anonymous tech woman

Yet another woman in technology blog. I'm actually a developer who uses a variety of Java and database technologies on a variety of platforms.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


I'm currently interviewing for different positions and have build up a wealth of resources. They vary from the technical - Java Interview Questions to the behavioural - Sample Behavioral Job Interview Questions.

While I found that practising answering the behavioural interview questions really good practising with the technical interview questions only covers a limited area. The best method I have found to practise for technical questions particularly for Java is to find a certification book and read it, and look at the API to learn quirky features. Also practising coding to ensure you understand the certfication book helps because you are often asked to write code in interviews. Database questions normally consist of being asked about connecting to the database, simple features of the database, different join types or queries. J2EE questions involve being asked about specific features you have used at work. Linux/Unix questions involve being asked about search files for words, finding the differences between two files and knowing some of the commands from vi or emacs. (As I posted before the last part is actually redundant because the majority of linux systems have a great GUI with textpad editors or an IDE.)

I also found this article which summarises preparing about for a Software Engineering interview. The main points in the article are:
1. Practice using the same medium (e.g. paper and pencil) and time limits (e.g. 30 minutes) as the real interview
If you are finding a job through an agency they will give you as much information as they can about the technical test. This means they will tell you whether it's a pencil and paper test or a series of questions. They may also give you example questions. If you find the job yourself you can ask for information but it seems that most employers expect you to know the stuff they use and have some knowledge of quirky features because that is what they use all the time. They seem to forget that J2EE, linux, Unix and SQL covers a wide area.

2. During the interview, don't obsess over little mistakes that happen.

This is a good point. In real life you would be coding with reference books, the internet or an api.

3. Don't be rude to your interviewer.
This is commonsense. Be polite to everyone you come across including the receptionist and security guard. Some of these people are really friendly with other staff in the office, and if a manager is not certain about you they will ask these people their opinions.

4. Don't hijack the interview.
This is a behaviour point. Most software development is done in a team envirnoment and communcating with people involves talking and listening. The majority of tech people have the problem they don't like talking but if you practise with friend's particularly a friend with the gift of the gab you will improve.

5. When answering questions expecting a specific answer, give a high-level summary first.
Some recruiting people don't do that themselves because they are so engrossed in their business.

6. (Not as important) Wear something comfortable to your interview. Business casual is the most typical.
This is actually important in a lot of places as you want to look like you are trying to make an impression and seriously want the job. You need to wear a suit if you are a guy and a suit if you are a girl. However don't go overboard with your suiting keep it plain and simple. I have worn dresses to interviews but technical interviewers don't seem to like them.


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