I had a job interview recently. Before you ask, I’m not looking for a new job. I was emailed asking me to apply, I talked it over with my boss, and he said no harm in trying. So I tried. The job is for a C# programmer, and I’ve been Java for the past year and a half, and VB before that. I knew all the programming concepts, even if I couldn’t give C# specifics.
I made it past the first round. Yesterday was a technical lab. I wasn’t quite sure what to prepare for, and crossed my fingers that it would be something like “debug this piece of code”. No such luck. I looked at the lab and groaned. It was a start-from-scratch-and-build-a-project type lab. The dread built in my gut.
By the end of my 2.5 hours, I hadn’t even completed a fifth of the tasks. I felt woefully inadequate and was downright angry with myself because I couldn’t figure out the simple stuff I know how to do in Java and translate it to C#. The main problem – I chose MVC3 because I’m familiar with the Java web applications, but all my experience rests with Struts2, not Spring MVC which I might have translated easier. All of the stuff I’m used to, shoving values into variables and grabbing the data in the view with JSTL, that stuff was useless to me.
I kept a level head through the lab and kept plugging even though my mind shouted “You can’t do this!” and “Just give up!” and “Baka!”. Okay, baka (Japanese for stupid/fool/idiot) actually came out aloud a couple times. But I didn’t quit and hide under the desk even though I wanted to. I plastered a smile on my face, glared a bit at the monitor, and abused Google.
Then I went home and gorged myself on candy.
Calvin and Mike, the great guys running the lab, told me not to beat myself up too much because they designed the lab to be tough and mostly wanted to see how the applicants learn and how they use their resources (such as searching the Internet). I personally wouldn’t hire me because I’m sure there are more qualified C# programmers out there. Not that I couldn’t learn, because I’m sure I could. I just can’t hit the ground running, which is what I’d expect from a senior level programmer.
I guess I’ll see, but I don’t hold much hope based on my performance (or lack thereof) in the lab. But who knows? Maybe I’m selling myself short. If I get the job, then kudos for me. If not, well, I love my current job and co-workers so I won’t be disappointed to stay.