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Programming Interviews Exposed: Secrets to Landing Your Next Job

4.1 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471383567
ISBN-10: 0471383562
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Editorial Reviews


Although designed for computer science undergraduates, this odd but intriguing book will find a broader readership because of its interesting discussion of problems and solutions. The author, both veteran programmers, based this work on questions they were asked during interviews with big league companies. About 22 pages cover social etiquette and dress and about 220 pages deal with solving programming queries that interviewers pose, from linked lists and tree navigation to sorting and recursion; highly recommended for all college, university, and large public libraries.

From the Back Cover

Everything you need to know to succeed in the programming interview and get the job you want Whether you are a veteran programmer seeking a new position or a whiz kid starting your career, interviewing for a programming job requires special preparation. The interview is likely to consist of an hour-long interactive oral exam in computers, programming, and logic. This helpful guide will give you the tools necessary to breeze through the test and make a lasting impression that will get you a top-dollar offer!

Mongan and Suojanen take you step-by-step through the same problems that they were asked on technical interviews. These veterans use their experience with the technical interview process to prepare you for any situation. With their help, you’ll gain critical interviewing skills such as how to ask effective questions, how to best approach a problem, and what to do when you get stuck. Integrated throughout the book are problems

taken from real interviews at top computer companies, followed by an in-depth analysis and explanation of the thought process leading to solutions. By focusing on techniques and not just answers, you’ll be able to apply what you learn to the wide variety of problems you will face during an interview. The problems included in this book will challenge your programming skills and help you ace the programming interview! Problem types include:

  • Programming problems with emphasis on data structures and recursion
  • Logic puzzles, counting and measuring problems, and spatial reasoning
  • Knowledge-based problems that cover today’s most important technologies

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (May 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471383562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471383567
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,135,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John H. Kaplan on April 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
I just finished rereading this book, and read the earlier Amazon interviews. Though I agree with many of the observations in the other reviews, their judgments are mostly too extreme. This book is definitely of value, but reading it won't unlock the keys to any secret kingdom of guaranteed job-landing success.

I've been interviewing and hiring software developers for almost 15 years, and I know one thing you can be sure about software interview processes: their inconsistency. Interviewing and hiring practices for software development are all over the map. As a matter of fact, all software development practices are all over the map, and how you are judged a success or failure once you land a job are at least as subjective and error-prone as how you are evaluated in interviews.

Landing a particular software development job and being successful at it once you get it require a lot of learning about the particular mix of priorities and practices on each particular team, and fitting into that mix. You could be interviewing with a sixty-year-old toy manufacturing veteran doing tiny embedded systems, and any mention of object-oriented technology could be immediate grounds for a religious no-hire. On the other hand, you could be interviewing with a young hotshot at a new Silicon Valley startup. In this case you'd not only better be fluent with every aspect of object-oriented technology, best practices, and the latest open-source frameworks, but you'd better not make too much of space optimizations or "the overhead of a subroutine call" or you'll be branded as hopelessly old fashioned.
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By A Customer on December 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
There are many types and levels of programming jobs. This book is useful advice for people aiming for system level or hardcore type jobs e.g. embedded systems, networks and operating systems etc. For example, this book would be highly useful for you if you go for a developer's job interview in Cisco systems, IBM, Microsoft, Sun or Lucent etc. This is not too useful for application programming stuff, as one of the reviewers mentioned about Sybase etc. I have been giving programming interviews for many years and believe me, I have come across a surprising number of questions right from this book. The other good books for these type of interviews are "Expert C Programming" by Van der Linden, "Programming Pearls" and " C interfaces and Implementations" by Hansen. The interviews in companies I have mentioned do indeed last full working days, or at least five to six hours, involving lunch. The interviewers include three to four people from the engineering team, one from Human Resources and one senior level person e.g. director or head of the group type person to finish it off. The engineering team asks you to write significant code involving commonly used data structures, linked lists and trees etc. and also code that would require certain tricks of the trade that only veteran or seasoned programmers would know. So in my opinion, this is a timely arrival and gives lots of useful information to build the required confidence and thinking pattern to ace such interviews. The techniques described are all familiar and used frequently by most engineers and computer scientists in the field, but being able to answer promptly in an interview is a different ball game and I have suffered because of the lack of confidence in interviews. So, in my opinion, it deserves at least four stars.
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Format: Paperback
I just had an interview appointment at Microsoft campus just this morning. I was applying a tech job as a software tester thru Volt Services. Volt (or any technology hiring services) would give some interview tips and prep for applicants vying for vacant positions.

The Microsoft interviewer asked me brain teasers like how many hamburgers have been consumed this year in the US alone. And he asked me how did I arrive with my conclusions by writing it on the whiteboard. (After the interview, he told me that he was not interested whether my answer was accurate or not, but he was more interested no how I arrived with my conclusion by writing it on a whiteboard).

After the brain teaser, he asked about network troubleshooting and remote file searching accross the network and that was easy. And then the interviewer began to ask about programming algorithms and how these algorithms be tested against predefined testing procedures. One of the questions given to me was similar in this book! The question was to create an algorithm of a string, "This is a string" to display on a screen written in a reversed order. And test the result of the algorithm against the methodical procedures applied to software testing.

Microsoft and other tech companies out there asked questions of many kind. And they may or may not be in any book available. But having and reading this book can increase your chances of a better interview results. I hope this review helps.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Programming Interviews Exposed gives a good refresher on data structure problems (and similar programming interview questions) in C with a concise discussion on the choices and trade-offs made in reaching the solution.

Programming Interviews Exposed was true to the book's description. It emphasizes programming problems that are typically asked in interviews (and to a lesser extent touches on logic puzzles and knowledge-based questions). My friends/colleagues and I have actually been asked several of these exact questions. If you want a book emphasizing logic puzzles this is not the book for you.

Programming Interviews Exposed doesn't quite give you "Everything you need to know to succeed in the programming interview", but it emphatically does give a very solid, general base you must demonstrate in order to give the other portions of your interview credibility.

The book emphasizes solutions in C, giving a couple solutions in Perl, and Java. The C language is appropriate as C++ and Java have syntax very similar to C and in the programming interview questions you are typically prohibited from using built-in and/or standard library features that would make the questions trivial. The point of the questions, after all, are to see how well you understand and can puzzle out the details involved in implementing data structures and similar.
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