Programming brain-teasers — don’t wait for a job interview to enjoy them

Arden Dertat, when he was a student at Brown, blogged a nice series of 28 programming interview questions (and answers) HERE that are fun even if you’re not preparing for an interview.

A favorite interview-style question of mine is one that a friend used to ask about logic design: Consider a stairwell with a switch at each floor to control the lights. If the lights are on, flipping any switch turns the lights off, and if the lights are off, flipping any switch turns the lights on. How do they wire that up?

Arden Dertat, now at Microsoft, still tweets sometimes about interviews.


1 Comment

  1. That’s the kind of question that lets the candidate reveal what kind of thinker they are. Will they grasp that you’re asking about a 20 storey stairwell? Will they use the word “parity”? Will they drawn something just to express the solution or to try solving it from nothing? But it favors tinkerers (or homeowners) and is really too low tech for a Silicon Valley company to ask. Your candidate might be hoping for something more challenging.


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