How do I tech out a prospective programmer?

Posted on 2002-07-28
Last Modified: 2010-05-02
I would like to put together a list of about 10 questions for hiring a pretty advanced VB.NET and ADO.NET programmer. I am not very technical. Would have anyone have some questions that I can use? Also a few for SQL as well.
Question by:Massiel_VB
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LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Ryan Chong
ID: 7184636
Well, to ask something to prospective programmer? My idea is first, you should do the preliminary studies on VB.Net as well as ADO.Net. They you're find out what is critical in .Net Technologies and Programming techniques.

For the SQL, definitely prepare a single database with some questions, let them generate the SQL statement according to the question itself. Compare the result to see if the SQL generates is correct or not.


Expert Comment

ID: 7185153
One good idea is to buy a set of Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) tests for .NET from  Here is a quote from their web site: "Transcender Exams...As Tough As The Real Thing"
Here is the full link for Deluxe MCSD Pak for .NET:
I hope this info helps.

LVL 22

Accepted Solution

rspahitz earned 20 total points
ID: 7185964
It's always difficult for a non-technical person to find technical expertise.  This is true in any field.

One place to start is technical references.  Ask these people to let you talk to those who have worked with them.  Find out what types of projects were performed, and their scope.

Since you won't be able to understand the technical aspects, you should ask more generic questions in the same way you would, for example, interview a construction company to build you a house.  How many projects have they done?  What was the scope (size) of those projects?  What sort of problems did they encounter and how did they handle them?

Specific to VB, is very close to Java in the way it's organized.  Ask if they've ever done Java.  Also ask them to explain the object-oriented model and see if they understand the concepts of encapsulation (self-contained), inheritance (get info from "parents"), and polymorphism (can change).  Make sure they can explain the difference between properties (things about an object), methods (things an object can do) and events (things that can happen to an object.)

Ask them how long they've worked with .net.  If they tell you more than 2 years, they're probably lying.  How long have they been programming in VB?  What other languages are they familiar with?  On what platforms have they programmed?

For ADO, start with definition of ADO: ActiveX Data Object.  How experienced are you with building database tables?  When designing a name & address table(s) what would you consider:

1) Names in foreign markets can be complex.
2) Addresses are often obscure, especially in foreign markets
3) If US-only, the state listing should be in a separate lookup table rather than hard-coded so that validation can be performed.
4) For a larger database, it's worthwhile to even place cities into a separate table.  How would you organize the address table if it has links to cities and states?  (Answer all you need is a city ID, which would in turn get the state.)  This could also apply to a country table for foreign markets.
5) Where would you put the phone number?  Old answer: as a field in the address table.  New answer: as a separate table with a "phone type" table to indicate home phone, alternate home phone, personal/cell phone, pager, car phone (future), PDA, etc.  Home phones are attached to the address whereas cellphones are attached to the person.  i.e. multiple people can share a home phone number but one one person (usually) has a cell phone number.
LVL 22

Expert Comment

ID: 7186297
Thanks for the "A".

I'd love for you to give us a follow-up comment and let us know what was useful and what additional things you learned during the interview process... :)

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