Update: Patrick McKenzie, Erin Ptacek, and Thomas Ptacek actually have a pretty good way of hacking the problem. I recommend heading their way and signing up for whatever it is they have in the works because there is no way it will be as bad as the usual technical interview process.
I’ve been trying to hack around the technical interview process but so far I’ve been unsuccessful. That’s not to say the experience has not been worthwhile. My ability to discriminate between professional software shops and amateur ones has increased a little bit. Here are the criteria I’ve settled on. Continue reading
It is possible to do configuration management right but it is also possible to do it wrong. One way to do it wrong is to combine the provisioning and deployment logic into various cookbooks and isolate them from the applications that depend on them. The reason this is wrong is because to understand how the application works in production you now have to chase down dependencies somewhere else and once you get there the cookbooks will not make much sense because they will make assumptions about the application. This is all a long-winded way of saying you are keeping track of two contexts when in reality there is really just one context, the application and its associated infrastructure logic. Continue reading
Please stop using the phrase “full-stack developer”. The phrase “full-stack developer” is completely devoid of any meaning because as you can see above no one can be a full-stack developer given the complexity of the modern stack. In fact hearing the phrase makes me think that the place putting out the job advert is full of amateurs. Instead just spell out exactly what your stack looks like and specify you want people that have a certain level of expertise with that stack.
Mathematics is full of constructions and theorems that fall under the general heading of “local to global principles”. Software engineering and especially infrastructure engineering needs a few such principles as well. Continue reading
Pretty much any interview problem is going to be something about graphs or other data structures with a very thin veneer for “motivation”. The most recent one for me was a basic problem in graph theory under the guise of printing a dependency tree
Problem: Given a dependency graph, print the hierarchical view.
Example: If A depends on B and C, and B depends on C and D,
and C depends on E then the output should look like
Feature creep is a manifestation of loss aversion from economics and decision theory. Not really my idea but was something I was recently thinking about when I stumbled on this post. That post is in the context of Windows versions and the continual feature creep to appease all users everywhere but applies equally well to pretty much all software.