programming interview books

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programming interview books

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sep 13, 2008, 2:18 pm


I'd be interested to know if there are any books on interview questions
on languages such as C++,C,Perl,SQL,Oracle,Javascript,Java,Python(in descending
order of importance,at least to me)
If you know of any please write them here so everybody can use them.
I will start the list:

1)Test Your C Skills by Yashavant Kanetkar (apart from the fact that it has
some compiler-dependent questions and some deprecated feature questions
I don't have any other book to use for this)
2)Java/J2EE Job Interview Companion By K.Arulkumaran(I haven't yet tried it)

continue the list below please.
thank you

sep 13, 2008, 4:34 pm

Personally speaking as someone who has conducted loads of interviews in the past. Don't bother. You either know your stuff or you don't. Most of the questions I ask of a candidate aren't going to be covered by such books. If you don't know your stuff I will find out. I also judge on hesitancy when discussing past projects and how keen you are to talk about some of the interesting bits of code you wrote on past projects (just stating what the program did doesn't really count). I will also ask about design (and design philosophy) and testing and the development process in the large.

sep 14, 2008, 2:51 pm

I would have to agree with andyl. However, I do think that a good grasp of fundamentals is very important too. Interviewing for a Unix development position? Can't explain system calls, strace and ltrace to me? You're in trouble.

The thing is that is hard to learn that sort of stuff from just reading. I would more recommend playing around with things and referring to books as needed. You'll end up with a much deeper understanding of why things are they way they are.

sep 15, 2008, 2:51 pm

For plain old C, its the "C Puzzle Book". If you can feel comfortable with the material in the book, it might not do a whole lot to make you a better programmer, but you sure will be able to wow em at interviews.

sep 15, 2008, 4:40 pm

#2: What kind of hesitancy do you mean? I often hesitate to talk about past projects because I don't want to reveal anything confidential about a past employer. (Fortunately, several of them are now bankrupt so it's not an issue for them...)

sep 15, 2008, 5:04 pm

Hesitancy on the technical bits.

Usually I would ask the candidate to talk about something they found particularly interesting or challenging from a technical POV. I can appreciate people not revealing anything particularly confidential but in any decently sized project there will be plenty of things that can be talked about without telling any trade secrets (and in many cases without even giving any more information on what the system actually did than what is on your CV). The techniques could even be old hat now - for example I wrote a custom web based system that was completely data driven from XML (transformed by XSL) with regular weekly updates for a very small commercial TV station. No-one will bat an eye at that now - but in 2000 when I did it those techniques were still quite new. I would expect myself to be able to talk with passion about that system and what design choices I had to make - indeed why make it XML/XSL driven in the first place. If I include a few details about the code - all the better. It shouldn't need to take a long time - fifteen minutes will do. You could even talk about a personal project or some open source you work on. It is the passion and being intimately familiar with a code-base that I am looking for. Obviously for people straight out of uni (or otherwise looking for their first programming job) they don't necessarily have experience on a real project so I have to look for something slightly different - but everyone knows that upfront as they will be going for a trainee/junior post.

maj 14, 2009, 5:03 pm

I've found we save a lot of time with a 30-minute short-answer technical screen. None of the questions are too hard. Over 70% of candidates fail the screen, so then I don't have them in for a 90 minute interview. By "not too hard", I mean questions like (for Java candidates--would work for C++ too):

How do you choose between a List and a Set when picking a data structure?

What are the four visibility modifiers and what do they mean?

Describe what is meant by "overloading"? Can you overload a static method?

About 15 of those will easily fill 30 minutes.