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How do I get a job as an idiot?

I'm serious.  When I read all these posts on JOS about idiots who've gotten jobs as programmers, I have to think I'm going about it wrong.

I got laid off recently and decided to go back and get a 2nd BS - this time in CS. I'm not doing for the money - I truly like programming. But after seeing all the complaints on this forum about idiot co-workers, I thought, why get a BS in CS if I can just go into an interview and BS about CS.

I've done a number of small projects using skills in C, VB, SQL, Javascript, and more Access than I'd like to admit. But they were all small - not much to hang on a resume. Also, since I managed a department, I was my own customer.

But, I was always the type of manager who demanded credentials from those I'd hire. I've imposed the same set of standards upon myself, so I feel obligated to get a degree in CS. Maybe I'm just being too tough on myself.

So, how are all these idiots landing jobs?  Through contracting agencies, in-house promotions, regular job ads and interviews? What let's them slip through the cracks?

Anon - in case YOU interview ME
Friday, June 27, 2003

Interesting that you seem to think there's a correlation between formal education and skill.  A lot of those "idiots" have degrees, and lots of the competent people don't.

Phillip J. Eby
Friday, June 27, 2003

Yeah. I have a degree.

Oh, wait... dammit.

Philo

Philo
Friday, June 27, 2003

Phillip:

Devil's advocate here: A lot of skilled people *do* have degrees, and a lot of idiots don't, as well.

To the original poster:

Keep in mind the force of a negative: how many posts are there saying "Wow, my bud Bob really is a great programmer! Aint I lucky?"? None; instead you get "Dude, this guy is such an ass. What sort of evil plots ought I hatch?". Why? Because good impressions haven't half the weight of a bad impression.

I doubt there's the overabundance of idiots that you suspect, especially if you know of them through posts here rather than through your coworkers.

Mike Swieton
Friday, June 27, 2003

"Interesting that you seem to think there's a correlation between formal education and skill."

I don't, and I don't know how you read that into it. People get jobs based on ...
1. Skills - i.e., experience
2. Credentials - e.g., a degree.
3. Networking - friends in low places

There seem to be a lot of people in this industry who've landed jobs without ANY of these three. How do they do it?

Anon - in case YOU interview ME
Friday, June 27, 2003

The idiots got hired during the boom when they were hiring anybody who knew what HTML stands for. 

Or they were originally good when they entered the industry 20+ years ago, and got comfortable after a while doing the same thing year after year, and failed to update their skills or conceptual knowledge.

But idiots don't get hired anymore in this economy...  with the exception of the places where idiots are doing the hiring.

T. Norman
Friday, June 27, 2003

T. Norman's right; idiots are hired because there are idiots in every industry, and some of them are hiring.  We live in a fallen world.

Also note that "all the complaints in this forum about idiot co-workers" are due to this forum's suitability for airing complaints.  For every "annoying co-worker" a person has, s/he probably has many more competent co-workers.

Brent P. Newhall
Friday, June 27, 2003

But idiots don't get hired anymore in this economy...  with the exception of the places where idiots are doing the hiring.

That's many places. I have hardly ever worked with people of the same skill level as posters on this board. Most of my coworkers treated programming as just a job and did not keep up with new technologies or even have an interest in them. In order to get a job you need to lower your asking price, work like a dog, and have a social disposition.


Friday, June 27, 2003

"When I read all these posts on JOS about idiots who've gotten jobs as programmers"

Anon,
What makes you so sure that someone out there from your past doesn't classify you as an "Idiot"?
Just remeber that there will always be someone smarter than you and someone to let you know it

Just Wondering???
Friday, June 27, 2003

>"Most of my coworkers treated programming as just a job and did not keep up with new technologies or even have an interest in them."

Lots of idiots have jobs already, but their chances of getting hired now are between slim and none.

T. Norman
Friday, June 27, 2003

If we're honest with ourselves, the fact is we're all idiots from time to time.  It all depends on your definition of "idiot", one mans idiot could be anothers genius. 

Common scenerio: Two programmers, one (A) technically hopeless and the other (B) a guru.  A understands his real job is to make his boss feel special and important, so gets all the fringe benefits, raises and credit.  B slaves his life away in a cubicle doing the work for which A gets paid.

Don't let wishful thinking fool you, all kinds of idiots get hired regardless of the economy.

everybody is an idiot but me
Friday, June 27, 2003

It is not that being idiotic is an edge. No boss intentionally hires idiots. It is just that how competent you are is not closely related to the chance of you being employed. So the number of employees not up to their jobs is higher than some people would expect.

And since the worst (and the best) people are usually easy to spot. So it gives an illusion of many people who get hired are incompetent.

S.C.
Friday, June 27, 2003

The amount of idiots hired for any given position is, on average, proportional to the amount of idiots available in the general population.

Joey P
Saturday, June 28, 2003

You are all idiots.

Not an idiot
Saturday, June 28, 2003

"People get jobs based on ..."

Actually, in the company where I work, 10% of the workers got their jobs based on skills, 30% based on degrees, the rest based on friends.

Problem is: those 60% know that if they were fired right now they'd never get an equivalent job again, so they are trying very hard to hide their idiocy by lots of trickery a.k.a. politics, which is not only futile to hide from the non-idiots (i.e. the other 40%), but earns them wage increases every year.

Johnny Bravo
Saturday, June 28, 2003

I think you should question the impression that there are lots of idiots. That sort of statement arises from business managements seeking scapegoats for poor project planning.

I also don't think it's an accurate representation of JOS discussion to say that concept figures prominently here. The opposite if anything. Almost all the programmers I've worked with have been excellent.


Saturday, June 28, 2003

S.C.'s comment at the end of his post needs to be reiterated:  if 20 programmers are in a project and only one is an "idiot" then 19 can complain that they are working with an "idiot", leading to 19 complaints on the net, but there is only one guy as the inspiration.  And yes, I've felt like an idiot sometimes when an error of mine crops up...

Barry Sperling
Saturday, June 28, 2003

Based on this thread, I think we can safely assume that roughly 90% of the population are idiots.


Sunday, June 29, 2003

90% idiots?

You are an optimist.

sgf
Sunday, June 29, 2003

Not an idiot wrote, "You are all idiots."

I'm not.

Brent Python's Flying Newhall
Monday, June 30, 2003

I feel compelled to say: networking networking networking. It's not so much what you know than who you know and hang out with. In my team, there are TERRIBLE people, but they were somehow friends with the Boss or refered by friends to the Boss. Then you've got to deal with that. So grab a book from Dale Carnegie and climb up the ladder ;-)

jcm
Monday, June 30, 2003

How do you get a job as an idiot?  Find a villiage that has lost theirs in an unfortunate accident?

GML
Wednesday, July 02, 2003


If we start up a certification process for idiots, would that reduce the number of idiots to only the qualified ones?

Joe AA
Thursday, July 03, 2003

>>It's not so much what you know than who you know and hang out with<<

I would say that just as (if not more) important is, Who Knows You...

I have got all the contract work for which my skills were suitable because I was, and my skills were, known by someone involved.  I'd have to say that all of the jobs that  I felt either unsuitable for or were an utter waste of time were ones where I had been approached by a third party (eg: an agency) who had no in depth knowledge of the tasks to be done.

In these situations, the agencies are idiots for not researching or understanding either the requirement or the candidate's alleged skills thoroughly, the customers are idiots for not understanding their own requirements well enough, and I'm an idiot for not finding this out before the interview stage. ;-)

Think about what the generic catchall requirement '2 years of HTML experience' means. Any slightly techy design student with a copy of FrontPants could make that claim, but it doesn't mean they can write an international ecommerce system with cross-browser Javascript and SSL security (an extreme example, you'd hope they'd get noticed pretty soon...). I've worked with people who allegedly have these skills but don't even know what a TABLE tag is.

As a prime example of idiocy in action, this is from a conversation I had with an agency a while back; 'You've got the skills the customer requires, Site Server, MS SQL, IIS, ASP, Javascript etc., but you don't say if you have experience of using Internet Explorer....'.

Sorry for the rant, but after 15 years you bottle up a few things! In short, it's very easy to get a job as an idiot, there are plenty more of them out there to help you! ;-)

Alien Burrito
Saturday, July 05, 2003

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