Time Warner Cable
Time Warner Cable Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews
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Senior Software Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Time Warner Cable in December 2010.
Interview Details – Communication was very good and process was very thorough. There was a 30-minute phone screen followed by a several hour on-site interview with an architect whereby I had to fully articulate a system I developed. The interviewer then picked one piece of the system and asked me to explain it in full detail. The next interview was with two engineers and was incredibly technical. They were reading from sheets of technical interview questions but the questions were VERY thorough and covered the position and what someone with this job title and years of experience should know.
Interview Question – At this point, I don't remember an exact question, but in the technical interview they wanted to know why, not just how. E.g., why I would use the syntax of List<Foo> fooList = new ArrayList<Foo>() rather than ArrayList<Foo> fooList = new ArrayList<Foo>(). Answer Question
Negotiation Details – It was really strange, they asked me what my salary requirements were and I gave them a range and it was like it confused them. I recall them saying "we don't work like that, just pick a number." So I did. I should have asked for 4 weeks vacation instead of the default of three since I was told they frequently do this, but I didn't want to get greedy.
Senior Software Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied through a staffing agency and the process took 1+ week - interviewed at Time Warner Cable in July 2008.
Interview Details – I was contacted by a staffing firm who briefly described the position, I expressed interest and a phone interview was scheduled. That phone call came the next day, with two employees discussing things with me. I intentionally use the phrase "discussing things" because this was not your typical 20 questions kind of thing - no "knowledge" questions that test how much you know, but more like ... well, a discussion. It was back-and-forth, trading experiences, insights, philosophies, viewpoints, etc. Refreshing! It was a mutually respectful, professional and enjoyable experience. I wasn't "put on the spot" once - I felt like all I had to do was be myself, and talk about technology (which I love to do), and enjoy the conversation - which I did.
The followup group interview (3 employees and me) was not much different. I got up to the whiteboard once, frankly by my own initiative, to explain a design pattern I'd come up with. There were no "trick questions", no "brain teasers", no CS-101 algorithms to work through, no static examination of code to find the compile-time or runtime flaw ("OK, now let's pretend that you're a compiler..." - yeah, right), etc. - in short, it was probing for the kinds of things that really matter: assuming that I wasn't fabricating my credentials on my resume - how well can I communicate with peers, what is my personality, would I be a cultural fit into the team, etc. It was, again, quite comfortable and was - finally - the type of interview experience that I had theorized about but had never seen nor heard of. I was hired without equivocation after this panel interview.
I've always been skeptical of the value of interviews, like those I've had at Google, Rally and VMware, where the types of things that are probed for bear no resemblance to what my day-to-day would be like. For goodness sakes, if you think I'm going to spend my time examining static code to look for runtime problems, I have to wonder how your company stays afloat. Professional engineers use tools to get their work done, building on the foundations that have already been laid down so we can be more productive and work at higher levels of abstraction - we don't memorize syntax or algorithms, we don't worry anymore about passing undergraduate exams by practicing how to do a bubble sort, and etc. What we do is work on our communication skills, constantly look for opportunities to learn new things, and welcome the challenge of a difficult problem to which we can apply our expertise. We get professional satisfaction from being productive both as individuals and as part of a team. What I finally experienced at the Time Warner Cable interview was a collection of senior colleagues who have the same values and knew how to interact with a candidate to draw out insights around these values.
Interview Question – What is the underlying implementation of Facelets? Answer Question
Negotiation Details – The negotiation process was, for me, quite easy - the staffing firm basically gave me what I asked for. I was coming from a position of strength, since I was already employed and wouldn't leave unless I got an offer I couldn't refuse. The position was also a difficult one for TWC to fill since, as they expressed, it's difficult finding developers like me, who are skilled in all tiers of an application (web, database, server-side, web services, etc.)
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