03Jul

“Need a wizard…”

Posted by Elf Sternberg as Uncategorized

I know I’ve said this before, but the recruiter calls– and yes, I’m still getting them, despite gainful employment– are still as annoying as ever. I haven’t had to lecture anyone yet, so the recruiters do seem to be getting smarter, but there’s still an air of desperation around the “rock star,” “ninja,” “wizard,” “samurai” and, I kid you not, “graduate of Hogwarts” developer requests.

The thing that irritates me most about them, recently, is that they’re so… ridiculous. Either you can code, or you can’t. You can look a my github and decide that yes, I can code, and yes, I can code in a lot of things. Javascript and Python, mostly, but there’s also a Ruby project, a C++ project, a Clojure project.

Basically, with some significant exceptions (Haskell comes to mind immediately, as does Forth), everything that’s descended from either C or Lisp is within my cognitive grasp. Set-based languages (SQL and its descendants) are a bit of a departure, and my SQL is sophomoric, but it’s much better than the average WordPress developer’s, and that makes me happy. Also: I’m willing to make it better.

And that last part is what’s most important to me. Recently, work has required I dip my toe back into C++, and some Java, and even some Microsoft stuff. And I’ve managed to muddle through.

A good programmer can learn the basics of a programming language in less than a week. It’s not how good you are at the language, it’s how expressive you are with any language in your arsenal. I’m pretty expressive in Javascript and Python, and I could probably be just as expressive in a CLOS like Clojure or a Smalltalk/Algol mashup like Objective C, given a week or so. It will probably take me that long to wrap my head around any project given to me, given the scope of most modern projects. So the idea that you need an “Objective C Wizard NOW” makes me laugh. You just need a good programmer willing to take on your project.

Now, finding one of those… I can’t help you with.

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