As a Software Engineer, what would you look for in a Software Company before joining it?

As far as I'm concerned it's not a discussion. It's seeking specific advice to a specific problem. What justification is there for forcing it to CW?

Edit: let me counter the predictable arguments.

It isn't programming related.

A Question About Questions:

  1. Questions about social engineering, management, or career building, ergonomics, or other “soft” topics related to development work. (7)


The “winners” of this poll, items 1-7, map strongly to my idea of what we built Stack Overflow for.

Exhibit B: 792 questions tagged with 'career-development'.

It's about the reputation.

I had ~25 upvotes beyond the daily rep cap of 200 on that day so no it isn't. Even if I didn't it's still not the reason.

It's subjective.

So are 5,716 other questions. Beyond pure syntax, most programming topics have varying degrees of subjectivity. "Should I use an interface or a class for this?" is subjective. "Is anything wrong with this object model?" is subjective.

It's a duplicate.

If it's a duplicate, close it as such.


If there's been some change in policy I'd like to know about it. There's nothing on the blog and nothing new in the FAQ so I'd really like to know why a mod took it upon himself to force something to CW with no explanation why (there or here).

I think it's important for programmers to be able to ask such "soft" questions. If that's no longer the case, fine, no problem. While it is fine, such questions should be left alone. If they're of no interest to you, just add "career-development" to your ignored tags and move on.

EDIT: Still looking for an answer to this one.

  • 7
    Cletus: It seems like you're upset that you aren't getting reputation for it? It's a question that doesn't have a discrete answer; it requires discussion; it's opinion; and that user has a history of asking rapid fire questions for reputation. If anything, we ought to be putting that user on a question-asking hiatus. Commented Oct 23, 2009 at 4:12
  • 5
    Once more with feeling: Programmer-related is not programming-related. Career-related is not programming-related. Although these questions and answers are interesting, this is not the venue for them.
    – John Rudy
    Commented Oct 23, 2009 at 11:51
  • @George: I got 25 upvotes that day beyond the reputation cap so please don't tell me it's about the rep.
    – cletus
    Commented Oct 24, 2009 at 6:08
  • @John: once more with feeling, career questions are fine as stated by Jeff and Joel and as witnessed by the fact that there are ~800 of them on SO to date. If it doesn't belong it should be closed anyway so that doesn't explain the forced CW status.
    – cletus
    Commented Oct 24, 2009 at 6:11
  • 3
    @John Rudy: I extend "programming-related" farther than you do, so I wouldn't vote to close. Reasonable people can disagree. @cletus: The question is not whether career questions are OK or not (although as you can see that's also open for debate). The question is whether questions that are essentially opinion polls should be CW or not. I think the answer to that is very definitely "yes". Commented Nov 4, 2009 at 17:48
  • 3
    Wow, this question changed! By the time I got to the end of it, I'd almost forgotten that it was about a switch to CW, rather than a close/delete action. FYI to future readers (in case this goes downhill): at this point in time, the question has never been closed, and the consensus seems to be that it is appropriate for SO (but not really a normal question, since it seeks the personal opinions of anyone who cares to read it).
    – Shog9
    Commented Nov 4, 2009 at 18:01

4 Answers 4


As far as I'm concerned it's not a discussion

Nope. It's a poll.

It's probably also worth noting that 3 of the first 4 answers were "Joel Test". Just sayin'...


It might be specific to you but it's still an open-ended, who cares dares, kind of question for the hive mind. What one person would look for before they think of joining a software company differs from someone else.

Maybe the lunch buffet is the most important aspect right after the free vending machines of Jolt and Dr Pepper. Or that each programmer has their own office. Maybe that they are paid in money and not stocks.

Just because Spolsky has a test doesn't mean that that is the right and only answer and that all other discussions are moot and invalid.

  • 1
    Most questions on SO are subjective. "Is this object model OK?" "Should I implement threading like this?" all can have differing opinions and no provably correct answer.
    – cletus
    Commented Oct 24, 2009 at 6:12
  • 3
    @cletus: I disagree. My observation is that most questions do have objective answers, although sometimes more than one. Obviously, at least one of us has selective memory (more likely both), or we read different questions. Commented Nov 4, 2009 at 17:41

It overlaps a lot with other questions, and is rather subjective. Also doesn't really fit as well with the intended purpose of SO - but that seems to be a little more up for debate.

  • Even questions about checked exceptions in Java (clearly programming related) are subjective as are most things that are beyond pure syntax. It fits in well with the ~800 other career questions and Jeff and Joel's statements on career questions. Overlap might be a reason to close as a duplicate.
    – cletus
    Commented Oct 24, 2009 at 6:14
  • 4
    You asked, I answered. Clearly you are not going to be convinced it should have been handled any way other than what you want.
    – AnonJr
    Commented Oct 24, 2009 at 13:55

May I cite the FAQ:

[CW posts] make the post easier to edit and maintain by a wider group of users...

As Shog9 already mentioned: it is a poll. To make it easier for people to add additional info to these poll posts (by lowering the rep level for edits below 2k), it is a good idea to force CW. That is what it was made for.

Novelocrat's and your answer should be one post and not two. With CW merging these is possible for users below 2k rep, too.

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