I just came across a post that the author had found when he came across some interview questions. I remember when they were all the rage in the early to mid 90’s. I’ve had them asked to me as well as the Kobayashi Maru type. The thing is, I don’t personally find them valuable in determining the suitability of a candidate. A history of shipping products, a general grasp of programming languages, and the ability to fit into the style of the team have always been enough for me to figure out if someone will be successful. Maybe I’ve just never been at a company where the puzzle type questions are an indicator of a quality hire. I’ve always worked on applications and not platforms, so maybe platform companies feel differently.
The next time I’m on the receiving end of a puzzle question I will consider asking the interviewer what he/she hopes to learn about me from the question. I’m not militant enough about those questions to end the interview, but I harbor a secret fantasy where I stand up, say, “I’m not a good fit for a team that asks puzzle questions,” and proceed to end the interview.
I was a big fan of O’Reilly’s “Ebook Deal of the Day.” O’Reilly would pick an ebook from their catalog and sell it for $9.99 for the day. It was a great way to entice me to buy an ebook (I bought 4 or 5), it also trained me that a good deal on an ebook is $9.99. Now O’Reilly has changed their daily deal to typically be a 50% discount. Since the change I’ve bought zero of the deals and find it highly unlikely that I will in the future. This partially due to my perception that these deals aren’t so great anymore, but it really comes down to the fact that few O’Reilly ebooks are worth more than $9.99 to me.
O’Reilly used to be the goto name for technical books. Now I go first to the Pragmatic Programmers and Apress. O’Reilly puts out the encyclopedic overviews of a technology. The other two are more focused on using the technologies in practice. O’Reilly books don’t offer me more than concepts and big ideas that are quite easy to find on the web. The Pragmatic Programmers and Apress walk you through projects and techniques, some of which you may be able to find with some digging, but which work better when gathered and presented in a cohesive way.
I still follow the O’Reilly “Ebook Deal of the Day” imaging that one of the books will be a must-have, but I’m much more diligent about checking Apress’s Deal of the Day or informIT’s.