Do you know brown?

First I want to start off this is not mine, nor is it the site I am going to link to (, I am happy to give credit where credit is due. BUT… this has happen to me recently in the search for opportunities. I do think this analogy fits perfectly though, when someone ask you have you programmed in such and such language or using such and such method they are missing a HUGE point. When you drive your car to work, is there only one path, or multiple paths, and is everything on each of the paths the same or different? Being a programmer is about knowing how to program, the semantics between languages can be easily picked up if the person understands the fundamentals of programming. So without further ado, I present, “If Carpenters Were Hired Like Programmers”

Interviewer: So, you're a carpenter, are you?
Carpenter: That's right, that's what I do.

Interviewer: How long have you been doing it?
Carpenter: Ten years.

Interviewer: Great, that's good. Now, I have a few technical questions to ask you to see if you're a fit for our team. OK?
Carpenter: Sure, that'd be fine.

Interviewer: First of all, we're working in a subdivision building a lot of brown houses. Have you built a lot of brown houses before?
Carpenter: Well, I'm a carpenter, so I build houses, and people pretty much paint them the way they want.

Interviewer: Yes, I understand that, but can you give me an idea of how much experience you have with brown? Roughly.
Carpenter: Gosh, I really don't know. Once they're built I don't care what color they get painted. Maybe six months?

Interviewer: Six months? Well, we were looking for someone with a lot more brown experience, but let me ask you some more questions.
Carpenter: Well, OK, but paint is paint, you know.

Interviewer: Yes, well. What about walnut?
Carpenter: What about it?

Interviewer: Have you worked much with walnut?
Carpenter: Sure, walnut, pine, oak, mahogany -- you name it.

Interviewer: But how many years of walnut do you have?
Carpenter: Gosh, I really don't know -- was I supposed to be counting the walnut?

Interviewer: Well, estimate for me.
Carpenter: OK, I'd say I have a year and a half of walnut.

Interviewer: Would you say you're an entry level walnut guy or a walnut guru?
Carpenter: A walnut guru? What's a walnut guru? Sure, I've used walnut.

Interviewer: But you're not a walnut guru?
Carpenter: Well, I'm a carpenter, so I've worked with all kinds of wood, you know, and there are some differences, but I think if you're a good carpenter ...

Interviewer: Yes, yes, but we're using Walnut, is that OK?
Carpenter: Walnut is fine! Whatever you want. I'm a carpenter.

Interviewer: What about black walnut?
Carpenter: What about it?

Interviewer: Well we've had some walnut carpenters in here, but come to find out they weren't black walnut carpenters. Do you have black walnut experience?
Carpenter: Sure, a little. It'd be good to have more for my resume, I suppose.

Interviewer: OK. Hang on let me check off the box...
Carpenter: Go right ahead.

Interviewer: OK, one more thing for today. We're using Rock 5.1 to bang nails with. Have you used Rock 5.1?
Carpenter: [Turning white...] Well, I know a lot of carpenters are starting to use rocks to bang nails with since Craftsman bought a quarry, but you know, to be honest I've had more luck with my nail gun. Or a hammer, for that matter. I find I hit my fingers too much with the rock, and my other hand hurts because the rock is so big.

Interviewer: But other companies are using rocks. Are you saying rocks don't work?
Carpenter: No, I'm not saying rocks don't work, exactly, it's just that I think nail guns work better.

Interviewer: Well, our architects have all started using rocks, and they like it.
Carpenter: Well, sure they do, but I bang nails all day, and -- well, look, I need the work, so I'm definitely willing to use rocks if you want. I try to keep an open mind.

Interviewer: OK, well we have a few other candidates we're looking at, so we'll let you know.
Carpenter: Well, thanks for your time. I enjoyed meeting you.

 Woman having a glass of juice and checking her phone



Interviewer: Hello?
Carpenter: Hello. Remember me, I'm the carpenter you interviewed for the black walnut job. Just wanted to touch base to see if you've made a decision.

Interviewer: Actually, we have. We liked your experience overall, but we decided to go with someone who has done a lot of work with brown.
Carpenter: Really, is that it? So I lost the job because I didn't have enough brown?

Interviewer: Well, it was partly that, but partly we got the other fellow a lot cheaper.
Carpenter: Really -- how much experience does he have?

Interviewer: Well, he's not really a carpenter, he's a car salesman -- but he's sold a lot of brown cars and he's worked with walnut interiors.
Carpenter: [click]

Journey Ahead


Back when I was 13, I started in the World Wide Web, I mean to be honest back when I was 12 the World Wide Web started... I was programming like a mad man, and very good at it, I had a lot of potential and if 9/11 hadn't happened, and I hadn't decided to go and fight, I would probably be in a job at somewhere like Google or Microsoft, or the owner of a company. But that didn't happen, I joined the military, and did programming (scripting) as a hobby. I avoided jobs that would cause me to sit on my rear and get fat. Even joining the military again (guess I don't learn). Finally, I got a job in Georgia in June 2011, as a Service Engineer (not the train driver, like an electrical mechanic, who works on Variable Frequency Drives). Well... the company I worked for used spreadsheets, on a shared network drive, which would occasionally go offline, or someone would walk away from their computer with the document open. So I thought, hmm I already work 80 hours a week, why not try and solve this issue. To wrap this beginning story up, I did, I learned how to develop QuickBase applications (easy from my scripting background). But then the IT Manager decided to move me up to IT to be the first programmer for the US Branch. This was daunting, there were projects that outside programming firms had worked on to try and get working for years. It was now my job to make it work. So after some time, I decided to go C# route (being a Microsoft service shop). My company brought in an expensive developmental house to help train and build the base of the application, and I would deal with the nuances. This worked for the most part, after about a month, the base application was done, and I had an ok understanding of C #, and began working on the API. This went well, I was able to find enough books to read and enough resources to follow on the google, I mean the internet. But, I had seen this programmer that came to help as the person I wanted to be, I asked him to design the application like he would and give me brief overviews. Because hey I want to be like this programmer, well junior programmer looking at a complex C# Library code, this was intimidating and has been. I have worked on it more and more, and gain further understanding. But I came to the realization, I am maintaining a code base that I did not make, nor do I fully understand, it became clear to me that I needed to give up on the dream of being this programmer, and instead, become my own great programmer. I am never satisfied by second best, I want to be on the level of this programmer, so it was time to swallow my pride and return back to the basic, I am rewriting the code base, and it won't be as highly optimized, in some ways, but higher optimized in others. The first step was to find a great teacher, to learn the basics of C# like Constructors and overloads, who knew! Oh wait, everyone did. Now I understand more than I have ever. I will continue to grow, I do not want to be a good programmer I want to be a great programmer, and I don't care if that is at google or apple or Microsoft. If that happens, cool, if not, whatever, if I can become better than I will have a job wherever that job maybe and I will have the confidence I should have started with. Better late than never, next stop, an application a month.

The courses I am taking are called programming with Mosh ( and I highly recommend them!