I recently applied and got interviewed for two software engineering positions, one of which I was extremely qualified for technically, the other borderline qualified for. I will not mention names but I was quite surprised to be rejected for both positions, not because of any lack of technical merit, but apparently because I didn’t seem excited enough about the job. Even for the job I was only borderline qualified for, my interviewer’s main objection was that he couldn’t see any “passion”. Coming from a background in instructional and UX design, it was surprising to me that it would even be a factor. Now, I know for a fact that, at least in aerospace, many engineers walk around all day with about as much passion as a block of wood, and yet do their jobs just fine. I was one of them myself. But, apparently, software engineering is different. “Passion” or “excitement” is a common requirement for software engineering jobs (that is, unless you work for Microsoft, which is well known to be one of the most emotionless companies there is, in my opinion). For me, computer programming has a subtle human warmth to it that classical engineering tasks (say, control theory or structural analysis) lack. There’s a level of expressiveness in writing software that is utterly absent in structural analysis, and I believe that this expressiveness attracts passion. In other words, I think software engineering is inherently passionate. Thoughts?
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