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Thread: Zend.com

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    Love *********'s Forum ep2012's Avatar
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    Zend.com

    Hey there,

    Is zend.com any good as far as screening a programmer for their ability to code well, or is it kind of like Brain Bench where almost anyone can pass it?


    Michelle

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    I'd also like to know. I've been thinking about taking the test -- but I'm not sure how the industry sees it... Mostly I deal with business clients (so they wouldn't know the difference) but if it's worth getting (i.e. difficult) then I'd get it for myself... Right now I'm working through the study guide. Just in the first couple of chapters -- but it does have some good information in it -- even learning some stuff about deprecated features from 4 - 5...
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    SitePoint Zealot RogueScripts's Avatar
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    Yea anyone have any input on this? I've been thinking about getting their php encoder too, but its pretty expensive, and I've heard its crackable.

    I think the best way to screen a programmer to see if they can code well is to look at their past projects with them and have them go over them with you in detail (so you know they didn't just take the code from somewhere and actually wrote it themselves).
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    Assuming you can read PHP code well, get your prospective coder to do this test...

    http://www.silverstripe.org/php-coding-test

    Let me know your feedback on this...

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    That's probably a good test - very practical. It'd take a bit of work -- but I guess if you made it you could use it for real or for any other time someone asks you for a test. I like it as far as testing goes -- I think the "listen and repeat" tests aren't very good for many reasons.
    1) I have an absolutely terrible memory (I use crib sheets, Google, ect)
    2) I constantly review functions, ect...
    3) I create functions for processes I repeat frequently (meaning, sometimes I forget how to do them from scratch) <- wasn't that the point of going to OOP? Why not sit at PHP 3 then
    4) A straight memory test doesn't tell you if you can program (which is mostly problem solving and logic)... it tells you if you can memorize (pretty much summed up the problems with most university classes)
    Populating it with data would be a good idea too (another little script would be smart).
    The only thing is, I can't hang that test on my wall (I guess I could create an image out of the code, stamp it and frame it...)
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    Love *********'s Forum ep2012's Avatar
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    See my problem is that I want to hire the right person, but of course NOT being a programmer, I wouldn't be able to tell good code from crap.

    I know a few things that one should look for, but I wouldn't be able to look for them, I only know them b/c other programmers have told me about them.

    I've tried to hire top notch programmers to screen people for me once I've found them, but either these people want to charge me too much to spend 10-20 minutes screening code, or they give me attitude saying it's not worth their time etc.

    I don't need attitude, I need someone who really cares whether programmers are ripping companies off.

    I've always said some biz minded programmer who knows what he/she is doing, should start a small biz offering their services to screen code for companies, but so far no one has listened to me & this is not the first time I've needed this service.

    I know a test won't be the only thing I need done, some programmer sent me his zend link, so I decided to ask around to see if it was even worth reviewing.

    Thanks people


    Michelle

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    I'd say he's already got a step up. But I totally understand your predicament. That actually sounds like a great business - however, I'm not sure how much there would be for a market. If you've already got a designer, just have him review it for you. Otherwise I'm sure someone around here would be willing to qualify him for you (or some other candidate) for a per/person fee (I mean think about it, we're all already reviewing our own code). Put an ad on the boards or something and look for someone who is participating a lot helping people fix their code.
    I would offer, but I'm not qualified. I'm well beyond a beginner, but still on my way to expert.
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    Love *********'s Forum ep2012's Avatar
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    Oops. thought I responded to this already. Hmm.

    I did try to put ads out there on a couple of MBs & was/is willing to pay a small fee for the 10-20 minutes it would take, but everyone who responded either didn't follow the simple instructions (we don't hire people who refuse to read & follow simple instructions), they couldn't convince me they were any good therefore I felt they were not in a position to screen, they either had attitude, or disappeared.

    I even had one guy start telling me that coding isn't the same as programming LOL

    After checking with 2 other people, (one being a programmer), they felt this guy was beyond anal & either just being difficult, or not very smart.

    So I'm still looking & I don't have a programmer yet, that's why I'm looking for one. A graphic web designer only designs sites, they are not qualified to be a programmer, let alone screen code.

    Thanks


    Michelle
    P.S. As for the market, any biz owner who doesn't care about the quality of the applications they are about to develop shouldn't IMO, be developing them.

    It's up to a marketer to make these Internet illiterate people understand why they need this service. Marketing is no different in any industry, all the rules are the pretty much the same.

    As for myself, I learned a while ago that I was hiring people who were useless, so now I tend to learn the quality about any kind of person I'm hiring b/c I feel it's my duty to know the difference between hiring someone who says they know what they are doing, & someone who really does.

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    What kind of work are they needing to do for you?

    I'm an advanced programmer - but I'm self-taught. I'm wouldn't consider hiring myself out to a bank to plug security holes but I build custom software for website owners that can be pretty tricky (with integration, ect)... I also create and work with APIs, and edit plug-ins for things like WordPress or phpBB (or just customize the original code). Depending on the level of programmer you're looking to hire, it is possible that I can screen them.
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    Love *********'s Forum ep2012's Avatar
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    Yes, well the biggest area one needs to be able to read is security holes. IMO, that's THE most important area.

    Yes, non bloated code is important, & commenting unless the code is written well enough for others to understand & other areas I am totally unaware of, but security is crucial if anyone is a good programmer, or a biz owner who cares about these things.

    It's amazing that schools just gloss over all of this.

    Thanks anyway


    Michelle

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    I agree that security is very important. Don't get me wrong when I say I wouldn't be willing to work plugging holes on banking software. My code is not insecure in the least. I'd rather not have my sites down, or destroyed because I left a hole open. However, I don't use advanced encryption (and I'm not familiar with it other than a few functions and an advanced knowledge of the theory). However, while I am a very good programmer, I know my limits... I wouldn't put my life-savings on the line by programming my own banking subroutines . There's people much more qualified then I for that (and I would pay them for it).

    However, 95&#37; of web projects don't require the security that a bank offers (like 128 or 256 bit encryption - just as that 95% of businesses around the world don't need a time-delayed, several million-dollar vault and a couple of armed guards) and for those projects that do need such levels of security are usually just for small portions, like credit card information -- and that I delegate to places like PayPal (who does use security as good as banking). The stuff I deal with doesn't get that kind of attention (nor worth that amount of work... hacking someone's content database just isn't worth hours and that kind of specialty)... It's also far more likely that a poor password will be the security hole that gets abused in my software (and that's my client's fault - whether they choose something stupid, or they leave it written down in an obvious location, or they email it around the office). It would be difficult to hack my stuff as the basics are out (I protect all data going into my software)... It'd be more likely that you'd exploit a password, or some vulnerability I'm not aware of from my web host (such as an outdated patch). You'd probably be suprised at how vulnerable your information was if someone wanted to take it. But there are other things you can't protect against such as key loggers and the like (which comes back to the client not taking the care to protect themselves --- it's like leaving the key in the lock... not going to keep anyone out).

    I wish you good luck. But you might try offering it to a local programming firm - or contacting a reputable regional firm (look them up). I'm sure if you purchase an hour of their time you can get a few sets of code examined. After all, it's fast work weeding out crap...

    And you might be putting your expectations too high. If you're not needing someone who can program new software for SETI then you don't need someone from SETI to take a look at the code. You need something realistic. You need a competent programmer to look over some code... It's like getting an architect who specializes in building skyscrapers in earthquake prone areas to build your shed in the backyard... all you really need is a general contractor (unless of course you are fronting for the Mob or the CIA)...
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