December 20, 2014

Google Interview Process is Like a Programming Olympiad?

From the personal blog of +Svetlin Nakov - WWW.NAKOV.COM

I was amazed how Google perform their interviews. Really! They asked me only about data structures and algorithms. I was feeling like at a programming contest. I needed to solve 10 Olympiad-style problems, each for 20-30 minutes. They requested to write a source code on the dashboard. Of course I solved the problems but I thought this is the first part and the real software engineering part will come later.

I will not reveal any of the questions (because I signed NDA) but their interview style was like at the programming contests and Olympiads. I had pretty rich experience with data structures, algorithms, algorithmic thinking and solving such problems in my childhood and during the student’s years, but I din’t expect that these years will come back some day.

Trust me, a 15 years old schoolboy who is a good programming contestant (e.g. some of the Bulgarian National champions) can pass these questions without having any experience in commercial software engineering. I expected more software engineering questions about software design and architecture, large-scale databases and information systems, Internet applications, information security, parallel programming, threads, synchronization, development process, software quality, testing, life-cycle, software project management, agile development, etc. but the interviewers didn’t even mention any of these topics. I applied for senior position and it was normal to expect serious software engineering and technical questions, but this didn’t happen.

That was all. Nobody asked me about my software engineering skills, software technologies, project management, and other skills. Only algorithms and problems solving, data structures, computational complexity, etc. This was whole the day, nearly 6 hours. READ THE FULL STORY at NAKOV.COM
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