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The Autobiography of Russell
Life from a different perspective
Thoughts too short to post... (Tweets)
  • 18:57 Asking a professional software developer to show sample code is like asking a lawyer to show a history of sealed rulings.


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mai_neh From: mai_neh Date: July 3rd, 2013 11:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. For interviews as an attorney, people are sometimes asked to provide legal writing samples. I'm guessing you mean your best code examples are considered proprietary by your clients and that you have contracted not to share them with anybody? Or maybe some of the stuff you've written on your own time is so valuable to you that you don't want to share it. I guess you could write some sample code that has a trivial application, but still shows off your talents?
zimzat From: zimzat Date: July 3rd, 2013 05:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Practically everything I've written in the last 6 years is considered proprietary by employers and clients. I don't even have a copy of any of that code anymore. I got my first job using a code challenge given by company I was interviewing with. Since then the trend for interviewing has moved to having stuff laying around in public repositories to just show off.

When it comes to writing code I want it to have a purpose, not just to be, otherwise it seems useless and may be non-functional. Plus, without a purpose it's not a real-world example (might as well go back to writing theoretical examples of sorting algorithms; something that only shows memorization and/or book-smart, not applicable skills).

Catch-22: Unless you work at a place that allows open-source code then you'll have to work outside of work to get work to show.

Catch-22: Plenty of code written today is written by teams of people, not just one person. Places where just one person is writing the core parts of the code are fundamentally flawed.
swanhart From: swanhart Date: July 3rd, 2013 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Asking a programmer to show code is like asking an artist to show art. Programming is part art anyway.
swanhart From: swanhart Date: July 3rd, 2013 02:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Algorithmic beauty I'm looking for. Code formatting? There are programs for that.
zimzat From: zimzat Date: July 3rd, 2013 04:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's only an analogy if the artist has been required to sign non-disclosure agreements and then tasked for the past 5+ years drawing visualizations to go with power point slides, internal propaganda, and the like.

The point being that a lot of places have started expecting publicly displayed code, which requires a lot of professional developers who work on internal projects to do stuff outside of work in order to show their work.

I have no objection to doing code challenges. Some people may even have some of these prefabricated and ready to go. They won't necessarily show what the person wants to see, though, so unless they're clairvoyant then this portfolio may not contain the specific type of usage being looked for.

It's a failure to communicate needs and abilities based on broad assumptions.
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