People Don’t Read

Am I the only one keeping Amazon.com alive? Or do people buy books without actually reading them?

These last few weeks I received some developers for a job interview, and none of them scored well on their knowledge of basic software engineering.

"Do you now what a regression test is?" – "Ehm… Is that the same as a functional test?"
"Can you tell me about Test-Driven Development?" – "Tester-Driven Development? Eh…"
"What are the main differences between Scrum and XP?" – "Ehrrr…"
"Can you name some non-functional requirements?" – "Pfff, let see… User Requirements?"
"How do you take care of high cohesion and low coupling?" – "Gurgle, gurgle… Arghhhh…"

This is the point where they usually either drop to their knees asking me for mercy, or run out the door screaming for help. Well ok, not really. But given the look in their eyes I'm quite sure they were thinking about it.

Here's my message to all developers and project managers: Reading books isn't that hard. Anyone can do it. Here, let me show you… These are three of the books I received this week:

Manage It! by Johanna Rothman
The Art of Agile Development by James Shore (and Shane Warden)
Making Things Happen by Scott Berkun

For your convenience I've added links to the books on Amazon and to the authors' personal blogs, which are worth reading in their own right. The copies I received have been added to the huge pile of books in my living room, and I'm steadily working my way through it. In the meantime, I would be happy to lend any of them to you (if you promise to read them!) I cannot go through them all at the same time. You may even check out my Amazon wishlist, so you will know what you can borrow from me in a couple of months! Just be sure not to leave coffee stains. I hate that.

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  • http://agilesoftwaredevelopment.com Artem Marchenko

    Developers on the job market aren’t usually a representative set of people unless you. Taking into account the level of demand for good programmers (those who do read), all of them are already working.
    IMHO, most of the time you can get good developers in two cases only: 1) when you offer something super-attractive: much higher salary, Google image, etc; 2) when social conditions make them move: company went bankrupt, moved to another city, etc.

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