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In the movie the interns have several tasks revolving around code, but this doesn't make a lot of sense to me. It confuses me because the internship, and ultimately the jobs they're trying to get, are for Sales.

I understand the necessity to know the Google software ins and outs, but coding? That makes no sense to me.

Why did they need to know how to code?

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I've not seen it, so won't answer - but it could be coder snobbery in a company that was founded and run by developers. At times I wish all the sales people I had to work with had done some coding. –  iandotkelly Jun 10 '13 at 15:43
    
Some of the best salespeople I know actually started their career as developers - they know how the system is built/ how it works and therefore come across as more genuine when selling it. –  Robotnik Jul 11 '13 at 20:58
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2 Answers

The other answers give reasonable rationales for why a movie script writer might require sales people to know coding. Whether Google does or not, I don't know, but it is an extremely reasonable requirement, especially for such a company.

However, being a multi-decade software engineer, requiring experienced coding goes well beyond snobbery, tradition, or basic product understanding:

  • drastically improves communication by providing a common frame of reference
  • provides a common lexicon
  • expectations begin within reasonable limits on both sides (sales and engineering)
  • improves sales perception of what is possible and impossible, and provides insight into how difficult (costly) a potential customer's application might be

A joke I heard in the 1980s may shed more light:

Q: What's the difference between a used car salesman and a computer salesman?
A: The used car salesman knows when he is lying.

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+1 for the joke! –  Liath Jul 12 '13 at 8:14
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Before I start, I'll disclose that I haven't seen the movie, nor do I work for Google.

Having the characters code may just be something that the writers included for the movie but it would make sense: the best sales people are going to be those that really understand how the product works.

Also, internships are designed to be wide-ranging, to introduce you to many aspects of the company. While you're there, the company is looking to see where you fit-in the best, in case they end up hiring you. Just because you think you're meant for a job in sales doesn't mean that you'll actually end up there. The company you work for may decide that you are a better coder than sales person. If nothing else, showing proficiency in more than one area makes you more appealing to a company.

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