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Software architect Interview Questions


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Started by asking the usual: expectations, ambitions, why the company, then a surprisingly basic white board test about basic sql concepts and some basic recusrive algorithm The peer programming technical test was just a simple TDD excersive. The rest I can't tell, I was dismissed after TDD for reason explained bellow

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The tecnical peer prog interview went on this way: - A very senior and old school partner sat down with me. He asked me develop a program to do a simple and highly academic task which I promise not to disclose here. - Then he watched my every move and was never able to wait ore that 10 seconds before pushing me into the direction he wanted me to go. It was almost impossible for me to concetrate nor to follow my own thinking process because my "peer" could not restrain himself from telling me what to do, why and then lecture me about software concepts. The final straw was when he told me my solutions where not "conceptually optimal" even after preaching me to follow TDD to the letter where you have to develop the easiest "non-optimal" code first. - After a long time of continuous intervention, condescendence and contradictions it is no surprise that the "peer" dismissed me immediately, even though I was able to finish the task despite his continuous interference. The cheery on the top was when he mentioned I could be an awesome DevOps engineer because my CV mentions I've worked with AWS, Jenkins and Docker. Let's remember the interview was for a Software Architect position. I do aprreciate some of the feedback I received nevertheless. But after several days of thinking about what to write in this review I can just summarize this brief encounter with this company as a disapointment, but moreover I do reckon this company is owned and managed by a group of very talented Senior and very academic peers who apparently want to hire other people who think exactly in the same way the do. So if you are a geeky Software Engineer with passion for the academic world; if you like to be the expert of experts and brag about it or maybe if you just know TDD to the letter and consider yourself an expert within the box, you'll do just fine here and I'm pretty sure you will enjoy it.

Dear Candidate, At Zuhlke we use a short pair programming exercise to help us understand a number of things about a candidate, including: - How do they think about coding – how much of what they do is habitual rather than principled, and how much do they consider the current context as it changes? - Can they quickly learn to adapt to a set of constraints, i.e. the particular way we ask them to perform TDD? - Do they have good design instincts, and can they recognise poor (or sub-optimal!) code? - Would we be prepared to spend a day pairing with them? - Do they think as quickly as our engineers tend to? - Do they have a sense of humour? We would expect that anyone who makes it to that stage of the interview process would be able to solve the ‘academic problem’ itself, quietly by themselves given sufficient time – but that is not the point of the interview. As a rule, our engineers work in tightly knit teams with extensive use of pair programming and TDD. Anyone who can’t perform well in such an environment will not be a good fit for us, and we will not be a good fit for them. Further, someone who is slow to recognise poor code quality and does not take the chances offered to refactor it is not a person we would consider suitable for an architect role. At Zuhlke the architects provide technical leadership through coding. A final comment: We try to give constructive feedback and answers to questions, whether or not applicants are successful. In this case we suggested that a DevOps or Platform Engineer role might be the best way to maximise your income in the current job market, as these skills are in high demand and your wide range of experience would be an asset. The word “awesome” was not used – this is strictly reserved for the Grand Canyon.

Hi Teona, Thanks for your comment. Your words could not make more sense, as you described the essence of what an interviewing process should be all about. Team fit, attitude and skills. The problem is that this is exactly what's was missing in your interviewing process. You can't possibly evaluate a candidate fully in 1 hour while at the same time forcing them to abide by your streamlined process. Seems to me the interviewer was looking for someone who was exalt like him in every geeky aspect. He was heavily biased towards his own experience and judgement of his preferred professional profile. Now that it's not an issue per se, you are entitled to choose what best suits you as a company and there is no perfect way of running a selection process, I reckon that. But dismissing my entire experience acumen in such a short time and sealing the quick judgement with a condescending suggestion within an area completely outside my career path was, at best, a waste of my time. My comment was intended to create awareness for other colleges who also struggle with mediocre interviews in London. If they happen to for the pet peeves of the interviewers they may do just fine. One final remark. It doesn't help your point, which again I respect but not share, when you throw a sarcastic comment about how the word "awesome" is only used for the Grand Canyon. A proper use of sarcasm would rather be to say that"awesome" is everything my interview experience was not. But I would take that back, as my experience is different from others and I'm sure I can't generalize my opinion of your company based solely on a deficient interview and a reply without the adequate reflection. If anything I'm happy I didn't join a company that doesn't appreciate an honest feedback and who passive aggressively bashes them.

What constitutes good software. What were the technologies used. Decision making criteria when selecting architecture and technologies for a solution. Past projects and technologies / architecture used.First interview by the HR person / recruiter.

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What are your values?

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If you suddenly awoke in the middle of a dense forest with no idea where you were and no tools or equipment how would you find your way out?

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If someone has a different opinion than yourself on a topic, how would you convince them that your view was correct.

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Questions around coding standards and competency/scenario based questions.

How do you solve a migration of petabytes of data without downtime and losing the consistency of data?

What goes in a Software Architecture document?

How do you make sure that the software we write is going to be adaptable to, say, being distributed to 3/4 different markets with their own laws & regulations?

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