View Full Version : How to filter out stupid "coders"

02-27-2007, 04:33 PM
It's a fact. A vast majority of coders are coders by name only. Too many of them are so stupid, it's unbelievable. It's a shame that these nutjobs have infiltrated my industry. (Yes, I get pretty riled up about this at times.)

Read a blogger's take on the issue below:

On occasion you meet a developer who seems like a solid programmer. They know their theory, they know their language. They can have a reasonable conversation about programming. But once it comes down to actually producing code they just don’t seem to be able to do it well.

You would probably think they’re a good developer if you’ld never seen them code. This is why you have to ask people to write code for you if you really want to see how good they are. It doesn’t matter if their CV looks great or they talk a great talk. If they can’t write code well you probably don’t want them on your team.

After a fair bit of trial and error I’ve come to discover that people who struggle to code don’t just struggle on big problems, or even smallish problems (i.e. write a implementation of a linked list). They struggle with tiny problems.

So I set out to develop questions that can identify this kind of developer and came up with a class of questions I call “FizzBuzz Questions” named after a game children often play (or are made to play) in schools in the UK.

In this game a group of children sit around in a group and say each number in sequence, except if the number is a multiple of three (in which case they say “Fizz”) or five (when they say “Buzz”). If a number is a multiple of both three and five they have to say “Fizz-Buzz”.

An example of a Fizz-Buzz question is the following:
Write a program that prints the numbers from 1 to 100. But for multiples of three print “Fizz” instead of the number and for the multiples of five print “Buzz”. For numbers which are multiples of both three and five print “FizzBuzz”.
Most good programmers should be able to write out on paper a program which does this in a under a couple of minutes.

Want to know something scary ? - the majority of comp sci graduates can’t. I’ve also seen self-proclaimed senior programmers take more than 10-15 minutes to write a solution.

I’m not saying these people can’t write good code, but to do so they’ll take a lot longer to ship it. And in a business environment that’s exactly what you don’t want.

This sort of question won’t identify great programmers, but it will identify the weak ones. And that’s definitely a step in the right direction.

(Source (http://tickletux.wordpress.com/2007/01/24/using-fizzbuzz-to-find-developers-who-grok-coding))

It took me 14 seconds. :-\

I'm going to be using this as a small litmus test in my campus recruiting rounds. If a CS guy takes more than a couple of minutes to come up with code...that is a very bad sign. But at least it'll make my job of filtering candidates that much easier! ;-)

PS: Would be nice if this section can be changed from "Programming Help" to "Programming" or something...

02-27-2007, 05:04 PM

In java it would take what, few seconds... just a for loop, I guess..

but as we all know.. 99% of the resume is fake..

give them a realtime scenario, test their knowledge in the skillset you want... that shud prove if they are worth the $$$


02-27-2007, 05:11 PM
I'm curious. Any (technical) managers here? If so, what do you use to hire a candidate?

02-27-2007, 05:43 PM
(1) Shouldnt know just the language that we are looking for. Should know the OOP concept in depth.
(2) We have a initial screening with the online test. lots of online test softwares are available. u can use them.. Mostly all language syntax and all that stuff will be cleared mostly there.
(3) So whens its in-person interview, already he passed 50% since he knows the language well, now drill him with his designing expertise, how to can provide solutions, give him an on the spot problem and ask him to solve it. I usually have an IDE ready and a whiteboard. On the spot will tell u, how effectively he can work under the gun.
(4) Go over his resume from the last, many consultants think, that we would ask only the first 2 latest projects and completey cut-n-paste the old onws.. drill him abt the descipriton of the project tech used, how it was architected, how they coded, what issues they faced
... take one project and ask him what other innovative solutions can be provided ad why u chose this for ur project.
(5) Java thaan mostly I recruit, ask them their expertise area, RMI, EJB, whatever they say, athula irunthu questions kekalaam.. in general and from the way they answer u can know whther its byheart or if they actually know the concept.

ippadi naraiya iruku.. :)

Good programmers kedaikarthu romba kashtam :( usually we go via perferred vendors, so they screen for us.. else kadi thaan.. $$$$ goes in their learning curve itself.. appuram nambo numbersla thaan aappu.


02-27-2007, 05:57 PM
What about freshers??? You r talking about experienced ppl... Who in college learns about design??

02-27-2007, 06:07 PM
Write a program that prints the numbers from 1 to 100. But for multiples of three print “Fizz” instead of the number and for the multiples of five print “Buzz”. For numbers which are multiples of both three and five print “FizzBuzz”.]

I am sure many people will write a separate condition that if they are factors of 3 and 5 then print FizzBuzz :sm12: Got the point! Its not only the time, but quality of program also matters. If they can not catch this small point what they are gng to do with a million line of programs!

02-27-2007, 07:48 PM
Actually, on second thought...I think it's impossible to find anyone who cannot do the FizzBuzz thing. Seriously. It's not a litmus test, so I'm definitely not going to use it for screening. :-\

02-28-2007, 03:15 AM
yes whatever teacher was saying about was for experienced interviews. At an entry level for a computer science graduate, certainly OOPS, data structures related algos could be expected.
Actually its best to ask applicative questions. Given a situation, what to use kind of questions. Something like 'a certain query returns 10000 records, you display 100 records at a time. what do you use Datareader or Dataset and why ?'.

02-28-2007, 02:16 PM
sharing good info n Q....COOLS:b: , good luck to you.......:)