March 31st, 2005

Andrei in the office

Dear Bob I'm going to do it...

Edit: 2005.06.16 - This post was originally friends only. It was hidden so that my employer would not see that I was interviewing externally.

The troubling part of the interview process is that I often feel like an idiot savant in a room full of PhDs.

The interview process has become "Please regurgitate this thing they taught you in your C.S. classes that would never happen in the real world"

For example the last time I interviewed I was asked to write malloc and free in C. In 45 minutes. I sat there for 45 minutes pseudo-coding what I'd have to do to make this happen.

I have no idea how to do a problem off the top of my head. I have to contemplate it. Make sure I have the right solution and then beat the hell out of it to make sure I didn't miss anything. In other words, I don't write malloc in C in 45 minutes. Me? I am a software engineer. I find a problem. I take it apart. I look at it from every conceivable angle. I look at it using things that no one else would. Analogy, simile, television, football, wine tasting, theatre, philosophy, comedy. Use comparison. Find answers. Play with tools, find solutions. See the big picture... put it together.

jnanacandra really wants to move back to Seattle. And to use Firefly speak, "I don't rightly blame her any." It's a beautiful city and there are some interesting venues open to me on several levels that I really can't elabourate on. (Not for secrecy reasons because I can't really find the words at this time)

But, the issue is, the companies that I have to look to in Seattle are less Mac friendly than most other cities. (No real surprise why)

So, it looks like I'm going to have to accept the fact that I'm going to apply to Microsoft.

Now here's the problem. And here's a frightening admission: In a Microsoft world without Macs I fear that I might be nigh unto computer illiterate. I know C, C++, perl, PHP, SQL, several assemblers, etc. (Buzzwords to most)... But the interface to programming them has been: Codewarrior, emacs, BBEdit, XCode, MPW. I'm not even comfortable finding my way around XP.

If I can't get hired on by Amazon for Unix work. How am I going to convince Bill's Uber Corp that I can manage a project, developers, or even write code. (And no... never used MS Project in my life)

I am honestly terrified. Advice and pointers welcome.

Remember: HR wants 5 years of C#, 7 years of .NET, and 15 years of Java preferably not tainted with any Mac use. When what HR should be looking for is: 10 years of problem solving, 5 years of understanding and working under corporate abuse and slavery and a strong ability in ramping up in 6 months on proprietary undocumented code.

Java's been used in the work place for about 7 yrs, C#/.NET about 2 years.