You simply cannot expect to implement programming that hasn’t been thoroughly reviewed for coding bugs and, as it’s never advisable for you to review your own code, this means you’ll have to hire someone for the job. But, with whom should you entrust this grave responsibility? Here’s some practical advice for choosing a programmer to review your code:
Test the Programmer
You’d be amazed at the number of self-proclaimed “programmers” who have trouble with even the simplest of programming tasks or code review. If you don’t believe this, consider the fact that many real programmers felt it necessary to expose this astonishing revelation via a whole onslaught of web-based assessments designed to help people like you test people who claim to be programmers. Visit the Interview Zen and Codility websites to check out online coding screenings that can help you put potential programmers to the test.
Review Programmer Portfolios
This is quite possibly the best way to get an accurate feel for the kind of work they do. A programmer portfolio doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but it should provide for you inarguable proof that the coder has a verifiable presence in the world of code. Examples of portfolio components include files (or profiles) on open-source code repository sites, professional blogs, Stack Overflow logs, and even social media accounts. These are all tools to help you get to know your coder’s capabilities before you commit to a hire.
Give Programmers a Test Run
Not to be confused with testing a programmer’s knowledge (as per the first tip), giving programmers a test run involves assigning them one, small project and seeing what they do with it. You can even give each programmer a different assignment, to make the most of your budget allotment, or give all of them the same assignment, to compare their work side by side. Choose a basic project that you know should challenge a good programmer, but that you also understand well enough to be able to accurately gauge the programmers’ solutions. If you need help developing a test run model and analyzing the results, consult with an IT professional.
Meet Face to Face
At some point, you’re going to have to sit face to face with at least a couple of candidates to determine which programmer you should hire for the job. If you’ve done all of your homework up to this point, it’s likely you’ll only have the most viable candidates on your interview short-list. Also, consider the best approach to your interviews. It’s likely that a traditional, question/answer interview won’t tell you everything you need to know about your candidates. You can learn a lot more about how a programmer thinks, communicates, and approaches tasks by prompting the programmer for a presentation on his or her expertise.
The programmer you choose to review your code faces a huge responsibility. You want to be sure your programmer is up to the challenge. Keep these tips in mind when assessing your programmer options.