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The Greatest Question\Riddle of Them All?

Posted by larryjava on June 11, 2012 at 5:06 PM PDT

As our Java project progressed, we began to add new members to our development team.

This meant many resumes to review and many interviews to conduct.
It was to become quite a time consuming chore for the interviewers.

During a portion of the interview, a series of technical questions about Java are asked.
The goal behind these questions is to allow the interviewee to talk to us about Java.

Some of the Java questions are general. Some of the Java questions are more specific.
The general questions will sometimes yield some very creative answers from the interviewee.

One of our questions is fairly specific.
The question is : "How can you send data from a Servlet to a JSP and back?"

A very simple question. A very simple answer is all that is expected.

The answer we expect needed to include mention of
the "getAttribute" method, the "setAttribute" method, and the "HttpServletRequest" object.

We believed that all of the Java interviewees would answer this question easily.
We were wrong!

Over 90% of the interviewees could not give a satisfactory answer to this question.

Some of the answers, we got, were long-winded statements about frameworks, tag libraries, database access, etc.
Some of the interviewees would simply say, "I don't know".

When the answer is revealed, the interviewee would usually say, "oh yeah, that's right".

This greatly surprised us. Why was this happening?

We concluded that this question can be correctly answered by the Java developer who
has actually written this kind of code.
To someone who has never written this kind of code, the answer is not evident.

Nevertheless, we have been able to find plenty of Java developers for our team.
The turnover rate of developers on our team is very low.
We have been very happy with the quality of work produced by the Java developers on our team.

We still ask this question during our interviews.

The fact that this question is giving most of our interviewees so much trouble,
causes us to wonder if we are asking the interviewees to solve the greatest riddle of all time!

Comments

And if I asked you what class would allow you to write a ...

And if I asked you what class would allow you to write a customer cell renderer for a JTable, and why you would need it, what would your answer be?

I find the question itself a bit illogical. A JSP is (by ...

I find the question itself a bit illogical. A JSP is (by definition) a servlet. So aren't you really asking, "How do I send a message from A to A and then back to A?"

Maybe somethings getting lost in translation here, but to me ...

Maybe somethings getting lost in translation here, but to me your question is phrased confusingly. It's like asking people "How do you send data from one Java object to another?". You might be thinking "call a method with a parameter", but there are dozens of possible answers, and you didn't specify that you wanted the simplest one.

The bigger question is: who cares how you do something in ...

The bigger question is: who cares how you do something in JSP?

JSP is a standard, which played a big role in Java, yet its' time is over. (Almost) No new project uses today JSP, thus knowing JSP is somewhat irrelevant to a Java developer in 2012.

Agree.. question itself is big riddle. There are plenty of ...

Agree.. question itself is big riddle. There are plenty of right answers. Its like why didnt you dream about getAttribute last night.