Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Ever worked with a real Anoop?

I'm assuming Anoop in the Programmer Wannabe thread is a troll.

But have any of you come across real Anoop, i.e. someone who BS'd their way into a job and literally didn't know anything? I never have.

Once in a while I hear stories of people like Anoop, and I just can't imagine an environment like that.  Sure, I've seen people inflate their qualifications, but never to that extent.

Anyone with some could Anoop stories? (Also curious of the circumstances - dot com era, fortune 500, government, consulting?)

Wishful Thinker
Thursday, August 26, 2004

I don't think I have worked with some quite like that, but I did work with an employee whose name was pronounced the same way that "Anoop" looks like it would be pronounced (but spelled differently).

Anoop's quote:
"The funny thing is that its all about the talk you know?  I can bs around everything until i have to do real work.  Thanks God for guys like you."

sounds like something that fit him, though he would never say such a thing, of course.  I was one of the employees that had to the "real work" which might be why this so resonates with me.

As you would expect, he was rapidly promoted to director and then VP, and then left our small company to take a position elsewhere that was effectively higher up than anything available at our company.

an op
Thursday, August 26, 2004

Yes, at a company that I worked for quite a long time ago, the owner seemed to think that programming was a very simple task that any Joe off the street could do.  So he hired Joe from off of the street to do it.  Because the guy obviously couldn't yet handle the basic tasks that he was hired to do, I tried to help him out by being a tutor (and even spending time after work giving him basic lessons on the theory), but in return I was reprimanded by the owner for "goofing off" (this is how he thought of my talking to Joe).  This company owner, a non-technical person mind you, also insisted on making decisions about what programming languages/tools the development staff would use.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

No, I never worked with. But I also do not know what others say about me :)

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The only anoops I've worked with where analaysts, managers, etc. ... essentially the people whose work could not be brought down to a yes/no level.  The annop thread is of course a joke. However, there are, as is often noted on this thread, some programmers better than others.  I myself have written some absolutely horrific stuff but it worked.  Where I might have wasted hours to do something in the past I now have a different method of working which saves me a lot of time in ramp-up speed and changes. But a programmer who really cannot program is not a programmer so they cannot exist. What you do find are people at different levels of proficiency.  What I find interesting are the people who stick with one way of doing things. They usually stop at a very low level but what they do works. However, it's very hard for anyone else to work on their projects, their apps are brittle difficult to evolve, they don't share anything ... that's what I'm wary about.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

In the high times of 99-01 I contracted at a place where they hired this guy who was supposedly a C++ guru.  He was there for a year and a couple months on a project.  During that time he had many techniques for stalling, misdirection, excuses, etc. as to why he wasn't finishing what he was supposed to.  Someone finally pressed him on showing some solid deliverables for the time he'd been there and all he could produce was a Word document with some screenshots of an existing application.  The especially bad part was the screenshots in the Word doc weren't of the application he was supposed to be working on!

They basically paid $200,000 for a guy who knew how to launch Word and do an Alt-PrntScrn.  Not sure if they ever got any $$$ back from him.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Yes, once out of about 12 years and 50 hires. I did code reviews of new hires, so I noticed ... I was usually tolerant of anyone who was hired and willing to learn our software ... but in this case it was clear that the person didn't even know the language (C) that he was hired for and that he had claimed to know, so I had him fired with the week.

Christopher Wells
Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Anoop thread is funny. The guy is so pushing buttons. Just what every serious professional hates at a cosmic level, some guy spewing buzzwords like a headhunter.

I vote that Anoop is a regular with too much friggin time on his hands.

Bored Bystander
Thursday, August 26, 2004


I know several people who BSed their way onto a job and then were able to teach the necessary knowlege to themselves before anybody noticed, something which I consider the pinacle of a smart programmer...  well...  minus the whole BSing part.  Because, after all, if you know how to program, you should be able to make heads or tails out of most business-oriented platforms pretty quickly...

But I've never met somebody who's actually a complete BS artist programmer of that style, although I have met some who were BS artist in other ways.

But then there's the whole series on Computer Stupidities:

Flamebait Sr.
Thursday, August 26, 2004

Most "Anoop" types were from the "Big 5" (or whatever it's down to now) consulting houses and were just out of boot camp.  Hardly any of them had ever touched a compiler of any kind but Anderson/Delloitte/Whoever would sell these kids as expert programmers.  Seen more than one project that has run over budget by millions because the "experts" from these consultancies spent more time trying to figure out how to program than they did on actually building a solution.  I'll give 'em one thing though - they'd work a ton of hours!  Quite often they'd be there all night trying to solve a problem that would take any decent programmer about fifteen minutes to tackle.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

i have run into 2 kinda similiar (though not exact) situations. the first was years ago, when I was involved in the decision to hire someone straight from college. the guy just didn't get it! He worked hard. but, didn't get it. this was at a small place. he was let go. He got a job at a large company was spoon-feed and did quite well.

the other situation was working for a large company. there was a consultant that announced what he was making (which was double of the full-time people). He was an idiot! And the firm was even more of an idiot to keep him around.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Actually, I just realized that I have worked with an Anoop.  It was back in the mid-90's.

One of our project managers (an EE) hired a guy to write the firmware for a new product.  All the coding was to be done in assembly.

The project manager never investigated the details of the guy's work - just read his status reports.  Five months into the project, when the hardware was ready to meet the firmware, they discovered the guy hadn't done a damn thing.  It turned out he didn't really know how to write assembly and was just publishing crap on his status reports.

Wishful Thinker
Thursday, August 26, 2004

My brother-in-law new a guy in university who managed to get other people to do most of his work for him, and bs his way through everything else.  Everyone knew he was a fraud, but somehow he got away with it.  It was bad enough that my brother-in-law talked about it at home, telling his sister (now my wife) about the jerk.

About 10 years later, we're out with a friend of my wife's and he's complaining about this jerk at work who never actually does any work, just bs's his way through things, takes credit for other people's work.

Turns out it was the same guy.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

I once worked with Muppet.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

I worked with a woman who was a noop. She sold herself as a super knowledgable web developer, back when that was something rare... In reality, she knew a smidgen of HTML, and how to, shall we say, "dress for success". After her incompetence started becoming apparent to even my clueless manager, he assigned me to help her out. He didn't want to fire her since he was the one who hired her without letting any of the programming staff interview her. Her idea of getting help was to lean over my desk in a low cut blouse and try to cajole me into doing her work for her.

So the dot bomb was a good thing. Thinning the herd and all that.

Rob VH
Thursday, August 26, 2004

I have to admit that I am partially guilty.  My resume is quite beefed up to impress employers and such, and I know alot of the buzz words without knowing anything concrete.

Theres been 14 posts in this thread, all of whom say they've worked with one.  I'm quite sure many of you ARE one!

Theres lots of you out there, just like ANOOP.

One of the many anoops out there
Thursday, August 26, 2004

==>But have any of you come across real Anoop, i.e. someone who BS'd their way into a job and literally didn't know anything? I never have.

Anybody who worked in this industry from, oh about 1998 through 2001 has likely seen their share of Anoops!

The Anoop archetype, in and of itself, isn't bad. There are plenty of Anoops (myself included) who BSed our way into jobs/contracts/gigs we had no business doing. It's only a problem when Anoop does not have the ability to learn on the fly and get it done. When Anoop does not have the capacity or ability to learn, and simply doesn't get the job done.

There are numerous contracts where I essentially said "Yeah, I'll get the job done" and had no idea what I was doing -- but got the job done and done well. It's when Anoop comes in and says "I'll get the job done" and doesn't get it done where it becomes a problem.

Sgt. Sausage
Thursday, August 26, 2004

These days is almost required to be a mini-Anoop, given the alphabet soup of buzz words out there.

But there's two types of BS'ers.  First, there's someone that has core skills, overstates their skillset in the interview, but is actually able to get the job done.  Then there's the other type that's knows nothing or doesn't have the capability of teaching themselves OJT.

Even the guy I knew of was a C programmer.  I just think he couldn't pull off his assembly programming bluff.

I can understand the second type getting a job back in the dot com era.  But think of the odds today.  A job is advertsied and probably hundreds of resumes are received.  The hiring manager interviews a number of candidates, and the one to get the job is the total BS'er?  It's seems unlikely.

I've been around long enough to know that there are stupid decisions made by businesses all the time.  I still have trouble believing them, though.  My brain must be wired funny.

Wishful Thinker
Thursday, August 26, 2004

I've worked with two, both in the same company, at the same time.

One was completely full of BS.  He could talk the talk but couldn't walk it.  He was fired pretty quick.

The other guy was pretty quiet and was trying quite hard I think, but he just didn't get it (the company took 9 months to figure this out!)  He was let go eventually.

The biggest frustration is that the managers give out work based on these guys being able to do their jobs.  When they aren't able to it's up to everyone else to pick up the pieces.  In your own time of course.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

I agree.  With today's fast paced technology and the increased use of acronymns, who can't relate to Anoop?  The fact is, there are so many buzzwords now adays that people think you are smart the less they understand you.  Its a pride thing.  You keep pretending you understand because you don't want to look stupid.  This is why the BS-ers can get away with the interview process.  People in the IT industry all have egos and don't want to risk looking bad by potentially asking a dumb question.  Especially in the higher ranks.  Looking bad infront of another IT professional seems to be a deathwish.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Anoop reminds of that bud lite commercial.  "Johnson".  The morale of the story is ...


Johnson is my hero
Thursday, August 26, 2004

Worked with one. He was very good at schmoozing. This language lab gets built and set up in a state run university.  He, and I, were friends with the architect of the lab. Since I had a degree, I was put in charge until someone with all the proper degrees was hired. The lab ran on macs because macs were capable of running software in multiple languages, where pcs were stuck with one. Oh, you want to argue? Try installing some japanese software on your win95 box (the version of windows at that time), or us-english software on your win95J box, and you will have to wipe the disk and reinstall. Too many system dlls get overwritten with the "foreign language" version.

The version of anoop that I was blessed with had several excuses for everything. There were no bugs in his code, they were all in the compiler or the operating system. His skill at politicking was that of someone about 3 times his age: damned impressive. Any company that ends up hiring him will think they have a winner, until they need results. He managed to get me pushed out the door (which I never saw coming) about a month before the new guy started working, but the new guy was smart, and saw through the hokeyness of the local-anoop-guy and fired him within a week.

Revenge came when the local-anoop-guy was trying to get with a professor to sell some "drill and kill" language software, and some anonymous call to the university lawyers got him a long conference where "work for hire" was prominently mentioned. I wonder how that happened?

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Two: One guy answered some tech questions well at the interview (posed by me, I blush to admit) but in 18 months (until the last person I knew left the company) he had accomplished absolutely nothing.

On another project, project manager dumb as dirt, a succession of Delphi consultants were hired, not one of which knew anything about Delphi except the very rudiments.

Eventually a Big 5 consulting company was called in to finish the application, about $2,000,000 later the five form application was complete.

Thursday, August 26, 2004


Disturbingly so.

Programming is not an artisanal culture, although in reality it is more like artisanship than engineering.

That is to say:  we don't have a master/apprentice relationship of any sort, and the universities and technical schools are woeful training grounds.  Therefore there's nothing that obviously differentiates a know-nothing, career-carpetbagger from a real professional.  Nothing at all.

I think this industry needs to get over its heavy-handed mentality towards mentorship.  The assumption in every job is that you know everything.  Where these knowers-of-everything come from, is beyond me.  Stringent self-sacrifice?  Technical asceticism?

If we accept that software is a "soft science," or at least craftlike in some respects, then it's logical to assume that noone is going to be a great professional without mentorship.  And the proof-in-the-pudding that helps to prevent Anoops from crawling in through the cracks of perception is a credible mentorship experience, with a human reference.

Anyway, to answer the original post's question:  I haven't worked with one, but certainly around one.  But to broaden the discussion a bit, I've certainly worked for "Anoop companies"--businesses which claim to be experts and which are not, in fact, except by virtue of marketing.  That, I think, is equally common and equally pernicious, because it's the same mismatch of promises-to-competence but on an organizational level.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

I've met two noops.

Noop A: The silly fellow was loud and talked of many interesting Buzzwords or open-source projects we could leverage.  Of course, he didn't know the buzzwords that our project was trying to accomplish.  To solve that problem, he'd bug the productive engineers with 1 question every 10 minutes and rightly piss them off.

Noop B: Smart guy with a masters in bio-something-or-other but didn't know code from his arse.  I don't mind a question for help, but I don't want to repeat the same answers over and over.  In the end, he pulled a "family leave" thing and left for about 4 months during which he couldn't get fired.  As soon as he came back, he was let go.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Where is this "anoop" thread? I'm not seeing it in the thread list.

Friday, August 27, 2004

> Where is this "anoop" thread? I'm not seeing it in the thread list.

It earned itself a *plonk*.

Christopher Wells
Friday, August 27, 2004


What did I miss? I see the thread you've been talking about is no longer alive. So, what was in that thread?

One of the fellows where I work is called Anoop. He's 100% crap. Someone who just shows off big time. Can't ever describe what a complete nincompoop this Anoop at this end is. FOR ALL THE LIFE OF ME, I HATE HIM!

This guy is a PM, and he joined here 4.5 years back as a coder. But I assure you he doesn't know how to code. That's not a big deal. The problem is he is strutting all over the place blowing hot air, like anything that comes of out his mouth is gospel. No one must challenge what he says. His close association with the owner of the place gives him the impregnable position he is in. He doesn't know how to talk, is completely mannerless, and pretends not to hear things the first time emiting a loud grunt after you've stood near him and repeated your sentence thrice.

Anp: What are you working on?
You: The [client name] thing.
Anp: There's another thing that has come up.
You: Alright! What?
Anp: [staring at his machine. Long pause.]

A very, very, very long pause. The guy is in deep thought. He's serially reading 200 emails after your interjection with "what".

You: [cough] Yeah! What was the new thing that you want me to add to my work?
Anp: [A loud one. Like the one in The Lost World]: Hmmmmmmmm???
Anp [you haven't finished your sentence yet]: blah...blah..blah...(will spin a few names in the air, buzzword heavy, gets really intense and really doesn't make any sense to a programmer. Basically it'll just be what he's probably just heard on the phone or through email from the client or a middleman).
You: What about the work that I am already doing? (they won't understand "Task Switching Is Bad". Never)
Anp: How long does it take yaar! You just have to write something on how we have understood this requirement and send it to them (send it to me first. I will send it to them.)

Conclusion: Not just this Anoop guy but I have a lot of guys here who are just mouthpieces. Client asks for a quote, they ask you and just convey it on the phone. Client asks for effort estimates, they ask you and forward it in their name. Client asks for a proposal, they come to you. Client asks for Status of Work (SOW), they ask you to forward it to them. You are also coding the project. At the same time you are handling feature requests, changes from another client on some other project, coding this project. Some client asks this guy about a particular technical topic/subject, you get a mail from one of these guys and you have to stop your coding and do a write up about the scope of the project that you are coding, the project that this guy is the PM of (the PM must at least know what the project is about).

Mostly, Anoops will talk on end about how comfortable they are with new technologies; how they have been working on the hottest, latest, new silver bullet technology for the last 300 years. If they happen to find the right comrade in their claptrap, they hit it together and The Anoop emerges the winner. Always! What he says, you will remember from above, is the GOSPEL! He knows the owner personally, man! His team will get whatever they ask for - picnics, free movie tickets (no one else ever in the history of the company would have got such things, nor should they ever dare ask).

Otherwise, these Anoops have the formidable reputation of being the super-duper techno brain in the company - a rare person to find. That's what the belief amoung the marketing lot is, about Anoops.

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Friday, August 27, 2004

Haven't read the original thread but one thing I can second is that companies are the _real_ Anoops.

Almost every company I've got to know "from the inside" has been so full of "Anooping" it's scary! Complete BS (to clients/customers) about how they are experts, world leading(is there _any_ company thats _not_ world leading!?) in this&that and how the their product feeds starving kids in Africa at the same time it pays the national debt.

Mostly I'm confused by how these companies can make a profit at all!

Saturday, August 28, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home