Even the most distinguished engineers fail the whiteboard interviews.
Whiteboard coding is not an accurate predictor of how effective the candidate will be at writing real code. Most developers confess that it is a very stressful process and that they feel alienated to writing code without computer assistance — we agree with them. Computers have long-abandoned punch-cards, we can abandon whiteboard coding.
At Codela, we believe recruiters should adopt a “skills first” approach to hiring. One of the key goals of this approach is for the candidate to demonstrate, independent of an academic degree, that he/she has the right skills required to be successful on the job. While this is a total departure from some of the commonly used types of interviews, our approach is undoubtedly better at predicting how effective candidates are at writing real code than, for example, asking them how many golf balls they can fit in a car.
Best education systems in the world discourage memorization. Of course, there are certain things that are worth memorizing — addresses, passwords, important birthdays but complexity of bubble sort or method names of a class are not among them. It’s a fact that matters only insofar as it connects to other ideas. We are not the only one saying so…
Check out what some of the most prolific developers have to say about this:
Hello, my name is David. I would fail to write bubble sort on a whiteboard. I look code up on the internet all the time. I don't do riddles.— DHH (@dhh) February 21, 2017
Google: 90% of our engineers use the software you wrote (Homebrew), but you can’t invert a binary tree on a whiteboard so fuck off.— Max Howell (@mxcl) June 10, 2015
Hello, my name is Tim. I'm a lead at Google with over 30 years coding experience and I need to look up how to get length of a python string. https://t.co/TZZeckGPyw— Tim Dierks (@tdierks) February 26, 2017
and it goes on and on…