Author Topic: Would you hire a self taught embedded software developer?  (Read 4675 times)

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Online coppice

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Re: Would you hire a self taught embedded software developer?
« Reply #100 on: December 05, 2017, 05:49:59 AM »
It is called 'plan B' and the result is to bring a system into a safe state if the communication stops.
Bringing a networked system to a safe state seems such a terrific idea, but in practice there aren't so many systems which actually have a safe state that any particular processing node could bring them to. It takes many communicating functions to, for example, keep an inherently unstable fighter aircraft or missile from doing something nasty.
 

Offline hendorog

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Re: Would you hire a self taught embedded software developer?
« Reply #101 on: December 05, 2017, 06:02:01 AM »
The trick is to make sure it doesn’t matter if that does happen. Design for failure first.

I think the trick these days is work out what the problem is called so you can google it. :)

Ability to search and disseminate information from the internet would be high on my list of skills for a new employee.
The ability to recognise a 'difficult' problem early and ask/look for help, without going too far down the rabbit hole is another important skill.

A simple search for 'solving the byzantine generals problem' gives plenty of leads and good information.
 

Offline bd139

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Re: Would you hire a self taught embedded software developer?
« Reply #102 on: December 05, 2017, 06:06:21 AM »
Good points hendorog.

One problem I see regularly is the missing google step and then a whole new wheel gets built. It’s square and made of balsa wood and snot.
 

Offline hendorog

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Re: Would you hire a self taught embedded software developer?
« Reply #103 on: December 05, 2017, 06:11:01 AM »
One problem I see regularly is the missing google step and then a whole new wheel gets built. It’s square and made of balsa wood and snot.

Nomination for comment of the day right there.  :-DD
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Would you hire a self taught embedded software developer?
« Reply #104 on: December 05, 2017, 06:37:37 AM »
The trick is to make sure it doesn’t matter if that does happen. Design for failure first.

Yes, if you can - it isn't always possible.

But then you run into those that believe YAGNI is a valid architecture strategy. Always presuming, that is, that they have even thought of the "its" that cause failure.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: Would you hire a self taught embedded software developer?
« Reply #105 on: December 05, 2017, 06:41:37 AM »
The trick is to make sure it doesn’t matter if that does happen. Design for failure first.

I think the trick these days is work out what the problem is called so you can google it. :)

Ability to search and disseminate information from the internet would be high on my list of skills for a new employee.
The ability to recognise a 'difficult' problem early and ask/look for help, without going too far down the rabbit hole is another important skill.

A simple search for 'solving the byzantine generals problem' gives plenty of leads and good information.

And there's the "chicken and egg problem" in a nutshell: you can't search for something if you don't know the name, or won't search for it if you haven't conceived of the problem in the first place.

That's particularly likely to occur in those that haven't been through a halfway decent theoretical course. Seen that all too often :(
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Gliding aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline hendorog

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Re: Would you hire a self taught embedded software developer?
« Reply #106 on: December 05, 2017, 07:06:10 AM »
The trick is to make sure it doesn’t matter if that does happen. Design for failure first.

I think the trick these days is work out what the problem is called so you can google it. :)

Ability to search and disseminate information from the internet would be high on my list of skills for a new employee.
The ability to recognise a 'difficult' problem early and ask/look for help, without going too far down the rabbit hole is another important skill.

A simple search for 'solving the byzantine generals problem' gives plenty of leads and good information.

And there's the "chicken and egg problem" in a nutshell: you can't search for something if you don't know the name, or won't search for it if you haven't conceived of the problem in the first place.

That's particularly likely to occur in those that haven't been through a halfway decent theoretical course. Seen that all too often :(

Actually no, working out what to search for is part of the skill of searching. You have to search to determine what to search for. That is probably part of the reason why it is a skill, and some people just don't seem to be able to do it efficiently. For others it is second nature.

I do agree that there is a skill in recognising that a particular problem is 'special' or 'difficult'. Recognising those particular problems for what they are isn't the exclusive domain of formally trained engineers however :)

There is nothing wrong with doing a theoretical course. As long as it doesn't cause a person to become arrogant then it is hard to see the downside.
 
However there are many things I would rate as more important in my dream employee - personality, willingness to learn along with the intelligence to absorb the learnings, willingness to teach and share etc.
 

Online rhb

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Re: Would you hire a self taught embedded software developer?
« Reply #107 on: December 05, 2017, 07:58:13 AM »
I normally worry about whether problems are NP-Hard.  But that's because most of my work has been workstation based DSP and scientific code and requests for solutions of NP-Hard problems very common.  I need that information early in the requirements phase so a suitable compromise can be arrived at.  In any case, I look for whatever could go wrong at the start of my work. 

I have a standing rule that I don't start coding until I've run out of excuses for not coding.  The only time I've had my schedule slip was when I ignored that rule because the task looked simple (resample data via FFT).  I got nailed to the wall by the fact that the FFT is defined on the semi-closed interval [0:1) and the data to be resampled had missing values and sample rates that did not have a common factor. It was a long week figuring out what was causing the phase error at the end of the data series.

In the "receiver down" case, I was logging program usage at company affiliates all around the world often in 3rd world countries with limited and unreliable connections to the corporate network.  I spawned a small subprocess that made a few tries with exponential backoff on each failure before giving up. Getting the information was nice but not necessary.  Not launching a DoS attack on the workstation was essential.

Ultimately, the best indication of how useful a self taught person will be is how much they spend out of their own pocket on books, professional society dues, etc and how much time they spend each week studying topics of interest that *might* be useful to their job.  I've seen far too many scientitsts and engineers with PhD degrees who would not read a technical monograph unless the company bought it and paid them to read it at the office.
We all get what we deserve whether we want it or not, either as individuals or members of a group.  Sometimes this is as punishment and sometimes it's a blessing.  Which is always ambiguous and depends entirely upon what we do next.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Would you hire a self taught embedded software developer?
« Reply #108 on: December 05, 2017, 08:06:05 AM »
The trick is to make sure it doesn’t matter if that does happen. Design for failure first.

I think the trick these days is work out what the problem is called so you can google it. :)

Ability to search and disseminate information from the internet would be high on my list of skills for a new employee.
The ability to recognise a 'difficult' problem early and ask/look for help, without going too far down the rabbit hole is another important skill.

A simple search for 'solving the byzantine generals problem' gives plenty of leads and good information.

And there's the "chicken and egg problem" in a nutshell: you can't search for something if you don't know the name, or won't search for it if you haven't conceived of the problem in the first place.

That's particularly likely to occur in those that haven't been through a halfway decent theoretical course. Seen that all too often :(

Actually no, working out what to search for is part of the skill of searching. You have to search to determine what to search for. That is probably part of the reason why it is a skill, and some people just don't seem to be able to do it efficiently. For others it is second nature.

True, but...

Having a solid theoretical background gives you an excellent starting point. Too often too much concentration on practical short-term information loses sight of the "big picture" universal truths.

It is worth remembering that the usefulness of such practical information has a half-life of years, whereas the solid theoretical has a useful half-life measured in careers!

Quote
I do agree that there is a skill in recognising that a particular problem is 'special' or 'difficult'. Recognising those particular problems for what they are isn't the exclusive domain of formally trained engineers however :)

All too true unfortunately - but in the absence of other information that's the way to bet.

"The race does not always go to the fastest horse, but that's the way to bet".

Quote
There is nothing wrong with doing a theoretical course. As long as it doesn't cause a person to become arrogant then it is hard to see the downside.
 
However there are many things I would rate as more important in my dream employee - personality, willingness to learn along with the intelligence to absorb the learnings, willingness to teach and share etc.

Usually a significant enterprise cannot be done by one person: a team is needed. You will never get all the necessary attributes for a large enterprise in a single person. Rather you have to construct a team with a range of individuals. Each individual's weaknesses are covered by other individuals' strengths.

As for arrogance, that is scarcely the reserve of people that know the theory. Evidence: the tendency to actively "distrust the experts". (There are some politicians that make such statements that really ought to ask me to operate on them when they become ill).
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Gliding aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Would you hire a self taught embedded software developer?
« Reply #109 on: December 05, 2017, 08:10:21 AM »
I normally worry about whether problems are NP-Hard.  But that's because most of my work has been workstation based DSP and scientific code and requests for solutions of NP-Hard problems very common.  I need that information early in the requirements phase so a suitable compromise can be arrived at.  In any case, I look for whatever could go wrong at the start of my work. 

I have a standing rule that I don't start coding until I've run out of excuses for not coding.  The only time I've had my schedule slip was when I ignored that rule because the task looked simple (resample data via FFT).  I got nailed to the wall by the fact that the FFT is defined on the semi-closed interval [0:1) and the data to be resampled had missing values and sample rates that did not have a common factor. It was a long week figuring out what was causing the phase error at the end of the data series.

In the "receiver down" case, I was logging program usage at company affiliates all around the world often in 3rd world countries with limited and unreliable connections to the corporate network.  I spawned a small subprocess that made a few tries with exponential backoff on each failure before giving up. Getting the information was nice but not necessary.  Not launching a DoS attack on the workstation was essential.

Ultimately, the best indication of how useful a self taught person will be is how much they spend out of their own pocket on books, professional society dues, etc and how much time they spend each week studying topics of interest that *might* be useful to their job.  I've seen far too many scientitsts and engineers with PhD degrees who would not read a technical monograph unless the company bought it and paid them to read it at the office.

I like and appreciate your attitudes :)

The last point is very valid, and in addition it indicates that the individual is a modestly passionate :)
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Gliding aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Online rhb

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Re: Would you hire a self taught embedded software developer?
« Reply #110 on: December 05, 2017, 10:13:38 AM »
 Thank you. It's what it takes to be a brand name contractor.  I spent thousands of dollars every year for books,  journals etc. When the company library closed, my journal bill hit $1500/yr.  All so I could reduce the number of hours I billed for a piece of work.  My hourly rate took that into account.  The general perception was I worked far more hours than I actually billed. You can imagine my reaction when I discovered that a business partner was billing the client for eating his lunch.  He even had the gall to suggest I should do the same!  I dissolved the LLC when we finished the contract.

What I usually say is, "If you won't invest in yourself, why should anyone else invest in you?"

I have no formal CS or EE credentials of any kind.  If someone is not capable of accurately assessing my abilities in a casual interview (no silly trick questions) I don't want to work for them.  I wouldn't even apply for a job that required a certification in CS.  A favorite news report of mine is the 6 year old who got an MS admin cert.
We all get what we deserve whether we want it or not, either as individuals or members of a group.  Sometimes this is as punishment and sometimes it's a blessing.  Which is always ambiguous and depends entirely upon what we do next.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Would you hire a self taught embedded software developer?
« Reply #111 on: December 05, 2017, 09:36:04 PM »
What I usually say is, "If you won't invest in yourself, why should anyone else invest in you?"

I have no formal CS or EE credentials of any kind.  If someone is not capable of accurately assessing my abilities in a casual interview (no silly trick questions) I don't want to work for them.  I wouldn't even apply for a job that required a certification in CS.  A favorite news report of mine is the 6 year old who got an MS admin cert.

Agreed.

The one time someone asked me a "trick question" (as an overseer of the people building the pyramids, how would you determine when the shift ended?), I had fun with them by giving all the correct but "wrong" answers that I could think of. Eventually they asked me if I knew the answer they were looking for (an egg timer, yawn).
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Gliding aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Online coppice

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Re: Would you hire a self taught embedded software developer?
« Reply #112 on: December 05, 2017, 10:44:22 PM »
I wouldn't even apply for a job that required a certification in CS.
With a few exceptions, certification in CS == this is a low grade technician job. If you are doing a high grade job in a small place, there might be a need to spend a little of your time doing something where certification is relevant. However, a requirement for certifications is usually a flag that the job is a lot less grandiose than the description in the ad makes it seem.
 

Offline bd139

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Re: Would you hire a self taught embedded software developer?
« Reply #113 on: December 05, 2017, 10:54:14 PM »
I get all the certifications I can. Only because it usually comes with a free lunch, someone else pays for it and gets you a better daily rate in contract+1 :-DD

Just did RHCA because someone paid for it.

I am in the IT trade entirely for the money though and I'm very honest about that.
 

Offline cdev

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Re: Would you hire a self taught embedded software developer?
« Reply #114 on: December 10, 2017, 03:01:06 AM »
Just be happy you don't live or work in India, where even if you were a senior C++ programmer with ten years experience you would be lucky to make $7000-$8000 annually.

An electronics engineer makes even less there, under $5000 dollars a year.

312408 Indian Rupee equals
4845.448 US Dollar

No wonder they powers that be want to make the world a single labor market! Then wages will fall even lower!   Economics 101 supply and demand.

Everywhere. Even in India.
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 


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