I have been developing an economic model at work that does cost benefit analysis. The other day I created a recursive function (For those who don’t know what recursion is check out Wikipedia‘s or Khan Academy‘s explanation).
This caused me to pause and reflect on a job interview I had over 7 years ago. I applied for a position at a SEO company. I was interviewed by some awkward computer science graduates who, frankly, didn’t believe I had much to offer. I mean I had a degree in economics and couldn’t possibly fathom what they were doing.
I tried my best to make the case that I was self taught and could be an asset. In fact I recall asking them if they had tried developing a model (I was thinking OLS regression) to determine which factors had the biggest effect on page rank. They dismissed the idea because “things change so fast” (how dare I challenge their methods) and continued with their inquisition, I mean interview. I remember at one point in the interview they handed me a sheet of paper with some programming code on it and asked me to describe what the function did.
I looked at it and was shocked to see the function call itself. I remember thinking why on earth would you ever want/need to do that. After all I have never had to do that before (yeah I was a bit cocky too). Needless to say when I couldn’t explain or even name the programming pattern (i.e. recursive function) half of the programming staff had their biases confirmed and the interview was done. They teased the web development projects I developed as amateurish and brought the interview to a close.
Well when I created a recursive function the other day I stopped. I created it because I saw the merit in the pattern. It was interesting to see a change in myself.