The Tao of the Programmer

The Tao of the Programmer

Due to work, I had to look for people in the staff and simply to perform certain tasks. I can say that 90% of candidates are rejected after reviewing their resume, even if it contains the right keywords (I don’t extrapolate my methods to the entire labor market).

By the set of schools and technical terms – or rather, by the way they are located, how everything is designed, what phrases are used – you can roughly assume a person’s expertise, what he can understand and how deeply, and where he lied or indicated that with which little is familiar. By describing the experience, you can assess where he really did something, where he watched how adult uncles worked, where he invented everything again.

Marc Chagall, “Walk”, 1917-1918

It’s not that hard really. You just need to empathize with the person, and look around in the environment that he indicated in the resume. And you can immediately feel its artificiality or absurdity. Or that a person has been working for the last three years in an environment in which there is an object in a prominent place, which he has never once remembered.

Naturally, his skills and experience should be relevant to yours so that the conclusions are more or less reliable. And you need to empathize not with the person, of course, but with the image that he created with his resume. But doesn’t it look like a self-portrait?

Vincent van Gogh, “Self-portrait with a bandaged ear”, 1889

Resumes can be read like paintings. Someone quickly and clumsily sketched something out of incompetence, and someone seems to do it too little, but his strokes are harmonious and cause aesthetic pleasure. And behind each of them, a solid experience is felt.

Michelangelo. Fragment of the fresco “The Last Judgment”, 1537-1541

An artist can write a self-portrait for years, a programmer writes his resume for his entire professional activity. He does this not out of selfishness, not only to monetize his work, but as something very important to him. As something at the same time that is a cut of his current skill and experience, and already has the contours of aspirations for the future of his image, more competent, stronger, more beautiful. How something is the result of his work, and his goal, and his essence.

Leonardo da Vinci, “Turin self-portrait”, 1512

Probably, the above is applicable to people of any profession, but it seems that it is the programmer who expresses his skills and expertise on paper the most effectively. How can a housekeeper verbalize in a letter the accuracy with which she wipes the dust from the plants? Is the driver how smoothly he drives the car and how well he foresees potentially dangerous situations on the road and takes the necessary actions?

Warhol, “Red Self-Portrait”, 1986

Every few years, I rearrange my resume, like a woman adjusts a dress to fit her figure as needed. At first it was just a dry list of education, skills and a little experience. Then two A4 pages were not enough, and we had to make a website. Then rework it. Then again.

The website is also part of the resume. How it is made, how it works, how it looks, how much it gives on PageSpeed. You change, your requirements for the site change, which is the essence of your reflection. And there you can already briefly place some working use cases, information about third-party projects, about open source activities – everything that also shapes your image in a professional aspect.

An ordinary two-page summary, however, is also not self-sufficient and may contain links to GitHub and others, that is, it is the tip of the iceberg, by which you can judge somehow about its unspoken part.

Frida Kahlo, “Two Fridas”, 1939

After some time, the need to send out a resume disappears – there is a permanent job, or otherwise the need to search for it somehow disappeared. But from time to time you still come back to it: “Here, two terms need to be swapped. Here, the wording needs to be tweaked a bit. But this project needs to be removed – I’ve grown out of it, I don’t have it anymore.”

The little prince put the planet in order every morning, you put your resume in order. You feel responsible for every letter in it. After all, these are not just words – behind some of them there can be serious turns in your life, behind some – millions of dollars in profit or, on the contrary, bankruptcies that have passed you by the river of time. All this leaves its mark – both on you and on your resume.

Albrecht Dürer, “Son of Man”, 1500

By editing the resume, the programmer programs himself, emphasizing what he wants to improve, and relegating the shortcomings to the background. By highlighting and emphasizing certain skills, he attracts an employer who will enable him to develop them.

A programmer’s resume is the path of his movement towards harmony. It is not for nothing that its synonym – Curriculum Vitae – is translated as “Course of Life”.

Related posts