Engineering interview question I’ve ever gotten, Part 1

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  • Git

    Git Source Code Mirror - This is a publish-only repository but pull requests can be turned into patches to the mailing list via GitGitGadget ( Please follow Documentation/SubmittingPatches procedure for any of your improvements.

    I would pass the shit out of this question because it's right in my wheelhouse, but I don't consider myself a particularly exceptional programmer. I have a CS degree, but I'm positive I'd fail a FAANG interview w/o advance prep. I'm really comfortable at modifying existing code[1], gluing together existing solutions, and know enough C to get through this question.

    But the OP says this:

    > When you’re maintaining a large codebase, there are always going to be codepaths you don’t fully understand

    Ugh... I hate modifying code I don't understand. That doesn't mean I need to understand the entire code base. But if I'm modifying a portion of the code base, I'm loath to touch it till I understand what it's doing.

    [1] e.g.

  • Memcached

    memcached development tree

    Protip: if you're interviewing for a more senior position, the correct answer would not be to go and waste 3 hours implementing something that then you have to maintain forever. The best answer, from an engineering perspective, would be noticing or (knowing) that memcached supports a CAS command ( that would allow to implement equivalent functionality, and try to understand why that would not be a viable solution. If, and only if, it's confirmed it's not a viable solution then you should spend the 3 hours (+ all the maintenance effort required until the end of life for that solution).

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