Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
Interviews for Top Jobs at Check Point Software Technologies
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Entry Level Software Engineer Interview
I applied online. The process took 2 days – interviewed at Check Point Software Technologies (Redwood City, CA) in October 2011.
Initial communication was with an HR rep. The first interview was in person, 3 part skill test. The test is given in an office with no internet access. You are given some pages (about 4) with instructions and a fill-in the blank answer sheet. You follow the instructions and every section (about 20sections) you fill in an answer to a question about what you did. For example on section instructed you to open a linux console and do a ping command and write down the computer's ip and ms delay. Some sections you accomplish on one linux virtual machine, other sections you complete on a second linux virtual machine. The goal of all the sections is to connect one VM to another and use FTP in the console to transfer a zip file.
The second part of the test involves a new set of instructions (about 3 pages). The instructions give you basic steps to unzip the file you just copied. Install an FTP client from these files. Modify the source code C file so that next time you install it the title of the program has your name on it.
The third part of the test is completely unrelated. You are given 3 specification instructions. You are told to build one C function. You are given the prototype of this function. Your function receives a char array and based on the specifications you have to analyze the char array and return a true or false. Each char array consists of an instruction word and some random data. The specifications state that a protocol must be followed so specific instruction words and data is allowed in specific states of this protocol. After you are done with your function you are allowed to build your method with other prewritten .h files and main.c file. THe main.c file given to you tests your code. about 80 thousands instructions are passed to your code and the main.c file gives you an output that tells you how many instructions out of the 80thousands were parsed correctly and at which instruction your code did not work. To pass this part of the test your code must work with all 80k test instructions. points are deducted for ugly code, for uncommented code, for inefficient code.
It took the company about 3 weeks to evaluate the skills test i took. I was told i passed the skill test. I was given an in person interview. The interview was conducted by the team leader for the position available and also by 3 engineers in the team. The interview was conducted one on one with these four people. Each person was given about an hour to quiz my knowledge on a specific topic. One person quizzed me on networking concepts: TCPIP, FTP, HTTP, LAN, Router, DNS. and much more, each topic question was talked about in depth. The second person talked about programming concepts including: structs, sizeof(), Little/Big Endian, ARM vs 386, compilers, what files are created when compiling, and much more. The third person talked about my code, why i wrote loops the way i did, what i could do different, questions about programming were about my code so it was the easiest part of the interview. The fourth person talked to me about all aspects, some questions overlapped, other topics included: network layers, meaning of ip in ip address, what router does when routing, difference between hub and switch, how to optimize code with -o switch. how struct is stored in memory. write chars in binary and then hex and explain big/little endien. which processors use big E which use little? He asked extensive questions about my whole resume, so be sure to know how to explain each project listed in your resume. He also gave info about company and info about team and what they do.
I left interview confident with my performance. I felt i Answered 80-85% of questions accurately. I admitted the few times i didn't know an answer. I waited for an email or phone call for a job offer or third interview but i was not called. All engineers that interviewed me were indian and i am not. They all had accents and i dont. Perhaps not being indian played a role in not being hired? The tough tests and interview questions were a good experience and i'm glad i applied if only for the interview experience. The same job position is still open at dice. They're either really picky about new hires or the position is just for show.