Any thoughts as to solutions? Much of the difficulty seems to be companies with a large IS staff acting as if it's two different companies - an "us versus them" mentality. One time, a headhunter arranged an interview with one company for which I was woefully underqualified. They brought in one of their software developers and I was asked a long list of technical questions about mainframes. Since I had no mainframe experience, I kept saying "I don't know about that." After I said that six or seven times, I stopped her and asked "this is the bad part of the interview, isn't it?" Everyone laughed themselves silly and I wound up with a new job and a substantial pay raise. Huh? Clearly, the developer was not impressed with my technical ability, but management was impressed with my demeanor. Who cares what the developers think? (On the other hand, see this post of mine
for a balancing viewpoint)
It seems I was hired, in part, because the management was impressed with my poise during the interview. While I went on to do great work with them (and a solid reference with a definite "willing to rehire" when I left), I shouldn't have been hired on "poise." Admittedly, there were some mitigating factors that I won't mention as they'll seem like bragging, but I question the decision to hire me.
How do managers assess a programmer? Plenty of programmers can talk the talk and then stumble the walk. Bringing in "programmers" to question me is not necessarily an answer. If I was interviewing with this company, I would be highly suspicious of the ability of their programmers to adequately assess my ability. I truly believe that an independant "guild" or something similar (that's not tied to a particular product like the MCSE) could greatly benefit our profession. I just discovered http://www.colosseumbuilders.com/american.htm, which purports to create such a guild. I don't know anything about them -- this isn't an endorsement -- but it might be a start.
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