Math is HARD

I started reading a post on CSS Tricks about job postings, and I noticed something that really made me shudder:

Interviewer: Ok, well, you have to write a program where multiples of three print ‘Fizz’ instead of the number and for the multiples of five print ‘Buzz’. For numbers which are multiples of both three and five print ‘FizzBuzz’. So it would look like ‘1, 2, Fizz, 4, Buzz, Fizz, 7, 8, Fizz, Buzz, 11, Fizz, 13, 14, Fizz Buzz’

Me: (OMG MATH. I tried to talk through it a bit, but then said:)

OMG MATH? Seriously? Coming from someone who teaches technical skills to designers and content creators? :face palm:

And she’s a woman. :double face palm:

C’MON! I failed Algebra 3 times and got through my college math credit by taking Astronomy, a class where my friend sat and knitted an entire sweater over the course of the semester. And I can solve fizzbuzz in like 5 seconds.

Granted, the point of the post was more about how shitty job descriptions are, and I totally agree, they are shitty and vague. They put every possible thing you may or may not need to know as a requirement. But to call yourself a technical person with JavaScript skills and not be able to use a modulus operator? Or write a for loop? Hell, there are loops in SASS, which she claims to be an expert in.

The comments on this post are pretty interesting, where she continues saying that you can know jQuery and not JavaScript. Which is certainly true and painfully obvious on many websites. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Frontend Developer

  • Write front-end code in HTML/CSS/SCSS and JavaScript
  • Occasionally write front-end code in PHP (WordPress) or Ruby (on Rails)

Umm, PHP and Ruby are not front-end languages. Maybe they are talking about templating, but… no. Also, listing SCSS and CSS as required skills is suspicious. I smell someone listing buzzwords.

No… I am a front end developer, and I write PHP. Because I code the entire front end of the application, essentially, the views in MVC (sometimes parts of the controller as well, since there isn’t really a “C” in some JS frameworks, but that’s a rant for another day….). It’s 100% reasonable to ask a FD to write templates. But as someone in the comments said, it really depends on where you work. There is no hard line between FDs and BDs.

The fact is our industry is very young and ever changing. When I started, there were “web masters” and that was pretty much it. And since there’s no web development-specific degrees nor any kind of accreditation, any asshole 3 seconds out of a coding bootcamp can call themselves a developer. Or anyone who has been pasting together WordPress themes and plugins with hacky jQuery for the last 5 years. Trying to find someone with the right credentials and accessing someone’s skills is very difficult. Like writing a job posting, it’s easy to say all the right things in an interview.

As for the technical interview, I find it hilarious that she simply emailed a link to a Stack Overflow as her answer to one of the questions. I get where she’s coming from; she’s trying to be honest in the fact that she’s not going to bother trying to think about this question at all and simply find the answer on the internet. The problem is that it’s like a story problem in math class–they want to see your work, because they want to see how you think. Linking to Stack Overflow shows that you can’t think for yourself.

What irked me about this post is the way she acts like it’s so unreasonable that a job posting that says it requires some programming knowledge…well, it requires some programming knowledge. And by “some”, I mean a very simple five or six line program. In some ways it seems as though jQuery has enabled non-technical people the ability to claim that they are developers. So when can you claim that you are a developer? Does the developer fairy come visit you at night and bestow the developer star upon you?

I don’t have an answer to that question. I half-joke that I’m not a “real” developer because I’m not at an expert level with any back-end language. I have written entire programs in JavaScript (using APIs for data). I’ve migrated databases from one platform to another, I’ve written WordPress plugins and FUEL modules. Does that make me a Full-Fledged Programmer®? I don’t know. I feel like this is the plight of the FD. What can I say, we are in a continual identity crisis.