Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Am I a Java or C++ programmer

First job out of school - VC++/MFC desktop scientific 3D application.
second job - C++ and java work
Third job - java server side work
In interviews people ask me are you a C++ programmer or are you a Java programmer?
I say I'm a software developer, then they classify me as a jack of all trades and throw my application out.
How can I Convinve them if I can do both, it's a plus?

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Who are they hiring?

If Java developers, say, "I like the power and control of C++, but love the flexibility and OO-nature of Java..."  Then blather in animated fashion on Struts, MVC, JDBC or similar topic...

If C++ developers, say, "I enjoy the flexibility and managed-memory of Java, but love the control, power and speed of C++..."  Then blather on about display contexts, bit-blits, etc....

IOW, tailor the answer...
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

"I can be anything I want to be."

The Pretender
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

You wouldn't want to work there anyway. They got a nasty attitude problem IMHO.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Being a Systems Engineer, who started out in hardware, then transitioned to software, I can walk both sides of the street.  I can take a systems perspective, assigning functionality to the hardware or software side as appropriate.

However, if I am not careful I can confuse the HR (human resources) types also.  A confused HR person is an unhappy HR person.  They want the right buzz-word, with high-quality.  Their confusion indicates to them that you are not what they want, and out you go.  (Yes, the logic of that last sentence is odd.  However, that's how it goes.)

I agree with your reluctance to be labeled one or the other.  "I'm a C++ Programmer!" or "I'm a Java Programmer!".    It sounds to me like you are both, have a year or two experience in both, and can build quality systems in either one.

However, if the HR type feels the need to pigeon-hole you, try to identify with the pigeon-hole that they need.  You can clarify it later, if you really want to. 

I would think hiring managers would like the flexibility, as long as the skills are good enough (ie you have enough 'years of experience')

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I've have several years experience of both C/C++ and Java.

I've experienced similar problems as well. I've been asked several times to state exactly how many years/months experience I have individually in C and C++. My answer is that I can program in both C and C++ competently and it is hard to break down exactly how many months I've programmed in C and C++. In some companies I did pure C, in others a mix of C and C++. I also stated to the recruiters that I had read several books on C++ and the Standard Template Library.

However then I was asked if my experience is roughty half C and half C++. I said that is about right. Then I'm told my 7 years experience is therefore halfed and I don't meet the minimum 5 year requirement.

My mistake was to describe my experience as being in C/C++ rather than just pure C++. Just the whiff of saying C seems to disqualify me, despite the fact I've written whole Windows MFC applications from scratch.

I've also been asked whether I'm a Java or C++ programmer. One of my replies was that I've written whole Java applications from scratch by myself (HTML, servlet and SQL) as well as being in teams for which my responsibility was to write the whole of the user interface. I said when I was programming in Java I could do it perfectly well. Then my application gets thrown out because I don't have recent Java experience because I last language I programmed in was C++.

It is at times like this I think the whole recruitment game is a sick joke and can't stand to talk to agencies.

I think software developers should unionise and make sure the idiot recruiters and idiot managers get chucked out of the industry. I feel like just going home and writing software of my own design. At least then I will have some sanity.

Yes I know I'm ranting.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

>Yes I know I'm ranting.

Yes, but you're right.  The whole qualification game is mind bogglingly stupid.  Even developers who write the job descriptions get fixated on tools, not skills.

I'd want a developer with OO experience, strong design skills and an understanding of patterns, unit testing experience, and ability to show me how he'd do a root cause analysis.

If you've got that and any combination of Java, C++, Smalltalk, C# (e.g. OO languages) experience, then that hits this most important things.  If I find more than one person with that background, then I'll start worrying about other, more easily learned, factors.

It's frustrating.  I have had recruiters tell me the company (read "HR drones") won't look at anyone without Borland JBuilder experience.  It's the freaking editor for gods sake!

Chris Kessel
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Heh, yea, here's part a pretty standard J2EE position job description:

>WebLogic versions 6.1 and 8.14 and Oracle skills 9i required. ATG Dynamo (Dynamo 5.6.1), ClearCase, IntelliJ IDEA and TogetherJ

"So, Bob, can you please explain to me what changed between WebLogin 6.1 and 8.14.  This is, of course, a critical aspect of your skills as a developer."

Chris Kessel
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Hmmm. Next time they ask if you are a Java or C++ programmer, ask them if they would prefer to hire someone who can walk or someone who can chew gum.

Oren Miller
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Ask them if they're a Word or Wordperfect paper-pusher.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Figure out what they want through intelligent questions
and push the view they want. If you want the job.
An interview is not the proper venue for arguing
ontological questions.

son of parnas
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

"I'm a brewer who happens to have a lot of experience in both languages.  It's how I support my habit."  Yeah, I don't get the job, but I'd rather make beer than work for the simpleton who asks that question anyway.

Clay Dowling
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I get the feeling people haven't conducted a lot
of interviews. You can't read so much into the
questions people ask. Interviewing people
is hard and stressful. People make up questions
for all sorts of reasons.  I've found myself
saying some pretty stupid things. Interviews
are not like reading the Scarlet Letter.

son of parnas
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Anyplace that wants to pigeon hole you as a Java or C++ developer is a place to avoid.  They'll see you as a widget not as a developer who can do whatever is needed and do it well.  Good companies will measure you on your appitude not on your memorization of an API.

Bill Rushmore
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Tell them you're an OO developer. If they don't see the benefits in that, then look elsewhere for work. ;-)

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home