Would you use Matlab Central in a job search?

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If you have used Matlab Central in a job search, I am curious how. The main way I can think of is to trying to recruit someone who is very active on Answers, fex, or Cody; or documenting Matlab Central activity on a resume. I read this article and wondered "Does Matlab Central count"? Not presently looking for a job nor a job candidate, just curious about this aspect of Matlab Central utility. [If this is an inappropriate question I will delete.]
  1 Comment
Ryan on 11 Jul 2012
Are you looking for a job or looking for someone to fill a job?

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Accepted Answer

Andreas Goser
Andreas Goser on 16 Jul 2012
It depends. Approaching somebody indivually seems acceptable to me, but a massive load of message not.
On the other hand, when I am reviewing CVs, then an activity in MATLAB communities is definitely a plus. But as I am looking for recent graduates, this a different story compared to people who look for candidates with multiple years of business experience. Here I would ask and verify when they are active in the community, e.g. too many posting during standard business hours would be a concern.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 8 Nov 2022
If you are considering someone who is an active poster of answers on technical support forums, you might well get to see how helpful they are and how well they explain matters, and how they deal with frustration (demanding users, user insults.) Those are "soft skills" that are quite difficult to teach, but they can make a huge difference in the workplace.
I used to be in contact with someone who was not the best technically and not continually pushing themselves to learn more about the field, but their workplace was quite happy with them because they did very well in talking to users. A person who is competent enough but makes users feel listened to and not feel stupid, can be far more valuable for some kinds of work than a different person who knows more about technology but "talks down" to users.
So you need to understand what skills are actually important for a particular position. Does the position need someone technically brilliant but difficult to get along with, or is getting along well more important than highest marks on an online exam?
There is a famous essay that urges companies to fire their "rock star" employees: such employees often turn out to be a net drag on the organization.
Anyhow... so once you have found a frequent poster who communicates well, it is fair game to check out what time of day they post. You might establish from their posts that they know a particular technology well... but are you going to be able to get them to work on the project at hand consistently, or are they going to mentally wonder off to answer questions instead of doing what is in front of them? And although it is certainly very valuable to have someone competent answer a whole bunch of questions, is your company willing to effectively pay the person to solve problems for other companies that are not paying you for the service?
But it depends on what your own organization is like. If you would be paying salary instead of hourly, then if you are happy with what the person would accomplish for your company, then you might not care how much time they spend on other activities, or even so much the timing, as long as they demonstrate ability to prioritize well enough.

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More Answers (6)

Sean de Wolski
Sean de Wolski on 11 Jul 2012
Certainly not inappropriate. It's how I got my job here :) If you want to get ahold of someone on here, why not ask a question?
I'll start: If you're active on here and looking for an awesome job with an awesome company - email me!
  1 Comment
K E on 11 Jul 2012
Very helpful, thanks. I edited my question to say I am not presently looking but if I was, I think I would use Matlab Central in some way.

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Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 13 Jul 2012
This can be tricky.
In my recent government work, recruiting was not allowed: the closest we could get was to happen to notify someone that a position had been posted. Hiring was by the best of the people who actually applied for the position, excluding only those who failed mandatory qualifications.
The hiring procedures were pretty serious stuff, having been developed in response to a number of lawsuits over the years, including multiple government losses at the Supreme Court of Canada level.
That said: one I had someone's application in-hand, it was considered entirely fair for me to examine their public postings with regards to "competencies" that had been listed on the job posting. For example if part of the job included communicating with users, then it was fair to examine how well the applicant explains things. Which is a different matter than how technically skilled a person is, with ability to explain well being rather less common than raw technical skill.
That having been said about recruiting in that environment:
It is a very human tendency to prefer to deal with people one knows, even if only through postings. A person with known skills and known types of reactions can be worked with. There might well (it is statistically likely) be other people with better or broader skills, but an unknown individual is also a risk -- until you know them, you worry that they might "jump the couch".
For example one time that I was looking around to see whom might be available, I discovered that one person I checked out was hostile towards individuals of a certain nationality; that was not acceptable our environment, especially as we had some people of that nationality working for us.
Preferring to work with people one knows is also a disadvantage, to the extent that it interferes with taking the opportunity to meet someone with good skills that one did not happen to have met. There was a period during which we could hire students: some of the students that we hired without having met before the hiring process turned out to be wonderful -- and some of the students we knew something about before-hand turned out to be not so great. Unfortunately, one only has limited resources, so one tends to select from the best one knows.
It has long been my personal opinion that the socialization of programming has changed over the years, that the days of the lone programmer in a basement are mostly gone, and that (except perhaps in some theory work) to really work effectively these days pretty much requires comfort and familiarity with electronic resources such as this forum (or even Facebook). A person searching online for information about how to do something in MATLAB is going to find that there are not many active resources on the topic (though lots of web pages showing how to do specific things.) These days, I expect people interested in a subject to look around for electronic resources, and if they don't, then it gives me pause to wonder if they are the right person.
I have noted that there are some undergrads who offer assistance here. The answers they give are sometimes incorrect or incomplete. But what I look at is not whether they are wrong on any one response, but rather I look at how they are trying and how well they are learning from their mistakes. Facts are learnable in time; the habit of effort to continual improvement is not something that can be taught.
On the other half of K E's question, of searching for employment or contracts here:
Mathworks does not wish this to be a "job wanted" board, and does not wish people to advertise their services here. Some advertisements of services have been removed already. The only area in which one can post one's availability is in one's profile.
I understand Mathwork's position on this matter, but for selfish reasons I do sometimes wish it were otherwise, so that I could advertise myself.

Paul Metcalf
Paul Metcalf on 16 Jul 2012
I've been thinking about this as well. For example, would it be appropriate for a job board forum to be hosted by Mathworks where people could easily get in touch and stay on top of jobs involving Mathworks technology, including embedded systems etc? I don't know...

Jan on 16 Jul 2012
Edited: Jan on 16 Jul 2012
I frequently get offers to earn some bucks by solving homework questions of pupils and students. Of course I reject them and this does not match the term "job", because it is cheating. But some other people offer serious part-time or full-time jobs for some contributors also, when their Answers or FEX submissions match the concerned field.

Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 8 Nov 2022
I did.

Devi on 31 Oct 2022


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