RE: Trent's projects

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Author: Carruth, Rusty
To: Main PLUG discussion list
Subject: RE: Trent's projects
I believe I am an exception to the 2.4GPA ‘rule’. And I have a few other minor nits. See below.

From: PLUG-discuss [] On Behalf Of David Schwartz
Sent: Saturday, January 27, 2018 2:00 PM
To: Main PLUG discussion list
Subject: Re: Trent's projects

> Well, I’m not going to argue with you over an analogy.

> I believe there’s value in having a solid theoretical foundation in this field. “Programming” is distinct from “software design,” and people with less of that foundation in their background have to rely on things that are entirely based in their own personal experiences when it comes to DESIGN.

> I guess I’m thinking of this because I recently saw a post from a guy who said he wanted to learn about how to write compilers, and asked if people could suggest how to learn about desiging compilers for functional languages, USING a function language. You could tell the guy that maybe a function language could be used to build a recursive-descent parser, but not a table-driven parser. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the distinctions to get what you’re saying.

Well, he may or he may not. Having taken all that stuff in college lo these many years ago, I know what you’re saying. However, that doesn’t mean that a good teacher couldn’t explain those 2 different kinds of parsers in a relatively short time, if the person being instructed has the ability but not the training.

> The classic use of lex and yacc to build a table-driven parser rely on C or C++, unless they’ve been ported to another language that interests you. But you still have to write a dictionary of lexemes to give to lex, as well as a grammer to give to yacc. Grammars are based on formal language and automata theories. Again, it’s impossible to explain this to somebody who has no exposure to it at all. I can’t even answer his question intelligently.

I disagree that this is impossible to explain to someone with no exposure. Harder, since no explanation is needed (hopefully!) to someone who already knows about those things, but I don’t think it should be assumed to be impossible.

Ok, that’s my nits. Here’s my ‘I think I’m an exception’ (assuming it’s a valid ‘rule’)

> What I will say is this:

> I’ve interviewed enough people in my time that I think I’ve noticed a pattern. I’m curious what you guys think.

> The higher the GPA, the less such people seem able to do out-of-the-box or even off-the-cuff thinking.

I’ll agree that many people with PhD’s seem to be so focused on their tiny area of specialty that they don’t even REALIZE they are in the paper bag, much less have any CHANCE of getting out of it! Now, I don’t think that all people with PhD’s are like that, as I think my father was another exception to that generality.

> I’d prefer to hire people with similar GPAs and avoid those with 3.4 and higher, since they can’t seem to figure out how to break out of a paper bag given a few nominal restrictions. (Yes, it’s a generalization, but that’s what I’ve found.)

Well, that might, on the average, get you an averagely-good person. I know of 2 people who I consider quite good. I don’t know what their GPA was, but one of these people didn’t graduate from college (because he got a job and decided to stop going to school).

And I had a pretty high GPA, and I consider myself a fairly good out of the box/off-the-cuff thinker and problem solver (I’m still amazed that it took someone more than 30 seconds to write pseudo-code to convert all lowercase to uppercase in a file! Took me 5 (seconds), but then I forgot to explicitly open the file..oops). And I know of a company (ok, 2, as I think of it) that explicitly ONLY hire people with higher IQs as measured by whatever method they happen to be using (or, if you prefer, you can submit to an interview where they ask you to solve programming problems and watch how you think). I passed the entry gates at both places (didn’t end up taking either job, oh well), but one of those places was very well-known and I think have a reputation for doing ‘smart’ stuff (and, no, this is NOT an attempt to sneak in the company name that I work for, since I already said I didn’t take the job at either of those places clearly I can’t be working there ;-)

In any case, I’d be interested to hear from people who know me well enough to know if I am indeed a counter-example (or maybe they know others who are)…

> What got me hired at Intel, my first job out of college, was a paper I was encouraged to write and present as a “student entry” at a local ACM Conference about work I was doing in the Psych Dept related to the (real-time) control software I’d maintained for my junior and senior years. In hindsight, it was roughly the equivalent of a Master’s Thesis in Computer Science, a field for which ASU didn’t even have a CS major at the time! I was the only person Intel hired from ASU that year, even though they interviewed almost 50 people.

> Ironically, the recruiting folks at ASU wouldn’t even let me sign up for an interview with Intel! I literally had to show up and shove my resume into the hands of one of the recruiters when he came out of his interview room in order to get an interview.

Yeah, that last bit proves that the hiring process at most places stinks and is NOT designed to get the best candidate from ALL applicants.    Sometimes they just want some filters to remove people so they don’t have to spend weeks (which feel like years) reading all the resumes to find the one gem in 1,000 or more…


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