As a job seeker for an entry level software developer, I constantly have to prove that I can code by answering basic Computer Science questions. I read that this has become a common interviewing practice because many applicants don't have three most fundamental skills required as a programmer despite claiming a degree. Is common in other professions that applicants for entry level positions lack the most fundamental skills?

closed as primarily opinion-based by gnat, IDrinkandIKnowThings, Jan Doggen, Joe Strazzere, Garrison Neely Oct 13 '14 at 14:03

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  • Recommended reading: This ; this ; and this serie of live reports from the interview. Short answer: yes. //edit: just now realized you've been asking for other professions. Still, my point stands - no matter what you do, having a 10-minute sieve for people who have no clue won't hurt. And the topics are still worth a read. – Maciej Stachowski Oct 13 '14 at 9:35
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    Other professions have formal internship, certification, apprenticeships and other hands-on and supervised evaluations. It's a shame they don't just make you write code. – user8365 Oct 13 '14 at 14:05
  • @MaciejStachowski Nice links :) – Vietnhi Phuvan Oct 13 '14 at 14:22

If I had to guess, I would say that lack of fundamental knowledge and skills is a rule, not an exception.

Human brain is an amazing pattern-matching machine and as such, each of our brains create its rules based on everything it observes. Depending on the way one is learning something, these rules could be very close to the actual fundamental rules of the profession or they could be very far from it.

For example, there are people who were taught by experience that programming is nothing more than copying and pasting snippets of code from the places such as StackOverflow and they happily call themselves experts in programming. I'm confident you can find this type of examples in every profession.

So, when recruiting for any position that requires higher-order thinking skills, it's advisable to test for understanding of fundamental rules as soon as possible as most of people in every profession will fail this test. This is something that we at TestDome.com try to do for programmer testing.

  • The degree usually is safe enough you know the most critical things, but no guarantees. I typically have tests for everyone because I NEED them for non-degree applicants and HR breaks into a cold sweat when I suggest testing one person but not another. (once made the bad call of hiring someone who seemed to be a really gifted dev... He was a victim of the Dunning–Kruger effect, and I swear every time he said "That's Sooooo bad" referring to my working code vs his not working code I wanted to commit a felony. – RualStorge Oct 13 '14 at 20:18

Very-very common in all industries and all job settings to have an applicant walk through various scenarios to show levels of expertise and speed to completion along with reviewing how you might approach work compared to others. If you are interested in the company and want to move through the process, follow the required steps and be creative along the way.

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    See edited question for clarification on my original intent – Code-Guru Oct 13 '14 at 2:10

Even if the applicants do have the skills, this is a partial way to distinguish between basic and more-advanced skill levels. The alternatives are assuming that all entry-level applicants are equally incompetent, or trying to run high-stress exam questions in real-time during the interview, or relying only on school transcripts or years of experience...

Basically, there's no simple way to quickly and easily select between applicants. This is at least closer to accurate and fair.

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    See edited question for clarification on my original intent – Code-Guru Oct 13 '14 at 2:11

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