Project manager and IT director interview this contract programmer, and based on the contract shop’s recommendation and a brief technical interview she’s hired, reports a pilot fish on the scene.

“She interviewed well, but unfortunately that’s where her skills largely ended,” fish says.

“Basic skills required for this job were C, SQL and Oracle’s PL/SQL and Pro*C — that’s like C with embedded SQL. After struggling for a few days on her first assignment, she asked me, ‘How do you open a file in C?'”

Fish hands her his copy of The C Programming Language and tells her to look up the fopen() function.

But he’s a little troubled by the question. After all, he thinks, any C programmer with more than a couple hours’ experience should know how to open and close files, right?

After a few more days of struggle, the contractor approaches another female programmer — one who’s extremely competent — and asks her to write the program for her, since they’re both women programmers.