Saturday, October 25, 2008

Confidence Building

Confidence Building

I've been doing some contract work in C#/.NET the last two weeks--and it has been a confidence building experience. I showed up, spent the first two days building a rather complicated mail merge utility, and then started on the third day writing unit tests for their product. By the time I left Friday evening, I had written more than 40 unit tests, a few of which were modeled on existing unit tests, but most of which were built from scratch--and thoroughly tested some of these methods. By the fourth day I was there, I was building unit tests for classes that were, by their own account, complex.

I feel really smart at times like this. My unit tests were sufficiently thorough that I produced dozens of bug reports, most relatively minor, but some of which shook rather important bugs. What bothers me is that my ability to do work like this is of no apparent value to the vast majority of employers--who work on the assumption that if you don't have at least two years of experience in C#/.NET, you can't possibly be worth hiring. Most employers seem to work on the assumption that a software engineer with 30 years of experience is some sort of dullard, who will require years to learn what really only takes days to weeks.

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