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253 votes

What can I do about doing badly on an impromptu coding test?

I think you're asking the wrong question. I'm going to go ahead and say that challenge was probably designed for you to fail it: You've been given a really impromptu test, which is kind of weird ...
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  • 34.3k
213 votes

Unable to complete a task at work due to lack of relevant skill. How should I tell my employer?

First, change your attitude. It is not that you cannot complete the task, it is that you lack the knowledge and expertise. The difference? If you say "I can't do it" to your employer, you may as ...
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184 votes
Accepted

How can I constructively address the fact that a coworker with the same (senior) title doesn't have the basic skills for the role

How can I productively channel this issue? It's not clear what "productively channel" means in this context. You do your job to the best of your ability. If that means your colleague appears ...
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181 votes
Accepted

What can I do about doing badly on an impromptu coding test?

Based off your information on this question I assume this question is also linked with this question. The way your manager has sprung this test on you is completely unfair and clearly an attempt to ...
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  • 19.2k
179 votes

Am I obligated to share tools I built with my employer?

If you built these tools at the office, and against existing corporate systems, then they belong to the company. Accept that. You are worried about getting "credit," which tells me you're part of ...
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  • 61.3k
151 votes
Accepted

I think an employer believes I am much more skilled than I actually am. Should I let them know in advance, before accepting the job offer?

Short answer: No. To start with, you are assuming the employer thinks you are more competent than you actually are. They have, however, tested you and know exactly on what ground you stand. Never try ...
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132 votes

How can I teach an IT team member a bit more common sense?

Listen closely, I'll let you in on a secret. There is no such thing as common sense. My dad worked in AI. I've spent 20 years of my life studying it and human intelligence. It's true; common sense ...
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  • 7,515
131 votes
Accepted

More junior teammates don’t understand my work...and that’s my fault?

I did a series of talks on what makes code simple and readable. There is no absolute answer. Much depends on the vocabulary the reader brings. Take for example: bool retval; if (x > 0) { retval =...
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124 votes
Accepted

Is "Stack Exchange use" a valuable skill on my CV?

Is “Stack Exchange use” a valuable skill on my CV? (originally: "should i list stackexchange use as a skill?") No. While taking advantage of a great site like Stack Exchange/Stack Overflow is a wise ...
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110 votes
Accepted

Is it okay if I tell my boss that I cannot read cursive?

The fact that you can't read cursive is going to be hard to hide so you might as well just be up front about it and get the discomfort out of the way. If you disclose it yourself then that gives you ...
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  • 9,570
104 votes

I think an employer believes I am much more skilled than I actually am. Should I let them know in advance, before accepting the job offer?

Many, many years ago I got my first real technical job, and it emerged soon after I was hired that they'd mistaken me for a DOS expert (whereas in reality, I'd almost never used a PC before, having ...
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  • 1,667
102 votes

Unable to complete a task at work due to lack of relevant skill. How should I tell my employer?

Stop generalizing the problem. Break it down instead. Your initial complaint: I have to use iTextSharp that I have never learnt Is not a valid problem statement in a software development world. ...
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88 votes

Is "Stack Exchange use" a valuable skill on my CV?

I've used my Stack Overflow profile to help me with my job hunts before. I've got my specific profile ID listed on there, too. But I don't have it listed as a skill. I have it listed under what I ...
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  • 3,933
83 votes
Accepted

What is "3 years commercial Python"?

So what does "3 years commercial" exactly mean? Typically, it means you have worked in that role professionally for 3 years, for a company that is trying to sell a product and make money. That ...
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79 votes

Does my workplace lack guidance or is it my lack of skills?

I lack the appropriate skills? or Is it a lack of guidance on the part of the company? Both. You lack the required skills for the assignment (not your fault, but it's true). You cannot certainly ...
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  • 61.7k
78 votes

How can I constructively address the fact that a coworker with the same (senior) title doesn't have the basic skills for the role

I think you're doing something here, out of goodness of your heart, that is preventing your boss from seeing the problem. If Sam struggles with something, based on the same-level position between the ...
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  • 11.6k
73 votes

How to do code reviews to people whose programming skills are weak?

One thing I did when I became lead was to create a best practices and coding standards document. I included everything right down to naming conventions for variables, objects, and procedures. Code ...
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71 votes
Accepted

How do you grow in a skill when you're the company lead in that area?

You're essentially down to the same path that anyone who wants to learn something in their free time. If there are no internal experts look for them elsewhere. The following are the best resources ...
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71 votes

How can I learn to effectively train underskilled staff?

There are plenty of courses on how to train people, some online, some are from real-world learning institutions. I don't think you have time for this. So, let's get started with a 10 minute crash ...
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  • 14.5k
67 votes

More junior teammates don’t understand my work...and that’s my fault?

Disclaimer: this answer will be written as if OP's coding style really is as complex as necessary (not over-complicated) and it's really good, efficient code (not something that could be done easier ...
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  • 4,533
63 votes
Accepted

Why would a recruiter want to put someone into a direct hire job at a lower salary than the stated salary range

Getting a small commission is better than getting no commission at all. And the salary bait-and-switch is a common tactic amongst "professional" recruiters. My guess is the position actually has a ...
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  • 2,135
61 votes

What can I do about doing badly on an impromptu coding test?

First, Update your resume, and submit it to a few recruiters and start job hunting. This was a setup with unrealistic time constraints. Your manager has given you an undefined goal and is setting ...
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56 votes

Best course of action when out of my depth in developer role

Being out of your depth is one of the best ways to learn new things quickly. If you have specific technical issues that you're stuck on, I'd suggest asking some questions on stackoverflow. And ...
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  • 9,158
53 votes
Accepted

How can I effectively and appropriately communicate to management that I have a skill set needed for an upcoming project?

The best way to prevent the race for a consultant is present a convincing business case that doesn't include a consultant. From the business cases I've developed the main points are as follows: ...
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  • 33.9k
53 votes

How can I effectively and appropriately communicate to management that I have a skill set needed for an upcoming project?

I wonder why you oppose bringing in consultants if the end results is that something gets implemented that is just what you would have suggested, especially when afterwards everyone agrees that you ...
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50 votes
Accepted

How can I learn to effectively train underskilled staff?

As a data specialist, I would be extremely annoyed if someone wanted to try to make me into an application dev for the bus factor. That is just shortsighted on the part of your management. It is like ...
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  • 141k
48 votes

Struggling in my first software development job, how to decide if I should move on?

I am now working with technologies that are almost completely new to me This will be most software development jobs. I wish I could say something more encouraging, but many of us use technology that ...
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  • 110k
42 votes

More junior teammates don’t understand my work...and that’s my fault?

You have junior teammates, and your organisation needs your code to be comprehensible to them. This is critical. You've been given an unwritten requirement - your code must not only do the job, but it ...
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40 votes
Accepted

I was assigned to a fake project after being hired. Is this bad news for my career?

Stop worrying You were assigned to work on internal project XX in part because you had nothing better to do. You are now assigned to a client using the same technology stack. It sounds to me like ...
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