Published in News

Software engineers hassled by airport security

by on02 March 2017

Prove you are a coder

Trump-empowered border patrol guards are getting sillier and are now demanding that software engineers demonstrate their powers of coding at the airport.

Over the weekend 28-year-old Celestine Omin, who was traveling from Lagos, Nigeria on business. Omin is a software engineer at Andela working for a tech startup that connects developers in Africa with US employers.

Apparently when he arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport he was given a test to prove he was a software engineer.

A Customs and Border Protection officer asked about his occupation after which he was reportedly brought to a small room and told to sit down, where he was left for another hour before another customs officer entered and resumed grilling him.

"Your visa says you are a software engineer. Is that correct?" the officer reportedly asked Omin. After verbally confirming his occupation, Omin was given a piece of paper and a pen to test his knowledge as a software engineer.

Omin was instructed to answer the following questions:

"Write a function to check if a Binary Search Tree is balanced? What is an abstract class, and why do you need it?"

According to the LinkedIn post, Omin who has over seven years of experience in his department, was seriously sleep deprived and emotionally flustered by this point. At the time he thought the questions were so crazy he thought he was being asked trick questions.

It looked like the border patrol guy had just Googled questions to ask a software engineer," Omin wrote. But he realised that if he did not give the correct Wikipedia answer he could be on a plane out of the country.

Indeed, after Omin attempted to complete the ridiculous test designed to prove he was, in fact, a software engineer, he was informed by a custom official that his responses were incorrect.

As Omin sat, convinced he would be denied access into the United States, an official suddenly told him he was free to go. Without any further explanation, the official apparently said, "Look, I am going to let you go, but you don’t look convincing to me".

It is starting to look like travelling to the US unless you are a terrorist wanting to blow up the place is a pointless exercise.  US airport security was always deeply unpleasant and silly, but right now it is getting very very silly.

Last modified on 02 March 2017
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Read more about: