So I went to a job interview today. Long story short, the interviewers were delighted with my knowledge and experience, they were practically showing me to my new desk. Needless to say, what delighted them was a factual and unexaggerated description of things that I've actually worked on. But then suddenly, as I was getting ready to leave, one of the interviewers says to me: "Well, I know that this is probably too easy for someone with your experience, but because of protocol, we need you to complete a simple test".
No problem I thought... After this I get handed a piece of paper, a pencil (seriously wtf? who uses these primitive devices anymore?) and instructions telling me to code a function returning a Fibonacci number and another doing that with recursion. God I hate math.
I distinctly remember doing this precise exercise on 3rd semester of college. I probably nailed it back then, but not so much today. It took me about 40 minutes and I got close, but the functions didn't work. Ironically, I knew exactly why they were wrong and what erroneous result was being returned, but I just couldn't figure out how to fix them. Something about having to scratch graphite marks off a paper, just made me really, really nervous. Or perhaps it's that I'm self-conscious about having my math skills evaluated. I can't calculate a tip with a waiter watching because I'm slow with numbers, and it makes me feel embarrassed.
All of this got me thinking about this Coding Horror article. Apparently, 199 out of 200 applicants pretend to know how to code, but actually can't. I think there's something else going on here. I mean, none of you are going to hire me, I've no reason to lie to you when I tell you that I've coded much more complex things. And yet I couldn't code a simple function, not under those conditions. Has anyone else experienced this?