[Pdx-pm] sample code

Robert Shepard xeres at efn.org
Wed Jan 31 13:50:36 PST 2007

Newbie to the list here. Hi!

A couple of times when I have applied for work, the employer asks to see 
some sample code. I find it difficult to decide what to show them.

What are they looking for?

Are they looking to see if it conforms to standard practice, and looks 
like something straight out of an O'Reilly recipe book? If so, how do 
they know it's really mine, and not something I just ripped from somewhere?

If they know enough about it to judge my skill, then they must already 
have the skill, and therefore they don't really need me.

On the other hand, if they don't know enough about it, then what are 
they going by? Neatness and penmanship? Comment lines that document the 
thing? Or will they actually install it and run it and see if it works?

Will a snippet suffice? I don't want to give them a fully functional 
copy of anything, because I don't want to give away the goods. They have 
to pay for that. But if it doesn't function, then they will think I 
can't write code. I could give them something that has a require() in 
it, and withhold the required subprogram. It won't run, of course, but 
at least then they can't rip off my blood, sweat and tears. Come to 
think of it, if the function does anything halfway fancy, I can't 
guarantee that any of my code will be portable to a foreign system 
anyhow - since the paths to any resources will be different. So are they 
really going to expect it to run?

But okay, assuming I decide to give them something self-contained that 
actually does something functional, what would be sufficiently 
impressive? How fancy does it need to be? Should it hook up to databases 
and send out emails and spiders and have password protection and whistle 
the Star Spangled Banner backwards? Or will a simple webform backend 
that says "Thanks for your submission" suffice?

Thanks for sharing your experience in this regard!


More information about the Pdx-pm-list mailing list