[Purdue-pm] Picking a programmer - summary

Mark Senn mark at ecn.purdue.edu
Fri Aug 22 05:41:08 PDT 2014

    > Mark: " Organized. Experience. Detail oriented. Work ethic. Curiousity."
    > dsk: "Problem Solving. Curiousity. Creativity."
    > Bradley Westerman: "Problem Solving. CS knowledge."

  > Without these - perhaps a person never even attempts programming?

Good point!

Without patience, which is increasing difficult to find in undergraduate
students at Purdue University, some people probably never get past writing
their first hard programs that requires thinking, handling lots of special
cases, learning new subject matter, etc.  So, patience might be able to
be added to the implicit qualities a programmer has.

I'd like to add the two following qualities to my list.

"Breaking a problem into component parts ignoring information that
doesn't matter" makes programming easier.  For example, in
    Mark went to McDonald's yesterday---it was hot and muggy---and took
    advantage of a deal to get two sandwiches for the price of one by
    filling out a survey at mcdvoice.com.  He paid $5.16 for a $4.91
    bill.  How much money should he get get back from the young clerk?
    It's handy to minimize the number of coins one carries around.
    paid $5.16 for a $4.91 bill.  How much money should he get back?
is relevant.  The answer is 25 cents.

"Being able to focus" is a key skill for a programmer.  I think today's
youth can't focus because school is becoming more group-oriented and
they don't think as much on their own.  I see students working together
who can't go for more than a very minutes before drifting off into
something unrelated.  Their attention spans are near zero because
they've never worked on a problem for more than a few minutes.  They are
constantly distracted by music, over the ear headphones (when crossing
the street), Facebook, cell phones, etc. and I think that affects their
brains (no references for that offhand but I've read that others think
that also).

Mark Senn, Systems Programmer, Engineering Computer Network, Purdue University

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