Iris Classon
Iris Classon - In Love with Code

Removed post And removed ambitions

I broke under pressure and decided to remove the previous blog post where I asked for feedback on code I had written for a tech interview.
Reasons are the following:

Many expressed concerns that I was sharing content that should not be shared (although the unnamed company gave me full permission)

Few bothered to read the documents with my comments and the original assignment which had a big impact on the end result (such as the time constraint and the given classes and interfaces)

Concerns were expressed that I might miss out on opportunities by sharing

And a few more things

I’m just not in a good place right now to be honest. I’m tired and frankly upset. I gave it all I had when I started programming, for 3 years I’ve coded 24/7, and done everything and sacrificed everything to become a programmer loving what I did more than any other job I’ve ever had, and a decent one (one day awesome). If what I do today is not good enough then it never will be. I cannot have an assembly line type of programmer job, I just can’t. I’m starting to think my dream job isn’t out there and it’s all in my head. And maybe my coding skills as well.

Thank you so much for the feedback those of you that took the time. It warms my heart, and I do read it and use the feedback.

I think I need a break. I’ve hit a wall and I don’t quite know how to break through it this time- it seems to be breaking me instead.


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6/18/2014 12:36:08 PM
It's usually right after I give up that I figure out what's holding me back. Take a break and you'll come back better than ever. :) 
6/18/2014 12:48:24 PM
when I feel like this, I put my 'phones on and listen to this track - - you'll get thru it ;) 
6/18/2014 1:05:27 PM
Don't be down about it. Being at my dream company aka the company which when I was 5 years old and my grandpa showed me Command and Conquer: Red Alert for Win95 sparked my interest into Computer Science; I have these days too. A former coworker posted your previous "post" but I missed the chance to read it but that's ok. I find myself in a state of disappointment because of the business decisions or priorities of the things I'm part of at work. I end up finding out even if you have the strongest love and passion for code sometimes that's not what matters. Sometimes what matters is the people you are with are your friends and you enjoy life making and creating software regardless if it is the most extensible, abstract, generic etc... It just matters that you do what you love to do. Please excuse my run-on sentences and any other grammatical errors. 
6/18/2014 1:05:43 PM
If you lose opportunities by doing the things that are important to you, then those opportunities aren't that important. If the criticism isn't helping you improve and move forward, don't listen to it.

I know I've gotten bogged down in my career by negativity from peers and supervisors who, like school bullies, were only doing it to make themselves feel important. I'm a very capable .NET developer, web programmer, and graphic artist. But peers who only will "skin a cat" in what they see as the right way have sapped the enjoyment out of coding. A supervisor who constantly makes fun of my artistic skill because it doesn't translate to a whiteboard has made me question myself and pass up opportunities that I shouldn't have.

Don't make the same mistake I did. Distance yourself from those who bring you down. Even if the criticism is fair, if it isn't building you up, it isn't useful. 
Marcel Veldhuizen
6/18/2014 1:12:50 PM
I can certainly identify with what you're feeling right now. I've failed a test such as this one once and it still bothers me when I think about it, after 12 or so years...

However, passing these assignments are mostly about guessing what the reviewer would like to see, rather than having the necessary skills. Try to remember that 

I hope you feel better soon. I originally typed up a moderate amount of criticism about your code, but what I've seen also tells me you possess some crucial skills, so it's definitely not just in your head :P

You will continue to improve for a long time. I've worked at my current job for just over 5 years, and I sometimes wonder if I would want to hire me-5-years-ago for a certain position. I've been programming for 24 years, 16 or so years professionally. 
Steve Barnett
6/18/2014 1:35:59 PM
I've been writing software for the last 36 years. I've been told I can't get an interview because I don't have a degree and I've been told that I don't fit the culture and I've been told I don't have the level of skills for a senior position. The reality is, you are going to get knock-backs and they are going to hurt. You can't take they personally. It'll destroy you if you do.

Organisations have their little boxes that they want to put you in and, if you don't fit, they find a reason to say no. The reason is irrelevant, it's just something to say. Move on. You don't want that kind of job and you don't want to work for anyone who can't see your potential.

Deep down you must know that you have excellent skills. I read you blog and you leave me a long way behind with many of the things you do. You are good and you must know that. Don't let anyone tell you that you aren't. You know better. 
Frans Bouma
6/18/2014 1:43:56 PM
Don't be upset about this, you'll look back at this some day as a big learning experience, trust me :) Let me tell you a story from my own past, and I think you can relate to it as it's about the same kind of experience as you went through today. 

I started programming in 1986 at age 16, writing assembler mostly. I went to university at age 18, computer science and had my 1st intern job at age 23. (as you can see, I had a hard time getting started, I wasted 2 full years getting bad grades). It was 1993 and I thought of myself to be a pretty decent programmer, fluent in C and assembler (I wrote a lot of demo/gfx effects in these days). My intern job was writing code for a massive parallellization system for jobs on a big distributed system. 

One day, the owner of the company I was interning sat beside me at my desk and said "Sorry, but I don't think we can continue any longer with you here, unless you drastically improve your skills". I was shocked. I thought this guy was nuts, I was the best programmer ever! Or so I thought. 

He gave me one chance. He sat down with me and he took a full morning to ask me "We'll implement this, how would you do this?" and then I had to tell him exactly what I would do, he, correcting me at every step, until I got it. In the afternoon I was completely empty, I thought I had met the wall you talk about and was thrown in the abyss of dumb programmers and I would never get out of that again. He said: "don't worry about that you can't do what a very experienced programmer would do, that will come, but get the basics right first". He was a teacher at my uni before he started this company and asked to give a guest lecture with my terrible case as an example how not to proceed. Yes, he gave every bad example I had written as a show case what we should do to improve. 

It opened my eyes though. It was a terrible year, but to this day I look back at that moment and cherish it fondly: it was the moment which I see as the birth of the programmer I am today. Till that day I thought I was great, the best, but after that day I learned I was nothing, but at the same time I knew I would get there, if I would focus on what to do right. 

You will get this moment as well, and will grow from it like never before, trust me. Focus on what you can do best and learn from your mistakes, we all have and still do today. If one would have said that day "this guy will write a 1Million+ lines of code system by himself which is very successful" everybody would laugh and rightfully so. 

Hopefully this helps you a bit today. Take care, keep focused and good things will come. :) 
Chad Levy
6/18/2014 2:37:47 PM
"Many expressed concerns that I was sharing content that should not be shared..."

Screw them! It's not your fault people don't read.

I don't know, Iris. I've always thought that if you can't find your dream job, you make it. It's true it takes a lot of courage (and indeed failure) to find it, but if you want to dictate the terms of your employment the best way is to work for yourself.

Best of luck, and I hope you continue to be a vocal part of this community. I know a number of people, myself included, who have benefited from your work. 
6/18/2014 3:13:34 PM
I can understand how you feel a bit. I'm at a job now where I know I don't know as much as the others and, at times, I feel like I don't even deserve it.

I will say, from all I've seen, you are among the best developers I've had the pleasure of communicating with. You've also helped others immensely through here and Twitter. 
Ben Dover
6/18/2014 4:59:02 PM
Criticisms is the only way that allows us to move forward or think differently which is a part of our development as engineers. Anyone who suggest that they write flawless code is either too naive for their own good or too blind to see that there are several solutions for every problem to solve.

Either way I'd like to say that personally I'm sharper when I've had a good night sleep and when I actually have less on my mind, with that being said, prioritize your well-being and try to make the best of the critics, regardless if they're right or wrong.

There's loads of morons that haven't been born yet. 
Bil Simser
6/18/2014 8:22:18 PM
Never give up, never surrender. I've been programming since I was in my teens (about 30+ years now) and making a living at it for the past 25. It's hard like any career but you choose your path and make it work. I've learned to generally ignore most people's opinions and try to use criticism as a tool, what doesn't kill you sort of thing. Yes, there will be days you will want to tear your hair out. Yes, there will be jobs you have to walk away from. Yes, there will be roadblocks, trials, tribulations, rewards, successes, failures, and everything in between. Be passionate about it, enjoy and love it and look for the things that make you happy about it. It may not happen tomorrow, it may not happen for years, but it will happen if you look for it. It's an incredible rush to sit back and enjoy what you create and let it evolve, taking you to places you never knew it could. It creative and exhilarating and exhaustive and fulfilling all in one. Grab it and enjoy it for what it is, not what someone else wants you to make it to be. 
Chris Podmore
6/19/2014 1:29:45 AM
There's nothing I can add that the other's haven't already said but please don't give up.  This is their loss, not yours...  I am sure you will find something better 
6/19/2014 1:47:03 AM
Even if it was said a few times: totally agree with Chris and the others: do not give up. You are such a great inspiration and you are doing that great, It would be a mess to loose such a talented person in this challenging an interesting field.
We are able to create software, _because_ we question everything, even ourselves. It is for everybody of us immense work not to think too bad about ourseself. In my opinion, good skills in building software unfortunately go along with slight tendencies to more or less depressive moods. My recipe to get around this problem is also a link to a few good songs...

Sorry, comment is longer than expected: just go on and let nobody get you down - you are great. 
Frans Bouma
6/19/2014 8:14:33 AM
Btw, if you want me to review in detail your code you contributed to the company X, drop me a line via email. I've now spent some time on writing code for it and understand the assignment better and why they asked what they asked. 
Chris Hannon
6/19/2014 12:57:00 PM
Sorry to hear that things are difficult right now, setbacks aren't easy to deal with. I've been developing for 11 years and participated in quite a few interviews, both as the person behind the desk and as the candidate, and can't count the number of interviews where it hasn't gone well. There's so many different things that can be a deciding factor: Experience, technical skills, personality, knowledge level, assessment of interest and ability, not being quite as knowledgeable in some areas as the interviewer thinks they should be, and the list goes on. 

That sounds really depressing, but just remember that this is all about what some random person thinks about you after seeing a snippet of what your code looks like, talking to you for a couple hours (if that), as well as how they personally think that you will fit for the exact position they're looking for. Not getting hired is in no way a reflection on your abilities, it just means that some random person thought that it wouldn't be a good fit "for some reason".

I can't really offer much to help, but what I can do is give you constructive, in-depth feedback about your interview answers and your code. If you're interested, feel free to send me an email. 

Good luck to you, you'll do great! 
6/19/2014 3:20:04 PM
You've accomplished so much in 3 years, I can only imagine what another 5 would bring. I agree, don't waste away in some crappy job just to put your time in. Find something interesting and apply your talent. 
Any time you put yourself out there, on the internet, horrible people will appear. Programmers, especially, are notoriously insecure and lash out - but only in the safety of their screens. Try to ignore them. Disable comments when you need a break. Get input from professionals directly, more than the masses. 
I hope you keep at it, you're an asset to the community. 
Simon Colmer
6/20/2014 2:26:02 AM
I failed my 1st technical interview a couple of years ago and it broke my heart (the company is renowned for being amazing). It was a whiteboard coding exercise in which I needed to do string manipulation...something I can do extremely easy behind a keyboard, but I froze up when trying to write it.

I was super depressed for a while, but I got over it and I am now super happy as it forced my life to change in positive ways.

Keep your chin up - you can do it :) 
Simon Justesen
11/19/2014 7:56:08 AM
I'm sad to read about this, but everyone has a limit, I know. You're a great inspiration to all of us, you have accomplished so much already that I can only dream about! Please don't let the dark side of the community win that said, I probably don't know half of the shit you have to put up with as a girl in a male-dominated area, I can imagine there is a lot of jealousy, which makes me even more sad... But remember, for every asshole out there, there are 10x more people that appreciates the effort you're putting into making training videos, forum/blog posting etc.

You wrote: " I’m starting to think my dream job isn’t out there" ... What is your dream job? You could go freelance or become self-employed some day, when you feel ready, and create your dream job by yourself. It's going to be hard emotionally and financially, but at least you get to decide everything for yourself - which I personally find very rewarding.

I'm sincerely hoping that you'll continue to blog and make videos at some point. I really like your outgoing attitude :D 

Last modified on 2014-06-18