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Expensify CEO On 'Why We Won't Hire .NET Developers'

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the in-the-first-world-we-work-hard-to-discriminate dept.

Programming 758

TheGrapeApe writes "The CEO of San Francisco-based, VC-backed startup Expensify wrote a post on the company's blog about why he considers .NET experience on a resume a general liability, saying that it will 'definitely raise questions' when screening for developers in his shop. Quoting: '.NET is a dandy language. It's modern, it's fancy, it's got all the bells and whistles. And if you're doing Windows Mobile 7 apps (which the stats suggest you aren't), it's your only choice. But choosing .NET is a choice, and whenever anybody does it, I can't help but ask "why?"' Does he have a point? Or is it counterproductive to screen devs out based on what platforms or languages they have used in the past?"

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758 comments

Money (5, Insightful)

telchine (719345) | about 3 years ago | (#35625510)

But choosing .NET is a choice, and whenever anybody does it, I can't help but ask "why?"

I do .NET because that's where the money is. Next question please!

Re:Money (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 3 years ago | (#35625572)

But choosing .NET is a choice, and whenever anybody does it, I can't help but ask "why?"

I do .NET because that's where the money is. Next question please!

I did a .Net project because one of my clients had existing applications written in VB and they needed them updated to a more current and stable incarnation that could be supported by their programmer. Does this clown think they should have re-done everything? I think we should all chip in to get him a gift certificate to the Asshat Haberdashery.

Next question: Who the fuck are Expensify? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625584)

Who the fuck are Expensify? What, if any, notable things have they accomplished?

Re:Next question: Who the fuck are Expensify? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625822)

Who the fuck are Expensify? What, if any, notable things have they accomplished?

...VC-backed startup Expensify ...

Expensify is a firm that suckered some rich people into forking over some money so that the Suckee can call himself a CEO, make grand pronouncements that are published, and generally has a much better life than I'll ever have.

That man is a goddamn genius I say! A GENIUS!

Re:Money (0)

moondowner (1341659) | about 3 years ago | (#35625592)

The money isn't only in .net.
Also, because of this misconception, or should I say common sense, there are countries where students who finish faculty and want to get a job find out that they are offered less money for being a .net developer as compared for example for a Java developer. Two reasons: too many students learn .net instead of e.g. Java because they hear people say it's easier and because 'that's where the money is'.

Re:Money (4, Interesting)

SpryGuy (206254) | about 3 years ago | (#35625640)

I've done C, C++, Java, and half a dozen other languages in my development life.

While I loathe ASP.NET, I really like C# ... better than I like Java in fact. The Visual Studio development environment (with ReSharper added on) is really nice (though it's no IntelliJ IDEA). And I make a good living doing C# development.

To judge me negatively for this choice seems... odd. Prejudicial. Baseless.

I can understand if it was VB all the way, but come on.

Re:Money (1)

IB4Student (1885914) | about 3 years ago | (#35625672)

I make 12 dollars an hour doing C#
;_;
One of the many joys of still being a student

Re:Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625786)

well you're still a scrub. wait until you have a half a dozen large projects you carried out under your belt and a proven record of engineering skill and design adeptness and you'll make at least 5-8x that.

Re:Money (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625866)

i make 6x that fucking around with shell scripts and perl. one of the many joys of actually having a clue about shit without having to constantly learn whatever technology microsoft is pushing this month.

Re:Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625840)

When I actually wrote programs for Windows (very long time ago relatively speaking) I actually used VB. It was primarily for the event interface and all the fancy stuff was in C++ functions which were imported as dlls. While I could sling code in VB I still couldn't quite make it sing. It wasn't my preferred poison so to speak.

In the end, every coder bleeds logic and algorithms and because of this it really isn't fair to be biased for the languages we choose.

Besides, if we are in for a lynching I say we go after the LISP guys! (Just kidding... it was the first language to come to mind.)

Re:Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625674)

Good for you. Now please go back to where the money *was* so I can interview the next guy.

Re:Money (4, Interesting)

definate (876684) | about 3 years ago | (#35625740)

Exactly. A lot of jobs, and most of my C++ skills/knowledge transfer well.

This article is one of the stupidest things I've read in a while.

"Just press the right button and follow the beeping lights, and you can churn out flawless 1.6 oz burgers faster than anybody else on the planet. However, if you need to make a 1.7 oz burger, you simply can’t."

I assume by this, he means there's something you can't do in it, because all of the shit is built in. Well, I guess .NET isn't the ONLY solution to EVERY possible problem. Who would have known? Besides that, it's a pretty good solution, to many problems.

"Instead, we look for a very different sort of person. The sort of person who grew up cooking squirrels over a campfire with sharpened sticks"

Awesome. I never want to work for you. I've got several friends, and they're good friends, but they're retards. They are C purists, and like to write everything in more low level languages because it's "leet". They have lots of knowledge about C, understand some amazingly complex concepts, but get them to implement something simple, and they're going to write everything from scratch. Why? Because that's the kind of person who isn't used to using all this other code. Isn't used to finding other libraries, or just re-using someone else's code.

If they see .NET as bad on a resume, especially if that was on a resume from when the person worked at a reasonably large enterprise, and even more so if that was a windows environment, then they're retarded. If I saw a lack of it, especially when developing small applications, I'd be looking further at their work, to see if they really make smart decisions on the best language to use for the given solution.

I'd say startups don't use .NET and Windows in general, because of licensing. Simple. They don't have to cash to do it. You might also find that the people who have worked at startups are used to dealing with this, because of their own monetary constraints.

Re:Money (4, Informative)

Gutboy (587531) | about 3 years ago | (#35625796)

There is no licensing to use .NET. You can even get Visual Studio for free (Express editions) which have no restrictions on developing business applications.

Re:Money (1)

definate (876684) | about 3 years ago | (#35625844)

I was thinking more about Windows licensing, as to run those you need to run Windows, and server versions of Windows are fucking expensive with licensing.

Re:Money (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | about 3 years ago | (#35625846)

If your choices are driven by money, you aren't the sort of programmer I'd be interested in hiring or working with. Not because I wouldn't want to pay you well, but because people who have that as a motivation tend not to do their jobs as well as people who have a more personal motivation.

Re:Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625904)

Money enables you to enrich your personal life in ways that are not only intrinsic but extrinsic as well. Your statement suggests that you would happily starve whilst having the ability to code. This does not sound like good judgement or proper motivation at all.

What's really amusing is that you're willing to work for less $$ so that someone else can make more $$$ of your back like a chump.

Re:Money (3, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 3 years ago | (#35625900)

I do .NET because that's where the money is.

So do you love writing code, or did you just do it for the paycheck?

TFA (yeah, I read it, my bad) says they're looking for people who love to write code, and know how to do it well. They want coders who have a passion for what they do. They want coders who are flexible, and who are able to adapt. They want coders who are able to not only write apps, but who understand what's really going on deep down.

Honestly? I agree with the guy. If you're running a startup, and looking for long-term growth, your initial coders need to be more than merely competent.

I remember when I did a stint working for a small company... these guys, to be exact [daz3d.com] . They had two full-on coders, one hell of a script whiz who knew 3D/CG like the back of his hand, and they had me. I had to learn Qt in very short order, figure out the fun nuances of helping port everything from x86 to PPC (this was pre-Intel Mac). Oh, and we did all of our own documentation, for both the SDK (both code and our own home-grown CG-oriented scripting language) *and* the users. I had to pick up bits and bobs that I thought I'd never have to use after leaving school (dusting off rusty trigonometry skills, blending in gaming, artistic, printing/color, and a whole pile of other concepts). Oh, and we'd just bought the codebase for Bryce [wikipedia.org] during that time and had to clean that up (this is where I learned that Kai Krause can be a very evil man...)

Long story short, in that environment, you had to be agile, and given the insane hours, you had to be agile, and you had to really love doing it. OTOH, I wouldn't trade that for anything. We were outright cowboys by big-corp standards, and had a ball doing it.

In an environment like that? There's zero room for cookie-cutter technologies, or cookie-cutter programmers. (not accusing you, just sayin').

Wait what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625512)

Because I happened to attend some mandatory classes in University that dealt with .NET it's suddenly a liability on my resume?

Actually I don't think I've ever included .NET work on my CV before so I guess it's not much of an issue.

Re:Wait what? (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#35625880)

Even if you list it it wouldn't likely cause any problems. What the article was talking about was .net being hard to unlearn, and that too much investment in it might be harmful to ones career, outside the .net world. It doesn't sound to me like he refuses to hire those people just for having it on their resume, but that it does raise something that will be addressed in the interview.

To an extent he does have a point, that anybody that can't be trained or learn the tools that are in use at a given place of employment isn't qualified to work there. I just think that he perhaps phrased somethings rather poorly.

I can't personally speak to the merits of unlearning .net as I've never learned it to begin with. The bigger issue he's citing is the ability to retrain for work in a start up environment. Probably not much of a problem if you're a skilled programmer, but if you're a hack that started out with .net because it was the newest thing, you might be screwing yourself.

I wouldn't either. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625514)

Its a great way to screen candidates. If you program in .NET you're probably less sophisticated and skilled than if you programmed in C or Java on Linux.

Re:I wouldn't either. (0)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | about 3 years ago | (#35625652)

Its a great way to screen candidates. If you program in .NET you're probably less sophisticated and skilled than if you programmed in C or Java on Linux.

Do you have any idea how much better a language C# is compared to Java?

Re:I wouldn't either. (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 3 years ago | (#35625890)

Its a great way to screen candidates. If you program in .NET you're probably less sophisticated and skilled than if you programmed in C or Java on Linux.

Do you have any idea how much better a language C# is compared to Java?

Do you have any idea how much better C or C++ are compared to C#?

Re:I wouldn't either. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625726)

What does using Java on Linux gain you over using Java anywhere else? You're still just as much a weenie as the other Java mouth breathers.

Idiotic (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625520)

I've been using C# at work for some time now as a co-op, not because it was my first choice, but because that was what we were told to use. I know other languages, and I'm quite good with them.

It's just as well. Anyone who thinks .NET itself is a *language* isn't someone I want to work for.

Re:Idiotic (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 3 years ago | (#35625612)

It's great for throwing together something that mostly-works, and doing so very quickly. I wouldn't use it for anything that's at all performance-sensitive, or even just very big. It's somewhere in between true scripting languages and 'real' application programming languages.

Re:Idiotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625650)

You've never programmed anything in .Net, have you?

Re:Idiotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625654)

Like I said, .NET wasn't my first choice. However, it is what I've used at my work and so it would go on my resume, along with the other things I know. It's served its purpose well enough, even if I do dislike the program being locked into Windows.

Re:Idiotic (3, Insightful)

SpryGuy (206254) | about 3 years ago | (#35625680)

That's simply no longer true. C# is very good at performance, and isn't even remotely a "scripting language". And you can use "real" application programming techniques, just as in any other language.

I think your perception of .Net in general is dated, and that's especially true of C#.

Re:Idiotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625882)

This is that same argument that one made years ago against php, now we have facebook....

Re:Idiotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625756)

I thought .NET was a framework which just happened to be frequently associated with C#, somewhat akin to how CGI isn't a language, but is often strongly associated with perl. I guess this guy who made some startup so he could call himself a CEO has proven me wrong, though.

Re:Idiotic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625778)

I agree - this person is mentally handicapped - and I find it absurd that they have any authority in an organization meant to make money.

I'm an expert in 23 languages, have been programming since childhood starting with c/assembly and even if I'm writing a POSIX based daemon, if its a sufficient size, I will at least prototype in c#.net (maybe even write some client/admin tools for it in that language/suite) simply because the massive and highly polished libraries included in .net, and having the best IDE around (really use it and you will see why it puts the others to shame) makes the final product better tuned and usually faster to develop, even with porting time included. Microsoft didn't get where it is purely by gutting the competition, they cater to developers, and for it they mastered "crowd-sourcing" well before it became a buzzword - leading to more apps and functionality than any other OS IN SPITE OF the security issues everyone complains about. Sure it might be fun to knock them, but unlike Apple, MS products were designed by nerds, not an artist; unlike other POSIX os's and platforms, MS products were designed with business in mind, not just fun on the weekends. The development suite put fourth by MS is, in my opinion, why there are where they are - and simply being too stuck up with your first ill-taught language at a college and not having the initiative to pick up something else and really dig into on your own is no excuse for losing agility in a business environment. All that said, I would never consider hiring someone who only knows .net and learned it at a college, though personally I'd be reluctant to hire any developer with either less than 5 languages under their belt or one that first learned how to program in college.

Re:Idiotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625818)

The point of the article was that .net programers more than programmers using other languages, are often too dependent on the automation of the platform and unable to work well without it.

I think that can actually happen in other platforms rather than just .net.

My experience (5, Insightful)

Progman3K (515744) | about 3 years ago | (#35625522)

Only known ONE .NET programmer, and he was damned fine, thing is, he was a damned-fine C++ programmer too, so ...

Re:My experience (1, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 3 years ago | (#35625546)

Yeah, this guy is a moron. What's next, he's going to rule out any developers that used dual displays at a previous job? I can see it now: "We can't afford to buy two displays for our developers, and once you have two displays you're forever tainted by their influence, so we can't hire you."

Re:My experience (1)

brainboyz (114458) | about 3 years ago | (#35625626)

Well, to be honest, I feel horribly limited when forced to work at a company that only uses single screens. After years of developing and editing in one screen while referencing data or docs in the other, often multiple windows in each, alt+tab between two windows seems archaic and painful.

Re:My experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625828)

From the Article:

"Don’t get me wrong: .NET on your resume isn’t an instant showstopper. But it will definitely raise questions during the phone screen, for reasons that are best explained by simile:"

Read the rest of the article.

This guy is a jackass, but not for the reason YOU state. Just as many developers rail against Visual Basic or Java drones, he is railing against .NET drones. He is attempting to state (very poorly) a very popular opinion here on Slashdot: that great programmers are great, independent of the tools they choose to use (if .NET is one of them, so be it).

I'm not trying to defend this guy, he is an ass of the highest order. His issue is ego combined with poor communication and inability to understand the ramifications of his pulpit. His issue is not an unwillingness to hire people with .NET experience (he wants to avoid the "drone" style programmer, which many places want to avoid, those places just don't try to do it via idiotic blog postings).

Re:My experience (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625582)

Being a "a damned-fine C++ programmer" has nothing to do with whether he is a liability or not. The question is WHY did he choose to devote time to that language. There are a few reasonable answers, but most come down to poor decisions.

Re:My experience (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 3 years ago | (#35625648)

Most?

I would say MOST of the reasons programmers learn any language is because their university/boss at one time told them to program in it (many times without any way you could of known they would of suddenly decided you should use some stupid or good language).

Re:My experience (1)

farnsworth (558449) | about 3 years ago | (#35625686)

The question is WHY did he choose to devote time to that language. There are a few reasonable answers, but most come down to poor decisions.

.Net is way more than a language. That said, C# is one of the best general-purpose languages out there. It's far ahead of Java and Ruby. Only Python really competes for general purpose stuff.

.Net/C# would never be my first choice for any personal project, because the Windows complexity overhead is too high. But if you already have, say, a managed farm of Windows VMs, it's a no brainer to write an app using .Net/C#/MVC. I've done it at work many times. It works great assuming you can manage all the crap that comes along with Windows.

For personal stuff I usually go to Rails or Django or App Engine, simply because deployment and hosting is so much easier. If someone chooses to shred my resume because I've worked on large .Net projects, that seems kind of retarded.

Re:My experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625692)

I think devoting time to any language can be useful in the long haul. You never know when or if your going to need those skills. I had to learn COBAL in school even though I have never used it. I did make my code a lot more maintainable in the long run.

Re:My experience (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 3 years ago | (#35625620)

Ya as far as I'm concerned each additional language you can actually demonstrate you know (as in have done a non-trivial project in) is another point in your favour. Why? Because it means three things to me:

1) You are a true programmer, not just a code hack. You understand how a computer actually thinks, how data is stored in memory, how a processor works, etc. You understand that languages are just tools to do a job, and all they do is help you describe to the computer what you wish it to do. If required you can pick up a new language with little trouble because you understand it is all the same process, just different grammar and syntax and so on.

2) Because of that you have flexibility and will use the right too for the right job. You won't spend hours in C trying to make a text parser that could be easily done in PERL, and you won't wast time futily trying to optimize a critical function in Java that could execute 50 times as fast in C++. You'll choose the language that is right for the given task to get it done quickly, efficiently, make it maintainable, and so on. Choices will be pragmatic, not ideological.

3) You can work in non-preferred languages if required. If there is an existing program written in something you don't normally use, but their developers want to keep it all in that language, you can adapt and use that. You won't feel the need to waste immense amounts of time rewriting the whole thing, or fighting with them to write the new parts in a different language that they don't want. You can adapt and use it, even if it is the suboptimal choice in your opinion.

Real programmers you aren't paying for their knowledge of a specific language. You are paying them for their problem solving and logic skills. They can think like a computer and put problems in to things computers can understand. Having a large number of tools for that is a good thing.

Re:My experience (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625862)

You understand how a computer actually thinks

You shouldn't anthropomorphize the computer. He hates that.

Re:My experience (1, Informative)

sphealey (2855) | about 3 years ago | (#35625920)

> 1) You are a true programmer, not just a code hack. You understand how a computer
> actually thinks, how data is stored in memory, how a processor works, etc. You
> understand that languages are just tools to do a job, and all they do is help you describe
> to the computer what you wish it to do. If required you can pick up a new language with
> little trouble because you understand it is all the same process, just different grammar
> and syntax and so on.

I generally agree with that, and throughout the 80s and 90s it was a good strategy to use when fishing (as opposed to screening) for good candidates.

I'd still think hard about someone with solid varied experience. But as a technical manager who does a lot of work with databases and database-based applications I am forced to observe that there is a problem with people who have a lot of experience with Microsoft tools: they are often (not always, but often) damaged when it comes to working with databases. They don't understand database theory, they don't understand the practicalities of implementing performant database apps and managing databases in the real world, and they are absolutely wedded to thought processes (and architectural decisions) that lead to sub-optimal results. It just seems to be something that has come with working in Microsoft environments from about 2000 forward.

Admittedly the same thing often applies to those who have worked with nothing but Java, but the Java-heads are often (not always) re-programmable so to speak.

That's my 0.02 anyway. Could be wrong, but I have seen it again and again.

sPh

Lmao (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625524)

However, if you need to make a 1.7 oz burger, you simply can’t. There’s no button for it.

$50 says this idiot has never programmed anything in his life.

Re:Lmao (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625788)

I think his idea of great programmers are people he could brag on to visitors in a macho tone: "See that guy over there? He used to surf 20 foot waves, now he's working for me. That gal over there, Susie was an All-State gymnast." It's all bombast, has nothing to do with designing and writing code.

Re:Lmao (1)

Grygus (1143095) | about 3 years ago | (#35625832)

$50 says this idiot has never programmed anything in his life.

Of course he hasn't. Since when do we expect a CEO to know anything about programming? What's next, his opinion on mops?

Language flamewars today? (0)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 3 years ago | (#35625528)

What, did the /. editors feel that we do not normally have enough language flamewars, so they put as many flamebait articles on the front page as possible? First the CMU article, then the C++ article, now this.

Let's try to stay civil this time.

Re:Language flamewars today? (0)

narcc (412956) | about 3 years ago | (#35625600)

did the /. editors feel that we do not normally have enough language flamewars

There isn't any new Apple news, so they had to start a fight somehow...

Re:Language flamewars today? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#35625702)

Isn't there a new release of vi or emacs?

Re:Language flamewars today? (1, Funny)

belthize (990217) | about 3 years ago | (#35625810)

Emacs maybe but not vi, vi sucks. I would never hire anybody who used vi by choice, sure sometimes you're forced to use it but mostly it's a choice.

Re:Language flamewars today? (1)

definate (876684) | about 3 years ago | (#35625764)

Let's try to stay civil this time.

THAT'S JUST WHAT I'D EXPECT FROM YOU! SHIT COCK!

The filter says I use caps too much, well this wouldn't make much sense if I didn't, it would come off with the wrong tone, so consider this entire sentence a way of me correcting the ratio. Fucking retarded Slashdot.

Good to know (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 3 years ago | (#35625552)

I'll make sure not to hire Expensify. Why? Well if they have a language-zealot mentality, then I'm not going to like what I get. That is the sign of code hacks, not developers. Real developers can develop in more or less any language. They'll have their favourites, of course, and use different ones for different jobs, but they won't write off a given language for ideological reasons.

I can totally understand and support not hiring .NET only developers, particularly if your market is non-Windows. I mean someone who only does .NET may well be the aforementioned "code hack" and of course is little use if you are doing Android development. but that you'd count it against someone that they have done it? That just speaks of ideological zealotry, not anything practical.

One of my coworkers is our UNIX and Linux lead. He runs those servers and so so well. He has hacked many a script to make Linux work well in our unique environment. He does back end development on our website, which is LAMP. However can can truthfully put .NET development on his resume. He has done some .NET stuff for the Windows side, and also does it as a consultant. It is not the only thing he does, but it is one of his many tools and I'd expect him to list it.

He's a very skilled individual and to exclude him because he has additional knowledge of MS development would be really stupid.

So to me, this CEO has proclaimed "Don't hire my company. We are zealots who will insist in coding in a certain language, even if your project would be better served by something else."

Thanks for the warning bud.

Re:Good to know (4, Insightful)

yelvington (8169) | about 3 years ago | (#35625676)

I'll make sure not to hire Expensify. Why? Well if they have a language-zealot mentality, then I'm not going to like what I get.

That's not what the blog post is about.

And personally, I won't hire somebody who doesn't bother to read the citation.

Re:Good to know (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625694)

Did you read the article? _

Re:Good to know (1)

definate (876684) | about 3 years ago | (#35625836)

Exactly!

Any company which presumes something about its employees, because they have written in some language, or presumes that the language isn't good.

More so any developer which hasn't used .NET, especially if the solution they were implementing could have been developed in .NET, I would be more worried about. I have many friends like this guy, who are "code purists", where they stick to only certain low level languages, and write everything needed themselves. The problem being that many solutions don't need that. If you've done windows application development, then .NET is really quite good, and Visual Studio is awesome.

After reading this article, all he's basically communicated to me, is "Don't apply to work for my company, we're language zealots".

(I keep reading language, which is annoying, but I guess by .NET they mean "all languages supported by Visual Studio that aren't supported by other compilers")

Why I'm learning .NET (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 3 years ago | (#35625558)

I'm mainly learning .NET because it's a requirement as part of my university degree in management information systems. I wanted to learn regular C++ or Java as those have tons of applications, but .NET, and more specifically C# is required for pretty much any computer related degree these days. Whether this is due to lobbying by MS or due to many businesses using it, I don't have any idea, just it's that the university requires it.

Re:Why I'm learning .NET (1)

WhitePanther5000 (766529) | about 3 years ago | (#35625852)

C# is required for pretty much any computer related degree these days.

Not true, it completely depends on the degree and the university. My interests have nothing to do with Microsoft platforms, and I've never been required to use C# or VB. My BS in CS is from a small state university. Even if C# is required for your degree, surely you can opt for a C++ or Java elective class? Knowing multiple languages is handy, if not essential.

Mutiplier (4, Insightful)

igreaterthanu (1942456) | about 3 years ago | (#35625560)

.NET (like Java and old versions of Visual Basic) lets stupid programmers who usually wouldn't be able to do anything at all, do a bad job of something. So I can see where it gets it's bad reputation from.

However, for intelligent and talented programmers, .NET increases the speed that they can write code greatly. Unless you are someone like Amazon, Google or Oracle then developer time is much more expensive than CPU and RAM costs. Desktop computers have been faster than we need them for years.

.NET is also simultaneously lower level than Java (it supports pointers and pointer arithmetic), and higher level (LINQ, extension methods, better generic support, F#, TPL), so I can't see why you could pick on .NET devs and not on Java devs.

You can't claim .NET is Microsoft only either, Mono runs on *nix and works absolutely fine for server code and most windows forms code.

.net isn't a language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625564)

It is a platform with a whole range of supported languages including f# and c#.

Nothing to see here, move along (0)

PCM2 (4486) | about 3 years ago | (#35625568)

This guy says he spends "about half his time" trying to recruit hotshot developers, and then he says something like ".NET is a dandy language." And as for it being "your only choice" on Windows Phone 7 -- does Windows Phone 7 even run .Net? I thought Windows Phone 7 apps were coded in Silverlight and XNA?

This guy sounds like yet another brainless blowhard CEO, nothing more.

Re:Nothing to see here, move along (1)

dxprog (898953) | about 3 years ago | (#35625668)

I thought Windows Phone 7 apps were coded in Silverlight and XNA?

Silverlight and XNA are APIs/libraries that sit on top of the .NET framework.

Re:Nothing to see here, move along (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625706)

Actually, both XNA and Silverlight are based in .NET.

Dear Slashdot, (5, Insightful)

falzer (224563) | about 3 years ago | (#35625580)

Dear Slashdot,

Thank you for propagating this non-news publicity stunt in true Slashbot form. You never disappoint.

Love, Expensify

I'm amused, and he has a point (1, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | about 3 years ago | (#35625586)

I agree that the person who wrote the piece this article is about has a point. I don't think I'd go so far as he does, but I can definitely see why .NET would be a negative, as well as having a Java-only resume.

In truth, I've always been mystified as to why anybody would invest the time or energy in learning so much about Microsoft's platforms. It's not like that knowledge would do you much good if Microsoft were to simply vanish from the planet.

On the other hand, all the stuff I've learned about computing outside the Microsoft world will do me a whole ton of good even if several major vendors leave the planet. If RedHat dies, for example, it's not like my Linux knowledge is useless. If the FSF dies, my knowledge of C++ gleaned by using g++ isn't useless. If Oracle goes up in a puff of smoke, my knowledge of Java will not go to waste.

But if Microsoft were to utterly disappear, we'd have about 5-10 years of useful programming that could be done before all the other platforms outpaced your aging, no-longer-maintained platform so far that a good 60% of your knowledge was useless. It's a dead end because you've inextricably tied yourself to one, and only one vendor.

And recognizing this trap for what it is goes a long way in my evaluation of a candidate.

Re:I'm amused, and he has a point (2)

PCM2 (4486) | about 3 years ago | (#35625634)

It's a dead end because you've inextricably tied yourself to one, and only one vendor. And recognizing this trap for what it is goes a long way in my evaluation of a candidate.

Why? Most people take jobs to make money. If someone got hired at a place that was using Microsoft tools, and now they'd like a shot at a position you're looking to fill, how does that experience make them a less attractive candidate? How were they "trapped"? Most in-the-trenches coders don't get to make the big purchasing decisions; they work with what they're given. I'd be more impressed with someone who can be flexible, adaptable, and inventive than someone who stormed off a job because the boss wanted to use .Net.

Re:I'm amused, and he has a point (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | about 3 years ago | (#35625758)

I don't want to hire people who take jobs to make money. I want to hire people who take jobs because they love them and consider the money making to be the thing that allows them to continue doing what they love.

Re:I'm amused, and he has a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625688)

"But if Microsoft were to utterly disappear..."

That's a great point, because Microsoft is sooooooo close to folding up shop.

Re:I'm amused, and he has a point (1)

SpryGuy (206254) | about 3 years ago | (#35625734)

Isn't C# a standard now? Doesn't Mono run on Unix? I hardly think that C# would completely disappear if MS did tomorrow (which, for the record, isn't likely to happen).

Re:I'm amused, and he has a point (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | about 3 years ago | (#35625774)

Isn't C# a standard now? Doesn't Mono run on Unix? I hardly think that C# would completely disappear if MS did tomorrow (which, for the record, isn't likely to happen).

That is a point. Mono is only a horrible idea while Microsoft still exists to sue you.

And Microsoft could go away. It isn't like there's a deific mandate that they continue to exist. Personally, they seem like they're a pretty sorry company nowadays. Little better than IBM was in the late 90s.

Re:I'm amused, and he has a point (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | about 3 years ago | (#35625856)

I'd say Java is more of a liability than Mono these days. MS isn't likely to sue you -- they're just happy you're coding in C#. Oracle, on the other hand, is quite likely to announce a retroactive relicensing of Java, at, oh, around $100k per developer.

This dude is an idiot. See quotes below. (5, Informative)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 years ago | (#35625588)

See, Microsoft very intentionally (and very successfully) created .NET to be as different as possible from everything else out there, keeping the programmer far away from the details such that they’re wholly and utterly dependent on Microsoft’s truly amazing suite of programming tools to do all the thinking for them.

The dude doesn't understand the first thing about .NET

It is not different from everything else out there.

Programming with .NET is like cooking in a McDonalds kitchen. It is full of amazing tools that automate absolutely everything. Just press the right button and follow the beeping lights, and you can churn out flawless 1.6 oz burgers faster than anybody else on the planet.

However, if you need to make a 1.7 oz burger, you simply can’t. There’s no button for it. The patties are pre-formed in the wrong size.

WTF? This dude is on crack.

Why did this even get posted on /.

Some pointy haired moron goes on a rant (that will likely be accepted on face value by a plurality of /. readers), why is this newsworthy. Why would anybody want to work for this twit. This story should be moderated flamebait and troll.

Re:This dude is an idiot. See quotes below. (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 3 years ago | (#35625696)

See, Microsoft very intentionally (and very successfully) created .NET to be as different as possible from everything else out there

Yup, it's definitely as different as possible from everything else out there. Well, except for this obscure little thing called Java, but that doesn't really count.

Re:This dude is an idiot. See quotes below. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625762)

It's like he's conflating a forms designer with .NET itself.

IMHO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625594)

I go to uni in a city where there are two... Shall we say "competing" universities are. The methodologies are incredibly different. At my university, there is a very very strong emphasis on theory and steps are taken to ensure we know more than one language. The other is an MS shop.

The guys I know doing programming at the other uni know a bit about the theory and are damn good .NET programmers, but they always have issues moving to another language, even if it's something syntactically close like Java. I might not have been taught .NET at university, but I picked it up really quickly because of my previous experience with other (sometimes weird and obscure) languages like Ada, Modula and SmallTalk.

tl;dr It's not a bad thing so long as it's not the ONLY thing you have ever used

I only hire programmers who can speak (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625614)

Klingon, and preferably they can recite Hamlet in its entirety.

It just shows me how reliable they are. As in no interest in an outside life, and won't notice when we look them up.

this guy is a total moron (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625618)

Yes, it typically takes longer to achieve proficiency in C++ (meaning able to be trusted to do unsupervised check-ins into a large codebase) than in C#. But, having .NET on your resume means you're someone looking for shortcuts? Maybe it's the best tool for the job in certain situations, such as writing Windows desktop apps for in-house use. Maybe people learn .NET because they are professionally curious.

I would NOT apply to Expensify as long as this talk radio style idiot is in charge. That's a good way to suffer random career damage.

What an asshat. Make money, not controversy. (1)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | about 3 years ago | (#35625656)

This CEO has chosen an unfortunate way to be an attention whore. .NET may not be his cup of tea, but to say the experience is a liability is plain stupid. I'd suggest he spend more time generating some positive attention instead of making customers think Expensify is run by a moron.

No easy shortcut to hiring well (2)

Lemming Mark (849014) | about 3 years ago | (#35625670)

If you think you've identified an easy way to judge a job applicant, you're probably wrong. A programmer can be good in any language, you need to test his aptitude for logical thinking and learning new things - requires more effort but is more likely to do justice to both you and the applicant.

I dont consider myself a programmer, but... (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | about 3 years ago | (#35625714)

this argument is just stupid.

My highschool was a trade school where I "majored" in a computer science curriculum. Half of the curriculum was about networking and systems administration, and the other half of the program taught programming fundamentals. During my programming lectures we used a variety of languages. My freshman year we started with web development that included HTML, CSS and scripting with js and php. My first step into programming was with COBOL. I then used learned to use Visual Studio which included lessons in Visual Basic and Visual C++ From my sophomore year onward we used java almost exclusively. I also took a course in C++ as a substitute for my senior year's math course.

I have a basic understanding of programming concepts. I am in no way prepared to make it a day job. However, if i did pursue a career in the field and I brushed up on one of the high-level language this fool wouldnt hire me? So....I have experience with Visual Studio. That doesnt necessarily disqualify me from becoming an excellent Java programmer or C++ or maybe even plain old C *shudder*

Speed (1)

ZeroSerenity (923363) | about 3 years ago | (#35625718)

As the Java reference has already been well established, as somebody who does .NET daily in both C# and VB flavors, I cannot name a faster way of making the programs I need to do stuff. The frameworks just save us from having to remake and reuse tons of code that somebody already did. Why do more work than you have to?

Fortunately, the slahdotter comments agree... (1)

euroq (1818100) | about 3 years ago | (#35625728)

... that this article is flame bait and that it is stupid to identify "bad" programmers by .NET resume experience.

That being said, if you read the actual post, the guy clarifies that what he is talking about is .NET programmers at startups. .NET takes away all the "hard" stuff about programming and automates it, and startups need the type of coders who know how to do solve certain problems without the automatic processing .NET offers.

Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625736)

I've heard of Microsoft, the Seattle based company that wants people to develop in .NET. This is the first time I have heard of Expensivefy, and anyone who calls .net a "language" doesn't sound very technical to me. Also, only wanting people who have eschewed Microsoft sounds a bit RMS to me.

As for why Microsoft uses backslash for separating directories, this comes from IBM and DEC and CP/M using forward slashes for options, unlike that newbie operating system Unix which used hyphens. So when Microsoft added directory separators in 1983 (which predates .NET by some time!) they used backslashes.

It's all about tools for the job - if I am writing code for a 10 cent microchip it is going to be in assembly language. For something performance critical on bigger hardware then a compiled language. For a pretty graphical tool (with no legacy code) I would consider WPF and C# these days, since that lets you develop on the common operating system (Windows) using graphical features developed in the last 15 years (unlike the old-style APIs).

CIOs make choices about technologies (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625766)

Every CIO makes choices for the technologies used inside their companies. They also make choices for technologies to be avoided for a variety of reasons.

I'm a CIO and to be certain my company isn't stuck with single platform solutions or poor library choices,
a) all our software runs on Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, Linux, Mac and Windows
b) The Linux client cannot use Mono (my choice). PERIOD. We don't allow those libraries on Linux at all.
c) The Windows client cannot have divergent capabilities from the other systems and needs to look and feel like other platforms.
d) We prefer BSD, MIT, Apache licensed FLOSS over GPL or LGPL. I have to sign-off on GPL/LGPL stuff. Commercial stuff needs my sign-off too, obviously.

I agree that this CIO may be going too far, but I do not disagree that .NET programmers have to work harder to write cross-platform. All parts of the world are churning out .NET programmers with that a single skill. THOSE are the developers I want to avoid on my teams. Cross-platform developers who happen to know .NET are not a liability unless they enjoy .NET programming too much.

OTOH, we do have clients that force .NET development for specific projects due to 3rd party mandated tools - ArcGIS, for example. My dev team hates working on that software, so we charge 30% higher rates for that work. ArcGIS is a specialized skill and easily supports the higher costs.

If I were running a Windows-only shop, then I wouldn't make the same decisions. Thank your-favorite-deity that I'm not.

.NET is not a language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625776)

.NET is not a language. In the simplest sense, it's an execution platform (the Common Language Runtime) and a set of libraries that run on top of it (the Base Class Libraries). On top of that, there's a much larger set of libraries, the Framework Class Framework, which includes all of the domain specific frameworks, such as ASP.NET, WPF, LINQ, ADO.NET, WCF, WinForms, etc. .NET itself isn't tied to a particular programming language. Languages need to implement the Common Language Infrastructure and usually compile down to Common Intermediate Language binaries. They then run on the Common Language Runtime and may or may not make use of the various class libraries.

CLI languages include [wikipedia.org] : C#, F#, C++/CLI, VB.NET, Iron Ruby, Iron Python, PowerShell, FORTRAN.NET, Iron Lisp, Iron Scheme, Visual COBOL, Delphi.NET.

.NET is not that bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625780)

It's a decent set of programming languages and tools. It has its uses. It shouldn't be used everywhere all the time. Neither should any language. Good programmers know this and are flexible and language agnostic. Learn good practices, not any particular set of languages.

Confused rant. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 3 years ago | (#35625802)

Some of the points he is making seems to be valid. But that would be valid for any CASE tool (Computer Aided Software Engineering, remember that term from circa 1990s?). Yes, there are software development environment that allows you to create mickey mouse applications with lots of bells and whistles without fully understanding the nitty gritty. But it does not make all developers using such a platform idiots.

His rant about backslashes in path names strikes a cord with me. The 8.3 file name size restriction too. It looked like they introduced blanks in the path names specifically to break my cygwin scripts. But these are minor gripes, and as such would not impact my hiring decisions.

As an employer, I look for the fundamentals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625808)

I happen to share David Barrett's opinion of .NET, but not his approach to filtering candidates.

The first questions I ask are rather simple ones about the C preprocessor and C++ class inheritance. I need our developers to be well versed in the languages we use to produce products -- those languages are, for us, C and C++ on various platforms and operating systems.

I don't consider any experience or technical knowledge non-useful and wouldn't hold it against a candidate that he or she had .NET or Ruby or any other language/technology on a resume.

I will filter candidates if they're flag-wavers for any one technology because experience has shown me that those folks tend to try to get us to transition to their pet technology and/or don't stay around long, making them poor investments.

I do that filtering in the interview process, I think that rejecting a resume for noting experience with any relevant technology would prevent me from interviewing a potentially valuable developer.

sounds like a CMS (1)

simoncpu was here (1601629) | about 3 years ago | (#35625834)

I'm not trolling, but his analogy on McDonalds kitchen sounds like Drupal and other CMS out there. Creating a 1.7oz burger is hard on those frameworks too, even though that's where the money on web development is.

It's a trap (-1, Redundant)

ErrorBase (692520) | about 3 years ago | (#35625838)

I'm still not sure with the whole .NET thing. What I see is that everybody seems to be putting it on their resume, but fail to read a small program. Also it does not really mean anything, what do you mean by .NET ? C++ J# C# VB.NET. I can only see it as a nice marketing trick from Microsoft. I find the library that comes with .NET interesting but rather fickle, it listens to the windows policies way too much. When I code something in my (rather archaic) Delphi environment it works from Win2000 up to 2008R2x64 without a hitch. The stuff I made in .NET needs to be recompiled sometimes when a new platform needs to be supported. The MS compiler is updated and it works again for all designed platforms. I know this is good for business for most .NET devs (keeps them coming back) but I find it a terrible sign of moving goalposts. I still can make stuff quicker in Dephi than with the MS environment.

make sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35625878)

when contacted by recruiters, i'll look at the software stack 1st before going any further in the interview process

Never used dotNet, but this guy is an idiot. (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | about 3 years ago | (#35625918)

It is critical, absolutely critical, to hire the very best people you can find. The output difference in going from a bad to competent to good to great in a developer is exponential, but the difference in cost is merely logarithmic. Only a fool lets his personal prejudices stand in the way of finding talent, whether that prejudice is about race, religion, sexual orientation ... even development languages and platforms.

Maybe the candidate developed in dotNet because that's what he was asked to do by his boss. Maybe he thought C# was interesting, or would get him the job he wanted. Maybe he just *thinks* differently than you do, and so prefers dotNet to Java, Python, Ruby or whatever rings *your* bell.

What you are looking for is somebody whose talent ideally transcends languages and platforms. Somebody you could ask to write something in x86 assembler, and he'd learn it and turn out something pretty good, maybe not as fast as the average assembler programmer could, but the second time around he'd be on par in getting the job done and by the third he'd leave the average programmer in the dust. You want a creative problem solver, a deep thinker, a team player who knows when to take initiative, somebody with real grit and dedication to the success of the project.

What you want is all of that. But you'll never get it. That means *right from the get-go* you're talking about compromises. And this guy's thinking about blackballing applicants because they have experience he doesn't? Jackass.

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