There is no definitive guide for doing well in job interviews, as there could be for designing the best process scheduling system, or coding an iOS app that follows protocol. The interview has a lot to do with chance; as we spend time studying and hone our skills to fit the best companies, those companies are launching committees to asses their interview process and debate how they can find the best candidates. The work force and the industry leadership are continually adjusting to each other, and as in any social exchange, the standards are never absolute. Still, since so much of our future rests on these interviews, we cannot help but feel apprehensive and worry about the outcome. The project I completed with Kyle Gifaldi turned out to be a relaxing conversation about our expectations for this process, and I think we reached some valuable insights.
Kyle was right that you need to stay concise. I have definitely tended to ramble in some of my interviews, but interviews are not a one-sided conversation. You don’t need to lecture on your skills; instead show them a small sample of your approach, placing your self in the problem and treating them like another colleague. They want to see how you might function within the team, so stay at ease and work like you are already part of the team. Your performance will speak volumes.
Honestly, I have felt quite prepared by Notre Dame’s Computer Science program. Looking over the common programming concepts covered in interviews, the courses I have taken cover a vast majority. I will certainly have to review certain data-structures or operating systems concepts, but I feel comfortable enough to talk about most subjects, or at least to ask the right questions. I’m sure I will learn a lot more from further work or school experience, but I do not feel like Notre Dame students lag behind the industry standards. I feel that schools will always model their curriculum after work place expectations, at least for technical fields, since colleges attract students to those programs by how well it prepares them for their top choices for work.