Sometimes, when promoting internships at Logos, I’m asked what kind of questions we ask on the interview. Or I’ll get an email from a candidate we rejected, asking how they could have done better. I’m not going to give out our list of interview questions, but I will give advice on how to really stand out when applying.
We don’t require a checklist of skills (“3 years experience with .NET 4”), nor are we impressed with a dense list of acronyms on a résumé. We’re looking for coders who are passionate about programming and who have the talent to tackle any huge problem we will throw at them. Here are some qualities we want to see in a potential hire.
CompSci Basics. Understand algorithms, data structures, computational complexity. Know the basics of hardware (e.g., order these by speed: HDD, LAN, L1, RAM, L2, Internet, DVD), bits & bytes (e.g., the “interesting” powers of 2), and software (operating systems, compilers, Internet protocols). Become familiar with technologies relevant to our field (Unicode, cloud computing, information retrieval, etc.).
Know the Company. Browse our websites, find out what we do & who we are, watch our videos, read our blog, use our products. If you go to church, maybe your pastor owns a copy of our software and could show it to you. (If they don’t own it, why not? Get them to watch the videos.)
Show Passion. Do something outside of school. Find an open source project and contribute to it. Learn what’s new in C++0x, C# 4, Java 7, or HTML5. Write a blog. Enter a programming competition. Download Python/Ruby/Haskell and work through an online tutorial. Write an online tutorial. Start a user group interested in some technology. Read a book that isn’t part of your CS curriculum.
For further reading, I recommend a three-part series posted by Tyler Hicks-Wright: How to Get a Job at Fog Creek (and Other Selective SoftwareCompanies), Part 1; Part 2; Part 3.
Posted by Bradley Grainger on April 16, 2010