Now for sale: my book for programmers entering industry, the New Programmer’s Survival Manual, is available in ebook and paper form. I expect readers of this book to fall into a couple categories: College students taking Computer Science classes and wondering, “is this what programming is like in the real world?” (Short answer: no.) College grads already in industry, who have noticed first-hand that the answer to the first question is “no,” trying to get their heads around the disparity.

This article is written with considerable snark--put on your flameproof suit if needed. I'm not actually a jerk when interviewing people, but I do get frustrated when candidates fail to do basic preparation. If you're unsure about how to prepare for a programming interview, read on...

I know this might come as a shock to you, but most programming job applicants suck. I’ve interviewed my fair share this month, and it’ll be a lot easier for all of us if I tell you upfront what I’m looking for.

As a hiring manager, my job is to make sure you can do the job you’re applying for. For programming that means you need to be able to program. So when I whip out a laptop in our round-one interview and ask you to write some code, try to hide your terrified expression.

I have over a decade of professional C++ experience, but I don’t call myself a “C++ Programmer.” Am I competent with programming in C++? Yes, very much so. But I refuse to let my skills be pigeon-holed by the language I’ve historically used. Nor should you.

Use the right tool for the job, the saying goes, and software development is no exception. Programming languages, frameworks, and other tools are the subject of religious-caliber debate but they are just means to a greater end. This article is a call to both programmers and their managers: a good programmer cannot be summed up by the list of tools they use.