Interview at Desire2Learn

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So, had my interview at Desire2Learn today. I showed up about 20 minutes early and was greeted by the very nice receptionist. She offered me a drink as I signed in, and then I sat on the very comfy couches for a while waiting for my interviewers.
Interestingly, I was interviewed by completely different people than I was expecting. It threw me off guard slightly because I was expecting the people I took the time to research before going into the interview. However, it makes sense due to all of the outages they have been having over the last few days.

The technical questions were going well right up until the point where they asked me to write an algorithm on the board. It made me realize something about myself: I rely heavily on research when it comes to coding.

I was asked when given two sorted arrays of integers to merge them and keep them sorted. So, first  thing that popped into my mind: How would I do it in C#? And then I asked myself, what about PHP? Javascript? Java? So, at this point, I have at least four different languages smushed together on the board in the worst pseudo code probably ever written.

It didn’t turn out too well. However, I tried to explain to my interviewers that in a situation where I had to write an algorithm like that, I would most likely do some research on sites like Stack Overflow to see if there was an easy way of doing it AND to see if someone had already solved that problem. Why invent the wheel?

Well, when I got home and took the 30 seconds it took to find the answer, it made me quite frustrated because if I somehow had everything in c# memorized (not likely ever going to happen), I would know I could do it in only a few lines of code.

public int[] mergeSorted(int[] x, int[] y){
var z = new int[x.length + y.length];
x.CopyTo(z, 0);
y.CopyTo(z, x.length);
Array.Sort(z);

return z;
}

It could have been that simple,

Oh well. Hopefully my explanation of my thought process was enough to leave a good impression for that portion of the interview.

My name is Andrew McGivery. I currently work full time as an application developer at Manulife Financial in Canada. My current passion is building and leading highly engaged teams where employee happiness, learning, and growth is a priority.

2 Responses

  1. They want to know how you think, not the php function that sorts it for you. Example: Bubble sort, shell short… if you catch my drift. They dont really care if you can remember syntax, they want to know the logic behind your thought process.

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