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Random changes <> debugging

One of the more colorful characters I've worked with over the years was a woman I'll call Ashly. Ashly was a programmer employed by my former employer, and had made the transition from an older technology to classic ASP, which at the time was the cool new thing.

Occasionally she would ask for my help with something. And each time I was astonished because her difficulties always demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of the technology. She was functional, but for the most part illiterate in her coding skills.

Here's an example: Ashly once came to me confused because her classic ASP pages would not run on a computer other than hers. As it turns out, she was testing on a non-server without IIS installed. Her theory was that since the computer could load HTML in a browser, the Active Server Pages code should work too.

Uh, no.

What's worse is - she wasn't sure what was wrong. She kept randomly changing configuration settings and her code, trying to make it work. But these changes didn't even make sense. She was flailing around without any idea how to solve the problem.

After she was no longer working at that company, I discovered that her customers weren't particularly impressed with her, either. They had developed names for her. For example, they liked to refer to her as "Ashly Catastrophe". (Yikes!)

Why am I telling you this story?

Being a programmer involves more than just writing/typing code. When you hire someone to work on your VIP (Very Important Project), make sure they have enough intellectual curiosity to understand the technology they are working with.

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Comments  1

  1. Peter Edstrom 09 Nov

    Yikes! That is one seriously fundamental disconnect. And they let her near computers?!?
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