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The Magical World of Buzzwords

August 29, 2012

Recently I’ve been reading some job ads. This actually is quite funny experience. Sometimes it seems that those who created an ad tried to think of every buzzword they ever had in their head.

Agile agile agile…
Everyone and everything is now agile. “Agile and scrum knowledge”… I’ve just opened few ads and all of them had this line. I think you can see this in almost every job ad. Often it might even come as a requirement before your actual coding skills. And that is the reason why I hate Agile. I mean I don’t really hate it, I think is great to work closely with people that will use the software you’re creating. But agile doesn’t mean that a group of morons can build great software only if they meet up every morning to whine how hard is the problem they are working on and that it will take much longer, because they haven’t heard of regular expressions and have to do everything manually. Agile in the job ad makes me think that the attitude of a project manager is to do all this bureaucratic stuff before actual coding.

Design Patterns
Yep, they are important, but why even bother asking for Design Pattern knowledge if the code you’re going to work has no structure at all? To be honest that is what happened in my last workplace — during interview, at least 20% of it was about Design Patterns. However the code base I’ve been working with had no design at all, just tons of copy pasted code. So if the rest of the team had no idea of how polymorphism works, why ask for Design Patterns? It didn’t stop others from working here..

Tons of frameworks
I can only ask “why?”. Frameworks are not that hard to learn, and I don’t think that the rest of the team are experts of all the 20 frameworks you’ve put on the ad. Software world is changing so fast, I’d rather employ someone with ability to learn quickly rather than with knowledge of that specific python framework.

Jira, svn, git, etc.
Who even writes this stuff? Even if I haven’t used any of them, I could easily write them on my CV, because during interview I have never heard a question about one of these. When I see these on a job ad, I immediately think that the team just learned what source control is and now they want to boast about it. I mean, you don’t write the most obvious skills on the ad, do you? And even if I wouldn’t have used git or svn or anything else before, it’s not like it takes ages to learn it.

N years of experience with some language
OK, so this is not really a buzzoword. But who cares. I can be coding for 5 years with C#/java/whatever but if I haven’t read any book and only used what I’ve learned in the university, my knowledge would be useless.

Certification
Well you can easily shove this straight into your arse. Whenever I see this in the job ad, even if it is only mentioned as an advantage, I immediately close it.

Join The Professional Team
I’ve saved the best for last. You just have to love this one, especially if you’ll get lucky enough to join a team of real pros where half of them are incapable of writing a SQL query. That’s not even the worst part, be ready for someone to be unable read error messages and just whine when it occurs. Not to mention that there will be someone that will only be able to do work that has specific steps of what has to be done. You know, someone that should have been replaced by computer a long time ago. This mostly goes for testers that write millions of test cases and then executes them manually for a week.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2012 07:49

    Good article, totally agree with you. The truth is that major part of job ads are copy pasted by young office girls who doesn’t know anything about development.

    By the way, ever thought how ideal job ad should look if you wanted to hire developer in your place?

    • August 30, 2012 11:56

      Well I think first of all, job ad should interest smart people to join company/team. Because that’s what everyone wants, right? Now with all those buzzwords they seem to be threatening (“don’t write us unless you know all of this!”) or boasting (“yeah, we’re really advanced, we use all the latest trends!”).

      I think that general experience in coding/problem solving is much more important than coding with one language for a lifetime. And that is what should be asked. Learning to do things swiftly in the code base is going to be the hardest part anyway. And knowledge of several languages and coding paradigms would only be an advantage.

      So all in all, job ad should interest people to join. Of course you don’t want to get 1000 emails from people that are clearly not fit for the positions and that’s what requirements are for. But with all those fancy words you’re likely only attract coding hipsters that just read blogs, copy pasted their homepage and think they know it all. I really like how Joel suggest to employ people that are “smart and gets things” http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000073.html

      I’d say perfect job ad should:

      * Be free from frameworks, jira, git… Everyone with a good head can learn that quick enough.

      * Describe what kind of work will be done (“work in international company with interesting projects and professional team” doesn’t count). If well written, this alone will attract those who you need and keep away those you don’t need.

      * Describe what is the main language, but I wouldn’t say it is the single most important aspect. When I’ve been looking for an intern, I wrote something like “You shouldn’t be afraid of C++”

      * If specific knowledge is needed, add it. For example if you need an experienced GIS coder to lead the team add it. If you need junior GIS coder, why ask for it at all? Just look for someone who would be interested in that area.

      * It should say what team is looking for: junior, advanced or team lead. Years are useless, you can’t really judge based on them. I know people that have been coding for years and should be juniors and hackers that would wipe out large proportion of 10+ year coders though had very little real work experience.

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