I’ve written often enough about terrible job interviews (The Worst Interview of My Life; How Not to Interview a Database Administrator: The Google Way; How to interview an Oracle DBA candidate NOT) but that’s not to say that I haven’t had any great job interviews. Here’s the best job interview of my life:
Bush Sr. was president. The phone rang off the hook after I faxed my resume to the telephone numbers in the want ads on the back pages of Computerworld. The nice people on the phone asked me “how comfortable would I be programming in C?” I wanted the job but could not lie so I replied that “I would be very comfortable programming in C.” That was the only question they asked me, other than “When could I start?” On the plane to Philadelphia, I read the first four chapters of Kernighan and Ritchie’s book “The C Programming Language.” When I got there, they assigned me a green-screen terminal and said “The project will start soon; why don’t you read the manuals until then.” I typed and compiled my first C program, the famous “hello, world” program from Kernighan and Ritchie’s book.
And that’s the true story of how I became a C programmer. I was reminded of it when I was looking through the archives of The International Obfuscated C Code Contest. One of the contest entries in the inaugural year (1984) was:
From eyeballing the strings in the program, you might guess that it prints “hello, world!” and you would be right.
$ cat >helloworld.c
$ cc -o helloworld helloworld.c
I’m offering a prize of any Oracle Database title in the Apress catalog for the first good explanation—I’ll be the judge—of the above program. Leave your answer in the comments section below. (You’ll have to log into Toad World in order to leave a comment.)
P.S. I did have plenty of programming experience at the time, but it was with COBOL, not with C. I have often been rejected for jobs because I did not have a particular skill at the time. I have since gained all those skills but I’ve moved on and no longer want those jobs any more. There are other jobs out there that I do want but they won’t hire me because I don’t have a particular skill at this time. C’est la vie.
I have published an detailed answer on my blog:
<a href=pierreforstmanndotcom.wordpress.com/.../>my post</a>