SPUG: Sort an array question

Andrew Sweger andrew at sweger.net
Fri Dec 27 08:04:35 CST 2002

On Thu, 26 Dec 2002, Andrew Reid wrote:

> While attempting to gain more meaninful employment, I
> happened upon this question from a prospective
> provider of opportunity.  "Sort an array
> alphabetically without using the Perl sort command." 
> [snip]

I realize that you were asking for focus on the details of the
implementation. But I wanted to read between the lines a little and
comment on that. When I extend similar requests to potential seekers of
opportunity, rarely have I been interested in the implementation. In fact,
I avoid questions that require recalling algorithm specifics (I figure
they're in books and modules where they belong). I'm more interested in
how an individual approaches a problem.

Of course, I am assuming a person with sufficient problem solving skills
wouldn't be foolish enough to apply for a position involving computer
programming without that tool in their toolbox. I have been caught by this
assumption on one or two occasions and it is glaringly obvious. And
earlier in my career, I have made the mistake of hiring people that knew a
language pretty well but didn't have problem solving skills. That took a
few months to untangle (because they kept cranking out code).

Granted, there are programming jobs in large organizations where there is
enough engineering infrastructure where a programmer can work from
specifications. You will see more and more of this kind of work outsourced
to other markets unless our economy adjusts.

I might be a dinosaur.

Andrew B. Sweger -- The great thing about multitasking is that several
                                things can go wrong at once.

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