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Old 11-11-2012, 04:09 PM   #21
Amoeba
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Not at all. Employers don't know much about you, so they can only base it on what you wrote your thesis on and what internships you have done in the past. The candidates I like have either have a relevant thesis topic or have done internships in the industry at places like Cisco/Netapps/Oracle etc and have a better understanding of what they want to do.

Cloud is a very broad term. There are many companies doing different things with cloud. My company is moving storage into the cloud. Other companies are doing distributed computing using a cloud of computers (Facebook, Google etc). There's a project called Hadoop that's really hot right now for distributed computing (written in Java) that'll land you jobs. Then there are companies that use the cloud for centralized extranet management. Do talk to your prof on topics.

Networking ties in with cloud quite well since it's how you talk to the cloud servers and move data back and forth. Database not so much. Searchable data tend to be in-house so the search latency won't be too high.

Don't worry about the interviews. It's good to go through many interviews (and fail at them) so you won't be too nervous down the road. It's better to fail a few interviews at Yahoo/Google. Then in the future you'll feel (pshhh, these interviews can't be any harder than the crap I went through at Google). Don't let other candidates concern you. There's more than enough positions to go around in the valley.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:38 PM   #22
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So I can't remember exactly what I told you before on facebook and what I haven't told you, so I'll just give a quick rundown of some things.
I'm first going to give you these:




There are also a bunch of other good interviews.

Those videos didn't entirely correlate to the experience I had but they are certainly still helpful videos to watch. Before you apply to one of the top tech companies I would suggest you make sure that is something you want to do and something you are good at. Given your background there are certainly plenty of job options at Google, at least the last I looked. If you really want to be a SWE then I would suggest it as long as you do really enjoy coding and problem solving and have a very strong work ethic as you are pretty much micro-managing yourself to get the job done.
If you are only familiar with a small number of languages I would suggest start practicing other languages, having a strong C background is awesome and certainly encouraged but most Google engineers use Java, JS, C++ and Python. But I have used C#, Ruby, and straight C elsewhere. If you have never done any OO programming I would certainly start with that. And as you mentioned already, if you have zero fluency in trees/graphs/and the like, definitely start brushing up on that. Data structures are a major role in getting things done and be sure to learn as many as you can. Be aware of how things live in memory and how they operate at scale. While brute forcing problems is acceptable in some cases it's not really ideal at all, you want to be able to create solutions that are fast and can scale very well.
Being familiar and experienced with linux is a definite plus and pretty much required in a lot of companies. If you haven't used a source management tool before I would look into that, things like Git and Perforce would be handy.
As for the interviews itself, it's a long process so just be aware of that. If you make it past the screenings and phone interviews and bring you in for an onsite interview. Prepare to code on a white board, so if you have only ever coded on a computer, but sure you practice writing code down by hand and talking through it explaining why you are doing things the way you are. This way the people that are interviewing you are getting an idea why you are doing things the way you are and just understanding your though process. Some interviewers will make suggestions if you mess up while others won't.
Like I said, run time and scalability matters, so study up on your data structures and algorithms and know their best case and worst case run times. You might come up with a solution that works, but is slow when scaled and doesn't really solve the problem like they would expect. But feel free to write up whatever solution to the problem you can and then iterate on that making it better.
Introduction to Algorithms is one of my favorite books and is pretty much all you need when it comes to algorithms. As for online resources, code.google.com is a very handy resource that covers a plethora of topics.
As far as the interview process itself, they all vary a bit from company to company. Pretty much all of mine have been full day endevours, generally broken down into 2 in depth code interviews, lunch, followed by 2 other interviews that test overall knowledge of design, problem solving, and basic concepts of computer science. Not necessarily in that order. I've had some interviews were they let me go for 4 hours to solve certain problems, would then go to lunch with the team you'd be on, then small group talks talking about what you did earlier and why you did it that way and just getting to know you more on a bit more personal level.
The last part might sound weird, but I have been told many times that they have had amazingly knowledgable people come in, but they just didn't fit with the team and had a hard time communicating with people in general. So don't be worried about not knowing everything, they are definitely not expecting you to. Most companies know that there is going to be a break in period since pretty much every company does their own thing.
Amoeba gave a good list of things to cover and should be a good list of things to practice.
I just can't stress it enough, talk through your thought process when you're doing things during the interview, there really shouldn't be a whole lot of silent time. And if you can, try and not jump right into the code. If they give you an algorithm problem, run through some small test cases first to make sure you understand what is being asked of you and what to expect. Once you're done writing the code you're going to want test cases to make sure your code is actually doing what it's suppose to be doing.
As for big business vs small business, I agree that bigger companies are nicer for starting out as they typically have bigger projects and more resources to learn from. That being said, it depends a lot on what you want to do. I did a start up thing for a short while and was amazing. Very fast passed and you're doing a lot of different things and learning on the fly. But you can definitely get that at bigger companies too.
Anyways, you know how to get a hold of me, lol.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:39 PM   #23
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I can't comment on the IT side of things but I can chime in on some general interview advise having been on both sides. Definitely do your research and be knowledgeable about the company and even the department. As stated earlier, you enthusiastic and positive. Prepare yourself on answer fluff questions like strengths/weaknesses, big challenges, where you see yourself in 3-5 years, why you are interested in the company, etc. Be yourself, don't try to over prepare or you'll come across as a robot and fake. Follow up with a thank you email.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:47 PM   #24
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Oh, speaking of fluff questions...

Be sure you have something passionate you can talk about. lol. I had an interview question once where I was asked what I would like to talk about, something related to tech but outside of your general work experience. I usually go off about cloud or hardware stuff, but yeah, just keep that in mind.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:31 PM   #25
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Web development is a good start but probably not something you want to go long term with. These are frequently outsourced and tend to have higher turnover once the interface is done. The barrier of entry is low so you'll find competition from part-time contractors as well.

Database is good but can be boring at times. I would recommend looking for an entry-level position at Oracle/Google. They're large with many positions and give good pedigree on your resume. A background in database with strong analytic skills will land you jobs in data mining/search optimization.

I came up in networking. It's interesting and always something new to learn, but Cisco have started to commoditize the market. There still tons of companies in the Silicon Valley doing networking, you won't have any trouble finding a job and many startups to be adventurous with.

Cloud is really the next big thing. Companies are moving all kinds of storage, management, and computing into the cloud. Network, storage, etc all ties in to the cloud.

Or you can go for more generic kernel/platform work. Every company have their own OS and need ppl to maintain them. Your choice of field can be very flexible with this type of position.

My reommendation would be to stick with a large corporation for your first job, unless you're very specialized with prior experience and want to try a startup. Your resume is all about pedigree. Having well-known companies or startups that made it will do wonders for your future career growth. When managers skim the resume, that's what they're looking for.
Listen to none of this nonsense.

Also no one asks those ridiculous old school Microsoft questions anymore.

If you have to ask what to study for a Yahoo interview a few days before, you won't get the job. Unless you can get all major data structures down cold, and be able to come up with *efficient* algorithms and analyze their running time off the cuff.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:31 PM   #26
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Oh, speaking of fluff questions...

Be sure you have something passionate you can talk about. lol. I had an interview question once where I was asked what I would like to talk about, something related to tech but outside of your general work experience. I usually go off about cloud or hardware stuff, but yeah, just keep that in mind.
Yahoo won't care about this stuff.

Software interviews at big tech companies (Yahoo\Google\Amazon\MS\etc) are not like the usual job interview. To initially get into the company, they are looking for people who know comp sci fundamentals cold.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:43 PM   #27
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Yahoo won't care about this stuff.

Software interviews at big tech companies (Yahoo\Google\Amazon\MS\etc) are not like the usual job interview. To initially get into the company, they are looking for people who know comp sci fundamentals cold.


deafboy worked at Google.

Since you've trolled 2 users that have worked/are working in the field that OP is asking about, what is your background?

Also, no sh!t that they're looking for people that know the fundamentals. Great thread contribution.
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:46 PM   #28
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6 years in the field, have done 2nd round interview at Google, final rounds for both Amazon and LinkedIn.

All three places were all business and cared nothing about extracurricular.

Sorry, no decently run company is going to outsource web development, or drop people "after the interface is done". Most places understand the importance of *quality* code. JavaScript in particular is very hot (one of the few areas Yahoo is doing some field leading work in actually), you're not going to find cheap Indian workers who can spin you up something using backbone and node.

And once again, studying brain teasers is a waste of time. They were the fashionable thing to do in the 90's but most companies have wised up to the fact that they're completely useless in assessing talent.

It's also not obvious that companies care about comp sci fundamentals - I've never had a place outside of the companies mentioned above ask me about simple fundamentals like linked list vs. array list or have questions that are very heavy on knowledge of trees. The focus is different.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:48 PM   #29
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Likely no, you won't get a lot of simple question about various things but it all comes down to your interviewer. A lot of them are kind of set in those ways and still ask those questions. So yes, they do still come up. They are typically done at the end though if there is time left or just during BS'ing during the lunch session.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:48 PM   #30
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6 years in the field, have done 2nd round interview at Google, final rounds for both Amazon and LinkedIn.
You made it to the second round? That's cute.
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:34 PM   #31
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Update:

A Yahoo! recruiter scheduled my phone interview for this Friday, but I am scheduled to work that day (major related and not some random part-time job). Should I reschedule with Yahoo! or ditch work?

BTW, thanks for all of the suggestions everyone, especially Amoeba and deafboy.

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Old 11-15-2012, 11:28 PM   #32
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Rescheduled for the 21st to better prepare.
Hopefully 5 days are enough to brush up on everything that I forgot lol
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