(updated )

Master Foo and the Technical Recruiter

I found Eric Raymond’s Unix Koans of Master Foo several years ago and simply loved them. Like the Zen koans they are taken from, they are a succinct way to communicate concepts of software development, specifically as they relate to the Unix development subculture.

In the same spirit as Eric’s koans, I wrote a similar story involving the illustrious Master Foo and his interaction with a technical recruiter:

An ancient painting believed to be a likeness of Master Foo.

A technical recruiter, considering that the ways of software developers were strange and unusual, sought an audience with Master Foo to learn more about the Way of software. Master Foo met the recruiter in the HR offices of a large firm.

The recruiter said, “Many software craftsmen scowl or become annoyed when I ask them how many years of experience they have in a new programming language. Why is this so?”

Master Foo stood, and began to pace across the recruiter’s office floor. The recruiter was puzzled. “What are you doing?”

“I am learning to walk,” replied Master Foo.

“But you’ve been walking most of your life!” the recruiter exclaimed.

“Yes, but this floor is new to me.”

Upon hearing this, the recruiter was enlightened.

Update 5 January 2016

Eric graciously included this story in Rootless Root, with a couple of minor edits. Thank you, Eric!