Technical Test


Attached to this question is a technical test I want to put forward to candidates for a job. Now I am not technical minded so my developers will marks the answers, but I want to test this test to developers out there to see if it is challenging enough so that it can help us choose a future developer.

My question is if some developers from Experts Exchange can answer these 10 questions to help with our research to see if the test is suitable to put forward to candidates? Please send your answers to my email <<removed>> so other people cannot see it and I will appreciate your help. It should take about 30 minutes and it is a mixture of VB, T-SQL, J-Query, CSS and other languages.

Thank you.

Thank you.
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Julian HansenCommented:
Personally, I would not put too much value into this test. You are going to weed out a lot of wanna-be's but you need to consider that getting someone who knows the answers to those questions who is an average developer vs someone who doesn't who can be moulded into a great developer is a very real scenario.

There are many "experts" out there who know the constructs to the letter of the stack they are developing in but whose coding ability is limited to what they have learned and can copy from others. You get another sort of developer who is always going to API docs, reference manuals and online information to confirm, fill in, look up what a particular coding construct is or how to use it. They don't remember the nitty gritty bits but they know how to find them and that they exist and are able to write fantastic code.

Both kinds of developer are useful - it depends entirely on your situation - if you are looking for someone to plod along maintaining a system and coding withing a specific framework then the first guy will do fine. If you want out of the box thinking that requires imagination and versatility then you need the second guy - who might actually pass the test - but the point is based on the test results you won't really be able to identify which is which. If you want to find the second type of developer you need a test that probes their creativity and resourcefulness.

With any sort of sampling process the more samples you take the better the picture. I see this test as a preliminary process that needs to be followed up by a more in depth one - using this to narrow down the candidates.

I would also update the topics on this to include .Net / C# as that appears to be the back end you are targeting.

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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
You get another sort of developer who is always going to API docs, reference manuals and online information to confirm, fill in, look up what a particular coding construct is or how to use it. They don't remember the nitty gritty bits but they know how to find them and that they exist and are able to write fantastic code.

That would be me, at least up to the 'fantastic code' part.  I started coding after designing electronic equipment where you are expected to look things up because there are way too many things to remember.  And because I learned how to troubleshoot a long time ago, I'm pretty good at figuring out other people's code which is an uncommon skill.

Out of all the tests I've seen, I couldn't pass any of them.  But very few of the people who pass the tests could do my work.
Jacques Bourgeois (James Burger)PresidentCommented:
I concur with Julian. Such a test can lead you to bad choices instead of helping you.

Are you hiring code reviewers or coders. This tests the knowledge of the different type of languages that you use, but it does not show anything about the capacity to code. There is a big difference between writing your own code and being able to read code and spot problems.

And how will you interpret the results? Very good programmers who might not be at ease with one or two of the topics that you cover might end up with a score of 70-80%, while somebody who happens to have dabbled a bit in everything could end up having 90-100%. Which one would attract you?

The guy might be a crack in C# and SQL, but not so much in CSS and JQuery. He might miss a question simply because it covers a part of the language that he never had to use in his prior jobs. A good programmer learns fast, so you might miss a very good one with a test like this one.

While the average programmer who has never specialized might get a better score. He knows 2+2 when he sees it, but he could have problems knowing when to use it when confronted to a problem when he is writing the code.

Personally, I was sometimes called to filter out candidates for some of my customers, and what I resorted to was asking the programmers to send me samples of their code. You learn a lot more about the potential of a programmer by looking at his code than by going through a test. When you see code where no contention is used for variable names, comments are nonexistent, types are not defined properly, fields are used everywhere instead of properties, who still used old ways of doing things, you automatically know that you have somebody who lacks the discipline and/or the knowledge to evolve as a good programmer. That same guy could be very good in the test however.
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Jim HornMicrosoft SQL Server Data DudeCommented:
>Now I am not technical minded so my developers will marks the answers
Try not to take this the wrong way, but based on the above statement it appears you are not qualified to manage developers, so tell us exactly what your job function is in your company.  If it's not specifically a staff manager or architect role, I'd ask the actual hiring managers in your company to come up with a test suitable for their areas.

Also keep in mind that candidates during interviews are also interviewing your company to see if they want to work there, and having a non-technical person asking technical questions can be viewed as a red flag warning not to work there.
1990mayurpatelAuthor Commented:
I'm a human resources manager. Obviously I deal with interviewing candidates but the test was compiled by our solutions achitect who want the tests to be dished out to web developers and gain feedback of your answers so that they can use it as a reference when comparing candidate answers. Coding is so diverse that there are a lot of ways to code something, so they want to see if mid level developers are able to deal with this test so that they know if it is suitable for juniors. I'm just the messenger really in all this but ifa few developers can take the test, it will help when it comes to us selecting candiates based on the test to go through to the next round.
1990mayurpatelAuthor Commented:
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

removed as not needed
Julian HansenCommented:
The reason given for the deletion is not valid. A question was posed - it was an open question asking for opinion. Experts answered the question as answered.
Jim HornMicrosoft SQL Server Data DudeCommented:
I agree that the question should live, as not needing the answer anymore is not a valid excuse to bail, plus it is not real fair to experts that put time into answering this question.   Even if the answer is not what was expected.  See ​my hugely entertaining read Top 10 Ways to Ask Better Questions, especially points 8 and 4.

I also agree with the above experts in that a 'trivial pursuit'-style test should not solely be used to evaluate developers, as there are many other factors involved, such as 'we'll teach you our way of doing things anyways', have you done anything before, are you proud of what you've done before, can I understand your previous code, how do you handle conflict, and more.

After may day job is over I'll search for my interviewing template and attach it to this question.  
And offer what I can as far as T-SQL and VB.
Jacques Bourgeois (James Burger)PresidentCommented:
In my opinion, every expert gave pertinent comments. The points should be shared equally.
Julian HansenCommented:
The answers given were all relevant to the question asked. Split points.
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