Staff software engineer Interview Questions


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Member of Technical Staff Software Engineer was asked...12 June 2012

How many race heats are needed to find the 3 fastest pinewood derby cars out of a field of 8, if only 4 cars can run at a time (assuming that every car will always run the way/speed and each lane is exactly equivalent)?

8 Answers

so is the answer 4 heat 1 (first 4 car) + 1 (4 second set) + 1( Top 2 from first + Top 2 from second set) + 1 (3 car heat among the 3rd placed car) Less

Only two races of four cars in each. Get the times of all cars and sort them. You don't need any more races because the times will be the same in subsequent races. :) Less

4 if we cant measure time

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It was positive experience. People were nice. Like craft demo which help to have discussion with team instead of traditional interview structure.

4 Answers

I felt did great !

Powerful post

I tried rooftop slushie mentioned above and it was pretty helpful. I recommend it. Less

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Given a series of strings, find the biggest common prefix.

4 Answers

What? Prefix is not started from the very first string? Jesus I cannot read Eng!

x = ["Ravite", "Raviteja", "Ravby", "Raviejaain","Ravi" ] #Given String y = x[0] for i in x: if len(i)> len(y): y = i fin = [] y = list(y) for i in range(len(y)): count = 0 for j in range(len(x)): if y[i]==x[j][i]: count +=1 if count == len(x): fin.append(y[i]) else: break if len(fin) > 0: print "".join(fin) else: print "No common prefix in series" Less

/** * Jun Zheng, Rice Univ * Given a series of strings, find the biggest common prefix. * Real question of VMware * Java7; running time: O(n^2) * @param str * @return */ private String biggestPrefix(String[] strs){ String prefix=strs[0]; for(int i=1;i0;i++){ int j; for(j=0;j0)? prefix:"No such prefix!"; } Less

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Coding round

2 Answers

Is this question same as given on -

Possibly these people are not taking interviews to hire but to advertise themselves in the market that such company also exists. Less


How can you access global static variables from other files

2 Answers

global static variables have file scope and cant be accessed outside the file. That's the difference between global static and global. Less

we can use a function to access the variable or its pointer

Lockheed Martin

What is "void" and how is it used.

2 Answers

"Void" is an absence of something. It is used to represent a lack of parameters, returns, or defined type. Less

In most programming languages, the "void" keyword means a lack of returned value. Less


The most challenging (and interesting) question was about a strategy for finding signal in a noisy and poorly understood data set. Asking a software engineer a data science question really stretches the mental muscles.

2 Answers

Challenging yes. But not necessarily in a good way. Most software engineers do NOT have the training to properly address this question. It requires a background in "data science" or signal processing. Unless the position interviewed for required these skills/background also, I would say the question was highly inappropriate. Less

There's quite an extended back and forth in actual interviews for questions like this, so nothing quite like real practice. The Prepfully Intuit Staff Software Engineer experts have actually worked in this role, so they're able to do an honest-to-God accurate mock, which really puts you through the paces. Less


Most of them are on my skills, experience and process.

2 Answers

very good

In these sorts of interviews you really need to drill down and understand what the interviewer is looking for. A good way to simulate a real interview experience is to do a mock with one of the Sandisk Staff Software Engineer experts on Prepfully, rated super strongly on TrustPilot... Less


Asked to solve a variety of technical questions, such as how to find the missing number from a list of n that you know only one is missing, in an efficient approach.

2 Answers

calculate sum of elements and return n(n+1)/2 - sum

Sort the list and perform dichotomic search. O(2 log n)

Course Hero

Create a frontend component with like 10 different requirements.

2 Answers

Through questions like this, interviewers are mostly trying to test your skillset (and its relevance to the role) as robustly as possible, so be prepared for multiple offshoots and followups. It could be a useful exercise to do mocks with friends or colleagues in Course Hero to get a real sense of what the interview is actually like. Alternatively Prepfully has a ton of Course Hero Staff Software Engineer experts who provide mock interviews for a pretty reasonable amount. Less

Some complicated regexes

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