How to deal with a failed programming test?

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25 Replies - 14800 Views - Last Post: 17 July 2018 - 02:48 PM

#16 kutuup   User is offline

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Re: How to deal with a failed programming test?

Posted 02 August 2014 - 03:13 PM

View Postastonecipher, on 02 August 2014 - 02:51 PM, said:

tlhIn`toq I believe a lot of that mentality comes from the military background. I have been told I am not very tactful and I don't much care. And I also agree that college kids believe they are now due a higher paycheck justfor finishing, some think it just for attending. And my experience says that it is not just is development, but in everything. I have actually watched people say they wanted $60k a year for an entry-level position in construction, because "they went to school for it."



I think you're missing a key word there: SOME college kids believe they are due a higher paycheck.

I'm a college graduate and I personally expect nothing more than an entry level position as I consider college to be the first step in a learning experience.

For a first graduate job I would ask for 18,000 to 22,000 maximum, then as I get experience I could ask for more.

It seems like college grads get a bad wrap, and I can see why, but we're not all the same.

I'd be happy being offered ANY position in software development as long as the wage was livable and there were opportunities for advancement.
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#17 astonecipher   User is offline

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Re: How to deal with a failed programming test?

Posted 02 August 2014 - 03:22 PM

Two separate but notable things, my experience is in the US and while I could say some, lately those are the exceptions not the rule.

Across the pond it could be different.
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#18 tlhIn`toq   User is offline

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Re: How to deal with a failed programming test?

Posted 02 August 2014 - 04:09 PM

View Postastonecipher, on 02 August 2014 - 03:51 PM, said:

tlhIn`toq I believe a lot of that mentality comes from the military background.


Maybe it comes *from* military experience. Or maybe people with this mindset are drawn towards the military and law enforcement roles. Or some of both. I know I was drawn *to* the military because I liked they way they operated. Its one of the few places a 20 year old can work with million dollar equipment and be treated decently based on merit.

So the military didn't so much give my directness as be a place where my existing demeanor was acceptable.



View Postjon.kiparsky, on 02 August 2014 - 04:12 PM, said:

If you're not getting your point across by one method,

Exactly. Here on DIC I simply don't choose to 90% of the time. The people here are not my family, co-workers nor friends. I don't wish to invest so heavily in trying 10 different ways that all my personal time is consumed and I have no time left over for myself and my family.

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 02 August 2014 - 04:12 PM, said:

A good communicator fails in different ways until they get their point across.

I like how you put that.

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 02 August 2014 - 04:12 PM, said:

But if you're talking to an employee and they feel that you're threatening or disrespecting them,


Sometimes, with some people, it doesn't matter what you say or do there is no way to approach someone in a way where anything short of "OMG You're the second coming of Christ: How did we ever survive without you?" is taken any way other than disrespecting them. We've seen them here. How many times have we all answered posts where someone asked for a critique of their code, then when it wasn't praise and unicorns they responded with spite and venom?

This post has been edited by tlhIn`toq: 02 August 2014 - 04:11 PM

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#19 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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Re: How to deal with a failed programming test?

Posted 02 August 2014 - 04:33 PM

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 02 August 2014 - 06:09 PM, said:

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 02 August 2014 - 04:12 PM, said:

If you're not getting your point across by one method,

Exactly. Here on DIC I simply don't choose to 90% of the time. The people here are not my family, co-workers nor friends. I don't wish to invest so heavily in trying 10 different ways that all my personal time is consumed and I have no time left over for myself and my family.


Sure. It's important to know when the game isn't worth the candle. But maybe, if you're finding that you're not getting your point across as well as you want, and you don't have time to keep trying over and over, you might try a different approach right off the bat.
(but of course I'm mostly thinking of a workplace scenario here - picture a manager talking to a colleague about a new hire - "I don't know what it is, but the more I yell at him, the less work he seems to do... I guess I need to yell louder...")

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 02 August 2014 - 04:12 PM, said:

A good communicator fails in different ways until they get their point across.

I like how you put that.
[/quote]

Credit where due, the idea is stolen from Beckett. Probably the single most important quote I've ever seen, from "Worstward Ho":
"Ever ventured. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

Quote

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 02 August 2014 - 04:12 PM, said:

But if you're talking to an employee and they feel that you're threatening or disrespecting them,


Sometimes, with some people, it doesn't matter what you say or do there is no way to approach someone in a way where anything short of "OMG You're the second coming of Christ: How did we ever survive without you?" is taken any way other than disrespecting them. We've seen them here. How many times have we all answered posts where someone asked for a critique of their code, then when it wasn't praise and unicorns they responded with spite and venom?



That's true, there are some times when the communication fails because the other party simply isn't receiving. This is why I allow for the possibility that we give up. But if we don't try a few different approaches before we give up, I think we short-change ourselves. Again, it's important to remember that I'm trying to communicate with this person for a reason, and that reason matters to me. Failure is an option, but it's not a preferred option. It comes at a cost. By recognizing that the other's failure to get my point might be my fault, I reduce the chance that I'll have to pay that cost - whether it's just wasted time on a programming forum, or it's a few failed iterations on a project, or it's having to go back to a new hiring cycle, or whatever it might be.
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#20 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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Re: How to deal with a failed programming test?

Posted 02 August 2014 - 04:43 PM

kutuup- If this is a mental health issue, you need to get some help to start. You also need to practice with timed exercises. Even if there isn't a Codility challenge, there are usually technical questions you have to answer on the spot. So practice, but practice with some friends. As others have said, the problem of the deadline isn't going to go away after the interview.

Have you looked at potential internships? Those are generally a good way to get your foot in the door, and companies realize these are learning experiences.

Do you have a portfolio? Show folks what you can accomplish. That's a good start.


Quote

This is something I spent three years studying and have done for four years since graduating despite being unable to find employment doing it, yet that result says to me that I suck at it, the one thing that's supposed to be my "thing". It made me feel like a stupid, useless sack of crap. I know it was a fair assessment of how I performed in that test, but that just made it worse somehow, like it was proof that I'm a failure.

School projects are tiny compared to real-world projects. Certainly a quadratic vs. cubic time solution isn't a huge deal; but if you're writing a solution with complexity O(2n) when a quadratic time solution will suffice, then there is a problem.

You may also want to consider other areas of focus. Having some familiarity with software engineering and the process might be helpful for other positions, like a business analyst. You can talk technical with the developers, and try and glean requirements from the clients. You'd be the technical go-between. So there is less stress of being "on the clock" in terms of writing a function. Though in all fairness, any job will have deadlines. This includes flipping burgers at McDonalds.



Also, folks- let's get back on-topic rather than discussing the (de)merits of various methods of communication!
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#21 kutuup   User is offline

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Re: How to deal with a failed programming test?

Posted 02 August 2014 - 05:55 PM

I wouldn't consider it a purely mental health issue, I take medication for my mental health issues and have made good progress with a consultant psychiatrist over time, it's not a disabling condition any more, just a slight hindrance. I may have worded it poorly, what I wanted to get across is that my underlying mental health issues mean that I may not have as thick a skin as many people. I think that considering other options in a related field is a very good suggestion. I think I want to keep trying to work at improving my coding and speed for now, but if it continues to not work out, I will definitely consider that option.

I think an internship might be worth looking at, and I'd definitely consider one, unfortunately due to life circumstances I would be unable to work an unpaid internship but I would love the opportunity to work shadowing someone who has some experience and learn from them. Hell, I'd work a job just making them coffee if it meant I could sit and pick their brain to get some tips and learn more.

The thing I'm trying to get across is that I am willing to do whatever it takes to succeed in this industry because it's the only thing I've ever really had a passion for, but I take my own failures to heart too much and I'm looking for advice on how to not berate myself like that.

The problem is, right now, I'm struggling to even get a shot at entering the industry, and it's getting me down. I know that a lack of confidence in my abilities is holding me back, and I want to work on that.

Thanks for your advice, I don't have a portfolio, but I will get on putting one together ASAP if it is a good way to sell your capability.
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#22 astonecipher   User is offline

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Re: How to deal with a failed programming test?

Posted 02 August 2014 - 06:02 PM

Quote

I take my own failures to heart too much and I'm looking for advice on how to not berate myself like that.


Granted you did poorly on the assessment. You know it, it is in the past, improve where you know you have weakness and move on. I have done poorly on a few as well, try taking an assessment where you are handwriting code out over the course of ~100 pages after having 2 hours of sleep, then we will talk about a bad day! But my point is, we are our own worst critics, usually. Either that or you think you are a god and someone needs to kick the pedestal out from under you.
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#23 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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Re: How to deal with a failed programming test?

Posted 02 August 2014 - 06:43 PM

Quote

I think an internship might be worth looking at, and I'd definitely consider one, unfortunately due to life circumstances I would be unable to work an unpaid internship but I would love the opportunity to work shadowing someone who has some experience and learn from them. Hell, I'd work a job just making them coffee if it meant I could sit and pick their brain to get some tips and learn more.

Many internships are paid. You might be making $10/hour (or equivalent in the UK) to start out, but you'd be getting paid experience.


Quote

I may not have as thick a skin as many people

Software folks aren't always the most social or coddling of folks, as you have seen. Many shops have code reviews. So you may want to get used to some criticisms (usually constructive), sometimes with a hint of sharpness.
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#24 tlhIn`toq   User is offline

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Re: How to deal with a failed programming test?

Posted 03 August 2014 - 08:20 AM

Quote

I take my own failures to heart too much and I'm looking for advice on how to not berate myself like that.

Just stop doing it. There is no magic formula. There are no words from a monk on a mountain to reveal the unknown secret. You just stop doing the pointless crap and focus on the future, and on self improvement.

Work harder. If all your free time is filled with studying and coding you don't have time for pointless berating *AND* it will up your skill level so you do better next time.

Personally I think its just like loosing weight. There are hundreds of gurus telling you they have the magic pill. But that's crap. Its really very simple: Eat less work out more, eat better quality.

Coding is exactly the same. Consume better tutorials and books, work out your brain more by more studying and more coding practice, and less mental junk food and couch time.
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#25 penguinapricot   User is offline

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Re: How to deal with a failed programming test?

Posted 17 July 2018 - 02:42 PM

Codality tests have one or two 'correct' answers.

They are puzzles.

If you are not familiar with the puzzle or approach, you will fail.


The ultimate codility programmer is a severely autistic savant, or someone who has practiced tests with google for 2 weeks.


Unfortunately, if you are like me, you are a software engineer.
You deal with NP-hard problems.
'NP-hard' problems have many solutions, with conflicting priorities.

They require creativity, communication, and deep original thinking.


You should use the codility test to screen out poor developers. i.e, the worse you do on a codility test, the more likely you are an experienced developer..

The kind of developer that has carefully removed irrelevant knowledge from your mind, and replaced it with generic technique.


Codility tests are a misguided tool, for the lazy fool.
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#26 modi123_1   User is offline

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Re: How to deal with a failed programming test?

Posted 17 July 2018 - 02:48 PM

@penguinapricot - certainly an interesting response to a topic that hadn't seen the light of day since 2014.
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