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So little actual software development in software engineering roles

On Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 05:58:24PM -0500, Rob Hasselbaum wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 1:40 PM, David Rosenstrauch <darose-prQxUZoa2zOsTnJN9+BGXg at>wrote:
> > I think this depends a lot on the company.  IMO, you find this a lot at
> > large, established companies.  (e.g., I used to find this a lot at Wall
> > St. banks.)
> I second that assessment. 

I basically agree, but...

> As someone who looks at a lot of resumes, I sometimes get frustrated
> if a candidate with a lot of experience buries me in 5 pages of
> details about work that is only loosely related to the position I'm
> trying to fill.

This makes me cringe.  I agree in principle that tailoring your resume
is a good idea, but...  Have you actually read any significant number
of job postings on the internet?  A lot of them are sufficiently vague
that even if you wanted to tailor your resume, it's not exactly easy,
especially when you do have many years of varied experience, a lot of
which is very likely to be unrelated to the job you're applying for.
In that case, should you just leave it off?  Writing a new resume for
every single potential job, when you have more than a couple of years
of experience, is A LOT of work, and the payoff for doing it is at
best unclear.  This expectation from potential employers is, IMO,
completely unreasonable and unrealistic.  There are lots of very
talented people out of work; if you're having trouble finding good
people to fill your seats, you really need to consider that it's you
who either does not understand what your need is, or how to go about
identifying people who can meet it.

It's always struck me that a big problem in the technology arena is
that a very large percentage of hiring managers seem to not sufficiently
understand both the people they're trying to hire and technologies
they are employing.  While it's true that programming methodologies
vary, and some languages are more suited than others to particulars,
the core principles remain the same.  If someone has learned a couple
of different programming languages / technologies, and has been
successful at projects using them, chances are picking up a new one is
going to be cake for them.  Except, maybe, if it's Lisp.  ;-)  

There are exceptions; there are people who are highly specialized, and
roles that require that.  If you hiring for one of those, it's
probably pretty easy to match up skills, assuming there are such
people available.  The rest are generalists, and someone who's
demonstrated years of varied experience, who comes highly
recommended...  I mean what else can you ask for?  It should not matter
that they don't have a couple of years experience with exactly what
you're doing.  Especially if what you're using is somewhat off the
beaten path, if you wait until you find someone who does, you may be
waiting a very long time.  

In my mind, unless your role really is extremely specialized, those
are the people you should prefer.  You want smart, successful people,
with good problem-solving skills.  Maybe they have less experience
with your specific problem set, but they have more experience solving
a wider range of problems, and in my experience usually bring more to
a team than someone who knows every little detail about this one
particular thing that you happen to be using.  Plus, if you treat them
well enough that they want to stick around, and provide sufficient
development opportunities, they can easily BECOME one of the latter.

That's my $.00002.  

Derek D. Martin   GPG Key ID: 0xDFBEAD02
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