Every month or two a ‘Technical Recruiter’ from one of the larger placement companies calls me up to see if I’m available for work. Most of the time I’m not, and so the conversation terminates quite quickly. However, once in a while I am available, and so the inevitable request for an updated resume is made. After sending an updated resume, the ‘Technical Recruiter’ calls back to discuss what you have to offer.
Well, for the first time in several years I recently went through this rigmarole. The conversation with the recruiter was both illuminating and yet rather depressing. To paraphrase, the conversation went like this:
Recruiter: “What RTOS experience do you have?”
Me: “VxWorks, MicroC/OSII, Embedded Linux, various bespoke systems”
Recruiter: “No others? ”
Me: “Isn’t it more important that someone understands the benefits and limitations of an RTOS rather than knowing the particular API of a specific RTOS?”
Recruiter: After a long pause. “Our clients like someone that can hit the ground running.”
I see two possibilities here.
1. The ‘technical recruiter’ has no technical knowledge and is nothing more than a matcher of acronyms and buzz words.
2. His clients really are saying to him, we need someone with experience of XYZ RTOS.
If it’s the latter, then it appears that knowledge is a more highly prized commodity than understanding. Personally, given the choice between someone that knows an RTOS API and someone that really understands priority inversion, can discuss the pros and cons of RMA as a scheduling algorithm, and can explain the implications of making an RTOS call from within an ISR, then I’d take the latter any day. Of course, one might claim that an experienced user of XYZ RTOS should be aware of these sorts of issues. However, in my experience, large swathes of the folks out there using an RTOS really don’t have a clue about what it’s doing for them – and what it’s costing them.
Thus my point is this. Next time you are looking for help, think about what you’d like the person to understand – as well as what they should know. I suspect you’ll end up with better help.