Transcript of an interview, conducted way back in 1995 – in which is described, the travails of an interviewer…
Had posted this stuff to the USENET (soc.* groups) – may be some 18 years back (1995) – has anything changed at all in the past 18 years with these dingbat programmers??
umm.. I received some brickbats too for having mentioned some real names. So, the disclaimer is
‘all real names have been changed to fictional ones, except when they are real.’
… Onward to the text of that offending post…
Vanakkam – Namaskara – Namashkar!!!
I DO NOT claim to be a guru of Computer Science and all; but would like to think that I’m one of the learners, who is very curious and who accepts his foibles and lack of knowledge; but, even a guy like me is able to flummox the young crowd which barges in with 8 page resumes for walk-ins creating veritable traffic jams in the already nauseating roads of Bangalore – with such hi-fi(!) questions such as ‘What is the difference between C++ structures and C++ classes’ – they hum and haw and say something very preposterous; to top it all, these guys think they already know a lot and hence wouldn’t condescend down to the level of brass-tacks. They would like to think that they are big_picture_people! Surely, the software industry (in Bangalore at least) must really be scraping at the bottom… sheesh! :-(
During the course of past one month, I must have interviewed n number of guys (sheesh!!) and am REALLY beginning to wonder… i wonder – obviously because, if an ‘i‘ is thrown in, things can really become complex…
Okay, I hereby and hereunder narrate a real life incident, well, almost surreal, albeit peppered with my malicious motives and snide comments; I also hereby declare that I am under oath to not to exhibit my ignorance of the subject matter either…
So, here goes…
A few days back I had the temerity to interview a gold medalist CS candidate from SIT aka SidTech; and paid dearly for the same.
The interview(!) went on somewhat like this:
? Hi! I’m Ram – please relax and let us chat for a while.
! Hello, I am Mr. Prabhu. I am from [He said Mr.!] SIT – a well known college. [and this, I swear!!]
? wWhat? well, where is it?
[Latha, the girl from the Recruitment cell pulls me aside and informs that it is a GOOD college – so would I please bloody shut up and proceed with the interview? And in any case, I was a newcomer to this state of Karnataka etc]
? Okay, could you please tell me about your background – like what your interests are etc…
! My father is an IAS Officer, Secretary to the Animal Husbandry Department of Karnataka. His is a rags to riches story; let me tell you this also(!) now itself – A 20 storeyed building at MG Road, 11 villages near Tumkur, 4 Cinema theatres and 3 Rice mills are owned by my family and we have INHERITED them… SO, my father is a honest man, unlike his counterparts from Bihar. My mother is a housewife and is very much interested in social service; she is running(!) an NGO with a grant from Ford Foundation – In today’s Deccan Herald her photo of ‘lighting a lamp’ at ‘Garibi hatao sammelan’ has come(!) – did you see that??? My elder sister is doing her 13th year MBBS at Pai Medical College.
? So nice, could you please tell me about your B.Tech project…
! Yes. I gave the project idea to my professor and I was given an award by the Computer Society of India. I designed – both low and high levels, implemented – coded, tested, debugged, documented and installed the application. I used C++, Java, C, Windows and Unix and am an expert at all these THINGS.
? That’s okay! what was the project about?
! We were trying to simulate a bistable multivibrator with an astable defibrillator using a scanner and monitor. Of course, the hardware design was ALSO done by me.
? erm… What exactly does it do?
! You see sir, it was part of a Dept of Science & Technology funded project and hence is very confidential. So outsiders cannot be privy to the information – it is a Government project, you see…
? Thanks for prompting me! Would have committed a treason otherwise… Where did you ‘use’ the languages?
! All over the place; that is, to create an interface between a bistable and a multivibrator on the one hand and between astable and defibrillator on the other…
? Could you be more specific…
! Yes; I used C++ for the interface between a bistable and a multivibrator and Java, for that between astable and defibrillator.
? Yeah, NOW I get it… you must have used C for the interface between the two interfaces, right?
! Exactly. I am glad you appreciate the tough problem that I was trying to solve!
? Now that you have mentioned two Operating Systems, could you tell me where did you work on each – meaning which language and on what platform ???
! For the first interface I used Windows and for the second I used Unix.
! Yeah – it IS a clone of MS-DOS and since I know DOS inside out I know Unix too… it stands for UNImaginably Xcruciating or some such thing…
? OKay, OKAY… What about the interface between the interfaces?
! There was NO OS; because it was a standalone Java program – it stands ALONE you see…
? But you said it was written in C???
! Did I? Oh, yeah, it was written in C. AND, it did not use ANY operating system either.
? IS IT? What implementation was it??
! I forgot you see; I used it over three months back and I very vaguely remember the same as that of ‘Free Vapourware Foundation.’ – you know, in these days of fast track technology changes, especially in IT industry… (shrugs)
? Is it? Okay, let me ask you a few questions in C – hmmm… What are pointers??
! In MS word you know, THEY use Bullets pointing to points. That is, we use them to point out a point – hence they are pointers. In databases of mailing lists, where we store the addresses we actually end up using pointers because they store them. Shall I explain it in detail???
? Oh NO! What does ‘malloc’ do?
! Well, I have not used ALL C commands but malloc probably means an improperly functioning locking mechanism with ODBC record level locking SQL statements connecting to Sockets…
? wWhat, SQLs with malloc and … Sockets?
! Yeah; quite easy, you can embed SQL statements in a C program you see!
? Oh! What have you worked on using Sockets?
! You see, we have all kinds of plug-ins nowadays coming with Netscape… we have to have Sockets or otherwise where else could we be plugging in anything…
? You mean, you mean…
! Yeah. At the back of the computer and in the switch boards we have sockets – shall I explain the male-female joints etc??
? No, thanks. Shall we move on to C++?
! YES, Yes. I love Microsoft – Mr. William Gates XXVVVIIII Junior is my idol and I WANT to work in Microsoft…
? What??? [aside: you sure will my son, some day!]
! Don’t you know that Bill Gates invented C++?
(Gives me a dirty look.)
? Oh! Okay, tell me what you know about C++…
! Frankly speeeaking I ONLY guided my professor and HE wrote all code so I only have a general idea about C++; but, the language is simple and I can easily write OO programs in a jiffy.
? Okay, tell me what an object is…
! It is a grammatical construct coming(!) after subject and the predicate.
? Eeeeeks! Which book did you refer to for C++?
! Wren & Martin, of course. Verry good book.
? What are classes?
! I am sorry sir. I used to bunk them so don’t know much.
? … and Methods??
! Sometimes I get out on the sly when the saar isn’t looking; sometimes I jump out of the window…
? Oh yeah, that’s the Windows operating system – is it not??
? What did you do in respect of design?
! You see, for low level design, our team had to work from the basement since there was no other place – still, we did a good job of it; unfortunately, our college is also like the MD Bamiah College where most of the building constructions are left incomplete due to some Oracle predicting doom and dire consequences for my principal otherwise – so you see, we never were able to complete the high level design…
? Thank God! May be you managed to complete the intermediate level design… and learn Oracle in the process…
! Yeah; we sat on the terrace of the third floor – and, but for the pollution and greenpeace effect we would have completed it properly…
? Peace be on you… And could you please tell me something about the OO methodologies in general.
! I don’t know much, but this Ramba female also acts well in movies – we have a lot of multifaceted personalities you see. YOU like her ???
? Me? I dont know THAT aspect of Rumbaugh… And what about java?
! My father used to ride an old mobike which was very good. It seems Mr. Gates when he got to know about this named the new language that he invented 40 years back, while he was still in diapers, after this vehicle. Even Applets have been named after our appalams… YOU see the parallels – see see… is it not great to call small sized appalams as appLets??
? And what about coding in java??
! That sir, was the responsibility of the lab attendant – he did that and I paid him 130 Rupees for it. That he cheated on me is another story…
? Have you heard of JavaBeans??
! Yeah, tell me who hasn’t these days… But my daddy has told me NOT to touch it unless FDA clears it – I like the FDA of USA, they’re doin’ a commendable job.
? Which programming languages do you like the most, given your imagination??
! I am good at the programming languages like MS-Word, MS-Excel. Earlier I used Wordstar and Lotus 123.
? How did you do the debugging ? Did you use any special tool?
! It was easy sir; it was done using ‘Lakshman Rekha’ mostly; wherever possible I used FINIT or Baygon spray. Very dangerous sir – using these spray guns – but all tools are like that, you see…
? But son, you said you even got an award from CSI ???
! Yeah. That was for my services in the Canteen Committee at CSIFest ’94; here again I used the tool Lakshman Rekha… very effective one sir…
? Would you like to say anything else about yourself that we must know…
! I also worked on a project called Monosyallble Antiheuristic Multisyllogistic Accessometer called MAMA – Heh Heh !!! Cute No?? I worked with MVS and VSAM on AS 400 using SYNON and Visual C++ 5.1 – this was for the front end – for the back end I used DB2, Sybase and Informix; for OO design I used Rational Rose… Shall I tell you more about it?
? NO! FORGET IT!! NEVER!!! Anything else??
! Yeah, I’m very good at monoacting and jam sessions – i go on and on like “my father’s got a pair of pink pajamas which were earlier owned by a pair of pink hippos which liked pink floyd and were in the pink of their health……”
? ENOUGH, enough, thank you…
[Ram suddenly gets a despo urge to puke and exeunts and is still lumbering along in delirium, whereas the pink theme continues as a lower priority thread in the background…]
Post scriptum: Most of the above really happened, well, most of it at least, and this guy has been selected by the CEO because he happens to be a son of a bureaucrat. It seems the connection will be helpful… I’m sure Mr.Prabhu will go places – meaning to US of A, say, within an year!!!