Saturday, 1 August 2009

My Interview Checklist

Someone asked me recently about what sort of job interview prep I do, and having recently found myself a new job, I thought I'd post a sample here.

This is the bare bones of what I polished before my most recent job hunt. It's skewed towards Java for some of the actual technology bits, but the CS fundamentals should be language-independent.

My attitude is that the working practitioner should have a good command of a lot of this (especially the CS topics) at all times, and should only need to briefly revisit each subject to ensure the polish and the details are 100% there.

The books I used most heavily were "Introduction to Algorithms" (Rivest et al) and Doug Lea's "Concurrent Programming in Java".

Comments and suggestions for things other people have found useful would be most welcome.


Details of order notation (eg Omega etc)
String Matching
NP / NP-completeness

Basic Trees and Tree Construction
Red / Black Trees
Hashing / Hashtable
HashMap / TreeMap

Representations of Graphs in code (object / pointers, matrix, adjacency list)
Graph Traversal (BFS, DFS)
Minimal Spanning Tree

Discrete Maths / Probability / "Logic Puzzles"
Probability Exercises
Decision Trees Exercises
n-choose-k Problems
Permutation Groups, Cycle, Reprns, etc
"Perfectly Logical Beings" puzzles
Decision / Ply problems (eg Monty Hall)

DB / Hibernate
Normal Form
Having clause
Outer joins
XML Form of Hibernate - Basics
JPA / Hibernate
Indexes and Optimisation

Java Internals and Details
Bitwise operators
Collections / Generics nitty-gritty (ie to bytecode level)
OO nitty-gritty (and nasty edge cases)
Annotations nitty-gritty
Arrays nitty-gritty

OS/Concurrency details
Safety, Liveness, Performance, Reusability
Permanent Fail: Deadlock, Missed Signals, Nested Monitor Locks, LiveLock, Starvation, Resource Exhaustion, Distributed Fail
Block-structured Locking, Synchronisation, JMM, Fully Synchronized Objects
Other Constructs: Mutex, Latch, Futures, Callable / Command Adapter
Real-world multithreaded application development

Future Web Tech
ECMAScript 4 hassles
Flex vs Silverlight (ref issues with LCDS and the Adobe approach)
Asynch Messaging for webapps

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