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Tuesday, May 20. 2008
Just by accident (you should never browse your feed reader directly before going to bed), I stumbled upon an incredibly self-ironic posting in some dude’s blog. I have to ask myself: What are you guys taking? Are you seriously discussing any kind of name-dropping as an interview subject?
It’s not only irrelevant who created a programming language, it’s even a hindrance for interviewers since all that small-talk bullshit takes precious time off the actual knowledge assessment. And I’ll be damned before I let someone who happens to know how Rasmus’s mother’s cat’s brother was named get in the way of an actual developer who knows what they are doing. Then again, I’m in the lucky position not to be able (or have to, depending on your PoV) to hire “PHP developers”.
This whole discussion is just fat bullshit. What are you thinking? I couldn’t give a fat fuck about people who know names. I don’t give a shit if someone knows that a dude wrote an, erm... “magazine” about security at O’Reilly or if some dude named Lerdorf thought it’s a great idea to do some dynamic web stuff. I want to know if people know their trade.
Really. It’s unbelievably ridiculous. Get a hold of yourselves. Are you really thinking that knowing names is worth ANYTHING?
Posted by Christopher Kunz in PHP at 00:11 | Comments (14) | Trackback (1)
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Tracked: May 20, 11:00
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Uh dude, you fucking don’t get the fat fucking point fucking fuck fuck.
You can’t pretend knowing PHP if you’ve never come across Rasmus Lerdorf’s name. It’s like knowing functions’ names. Knowing them is useless, but not knowing them shows that you’re not fluent in the language. And yes, I have to check the manual for params order everytime I use in_array() but at least I don’t confuse it with array_search().
I disagree, Adam. Building a competent development team is what matters, not building a good Trivial Pursuit: Nerd Edition team. Many thanks to Rasmus for getting the ball rolling, but you don’t need to know his name to do good work.
if you’re checking manual for the parameters of in_array. you really need to learn a lot!.
If you use in_array() so often that you’ve memorized its param order then maybe you need to improve (hint: in_array() is relatively slow and it is often preferable to use values as key instead)
Actually, in_array() is quite famous for forcing lots of users to open up the manual according to those PHP Developer Meeting notes: http://www.php.net/~derick/meeting-notes.html#make-parameter-order-consistent-over-all-functions (not that there’s anything wrong with checking the manual, it’s obviously a good practice )
I just went and checked and yes, the parameters were in the order I thought they were. Not because I know one (probably O(N)) function out of the thousands available, but because $value in_array $array seems more logical than $array in_array $value
Knowing how the language developed can be interesting (to know how widely it’s used and possibly what it aims). So does knowing that there’s a community behind it, and sometimes interacting with it. But knowing who designed the language is useless, unless they have some sort of aura that shines like, say, K&R.
Knowing who started PHP has no influence on the capabilities of the programmer. I know that someone built PHP, I know that Rasmus Lerdorf is not the lead singer of the eponymous band and that his name wouldn’t be out of place on a tech blog but if you were to ask me who he is in an interview, I couldn’t reply.
tl;dr: knowing basics about the language and knowing where to find information (and how to use it) is important. Knowing trivial details is not.
How does “not knowing them shows that you’re not fluent in the language”. The programming language or just background knowledge? Because I hardly have to employ Rasmus’s name to build a good web app, but I do need a good grasp of programming techniques. Its not the same.
It would show how well read up I am, it may even imply I’m zealous about PHP but it cannot stand as a measure of my language fluency or technical acuity with PHP.
If the hire determines I’m technically incompetent just because of this issue, then there’s really no love lost, he doesn’t know what he’s doing.
The “not knowing them shows that you’re not fluent in the language” bit referred to functions names. Knowing the functions names, in itself, is useless, what you have to know is what they do and when (not) to use them.
For some reason people seem to miss the point, so here is a metaphore: the Supreme Court of the United States. Knowing the Justices’ names does not make you a lawyer, but if you’re a lawyer and you don’t know their name, then it means you’re not familiar with the Supreme Court’s rulings, which is not exactly a good sign for a *lawyer*.
If you don’t know who Rasmus Lerdorf is then it means you’re not familiar with PHP’s history or PHP’s current development, you probably don’t know about APC’s finer details, etc...
Hi Adam, appreciate your effort to setup a metaphor but the professional pertinence between a programmer and the creator of PHP isn’t anywhere near the degree of lawyers and Justices. I believe drawing a conclusion from one for the other will be fallacious.
I do understand what you’re trying to put through. And as far as i might agree it would present a programmer in better light to be familiar with history and current affairs of their interest or field of work, the assertion that because one is in the loop on these, therefore he is most likely a proficient and skillful programmer, and in this case, a right hire, is dangerously shallow. I’d like to quote you, “if you don’t know who Rasmus... it means you’re not familiar with PHP’s history... you probably don’t know...” It can equally be probable that he’s very familiar with the subject, so the former doesn’t critically set the bar for expertise does it.
I’d like a balance in candidates when i hire, being potent in names and data regurgitation is nice but won’t help put life into a site or aid a refactoring project. I’ll need the man to demonstrate technical understanding, experience and potential for the work and challenges that we will face, knowing more that which is relevant makes him a variably more desirable team member.
I agree, who fuckin cares who did it....the question is, can you do the job well?
what he said.
“So you don’t know who Marcus Boerger is? You probably don’t know what an Iterator is either. Next!” - valid assumption?
I did have to google for the SPL guy btw, although I use it daily.
Whoa! I couldn’t agree more with you on this one Christopher. In no way would I ever pick a candidate or dismiss one over their namedropping skills. Who cares?! I just want an app that runs and is programmed properly. Who cares who was responsible for the underlying code, as long as the app works.
To think that hiring is based on your knowledge of anything other than your trade, the actual skill is absurd.
Imagine you are going to hire a carpenter to build your shed. Would you ask him if he knew the name(s) of the man who invented the Dove Tail joint? Probably not.
Why the fuck are we discussing if this guy gives a fuck about a fucking post? Why the fuck don’t you post something interesting instead of fucking with your feed reader you fuck!
Who the fuck is Rasmus and who the fuck is this dude with fucking long hair???