Monday, August 22, 2011

Sad State of Software Engineers

Let's have a little programming lesson, in simple, straightforward Actionscript.

This is how you output some text to the console:
This is a variable:
var number_of_sheep=5;
This is how you make a loop that counts from 1 to 10:
for(var count=1; count<=10; count++){}
Now let's combine these concepts to count sheep.
for(var number_of_sheep=1; number_of_sheep<100; number_of_sheep++)
    trace("There are "+number_of_sheep+" sheep.");
This should output:
There are 1 sheep.
There are 2 sheep.
There are 3 sheep.
There are 4 sheep.
...all the way to 100.
Congratulations.  You are now more talented than 199 out of 200 people who apply for programming jobs.
Seriously wtf?  If you haven't read the above link, here's a quote from some guy Reginald Braithwaite:
Like me, the author is having trouble with the fact that 199 out of 200 applicants for every programming job can't write code at all. I repeat: they can't write any code whatsoever.
That's flat-out ridiculous.

Now to be fair there are some distortions in the statistical side of this.  It makes sense that most of the people who apply will be terrible at programming, because all of the good programmers will have gotten jobs already.  Even then, 199 out of 200?

Really, world?


  1. This is just pathetic and not true at all. Especially for guys with CompSci degrees. I am finishing Biomedical Engineering and all of my colleagues can do this kind of stuff without blinking.

    More likely, the guy doing the interviews is a complete jerk who manages to scare the people being interviewed before asking these basic questions, thus making them stutter and apparently "fail".

  2. The article refers to three interviewers who all noticed the same thing, so I'm reluctant to just say they were bad interviewers. Possible though, but it seems unbased to me.

    The best explanation I've seen is here ( ), where it states that most people who can program already have jobs and therefore the 199/200 are still looking for employment for a reason. Most programmers can program. The population of programming job applicants is not representative of programmers as a whole. Even then, a 0.5% passing rate?

    As for the CompSci degrees, the only explanation I can think of there is they were programmers who came from the dot-com bubble, where degrees were plentiful and inversely, the graduates less qualified.