Extroverted Developer #18 – Gayle Laakmann McDowell

This week Ben and I talk with Author, Entrepreneur and owner of careercup.com, former Google hiring committee member Gayle Laakmann McDowell about her two books: Cracking the Coding Interview and The Google Resume about how to get a job at the big tech companies

Show Notes

  • Interview preparation for Software Engineers looking to get into Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc.
  • How do technical interviews work at the large tech companies?
  • Resume tips for the professional programmer!
  • On MBAs
  • The Seattle Anti-Freeze



6 Replies to “Extroverted Developer #18 – Gayle Laakmann McDowell”

  1. So she admits the tests are a shit if you aren't just out of school but tests mean more than anything else. She admits that coders generally rely on the compiler in their job but it's important to be able to write code on paper?

    All this says to me is the interviews are shit. People relying on things that don't really apply to you job is stupid. This is probably why Android had bugs that spanned multiple versions because they were all faffing about with stupid interview and then hiring people that can write hello world on a notepad and not much else.

    I don't have problems with testing in interviews and financially I've well in my career so I hope that means I'm doing something right as a software engineer. I'm not seeing why I should bother with some big corporation who clearly has flawed interviewing processes, probably has some stupid annual team downsizing policy and will no doubt be fully of headaches because something has changed in the stock market and they have to react to it.
    I'll stick with what I am doing and she can stickin her interview tips up her backside.

  2. If there was an straightforward and predictably conclusive way to interview software engineers then all the companies would be do it. You're not really going to know if you made a good hire until they've been on the job for six months.
    So the interview process sucks, but if you want to make the best money writing code you have to learn how to play the game.

  3. Gayle's books are great for interviews. I read both, prepped extensively, and what surprised me most is that the advanced questions are quite interesting. She also took the time to respond to me personally about a couple of questions I sent her. I highly recommend these.

  4. I failed an interview at Google where they would ask all those nonsense tricks and puzzles, writing on paper and on a board.
    I got a job at Microsoft where I've been asked to create a complete distributed client-server application with a proper API and using secure channels.
    After all, I'm happy I failed the first and got right the second, I'm not that good at Sudoku…

  5. Dr. Thomas Foolery: There is a "straightforward and predictably conclusive way" to interview software developers. All you need to do is ask three questions:

    1) What do you think about Ruby on Rails?

    2) What do you think about NoSQL?

    3) Are you a "rockstar programmer"?

    For all three questions, the candidate should respond with a negative answer. The more negative the answer, the better the candidate.

  6. I read his first book cracking the coding interview and I must say its worth reading, amazing stuff even if you know the questions, look for approach.

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