"We have about 30 minutes left. Will you please tell me about the best project that you’ve ever created?"
that simple, unique and nonjudmental question was the key. some answered vaguely about their previous work or school project. and then some others became suddenly alive and excited, even those who appeared to be the shyest. they would talk passionately about the game they were creating, the website they had made, the open source projects they had contributed to, the utilities they made after being stuck in the middle of nowhere without any internet access. they were proud to show me. i was always fascinated by what i heard and would ask about all the details of the project they had treasured. they opened up and talked about the technical difficulties that they had overcome, about the little personal touch they added. it was their baby. and as they talked it was impossible to miss: i could see that light in their eyes, the excitement of a child that compiles and runs his first hello world. i would know right then that we had something in common. they were programmers too.
most of them didn’t have a clue about struts or some other specific framework we were using. yet once they got the job, they always ended up being golden developpers. they learned faster, they produced better code, they inspired others with their creativity and positivism. they were coders at heart.
and in the end that’s all that matters.