Monday, June 24, 2013

Stumper questions - vindicated

Hmmm, I wrote this post last week about trick questions in interviews.  I decided I wanted a little support for it.  Synchronicity struck: THIS was published in the NYT just last week.

I particularly agreed with the statement, "On the hiring side, we found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time."

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Interviewing - stumper questions

In the process of digging through the list of partially-completed posts, I found a link on EDN that talked about technical questions you can ask prospective employees.  Rereading that little tidbit made me think about my stint phone screening college graduates for HP in the late 90s.  The company had a long list of pre-vetted questions that I could ask these poor souls.  The questions ranged from basic EE problems ("describe how you would implement a low pass filter") to programming issues ("what is a linked list?") to twisty questions (i.e. - the infamous "water in a locked room with a dead body").

Anyway, the point I wanted to make was that in today's world it seems somewhat silly to pepper a candidate with questions like this.  I mean, if you want to check their credentials then go take a look at their LinkedIn page.  Heck, just google them.  What's more important, in the long run, is what kind of person are you hiring and how will he/she fit into the group?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Test Executives - part 1

For many years now I been a little obsessed with the subject of test executives.  I'll explain why in a minute, but first let me try to define what I think of as a test executive.

Wikipedia has a specific description of test executives, but my definition is more specific to my experiences.

So why do I want to write about this topic?  Ten years ago I was working for a small division of a Fortune 500 company.  We had just bought a complicated test/manufacturing tool developed by a consulting firm.  This firm had written a script driver that they used for most of their hardware projects.

That was an epiphany moment.  I had written a script driver for a specific test instrument when I worked at HP back in the late 90s, but I'd never really thought about writing one that I could reuse across projects.  Nor had I considered buying one off the shelf.  In the ten years since that moment I've worked at four other companies that developed four separate solutions.  So over the next couple posts I will write about different test executives - commercial as well as "roll-your-own" - and compare and contrast my experiences with each.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Historian Software

A week ago I sat in on a presentation for a type of software I had never had dealings with before: historian software.  It was GE's version of the software, called Proficy.  Before the demo I did a quick check on what the software was, and it really just sounded like a database with a nice GUI.  

But after the presentation I have to admit that it's really a lot more than that.  I'm not sure if I'll ever use anything like this, since it seems geared towards enterprise-level applications and I gravitate to startup companies.  But it's still neat. 

It's always cool to learn about something new in this field.  Maybe I'll check out NI's historian software, NI Citadel.