Military Training



  •  For my previous employer several years ago, some of us volunteered to man a booth at a local university job fair. We asked the students who dropped off their resume some fairly simple questions, sort of an informal interview to get an idea of whether they're a real go-getter "I love my major and not only did my courses but did honors and some jobs on the side" type of CS student or a "just go through the motions and hope I get a job where they don't notice I'm not working" kind of student.

    After reviewing their answers and their resume, we'd mark each with a grade letter from A to F.

    We were approached by a man who looked much older than all the students we've seen so far. I assumed he was a graduate student or perhaps someone who simply had a mid-life crisis and wanted to become a software engineer in his later years. Or even an adjunct professor who wanted some summer work. I asked him what kind of exposure he's had with computers.

    "Oh, I know it all," he said. "Not only stuff like Excel and Outlook, but Java, too! I know you're probably looking for entry-level workers now, but I'd be a good senior if you had an opening there too."

    At this point any confidence I had in him vanished.

    "Uh huh," I answered, looking for a way to end the conversation politely. "So, you are a computer science student here at the university?" I was hoping that, if his only claim to fame was Java, there was no way he was a CS student. Even the D students who were coming up to us boasted knowledge of C++, Python, Java, and could spell "Facade" on their resume.

    He said, "Actually, I'm just taking a couple of classes in literature, non-matriculating. I was enlisted in the army in 1997, and the military was offering some courses in technology, Java being one of them. I took the course and I am now Java certified!" His face lit up. He said, "If it's not Java you're looking for, I do have hardware experience. Here, let me show you."

    At this point, he wasn't taking up any other student's time, so I humored him, and the other colleague at the booth joined us.

    He was holding a binder in his hand, and inside were a number of certificates for various training he pursued while he was enlisted. He pointed at his Java certificate. It did not certify he passed the training, mind you, but that he merely attended the course, which at that point I found out was a 2-hour long seminar at some hotel in New Orleans.

    I should have simply smiled and nodded, but his confident demeanor that this is all you need to be not just an entry-level programmer, but a programmer in a senior position prodded me to ask him, "It says here you attended a 2-hour long lecture in Java. Do you have any other training in Java or programming?"

    He answered by turning the page in his binder and pointing at his Lotus 1-2-3 certificate saying, "Now, I know what you're thinking, 'Why Lotus 1-2-3?' Well, it's all they had back then. I've looked at Excel and saw that it's really the same exact thing. I decided to put Excel on my resume instead because, well, nobody uses Lotus anymore. I got a lot done with Lotus, though, back in the day. I'd say it does some things better than Java."

    "And that's another two-hour seminar?" I asked.

    "Yes, but keep in mind this is the military. They're a lot tougher here and I bet I learned more in those two hours than all these kids learned. I've experienced military classes and college classes; there is no comparison."

    He then pointed at a number of other certificates, some for machine gun assembly, others for CPR and skills completely irrelevant to our available positions. He finally left us with his resume, highlighting his phone number and email address which had two very obvious mistakes: "jim_bob@gmial."

    That was his full email (anonymized of course). There was no 'com' at the end, and I assumed he meant gmail. At that point we wished him good luck, and he walked on to another booth somewhere. After he was out of sight, I took my pen, marked the resume with a "Z" and put it on the bottom of the pile.



  • @RHuckster said:

    whether they're a real go-getter "I love my major and not only did my courses but did honors and some jobs on the side" type of CS student or a "just go through the motions and hope I get a job where they don't notice I'm not working" kind of student

    In your experience, is that a good predictor of how well they'll do in your company? Just curious, because personally I'm not sure college performance and work performance are in any way related.

    Funny story though. I guess it takes all kinds.



  • Good story.  "Jim Bob" got too used to bullshitting the dumb people he meet in the military. 

     Funny thing is "jim_bob@gmial." passes most email address verifiers.



  • @b-redeker said:

    @RHuckster said:

    whether they're a real go-getter "I love my major and not only did my courses but did honors and some jobs on the side" type of CS student or a "just go through the motions and hope I get a job where they don't notice I'm not working" kind of student

    In your experience, is that a good predictor of how well they'll do in your company? Just curious, because personally I'm not sure college performance and work performance are in any way related.

    Funny story though. I guess it takes all kinds.

     

    I was a lazy student, and probably a little lazier than I should have been at my first job.  But, I've seen some students with stellar academic records come in and totally wreck a project with their arrogance and knowledge of things that have nothing to do with work.  I'd take a young version of myself over one of those any day.



  • @b-redeker said:

    In your experience, is that a good predictor of how well they'll do in your company? Just curious, because personally I'm not sure college performance and work performance are in any way related.

     

    I'd say it depends on the work environment. My previous employer was one that looked towards those who are somewhat self-motivated; didn't have to be hand-held through everything after a few weeks of training and orientation, yet felt comfortable in asking questions when needed. Those who had the drive to do their own exploration above and beyond their coursework was a good indicator that they would fit in a less-structured environment. We definitely didn't write off those who didn't show those qualities, mind you. These qualities were a positive more than the lack of them was a negative.

    You might have thought this approach invited more spaghetti and WTF code from those who didn't know what to do, but besides one engineer who finally got fired for incompetence, we actually had some pretty reasonable code, especially for entry-level programmers.



  •  And there sat Jim-Bob, wondering why, with all the resumes he's sent out into the world, there are no inquiries showing up in his gmial account.

    (Random musing: before they fully integrated my last employer's internal mail system with the world, we had "addresses" where the component after the at-sign was the local site's mail server name, an alpha string with no ".com" suffix.  Maybe Mr 1-2-3-is-the-same-as-Excel was stuck behind a similar firewall.)



  • @RHuckster said:

    He then pointed at a number of other certificates, some for machine gun assembly
    I know some people who know assembly, but machine gun assembly? That's impressive!



  • @Zecc said:

    @RHuckster said:

    He then pointed at a number of other certificates, some for machine gun assembly
    I know some people who know assembly, but machine gun assembly? That's impressive!

    And such a useful skill too. I mean, just try it in any boring meeting and it'll be over before you know it.



  • I'm sure his 2-hour Java seminar puts him above some CS students. Some of my CS classmates in college couldn't find the PC's power button to save their lives.



  • @frits said:

    Funny thing is "jim_bob@gmial." passes most email address verifiers.

    Which is TRWTF, since it's not a valid email address.



  • @Spectre said:

    @frits said:
    Funny thing is "jim_bob@gmial." passes most email address verifiers.
    Which is TRWTF, since it's not a valid email address.



  • @Spectre said:

    @frits said:
    Funny thing is "jim_bob@gmial." passes most email address verifiers.

    Which is TRWTF, since it's not a valid email address.

    How is it not? It has a user part that's valid, and a domain part that's valid (although it's only a TLD that isn't official).



  • @Lingerance said:

    @Spectre said:
    @frits said:
    Funny thing is "jim_bob@gmial." passes most email address verifiers.

    Which is TRWTF, since it's not a valid email address.

    How is it not? It has a [b]local[/b] part that's valid, and a domain part that's valid (although it's only a TLD that isn't official).

    The local part is valid, but it's illegal for the domain to end with a dot.



  • @Spectre said:

    The local part is valid, but it's illegal for the domain to end with a dot.

    Actually, every domain in the world ends with a dot, it's just usually "silent".

    .

    com.

    thedailywtf.com.

    forums.thedailywtf.com.



    Seriously. Check out a dns zonefile sometime.



  • @Zecc said:

    @RHuckster said:

    He then pointed at a number of other certificates, some for machine gun assembly
    I know some people who know assembly, but machine gun assembly? That's impressive!

     

    +1



  • @bannedfromcoding said:

    @Spectre said:
    The local part is valid, but it's illegal for the domain to end with a dot.

    Actually, every domain in the world ends with a dot, it's just usually "silent".

    .

    com.

    thedailywtf.com.

    forums.thedailywtf.com.



    Seriously. Check out a dns zonefile sometime.

    Domain name syntax in zone files bears passing resemblance, but is otherwise completely irrelevant to domain name syntax in email addresses. Check out RFC 5322, rule "domain".



  • @Spectre said:

    The local part is valid, but it's illegal for the domain to end with a dot.
     

    Illegal?  It's against the law for a domain to end with a dot? Really?



  • @El_Heffe said:

    @Spectre said:

    The local part is valid, but it's illegal for the domain to end with a dot.
     

    Illegal?  It's against the law for a domain to end with a dot? Really?

    It's a hanging offense. Like cattle rustling. Frontier law, you know.

    Yeehaw!



  • I agree with Jim Bob. There is no comparison between Military Training and College classes.

    Mostly because Military Training is geared to be understandable for people with lower IQs and little or no ability to think logically. I knew some people who were so stupid it was scary during my four years in the Army. I always joke that my intelligence was lowered during that time.

    And don't be too impressed with Machine Gun Assembly. It isn't that hard. Remember... lower IQs.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    @Spectre said:

    The local part is valid, but it's illegal for the domain to end with a dot.
     

    Illegal?  It's against the law for a domain to end with a dot? Really?

    By any reasonable definition of a law, yes, because the specs for the internet are basically the connection 'laws'. So it's not illegal in the sense that the police will come and take you away, but illegal in the sense that it's going against the 'law' of how DNS works. It's a legitimate use of language.



  • @frits said:

    Funny thing is "jim_bob@gmial." passes most email address verifiers.
     

    And some of the ones it fails also reject perfectly legitimate addresses, such as ones in .name and .info domains (because the author thought that top level domains shouldn't be more than three letters long).

    On a tangentially related issue, why do so many people stick a spurious "www." on to the beginning of e-mail addresses (both their own and that of others they're trying to send to) when they type them (e.g., into web forms, which is where they come to my attention when reviewing responses to websites both personal and work-related)?

     



  • @bannedfromcoding said:

    @Spectre said:
    The local part is valid, but it's illegal for the domain to end with a dot.

    Actually, every domain in the world ends with a dot, it's just usually "silent".

    .

    com.

    thedailywtf.com.

    forums.thedailywtf.com.



    Seriously. Check out a dns zonefile sometime.

    RFC5321 precludes the use of a trailing dot in a domain name for SMTP purposes (http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5321#section-4.1.2)

     

    Hostnames must end with a dot to be valid, however, it is invalid to use the form with a trailing dot to address to an smtp server.

     



  • @mott555 said:

    I'm sure his 2-hour Java seminar puts him above some CS students. Some of my CS classmates in college couldn't find the PC's power button to save their lives.

     

     

    Since when did Java developers need to know how to turn a PC on or off?



  • @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    @El_Heffe said:

    @Spectre said:

    The local part is valid, but it's illegal for the domain to end with a dot.
     

    Illegal?  It's against the law for a domain to end with a dot? Really?

    By any reasonable definition of a law, yes, because the specs for the internet are basically the connection 'laws'. So it's not illegal in the sense that the police will come and take you away, but illegal in the sense that it's going against the 'law' of what SMTP expects. It's a legitimate use of language.
    FTFY. DNS has an implied . at the end, apparently SMTP doesn't like it.



  • @Lingerance said:

    @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:
    @El_Heffe said:

    @Spectre said:

    The local part is valid, but it's illegal for the domain to end with a dot.
     

    Illegal?  It's against the law for a domain to end with a dot? Really?

    By any reasonable definition of a law, yes, because the specs for the internet are basically the connection 'laws'. So it's not illegal in the sense that the police will come and take you away, but illegal in the sense that it's going against the 'law' of what SMTP expects. It's a legitimate use of language.
    FTFY. DNS has an implied . at the end, apparently SMTP doesn't like it.

    Doh. Thanks.


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