Dear new developer,
This came up in a Hacker News comment thread recently:
I’ve been working since the 90s and I never attempted to do FizzBuzz. Is it really relevant? Maybe to screen junior developers out of college?
And the response
So, as someone who spends maybe 20% of their time hiring, it’s still a very effective screen. You wouldn’t believe how many people can’t do it. People at big companies, respected places. It’s surprising.
I find it truly surprising. Here’s a post from 2007 about the same issue, so it’s been around a while. From that post:
…I’m starting to get a little worried. I’m more than willing to cut freshly minted software developers slack at the beginning of their career. Everybody has to start somewhere. But I am disturbed and appalled that any so-called programmer would apply for a job without being able to write the simplest of programs.
As a new developer, realize that
- You are going to stand out among other applicants if you can program.
- If you can’t program, you need to fix that asap.
- There are some folks that are just not effective programmers who somehow are in the profession (or seeking employment). You may end up working with and for some of these people.
So, make sure you practice programming. My letters have been about some of the other aspects of software development, but if you can’t do the basic work, you’re going to have a tough time. That’s like a baseball player who can’t run. Doesn’t matter how good someone is at catching a ball or hitting, if you can’t run, you’re going to be fundamentally disadvantaged at baseball.