re: When you say you know a particular front-end language, library, or framework, what does that mean? VIEW POST


What does knowing mean?

You can look at programming languages and other domains people know -- meteorology, cooking, divination, the dynamics of your family -- as systems of representation and meaning, or semiotics. A language (of any sort) is a set of symbols or signs which mean things both individually and when assembled according to a grammar, which is itself a system of signs defining what combinations and arrangements are valid. In case you couldn't tell, you can get real weird with this :)

So! If I say I "know" a language, I mean that I can generally understand the meaning of assemblages of a certain set of signs, and that I am able to create my own assemblages to transmit meaning using the same semiotic. This doesn't imply even a bounded omniscience. I know SQL quite well but am constantly looking up this or that element of the language; you are able to read and write HTML but maybe can't speak to some specific detail regarding meta tags or whatever it was off the top of your head. Like @rhymes says it's not really a yes-or-no question, but one of how well you can comprehend and manipulate these signs and whether the interviewer thinks that's sufficient for their needs.


the dynamics of your family

this is the hardest :D

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