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#1 carnivroar   User is offline

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I got a C in Operating Systems

Posted 28 March 2015 - 10:35 AM

And ironically C is a programming language used primarily in operating systems.

What's a good joke to make out of that in a job interview?
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#2 astonecipher   User is offline

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Re: I got a C in Operating Systems

Posted 28 March 2015 - 10:41 AM

Skip it. You didn't do badly, but you don't make jokes about grades either good or bad.

This post has been edited by astonecipher: 28 March 2015 - 11:08 AM

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#3 modi123_1   User is online

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Re: I got a C in Operating Systems

Posted 28 March 2015 - 11:07 AM

"You know what they say - c's get degrees! Ayyyy!"

Posted Image

No, seriously, why would you crack jokes on your bad grades in some interview that may even ask for your transcripts?
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#4 no2pencil   User is offline

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Re: I got a C in Operating Systems

Posted 28 March 2015 - 11:42 AM

View Postcarnivroar, on 28 March 2015 - 01:35 PM, said:

What's a good joke to make out of that in a job interview?

Up until they ask C questions to which you don't know the answer. Or if they don't know C is a programing language, then it just sounds like you are laughing about mediocre grades.
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#5 astonecipher   User is offline

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Re: I got a C in Operating Systems

Posted 28 March 2015 - 12:01 PM

Good thing I wasn't taking F#!
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#6 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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Re: I got a C in Operating Systems

Posted 28 March 2015 - 12:26 PM

I've never yet been asked about my grades on an interview. I've been asked about courses - "What was your favorite CS course?" is a popular question - but that's a chance to extract your strengths and preferences and interests.

If anyone ever did ask me about my grades, I'd probably lose a notch of interest in that position. That's not the sort of thing that interesting people are generally interested in.
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#7 carnivroar   User is offline

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Re: I got a C in Operating Systems

Posted 28 March 2015 - 05:00 PM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 28 March 2015 - 12:26 PM, said:

If anyone ever did ask me about my grades, I'd probably lose a notch of interest in that position.


A Google recruiter asked me for my transcript.

Since I got A/A- on every other course, I think the C stands out like a thumb sore and I'm bound to be asked about it.

Anyways, the reason I got a C is because the course was purely conceptual (not a single line of code) and that's not how I like to learn. I took video game programming during that semester and that's where all my attention gravitated to - so much that my project is on my resume. I figured a little nerd joke before my truthful explanation would make it seem like I wasn't trying to give a half-assed excuse for my grade.

This post has been edited by carnivroar: 28 March 2015 - 05:01 PM

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#8 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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Re: I got a C in Operating Systems

Posted 28 March 2015 - 06:02 PM

Quote

Anyways, the reason I got a C is because the course was purely conceptual (not a single line of code) and that's not how I like to learn. I took video game programming during that semester and that's where all my attention gravitated to

Was video game programming that demanding, or were you just that interested in the course? Neither is bad, but I'd be weary of how you address your OS grade in an interview. If you just did the bare minimum in OS to focus on game programming (which is how your post sounds), I would steer clear of this route for explanation.

If you had a demanding course load, that's fair and it shows you tried to challenge yourself. Last semester, I was in a similar boat. I was taking four courses- Integer Programming, Stochastic Processes, Abstract Algebra, and Game Theory. The IP course was more work than I bargained for, and I was worse at Stochastic Processes than I anticipated. As a result of many late nights on IP and working on stoch proc, my grade in Abstract Algebra paid for it with a B-. Two of these courses were grad courses and the other two were senior level math courses (algebra and stoch proc).

Another semester, I took first semester real analysis with three other tough classes. Real analysis is the hurdle sequence for math seniors and grad students, for perspective. I scraped by with a B-, after being borderline all semester. But I grew from the course a lot, and it got me to where I needed to be.

In both those cases, the emphasis I'd put in an interview (if asked about them) is how hard I worked, what I got from the semester, and that I've gotten better with the respective subjects as I've used them in latter courses.

In your situation, I would focus on how hard you worked (hopefully this is the case) and how you've grown from the courses, while acknowledging that OS may be a personal weak spot.

As Jon said, though, focus on your strengths and interests.
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#9 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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Re: I got a C in Operating Systems

Posted 28 March 2015 - 06:10 PM

View Postcarnivroar, on 28 March 2015 - 07:00 PM, said:

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 28 March 2015 - 12:26 PM, said:

If anyone ever did ask me about my grades, I'd probably lose a notch of interest in that position.


A Google recruiter asked me for my transcript.


Fair enough - I couldn't lose any interest in working for google, because I haven't got any to begin with.
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#10 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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Re: I got a C in Operating Systems

Posted 28 March 2015 - 06:22 PM

View Postcarnivroar, on 28 March 2015 - 07:00 PM, said:

Anyways, the reason I got a C is because the course was purely conceptual (not a single line of code) and that's not how I like to learn.


To me, this sounds like "I only do what I like to do". As an interviewer, I'm thinking "Unless I have plenty of people around who are willing to do the shit work you disdain, I don't want you." (I know that's not what you mean, but I'm putting on my interviewer hat now)

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I took video game programming during that semester and that's where all my attention gravitated to - so much that my project is on my resume.


Putting on my interviewer hat, I'm hearing "I can only concentrate on one thing at a time" and I'm thinking "I'd really like someone who can be thinking about fixing that bug in the registration flow, and also about the major change in the way we handle the connection from application to program... and this guy can't handle two classes at one time"

Quote

I figured a little nerd joke before my truthful explanation would make it seem like I wasn't trying to give a half-assed excuse for my grade.


I think the little nerd joke sounds like an excuse. Tell it straight: "I didn't do very well in the course, because I wasn't able to handle the sort of abstraction it required." From there you can either go to "I'm not good at academic CS, and I'm okay with that" or "Here's what I'm doing to make up for that failure in my abilities". Either is respectable, and most people will accept either of those. What they tell me is, on the left hand, that you are willing to accept that there are things you're not great at (and I'm going to prod a little bit to find out how you handle those limits when you reach them) or, to the right, that you are willing to fail and use it as a drive to improve yourself (in which case I'm going to worry that you're going to be a Little Engine That Actually Couldn't and hold up a project - and in the technical part of the interview, I'm going to ask you a problem that you can't solve and see how you handle that)

Basically, it's okay to fail and it's okay to have limits. What the interviewer wants is to know is that you can recognize your limits and avoid deep water, and that if you find your way into deep water that you're going to call for help instead of just floundering around hoping nobody will notice.
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#11 carnivroar   User is offline

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Re: I got a C in Operating Systems

Posted 28 March 2015 - 07:25 PM

mod: removed giant quote

Thanks for your honest and very helpful advice. I never imagined that this would be what an interviewer would assume from my explanation - I'll keep it in mind if this ever comes up.

This post has been edited by modi123_1: 28 March 2015 - 07:30 PM

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#12 modi123_1   User is online

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Re: I got a C in Operating Systems

Posted 28 March 2015 - 07:30 PM

You probably don't need to quote the entire post right above yours... just say'n.
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#13 Lemur   User is offline

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Re: I got a C in Operating Systems

Posted 29 March 2015 - 02:38 AM

As to why Google would ask for a transcript when they famously said GPA doesn't mean jack, that seems a tinge fishy.
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