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Professional Programmers Interview

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  • User profile image
    aeris

    I'm going to school for programming, and I have one assignment left to do this term. I'm looking for people in my field to do small interviews. I'll post a few the questions, and if anyone can reply it would be much appreciated. Not all questions are nessecary either.

    1. What interested you in this field of work?
    2. What requirements do you need to have a position in this field?
    3. What software programs do you need to know in this field?
    4. Do you belong to any professional organizations?
    5. What duties do you have during a typical day?
    6. What do you like the most about your job?
    7.  What do you like the least about your job?
    8. What advice would you give to a student entering this field?
    9. Are there any perks with the job you have?
    10. How many hours per week do you work?
    11. Do you get paid hourly, salary, or by project?
    12. Any additional comments

    Thanks to anyone who replies!

  • User profile image
    Digital Dyspraxia

    1. The ability to create tangible solutions to problems. I have a need to solve problems, and programmming is a great way to fulfill this need.

    2. Ability to deconstruct a problem of requirement set into individual components. Once you have the solution frame work, all you need to the coding skills to implement the solution. Learning a language is relatively easy, it is devising the logic that is the hard part.

    3. Software needs are dependent on target platform/audience. I target primarily Windows, so I use .NET and Visual Studio as my primary tools.

    4. Not at this time. Maybe ACM or IEEE?

    5. General duties include maintenance and support of existing applications, communicating with team members about potential problems or issues, design and implementation of planned applications.

    6. The variety of problems I am asked to solve. I never know what I might have to do, so it is never boring.

    7. Maintenance and integration of legacy systems.

    8. Learn to read a lot. Half the battle is knowing the framework you use so that you can devise great solutions. Reading what others have done and what problems they have had is a good way to avoid the same mistakes.

    9. I get to travel to quite a few developer conferences as a perk, where I not only learn about the technologies I use but also get to meet with other members of the community.

    10. Approximately 50 hours on a good week, 80 hours on a bad one.

    11. Salary, with optional bonuses.

    12. Programming is a great field to get into, but is constantly changing.

  • User profile image
    DoomBringer

    I'm still in training, but I've had my share of experience in the "real world" so to speak.
    1. Computers excited my imagination as a kid; I spent hours on the old Apple IIe programming and figuring things out.  Also, I had a big role model in the field to look up to.
    2. Depends on where you are.  A "grunt" programmer needs to know some concept (how to do OOP, a bit of design, other theory) and a few languages (the more the better, C++ is a good start).  A project manager or an architect needs to know software design, design patterns, and project management/lifecycle stuff.  Other jobs have different requirements.
    3. IDEs for sure (VS, vim, even TextPad), basic office productivity things (Word), knowledge of the OS is a good thing too.  Knowing how to drive the command line is always good too.
    4. Not yet
    5. Depends on the day.  Sometimes I have to do some Q&A, other days is coding, or even just going to meetings to work out designs and stuff like that.
    6. Everything.  I love being a programmer and all that stuff.
    7. Very little.  Bad coworkers (who write shoddy code) are always bad, but thats a given.  The hours can get insane at crunch time, but that's ok with me.
    8. Don't fall into the Linux zealot thing.  Comment your code! (DO IT!)  Don't worry about learning specific languages all the time, worry about learning how to learn new languages.  Know how to code to specific code styles.  Join the programming team, its fun.
    9. The break room being stocked with soda and all kinds of good stuff is good.
    10. varies
    11. depends on how you get hired, or if you're a contractor.  If you get hired by a company, its either hourly or salary.  by the project is contractor stuff
    12. // /* */ * ' (mmm comments)

  • User profile image
    aeris

    Thanks to both of you. The 'additional comments' from DoomBringer made me laugh. It reminds me of something I would do to annoy one of my instructors.

  • User profile image
    Minh

    1. What interested you in this field of work?

    I'm an business application developer. For me, it's probably the problem solving. I get to create & use logic at the same time, it's awesome.

    2. What requirements do you need to have a position in this field?

    Inquisitive. Liking gadgets; therefore, new stuff. You gotta keep up with the new stuff that comes out -- it seems, yearly.

    3. What software programs do you need to know in this field?

    MS camp all the way. VS.NET.

    4. Do you belong to any professional organizations?

    On & off, mostly off.

    5. What duties do you have during a typical day?

    Boss: Hey, Minh, what do you think it'll take to implement feature X ?
    Minh: Hmmm, 2 weeks.
    Minh: <Research>, <Design>, <Code>, <Test>, <Debug>
    (2 weeks later)
    Boss: That's what I wanted, you're great!
    Minh: I know.

    6. What do you like the most about your job?

    I think I'm lucky enough to really like all that I do.

    7. What do you like the least about your job?

    OK, maybe not all. But the Software development field are known to have some anti-social types in its myst. These types sometimes make their way all the way to the top --- then watch out.

    8. What advice would you give to a student entering this field?

    Look at the best practices. Look at what people have done before you. Be inquisitive. Don't be afraid of changes. You can't avoid them in this field.

    9. Are there any perks with the job you have?

    The days of the pampered developer are over, I'm afraid. But it's still fun for me.

    10. How many hours per week do you work?

    I honestly try for 40.

    11. Do you get paid hourly, salary, or by project?

    When full-time, salary, now contracting, hourly.

    12. Any additional comments

    They're predicting a shortage for this field, so you'll probably do well when you get out.

  • User profile image
    RomSteady

    1. What interested you in this field of work?

    When I was a kid, I was ripped off by a "Super Breakout" machine at a Godfather's Pizza.  I looked at it and said, "I could do better."  Since then, I have.

    2. What requirements do you need to have a position in this field?

    Knowledge of your platform and programming language of choice, and a willingness to accept "no" for an answer.

    3. What software programs do you need to know in this field?

    It depends on which subfield of programming you're going into.  If it's video games, C++ is a must, as is knowing at least something about 3D editing packages.  For government coding, we use Visual Basic .NET and some custom scripting languages required by some of the crud we have to work with.

    4. Do you belong to any professional organizations?

    I belong to several user groups.

    5. What duties do you have during a typical day?

    Design, code, test, deploy, rinse, repeat.

    6. What do you like the most about your job?

    I can work on any project I want in any order I want.

    7.  What do you like the least about your job?

    If I need custom functionality, I either have to find a BSD or public domain version of the functionality or develop it myself due to budget constraints.  A lot of times, we get crunch projects where the entire project has to be done in under four weeks.

    8. What advice would you give to a student entering this field?

    Do it because you love it, not because of the pay...because the pay is already leaving.

    9. Are there any perks with the job you have?

    In three more years, I'll be fully vested in our pension.

    10. How many hours per week do you work?

    I work 40 hours a week.  (Government employee.)  Since I worked 80-100 hours a week back when I was at Microsoft Game Studios, the 30% pay cut was a decent exchange for the 50-60% cut in hours.

    11. Do you get paid hourly, salary, or by project?

    Salary.

    12. Any additional comments

    Didn't it suck dying on CD #1?

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    This doesn't quite apply to me, since I'm a student, but I have some real-world knowledge.

    1. What interested you in this field of work?
    The MSX-2. The fact that there were games written in BASIC and you had to first "load" the application file then "bload" some other file intrigued me. Also, I'm a problem-solving kinda guy.

    2. What requirements do you need to have a position in this field?
    It varies greatly. A few years ago, during the .com boom, I would've said none. Nowadays, mainly experience. A degree in something would probably be nice too. Somebody who actually has a job would probably be better suited to answer this.

    3. What software programs do you need to know in this field?
    Again, it varies greatly. If you are a Windows programmer, Visual Studio and .Net are the way to go currently. Knowing some of the ins and outs of your platform also helps a lot.

    4. Do you belong to any professional organizations?
    No, unless you consider Leiden University a professional organization, but given the context of the questions I think you don't.

    5. What duties do you have during a typical day?
    It varies. Sometimes I work on Uni assignments and projects all day long, sometimes I do some freelance work. I comes down to designing/programming mostly, and typing up reports. I also work on the website for the school where my dad works, Obs De Wilgen, and are a personal help desk for a lot of people. I also work as a student assisntant for the University. That work varies between assistant practical courses, teaching (sorta, usually just reviewing stuff they've already done, usually close to exams), grading assignments and doing surveillance at exams (god I hate that).

    6. What do you like the most about your job?
    That it's so varied.

    7.  What do you like the least about your job?
    Doing surveillance at exams.

    8. What advice would you give to a student entering this field?
    Expect to keep learning. You're never finished, and the industry will always be ahead of you. If you're going to study Computer Science, remember that it is not an advanced programming course! (a lot of people enter CS with the idea that it is, and then drop out a few months later when they find out it isn't)

    9. Are there any perks with the job you have?
    If we're talking about my only actual job, student assistant, I get to use the staff-only copy machine which is free (students have to pay).

    10. How many hours per week do you work?
    I have no idea. Student assistant pays for 4.61 hours a week. University work varies between 20 and 60 I think (depends on how lazy I am any given week).

    11. Do you get paid hourly, salary, or by project?
    For student assistant, as well as my freelance tech support and web design work, I get paid by the hour.

    12. Any additional comments
    Metallica rules.

  • User profile image
    Simo

    1. Turned out it was my strongest subject on my degree course. When graduating I looked around one company directly related to my degree, found it deadly dull & slow paced.

    2. Superb problem solving skills. Numerate degree, probably better off not being CS. Technical apptitude. Communication skills/experiance working with intelligent, demanding people.

    3. VS.net, Excel, SQl Server, Bloomberg, Oracle, Windows and good old VB6.

    4. In my line of work, no need. If I was a contractor there's contractor association that would be advantagous to join.

    5. Currently i'm a one technology man band. So analysis, design, code, debug, test, release and project manage myself.

    6. Problem solving challenge, working with intelligent people, (& being realy honest) the money.

    7. Right this minute. My commute to work takes too long. Over my career... office politics. Had to totaly shaft someone once over a minor infringement they made. Punishment didn't fit the crime. However, truth is, they put themselves in the situation by playing the office politics badly.

    8. Only going to allow myself one piece of advice. Never, ever, ever... forget where the money that is put into your bank account every month cames from. That money comes from your users, in my particular case they go out and literaly make the money that pays my wages. Never get distracted by IT senior management, or wizz-bang new technology, or fashionable technology, or re-coding something a better way (you think). Your users always come first.

    9. A very large bonus and access to anything that would make me more productive.

    10. approx 55.

    11. salary + bonus.

  • User profile image
    aeris

    Thanks a bunch to everyone. I should have plenty of information now.

  • User profile image
    aeris

    RomSteady wrote:


    12. Any additional comments

    Didn't it suck dying on CD #1?

    sadly, it took me awhile to get that..

  • User profile image
    Tensor

    1. What interested you in this field of work?

    I got a Commadore Vic 20 many, many years ago. 3.5k of RAM, and for the first 6 months I didnt have a tape drive, so I could spend hours programming, and then when I had to turn the thing off I lost everything! From there it was a series of computers but little programming until I got to the age of about 18, doing computational physics, i found I was much better at the computational than the physics Wink

    2. What requirements do you need to have a position in this field?

    Willingness to keep learning, for ever. The day you stop learning you start sinking in this industry. Personally I see that as a positive part of the job though!

    3. What software programs do you need to know in this field?

    Nothing specific. You need to be able to pick somthing up and find your way around it - thats a key skill!

    4. Do you belong to any professional organizations?

    No. Experience is the most important thing in this industry. If you intend to be doing microcontrollers or somthing then sure consider joining the IEEE but other wise I dont thing it matters.

    5. What duties do you have during a typical day?

    Typical is difficult. it can vary between 0% coding for days at a time to 100% coding for weeks! Maintenance of older systems is alwlays there on the back boiler even when working on new stuff, though...

    6. What do you like the most about your job?

    The fact that it makes you think. I have done brainless jobs (data entry) and that is the worst thing kind of work in the world.

    7.  What do you like the least about your job?

    Repetitiveness - tometimes you need to do 100 things pretty much the same. Of course that starts you thinking about ways of not having to do that Smiley

    8. What advice would you give to a student entering this field?

    learning x or y programming language is not the key - learning to think in the right way is. If you can think logically you will do well.

    9. Are there any perks with the job you have?

    Not having a job I hate is quite a good perk! Oh I get free contact lenses but thats just because of the comapny I work for Wink

    10. How many hours per week do you work?

    In theory 37.5. In practice usualy more like 40. On some occasions it has been 100 - but thats rare!

    11. Do you get paid hourly, salary, or by project?

    Salary.

    12. Any additional comments

    Never assume that you know everything - there is allways someone who knows more - keep your ears open and learn!

  • User profile image
    spod

    ( sorry, didn't see u've closed the questionairre...i'll leave it up now i've written it )...


    1. What interested you in this field of work?
    i got bought a zx80 ( http://www.nvg.ntnu.no/sinclair/computers/zx80/zx80.htm )
    when i was 10 and got hooked.

    2. What requirements do you need to have a position in this field?
    an interest in the field, good problem solving skills. programming experience in whatever capacity ( hobby, school projects etc ) really helps. I have no formal cs training so it's not mandatory...

    3. What software programs do you need to know in this field?

    personally what i need to know currently :c / c++ / c# , sql, asm ( for debugging mainly ). win32 , os stuff, v2 framework, indigo.

    From a general perspective i'd say you're going to be programmign in a fair variety of languages over a career ( there tends to be a shift every decade or so ). Currently GC'd OO langs seem to be popular so one of c# or java might be good. It always helps to know the assembly language for the machines you're targetting, though you'll probably use it in debugging mainly..


    4. Do you belong to any professional organizations?
    yes, but unrelated ( maths stuff )

    5. What duties do you have during a typical day?
    depends.some days its coding all day, some it's writing docs, meetings. investigations. depends on where we are in the cycle. currently we are early on in design / early m1 coding so it's more of the latter ...i spent the day prototyping our logging infrastructure as a specific example ( + one obligitory meeting as i was in the office Smiley )

    6. What do you like the most about your job?
    i really like building stuff in code so that's cool.. ms is very flexible with how when you work so i like the env also..

    7.  What do you like the least about your job?
    setup coding...especially in a localized environment ( shudder ). ship stopper bugs ( i had one for windows this monday which sucked... )

    8. What advice would you give to a student entering this field?
    be interested. know your algorithms well. prepare to always be learning..

    9. Are there any perks with the job you have?
    yeah - free drinks Smiley, starbucks downstairs,...ability to work when and where i want( within reason ).

    10. How many hours per week do you work?
    probably 50 or so, but it's kind of personal choice - i could probably get away with 40 but tend to want to finsih things when i start

    11. Do you get paid hourly, salary, or by project?
    salary. percentage of project worth would be cool Smiley

    12. Any additional comments
    prepare to be shunned at parties somewhat - for some reason potential partners don't find our profession glamorous Smiley

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