite the title ( obviously theres junior/normal/senior programmers ) the more experience in your company you get the more valuable your advice in non-coding questions is and you might end up as something else than 'just' a programmer.

    5. How structered is your working enviroment?

    What kind of structure do you mean ?


    6. Are there any physical requirements?

    No.


    7. Is there much travel?

    For me, there are two important exhibitions each year. One is DiMa ( direct marketing, my companies main field ) for which I travel one day to attend. Then there is CeBit, the worlds largest computer fair, which is in my hometown and we get a day off to attend, no travel necessary. Last year I have been to various MSDN Roadshows, maybe 3 or 4 all over Germany.
    For me it's maybe one day in three months and for most of them I volunteered anyway.
    hth
    -nv

    She was so Blonde, she spent 20 minutes looking at the orange juice can because it said "Concentrate."

    When in doubt, read the FAQ.
    Then ask a smart question.

  11. #11
    Desperate
    Guest
    By structured, I think it means are you free to do what you want, are you required to follow a strict set of procedures, that sort of thing.

    And again, thank you. I honestly did not know what I was going to do if I couldn't find a person to interview here... And your responses have also provided excellent advice that is useful in nature. To be honest, I didn't think that I would get good advice out of this; thank you for proving me wrong.

    I would go on with thank you, but I can't think of anything that wouldn't become very repetitious, very quickly...

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