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Thread: Math People - Help!

  1. #61
    Michael Culley Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!


    Matt,

    Wow! I don't think I have ever seen anyone so angry on this newsgroup before!
    I said I would not hire someone who could not solve this problem and I still
    stand by this. Why? Because this is the most basic of basic algebra AND even
    without algebra skills you should have good enough problem solving abilities
    to find the answer (without trial and error). This is the equivalent to finishing
    high school (australian term -ages 12 to 18) without being able to read.

    However, I am sure you are capable enough that you could be taught this level
    of algebra with an hour or learn it yourself in a few hours. The biggest
    barrier I find to teaching someone algebra is that they cannot understand
    that a number can be represented by a letter. But you already comprehend
    this - ie dim x as long.

    Do yourself a favour and get a tutor. There are plenty of uni students who
    will do this for $15 an hour. You will definately not regret it.

    Michael Culley

    "Matt Markus" <matt_markus@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >Hi Lenny --
    >
    >"Lenny Toulson" <ltoulson@nospam.net> wrote in message
    >news:3a43724f$1@news.devx.com...
    >> 1. Have you graduated high school? If so, in what state/country? Do

    they
    >> grant diplomas for students without any algebra classes?
    >>
    >> 2. The question wasn't to test your math skills so much as your

    >
    >OF COURSE IT WAS!!!!! I certainly wasn't to test my VB skills!!!!!!
    >
    >With all due respect, sir, you sound like a complete idiot by saying that.
    >I'm telling you, right now, as I sit here, that I personally know people
    >that are very successful programmers, who make a lot of money, have proven
    >themeselves time and time again and *CANNOT* solve that algebra
    >prolbem!!!!!!!! DO YOU UNDERSTAND THIS?????? IT IS POSSIBLE! Why is it
    >possible? BECAUSE I HAVE PROOF!!!!!
    >
    >God, you sound like completely narrow-minded fool by making such statements.
    ><****>
    >
    >



  2. #62
    Matt Markus Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!


    Patrick, nobody's listening to you. Go away - you're rude and aggressive and
    have nothing remotely insightful to say.

    Later

    "D. Patrick Hoerter" <phoerter@NO_SPAMMERS_bellatlantic.NET_net> wrote:
    >Brian,
    >
    >
    >Brian Patrick <bpatrick100@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    >news:3a438167$1@news.devx.com...
    >>
    >> Lenny I'm giving you the same response I gave to Ian.
    >>
    >> Consider this for a moment...
    >>
    >> I've been developing software for over 5 years and have MCSD

    >certification.
    >
    >BFD.
    >
    >> I didn't go to college, so the only algebra I've been *taught* was around
    >> 10 years ago in high school. I've learned all my programming skills

    >through
    >> on the job experience, books, magazines, newsgroups, vb and asp related

    >web
    >> sites, and pushing myself by coding on my personal time and learning new
    >> things.

    >
    >You and 452,000,000 other developers. So what?
    >
    >>
    >> I am a very accomplished programmer, and have received recognition from

    >every
    >> employer I've worked for. I require no supervision and can complete all
    >> aspects of the software development life cycle on my own (Design, Data

    >Modeling,
    >> Coding, Testing, Implementation) I am confident that I can develop a

    >solution
    >> for any business need, and have proven that to myself and my employers

    >time
    >> and again.

    >
    >What is this, the one-liner on top of your resume?
    >
    >>
    >> My current employer pays me $90,000/year

    >
    >So what. I know guys making 5 grand a week that can't code to save their
    >***. Salary proves nothing.
    >
    >>
    >> I've *never* (in over 5 years) had any need to use an algebraic equation,
    >> such as the one discussed here. I use adding, subtracting, multiplying,
    >> dividing, exponents, and percentages on a regular basis.

    >
    >Hmm. Perhaps you need to review what algebra _really_ is, for Pete's sake.
    >
    >>
    >> I can tell you (as well as many others) that if I was not offered a VB/ASP
    >> software development job because I have forgotten basic algebra, the

    >potential
    >> employer would have made big mistake.
    >>
    >> How do you explain my success ?
    >>

    >
    >Hard work, no doubt.
    >
    >> btw - I totally agree with you regarding the problem solving. That is

    one
    >> of my greatest qualities as a programmer. IMO, programming *is* problem
    >> solving, I solve problems everday. I still can't write that algebra

    >equation,
    >> though...
    >>

    >
    >Then you couldn't write an algorithm to repeatedly solve similar problems
    >with varying inputs.
    >
    >Interview over.
    >
    >Regards,
    >D. Patrick Hoerter
    >
    >



  3. #63
    D. Patrick Hoerter Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!


    Matt Markus <matt_markus@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:3a453b10$1@news.devx.com...
    >
    > Patrick, nobody's listening to you. Go away - you're rude and aggressive

    and
    > have nothing remotely insightful to say.
    >
    > Later


    Free clue: not everybody who disagrees with your POV is being rude and
    aggressive.

    If you seek only to have your current view validated, talk to yourself.

    Regards,
    D. Patrick Hoerter




  4. #64
    Travis Hall Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!


    "Matt Markus" <matt_markus@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >
    >Interesting notions for a presumably "logical" group of programmers...
    >
    >So let me get this straight, for the record: "one *needs* to be know algebra
    >in order to be a productive VB Programmer"?


    Nobody said that. What was said was that math skills will add to a programmer's
    productivity. You *can* be productive without it. You will most likely be
    more
    productive with it.

    >That's insane. I have living
    >examples here, all around me, of people who are proficient programmers but
    >could *not* solve that problem; either because they never had algebra in

    the
    >first place, or have just forgotten it. In fact, one of the best coders

    I
    >know couldn't solve that problem. So explain that paradox, oh supreme
    >logical ones.


    There's no paradox. Have you considered that they might be even better if
    they
    had good math skills?

    >I actually kind of regret bringing this up, now that some of you are going
    >to force potential employees to abandon their focus on programming to take
    >some crash course in Algebra at the local community college, not because
    >they need to be a better programmer, but merely to get through the
    >interview!?!


    The interview is a process intended to find the people most likely to be
    able to
    do the job well. If you need to go to community college to get through the
    interview, you will probably need it to do the job.

    >Why don't you ask them to write a little application, or even
    >just a procedure instead? Have them code something for God's sake!


    Why not have them do both? For a lot of programming jobs, you need to
    be able to do more than just code.

    Anyway, why did you bring this subject up if you aren't at all interested
    in hearing peoples' answers to your question? Math skills are useful to
    programmers, and **** near everybody else doing a job from serving
    hamburgers at Macca's on up.

    Travis Hall

  5. #65
    Travis Hall Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!


    "Matt Markus" <matt_markus@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >"Ian Post" <SpamFree@TheWay.ToBe> wrote in message
    >news:3a436ace$1@news.devx.com...
    >
    >> OK, here's one for you: Write an application to solve the chicken problem.
    >> How would you do that if you do not know how yourself?

    >
    >Yeah, that's a realistic VB application!


    No, it's not. A real VB application of a related type would have to apply
    the
    same principles but would be much more complex.

    Way back before I became a programmer, I remember working with a
    program which solved matrix algebra. That program had been used in
    real-world projects - things relating to mining and construction, if I recall
    my lecturer's example correctly. How could you possibly write such a
    program without knowing algebra?

    >Write an app to provide cost estimating on construction projects,
    >> giving the user options based on current prices of product and the most
    >> cost-effective manner of completing the project. How could you do that
    >> without these types of basic math skills?

    >
    >You do *not* need to know algebra to do that, basic math skills yes, but

    not
    >algebra!


    Algebra *is* basic maths.

    And that particular problem is in an area known, in mathematical circles,
    as
    optimization. It involves huge amounts of algebra, for non-trivial problems.
    I guess you could write a program to do optimization by trial and error,
    but
    it would be horrendously inefficient.

    Travis Hall

  6. #66
    Travis Hall Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!


    "Ian Post" <SpamFree@TheWay.ToBe> wrote:
    >
    >Are you sure of that? It is possible that certain problem-solving skills
    >that you have developed without formal education in the subject would be
    >recognized as algebraic by others?


    Actually, this is quite common. Back when I was earning my keep as a maths
    tutor, I found that a big part of my job was "tricking" kids into doing their
    maths homework by applying the same skills they used in everyday life. They
    routinely had math skills that they just didn't realise they had, until I
    persuaded them to approach the problem a certain way.

    Travis Hall

  7. #67
    Travis Hall Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!


    "Colin McGuigan" <colin@chicor.com> wrote:
    >
    >In fact, I find it more plausible
    >that someone would not be very good at English and still be an excellent
    >programmer, simply because of all the H1-Bs around.


    If it were made possible to write computer software in plain English, it
    would be discovered that computer programmers do not speak plain English.



    Travis Hall

  8. #68
    Bob O`Bob Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!

    Matt Markus wrote:
    > >
    > > 2. The question wasn't to test your math skills so much as your

    [problem-solving skills]
    >
    > OF COURSE IT WAS!!!!! I certainly wasn't to test my VB skills!!!!!!


    > God, you sound like completely narrow-minded fool by making such statements.
    > <****>



    When I interview, the single MOST important question on my mind is

    "will this person get along with the other members of the team?"


    Programming, math, all that stuff can be learned.
    Temperament doesn't seem to change much.

    I've been known to stress applicants a little, to see if they'll
    a) lash out
    b) back themselves into a defensive corner
    c) ask for help
    d) give up
    because in real life, job stress happens.

    I'm really glad you started this thread with (c), because the post I'm now quoting
    is both (a) and (b), either of which would normally get you crossed off my list.



    Bob O`Bob
    --
    I can't understand how people can look at the history of computing languages
    and then believe that foisting off more work on the humans is a step forward.

  9. #69
    Phil Weber Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!

    > Lenny I'm giving you the same response I gave to Ian.

    Please don't do that. One copy of each post is sufficient. Thanks!
    ---
    Phil Weber
    DevX Newsgroup Admin



  10. #70
    Phil Weber Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!

    > If an account will accrue 8% interest per year, what amount
    > of money will I need to invest to have $200,000 in 10 years?


    Colin: You don't need algebra to solve that in VB :-)

    dAPR = 0.08
    nPeriods = 10
    dTarget = 200000
    dStart = -PV(dAPR, nPeriods, 0, dTarget)

    ---
    Phil Weber



  11. #71
    Colin McGuigan Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!

    D. Patrick Hoerter <phoerter@NO_SPAMMERS_bellatlantic.NET_net> wrote in
    message news:3a4438e3@news.devx.com...
    > Actually, a Turing machine was all you _really_ needed, wasn't it? LOL.


    Well, a Turing machine is all you _ever_ need. =P

    --
    Colin McGuigan




  12. #72
    Colin McGuigan Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!

    Phil Weber <pweber@devx.com> wrote in message
    news:3a49d1f0$1@news.devx.com...
    > Colin: You don't need algebra to solve that in VB :-)
    >
    > dAPR = 0.08
    > nPeriods = 10
    > dTarget = 200000
    > dStart = -PV(dAPR, nPeriods, 0, dTarget)


    Listen, Phil, I've had enough of you countering my points with your
    so-called 'logic'... =)

    --
    Colin McGuigan




  13. #73
    Matt Markus Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!


    Hello Bob --

    Bob O`Bob <bob@cluestick.org> wrote:
    >Matt Markus wrote:
    >> >
    >> > 2. The question wasn't to test your math skills so much as your

    > [problem-solving skills]
    >>
    >> OF COURSE IT WAS!!!!! I certainly wasn't to test my VB skills!!!!!!

    >
    >> God, you sound like completely narrow-minded fool by making such statements.
    >> <****>

    >
    >
    >When I interview, the single MOST important question on my mind is
    >
    > "will this person get along with the other members of the team?"
    >
    >
    >Programming, math, all that stuff can be learned.
    >Temperament doesn't seem to change much.
    >
    >I've been known to stress applicants a little, to see if they'll
    >a) lash out
    >b) back themselves into a defensive corner
    >c) ask for help
    >d) give up
    >because in real life, job stress happens.
    >
    >I'm really glad you started this thread with (c), because the post I'm now

    quoting
    >is both (a) and (b), either of which would normally get you crossed off

    my list.
    >
    >
    >
    > Bob O`Bob



    Finally, the voice of reason!

    It's quite alright that I would get crossed off your list for those reasons
    - they make sense. I don't think, however, that I would lash out or get defensive
    in a professional job context - I never have before. I think it's a bit different
    when your dealing with personalities that only are experienced through text.
    But if I was crossed off because I forgot algebra, that, obviously, is where
    my quarrels lay. Iíll tell ya what really got me hot though: when someone
    implies that me, or anyone else for that matter, has *no* chance of being
    a good programmer until they go out and learn algebra. That kind of talk
    can discourage a lot of potential programmers. And it's no surprise that
    the people on here making such absolute statements seem to have massively
    inflated ego's - such that they have find it very hard to muster up any sort
    of compassion for the inexperienced.

    FYI: I was offered the job despite my mathematical shortcomings. I know you're
    all very proud. :-)

    -Matt



  14. #74
    Duane Snelling Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!


    Matt,

    >FYI: I was offered the job despite my mathematical shortcomings. I know

    you're
    >all very proud. :-)
    >
    >-Matt
    >

    Way to go!!!! good job!

    Now if I only could get an interview with a company I would be laughing.
    :-(

    Duane...


  15. #75
    Travis Hall Guest

    Re: Math People - Help!


    "Matt Markus" <matt_markus@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >
    >But if I was crossed off because I forgot algebra, that, obviously, is where
    >my quarrels lay. Iíll tell ya what really got me hot though: when someone
    >implies that me, or anyone else for that matter, has *no* chance of being
    >a good programmer until they go out and learn algebra.


    I haven't seen anybody say that, as I already commented. What has been
    said is, a programmer will be generally better if he understands basic maths.
    (And yes, low-level algebra is basic maths.)

    >That kind of talk can discourage a lot of potential programmers.


    Or alternatively could encourage a lot of potential programmers to pay
    attention in their high school maths classes. As a maths tutor, I used
    to hear the same objections from students all the time: "This won't really
    matter when I leave school". When I told the students that yes, it would
    matter, and gave them the reasons why, they listened, and they learned
    what they should have been learning. Not once did I have a student
    abandon their plans for the future just because they had to learn a bit
    of maths, no matter how hard they had been finding it.

    >And it's no surprise that
    >the people on here making such absolute statements seem to have massively
    >inflated ego's - such that they have find it very hard to muster up any

    sort
    >of compassion for the inexperienced.


    Sometimes, it is more compassionate to tell the inexperienced what they really
    should know. In this case, that means saying, "Yes, maths does matter".

    >FYI: I was offered the job despite my mathematical shortcomings. I know

    you're
    >all very proud. :-)


    Congratulations. However, consider for a moment what would have happened
    if
    another one of the candidates had the same qualifications and experience
    as
    you, and was just as charming in the interview, but could also solve simple
    maths
    problems such as the one you presented. Don't you think that person would
    have
    been offered the job instead of you? And wouldn't the interviewer have been
    correct to do so?

    Frankly, if a job candidate not only failed to fulfill the selection criteria
    for a job,
    but tried to tell me he shouldn't even be trying to meet them, I certainly
    would not hire that person. I bet you didn't raise the questions you have
    raised
    here when you were with the interviewer, right? Why don't you go back and
    ask
    your new boss whether maths skills might be useful during your employment
    there.

    Travis Hall

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