Knowing how to interview for a computer programming/design position is almost as important as the learning how to program. Over the years, I have had friends who were excellent programmers, including the design process, who lost out to people who were skilled, but far better interviewers. Know what the company wants far before you go in for an interview. If you have friends at the company, find out as much as you can about the types of interviews that are given and what is to be expected in the interview. Research. Always be honest in your answers, with a confidence that you can come up to speed in the new position as quickly as possible. Starting a new job is saved for another article, but just be ready to work hard to come up to speed as quickly as possible, to make yourself as valuable to the company as you can as quickly as you can.

Information Interview

One way to find out more about a company is to do information interviews. The basics are to develop a list of questions about a particular company that you think will help you better understand the company. Find a person who would know the answers to your questions within the company, go through the proper channels to ask the person for an information interview. Remember this is only an information interview, it is NOT a job application or interview. Be up-front as to how much time you think the interview will take. Still to that schedule, unless the person wants to tell you a bit more. Ask your questions, take good notes (you will not remember more than about 15% of what you heard if you do not write it down (or record it) during the meeting. Always write a thank you after the interview.

Interviews with Practitioners

I am in the process of interviewing people who developed systems (usually based on Software) that helps their customers accomplish needed tasks.

Oracle – Chris Branchflower

The first person I interviewed was Chris Branchflower, a manager at Oracle. One of the tasks his team does is developing applications that are used internally. My purpose of this interview was to find out how his company interviews candidates.

Software Mr. Branchflower’s Group uses

  • Oracle JET, an internally developed JavaScript Extension Toolkit.
  • JavaScript
  • TypeScript – tighter form of JavaScript, helps user be more precise in coding.
  • Templates and libraries to reduce redundancies
  • NetBeans IDE with built-in handling of Oracle JET.
  • HTML and CSS
  • Beyond Compare for side-by-side code comparison. It can compare individual files or each file in a given directory one file at a time.
  • Limited use of Java and C++ (mostly for legacy code)
Most of Oracle’s internal products are moving to web-based tools. This is why there is an emphasis on web development tools (like Oracle JET and JavaScript). They are also looking for code that uses similar algorithms where they can create templates or generics to write the algorithm once and use it for multiple data types. Similarly, class libraries that can be reused are also important to good development (do not reinvent something that can be reused). Templates and libraries can be fixed n one place and be corrected every place each are used. They always use peer reviews on all new or corrected code.

Recommended Sites and concepts for Interview Preparation

  • Freecamp Interview Suggestions
  • Know what peer review is and how to use it
  • Have good comments describing the code and modifications to the code at the start of the file.
  • Never use generic names, always us specific names that describe what is being done or what the variable contains.
  • Know what templates (C++/JavaScript) or generics (Java) are and how to use.

Interviewing Hints

It is good that candidates know several different computer languages. It can help people look at problems in different ways and come up with better solutions. Go through the information above to be better at interviewing. The way that Oracle tests applicants their knowledge of programming is to open a window with code that has problems. They will tell you what is desired for the code to do. You are responsible to fix the code. Follow the previously given rules on good coding standards. The site records your every key stroke. Type in the code. never copy the code from another page and then paste the solution into your code. If you paste a chunk of code, that sends up “red flags” and the interview will not go well. The key is to be confident in your own knowledge and present it well. Most interviewers can see through exaggeration or fraudulent clams. Be yourself and know the material the best you can.
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