Ask a Jedi: Getting a job and code samples

George sent me this a few weeks ago:

I'm currently looking for a new ColdFusion job in London and a lot of the companies I apply to ask for some form of example code I've written. The only CF apps I've worked on are behind firewalls on internal networks run by companys using apps I've worked on, so I'm looking to get something together that I can just throw at a company (or deply on a website and give them the URL) whenever I'm asked for it. One thing I've supplied to a couple of companies is something I knocked up a while ago while I was experimenting with a couple of techniques. It's a SAX XML parser for CF and uses a lot of cool stuff - calling Java from CF, calling methods in a CFC from Java, duck-typing, mixins, adding variables to CFCs at runtime, yadda yadda. However, there's very little front-end required for a SAX parser so I can't show much HTML/CSS/JS. If you have a few minutes, I'd be interested to know what sort of things you'd like to see in code provided by a candidate for a ColdFusion job you're hiring for.

It is interesting because what you provided is exactly what I’d look for. You seem to be very passionate about your project, and you pointed out what is interesting about it. That is, in my mind, exactly what I’d want in a code sample. It also relates to the types of questions I like to ask candidates: What was the coolest piece of code you have written? What was the most difficult piece of code you have written?

How you answer this can tell me how much passion you have for your code and also talk about how you solve problems. That is typically what interests me the most. I don’t expect a coder to have memorized every function (go ahead, quiz me, I can’t seme to ever remember what comes first in the find function). I do expect a coder to know how to look in the docs and where to go to for help. I also want to know how you debug and test your code as well.

Being able to talk about your code is a must since, unlike those fancy Flash developers, your end results will never be as sexy as an animation. Unfortunately - you will have to actually show something to people, so I think it is a good idea what you are doing (building the example site).

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