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Don Burleson Blog 







The nightmare interview:
“Data Modeling”

Don Burleson


This is part of my "nightmare" series of database job interviews.

In this case I had to interview a job candidate who claimed to have the same knowledge of data modeling as someone with an IT degree. 

“Rank your knowledge of data modeling from one to 10, one being a beginner and 10 being Ted Codd”.

“Who the hell is Ted Codd?”, he asked.  “I’ve been doing data modeling for 10 years and I’d rate myself a nine”.

OK, tell be about normalizing relations”.

“You mean like Nixon done with China?”, he asked.

“No, no, first, second and third normal form”.

“Yeah I know those."

“Great” I thought, we are finally track.  “How is 2NF different than 3NF?”

“Oh, I don’t know those fancy definitions, and they don’t matter anyhow.  I do it all the time, in the real-world, not in theory”.

“Ok, then describe he characteristics of a 3NF data model”

I’ll never forget his reply because it was exactly, word-for-word, the same as the U.S, Supreme Courts definition of pornography:

“I can’t describe it, but I know it when I see it”.

Stories like these and other tips for the IT manager can be found in the book "Conducting the Programmer Job Interview" ($9.95) by Rampant TechPress:



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