Podcast #76

In this episode of the Stack Overflow podcast, Joel and Jeff discuss the Stack Overflow Careers philosophy, online community growth patterns, and how to tell if you’re Sid Meier or not.

  • Stack Overflow Careers is now fully open for business! Joel explains what it’s all about, the proverbial programmer search engine.

  • One thing we have resisted is employer demand for a sort order of CVs by Stack Overflow reputation scores. This is sort of like colleges sorting incoming applications by SAT or ACT scores. We have a brief discussion about how the college admissions process relates (or doesn’t) to job “admissions”.

  • Joel shares his tips on what makes a CV / resume look good to him. And remember, Joel wrote the book on this stuff! So in theory, at least, he knows what he’s talking about! Fog Creek does a lot of hiring every year.

  • Now that we have a so-called “Careers” site on Stack Overflow, any perceived crossover between your professional life and online life is 100% intentional and by design — as correctly noted by the Cerebral Mastication blog.

  • I am now required by law to link to this amazing and hilarious SO post (on the perils of matching XML with regex) which already has a stunning two thousand upvotes! It went hyper-viral.

  • Should we allow Facebook questions (or other questions specific to a website) on Super User? It’s a bit complicated because websites are becoming legitimate “software applications” in today’s computing world, and even more so in the future. The line between a traditional software executable and a website is becoming less and less clear.

  • Discussing how you scale a community on Stack Exchange — is it about having lots and lots of questions, or garnering a solid audience of experts?

  • There appears to be a distinct difference between the early, adolescent, and mature stages of a community. You have to plan for and adapt to each stage; there is no “one size fits all” approach. I’m reminded of Robert X. Cringely’s classic essay Commandos, Infantry, and Police.

  • Joel’s counterpoint is that maybe you’re actually working with Sid Meier. My counterpoint: everyone wants to think they’re Sid Meier, but as in Highlander, “There can be only one”.

  • Per Joel, programming is not about knowing a programming language any more than being a concert pianist is about knowing how to read music. But is programming anything like creating art or music?

  • Joel is offering a free Fog Creek t-shirt of your choice for the best question asked next week — so get those (audio only, please!) questions called or mailed in! And leave us a way to reach you.

We answered the following listener questions on this podcast:

  1. Josh from Taiwan: “I’m looking to move from QA into programming. Is it better to know one language really well, or lots less well? Also, does Objective-C pass the Joel Test of knowing C?”

If you’d like to submit a question to be answered in our next episode, record an audio file (90 seconds or less) and mail it to podcast@stackoverflow.com. You can record a question using nothing but a telephone and a web browser. We also have a dedicated phone number you can call to leave audio questions at 646-826-3879.

The transcript wiki for this episode is available for public editing.

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