in reply to About 'Show me your Code'

Someone in this industry who does no personal hacking, c.f. has no code of his/her own to show could be a good hacker but... the odds against are high. I think 80% of my skillset came from working on my own projects. At work there just isn't always time or chances to learn and explore and it's rare to get into a good mentorship where you're learing from a significantly superior hacker. (80% of my good practices came from hanging around the monastery, incidentally.)

Now for the anecdote. Couple years ago I had a contract that was making me insane when a job that was exactly what I wanted appeared on the boards. I wrote and CPAN'd a module related to the position as my cover letter. I got the job and with the highest salary I'd ever had by a lot.

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Re^2: About 'Show me your Code'
by MishaMoose (Scribe) on Oct 28, 2010 at 17:04 UTC

    I have personal hacking but not much in the last several years, and most of it is pretty ugly .. it was after all code I wrote to learn things. Maybe I should just rewrite my star-mapper solar system generator in GOOD perl 8^).

    The CPAN route sounds like excellent advice. Many thanks!

    self professed programmer with delusions of relevance
      This is a really good idea, and specifically noting in the changelog that you rewrote it to improve the code will score you points with people who believe in making things better and make the ones who never go back to improve old code uncomfortable -- which is how you'd want it!

        good points, plus the need to have something usable will encourage me to grit my teeth and wrestle with the ugliness. And making the code better (one hopes). I have learned a number of things suince I started on it but never went back to re-write. So thank you much for the encouragement.

        self professed programmer with delusions of relevance
Re^2: About 'Show me your Code'
by sierpinski (Chaplain) on Oct 28, 2010 at 19:44 UTC
    I wrote and CPAN'd a module related to the position as my cover letter.

    Could you explain? That sounds intriguing... do you mean that you created a module that would help you in the job you were trying to get, or was the module actually the cover letter itself?

    Thanks.... in my opinion, this outside-the-box creative thinking is so much more impressive to a prospective employer than the standard codejockey questions.

      It's been quite awhile but the cover letter paraphrased-

      I have X experience with Y but that doesn't really tell you what I'm capable of or what my work is like. Let's walk through developing a simple module for Y...

      • Terse problem space discussion.
      • List of concerns like system/coupling v unit testing.
      • Simple/direct way to get it into Y with terse code snippet.
      • Distribution/RCS concerns, pros of using standard CPAN style dists even at work.
      • Link to newly uploaded CPAN package!
      • Thank you for this opportunity!

      And since I sent the letter just a few hours after the job posting, it was, I hoped, obvious I could 1) perform quickly, 2) communicate, 3) write functional, testable code to community standards.

      It was fun. At the time I was actually really nervous and thinking it was a mistake; arrogant, a bundle of work for free on spec, too outside the box... I feel like I'm a very middle of the road hacker so it's hard for me to promote myself. Not that I don't do a good job, I definitely endeavor to. The thing about Perl is, the better I know it the more I feel like it's just so damn deep I can't make definitive statements like: I'm a Perl guru. So, I don't and I end up sounding like a clinker if I'm not careful. I try to talk code and how fun/productive Perl is instead of "me."

      Job hunting is, I've mentioned here before, a lot like dating. A positive attitude, confidence, love of Perl are very attractive to Perl employers.

        Many thanks for this. I must say I like your attitude in general. In the days when I was the hiring manager or on the search team I had a very hard time with people who wanted to charactize themselves as experts in 'C' or UNIX with 2 or 3 years experience. While it is possible that they might be, I have almost 30 and I know I am NOT what I consider to be an expert ... my name isn't Dennis Ritchie.

        Perlwise I like to think I am on the road to becoming a middle of the road hacker but realize that perl is so rich that I will probably never master all of it I would like to.

        Job hunting is indeed a lot like dating, I like the anaology. Thanks again for sharing this!

        self professed programmer with delusions of relevance