Let’s assume that Mark Zuckerberg suddenly said, “Screw this Facebook thing. I just want to be a coder at Google.” Would Google hire him?
I should hope so!
Is Zuckerberg a good software developer?
Yes. Zuckerberg has proven:
Strong technical competence. Even if he’s weak now in coding, he’s been a decent coder recently enough that he could pick it up again.
An ability to get things done.
In fact, he’s been so phenomenally successful at all of those things that Google would be utter fools to not hire him.
Would he actually work out at Google, after all he’s done?
Maybe not. Maybe he’s developed too much of an ego to work well with others as true peers. Maybe others will just be too intimidated by him to work well with him. Maybe he’d get bored with coding, particularly after years of running a major business.
I’d even go so far as to say he probably wouldn’t be great as a software developer anymore. It’s been too long. He’s done too many other things. He’d probably be bored.
So, wait, why should Google hire him if he probably wouldn’t work out?
There’s enough odds that he does wonders for Google that it’s worth taking a shot. Worst case, he’s not good at his job and he is destructive to the people around him. Google fires him, and maybe the morale of a few engineers is hurt. That’s not a huge loss, compared to what they might gain from his employment.
Would Google hire him though as a software developer?
While I hope Google would make an exception to their regimented hiring process complete with technical interviews, there’s a good chance that they would put him through the same ol’ process. This means a full day of coding and algorithm questions and his being judged primarily on his interview performance, not his technical skills.
Would he pass those interviews? With a bunch of preparation, I’d give him about 50% chance of passing it. This is about the odds I give an engineer who’s currently employed at Google of being re-hired through the same process.
Combined with about a 50% chance of Google bypassing these interviews entirely, I’d say that:
Mark Zuckerberg would have a 75% chance of being hired at Google as a software developer.
Gayle Laakmann McDowell – Ex-Googler Software Engineer, Author of The Google Resume