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We are trying to educate people about being CS majors and getting our site to the top of a Rankmaniac 2012 google image search
This question is pretty simple, but I was asked it nonetheless at an interview. You have two blank dice and you want to be able to display every day of the month using these two dice. How would you put numbers on the dice so that some configuration of the dice show every day of the month from 01 to 31?
I have just a few general tips for doing well at CS interviews. I can’t promise these will all work for you – I just know that they work for me.
Still working on the Rankmaniac 2012 competition!!! Thought I’d give you guys a bit of a description of my Microsoft Interview process, since that seems to be a fairly popular company.
I knew that career fair was coming up, but I didn’t bother meeting my recruiter there – I wanted to stand out from the rest of the candidates. Instead, like a true Rankmaniac, I sent my Microsoft recruiter an email before the career fair with my resume and a short note. When she was visiting campus for the career fair, I set up a time to grab coffee with her (at her convenience of course). This gave me a chance to learn a lot more about Microsoft and also gave the recruiter a chance to get to know me as a person.
They let me skip the initial interview, which was nice of them, and they had me fly out for an on site interview in Seattle for the Windows Core team, which works on the Windows file system, Windows kernel and some basic Windows security stuff (I specified this team before hand. I think it looks better when you know what you want to work on). Microsoft provided me with a rental car and a hotel, so my stay was pretty comfortable.
The night before the interview was fairly sleepless, as is often the case for me. I woke up around seven and drove the 2 miles to my interview. I went into a room with many, many other full time and intern candidates. There I wait for about 30 minutes until my on site recruiter came out. She led me to a shuttle that took me to the Windows Core building. My first interview was with a member of the Windows Kernel team. It was a pretty easy question about inserting an element into a linked list in C. Not difficult, but the first question is always harder for me than the rest because that is when my nervousness is peaking (after that, I get in the zone).
My next interview was a lunch interview. I chatted with a member of the file system team, while I had a bite to eat. Then we went to his office and he asked me some conceptual questions related to file system structure (He basically asked me how does one construct a file system). This also wasn’t very hard because he wasn’t looking for any technical definitions – he was mostly just looking for how one would define files versus folder (and other simple things like that). My next interview was with a member of the security team. It was tough at first until I saw the trick. He basically wanted me to write a program that removes comments from a C file. You had to account for all of the different comment types and placements. Since I’d never taken a compilers class, this was initially a bit challenging. My last interview was very easy. Essentially, I just had to iterate through a binary tree. Mostly, the man (who was on the Windows Core team) just wanted to chat with me about what Windows Core does.
After the interview concluded, I was driven back to the recruiting office. I had a meeting with the recruiter who presented me with my Microsoft offer. I left Microsoft feeling happy and relaxed and flew home the next day.
Once you have an offer, Microsoft recruiters become a lot more aggressive (they are definitely known for this). They call you a lot and push you very hard, but they are also willing to negotiate. Although, I didn’t end up accepting their offer, I had a really good experience with their team. Anyway, I hope this post helps you if you ever interview with Microsoft.
Some questions at interviews are just meant to get an idea of our thinking processes and our problem solving abilities. I was once asked a single question – one that I’ve heard before – and asked to give multiple different answers. Yes, there was an actual solution and I’m sure other interviewees would have known it, but I did not. So, I came up with four original answers. What answers can you come up with to the following puzzle:
You are in a room with a table in the middle of it. On the table are three lamps, two of which are always on. When you are in the room, the third light is also on. When you leave the room, the light turns off. How do you figure out which light turns off?
PS. How many computer scientists does it take to change a light bulb?
None – that’s a hardware problem.
The hardest question I had was: find the depth of a binary search tree without using recursion. Anyone has good solution wants to share?
Think CS majors do not need to be good at writing? Joel Spolsky has different opinion on it?