11 Jan

Gigantt Blog – The GitHub Job Interview

That’s why I’m advocating the GitHub job interview. Open-Source projects are a fantastic way to collaborate with people you don’t know too well. And GitHub in particular, with its ease of forking and pull-requests is just the best (and biggest) platform for open-source collaboration.

Here’s what you do. You come up with a cool idea of an open-source project. This becomes your company’s development sandbox. Candidates are asked to then contribute to the project in some way. You want to see them code? Ask them to develop a module. You want to see them tackle a bug? Ask them to choose one from the bug-list. This works for every aspect of development work. You can design features together. You can gauge their communication skills. You can see how well they handle reviews. You can ask them to document their work and see how well they can write. But above all, you’re not taking advantage of anyone, and true developers probably won’t mind investing time into an open-source effort. 

Choose your GitHub project wisely. It should be something relatively fun. It ought to use the same technology stack your company uses. And it should be relatively simple to grasp, because the point is not to be investing too much time training people you’re not yet hiring.

via Gigantt Blog – The GitHub Job Interview. This sounds like a really solid way to do a job interview.

08 Nov

NYTimes.com – Worker Rights Extend to Facebook, Labor Board Says

In what labor officials and lawyers view as a ground-breaking case involving workers and social media, the National Labor Relations Board has accused a company of illegally firing an employee after she criticized her supervisor on her Facebook page.

This is the first case in which the labor board has stepped in to argue that workers’ criticisms of their bosses or companies on a social networking site is generally a protected activity and that employers would be violating the law by punishing workers for such statements.

via NYTimes.com – Worker Rights Extend to Facebook, Labor Board Says. Nice extension of privacy onto the online sphere. That being said critiquing bosses is a tricky matter even when done privately.

10 Sep

Rebekah Monson – Twentysomething: How my generation works

You must understand that we are not starting out with a positive attitude. In our short careers, we already have been laid off or at least afraid that we would be laid off. We have seen our parents downsized and left high and dry by companies that they helped to build. We have been unable to get work after doing “the right things” that we were told would make us successful — school, internships, volunteer work, mentorship, etc. We have gone into high-demand fields like IT only to see those jobs outsourced overseas for pennies on the dollar. We have joined the military, served our country, come home broken and with no opportunity for honest work in the private sector.

via Rebekah Monson – Twentysomething: How my generation works. I found myself nodding along during the whole post.

28 Aug

NYTimes.com – German Law Would Limit Facebook’s Use in Hiring

As part of the draft of a law governing workplace privacy, the German government on Wednesday proposed placing restrictions on employers who want to use Facebook profiles when recruiting.

The bill would allow managers to search for publicly accessible information about prospective employees on the Web and to view their pages on job networking sites, like LinkedIn or Xing. But it would draw the line at purely social networking sites like Facebook, said Philipp Spauschus, a spokesman for the Interior Minister, Thomas de Maizière.

via NYTimes.com – German Law Would Limit Facebook’s Use in Hiring. I have to admit to liking this idea. It’s very reasonable, limit companies from using sites that are designed to be part of a person’s life outside of work. Although the larger question becomes what is a “purely social networking site”, does Twitter count, etc and who defines it. Overall the better result is for people to be more intelligent or more aware about what information is public.

19 Mar

The Non-Programming Programmer – Coding Horror

Three years later, I'm still wondering: why do people who can't write a simple program even entertain the idea they can get jobs as working programmers? Clearly, some of them must be succeeding. Which means our industry-wide interviewing standards for programmers are woefully inadequate, and that's a disgrace. It's degrading to every working programmer.

via Coding Horror: The Non-Programming Programmer. After going though the hiring process both trying to get and fill a position, I must admit to also being astounded at the quality level of applicants. Most are unable to do much more than write a few if statements and sometimes even that is a challenge. The worst part of an interviewing candidates isn’t the boring details of the resume or the technical questions, it’s asking them to use the white board and write about a 15 line program and watch a candidate struggle for 20 plus minutes to make something that could possibly work.

28 Jan

Why houses? – Developer Town Blog

It's one of the first things a visitor to our office notices. It's one of the reasons we call our company a Town. Standing there in the middle of the office, surrounded by desks, chairs, printers, filing cabinets, all the trappings of the typical modern workspace, is a house.

via Developer Town – Developer Town Blog – Why houses?. As I said on Twitter, I so want to work out a mini-house now.

Flickr photo from tinyfroglet

04 Jan

How to be a genius – New Scientist

The book essentially tells us to forget the notion that “genius”, “talent” or any other innate qualities create the greats we call geniuses. Instead, as the American inventor Thomas Edison said, genius is 99 per cent perspiration – or, to be truer to the data, perhaps 1 per cent inspiration, 29 per cent good instruction and encouragement, and 70 per cent perspiration. Examine closely even the most extreme examples – Mozart, Newton, Einstein, Stravinsky – and you find more hard-won mastery than gift. Geniuses are made, not born.

via How to be a genius – life – 15 September 2006 – New Scientist.

10 Oct

Moving Forward and Upward: 2009 Edition

Starting Monday I will have a new job working as a Web Developer at Smartfield. I have enjoyed my time working for Accade and I wish all the best for the company.

Smartfield sells sensors to farmers that build a statistical model for how the plants in the field will perform. My job will be to maintain and update both the marketing website as well as the informational view presented to the farmers, companies and researches who have Smartfield’s sensors deployed. Currently they have sensors deployed nation wide as well as internationally. I’ll start off working part-time and come post-graduation I will be working full-time for them.

This job provides me some interesting new challenges, both in terms of my skills as a User Interface Designer and my ability as a Programmer and Database Administrator. I can’t wait to see where this takes me.

23 Jan

Transitions

I’m a little late in writing this, but earlier this week coinciding with the transition in our government, I made a personal transition. I accepted a position with Simple Web Works, a Web Design and Development firm located here in Lubbock.

I will be working with them as a part-time Web Developer (PHP, SQL, JavaScript, etc), you know all the fun stuff. The company has done some really interesting work in the past that I like and they have one or two projects that look even more interesting coming out soon. It is my hope in this position to further push my skills with regards to PHP and JavaScript even further and gain experience working with an actual software company.

I throughly enjoyed working at the T-STEM Center and gained a ton of experience in areas I would normally never touch or have the ability to play with so much (Server Hardware, Windows Server, Active Directory, Database Administration, Apache, and lots of IT work). Still it was time to make a change and so I did. I’ll let you know in a few months how it went.