Staff Engineer Interview Questions in California | Glassdoor

# Staff Engineer Interview Questions in California

500

Staff engineer interview questions shared by candidates

## Top Interview Questions

Sort: RelevancePopular Date

### Member of Technical Staff Software Engineer at VMware was asked...

Jun 12, 2012
 How many race heats are needed to find the 3 fastest pinewood derby cars out of a field of 8, if only 4 cars can run at a time (assuming that every car will always run the way/speed and each lane is exactly equivalent)?7 AnswersEach heat rules out 1 car (that cannot be one of the 3 fastest).so is the answer 4 heat 1 (first 4 car) + 1 (4 second set) + 1( Top 2 from first + Top 2 from second set) + 1 (3 car heat among the 3rd placed car)Only two races of four cars in each. Get the times of all cars and sort them. You don't need any more races because the times will be the same in subsequent races. :)Show More Responses4 if we cant measure time3 if we cannot measure time.Choose 4 cars at random for the first race. Trivially the slowest car in that race can be removed from consideration. For the second race randomly choose 3 previously untested cars as well as the third place car from race one. If the car from race one wins then all other cars in race 2 are slower than all of top three cars in race one and may be discarded. Similarly if the car from race one is in last place all of the cars from the first race may be removed from contention. In effect, regardless of how this car performs in the second race three additional cars may be removed from consideration. With one car removed in the first race and three additional cars removed in the second only 4 cars remain. The remaining four cars may be raced simultaneously in a third race to provide the final solution.4 rounds choose 4 cars for the first round, and the other four from the second round; this makes up two round. The lowest cars in both round definitely cannot be part of the best 3. In the third heat, the last four cars from the first two rounds make up another round. At this point, its either all three in one round are the fastest, or the fastest two in one round and the best in the other. The winning 2 in this round are selected and a last round to determine the fastest three.

### Member of Technical Staff Software Engineer at VMware was asked...

Jan 12, 2012
 Given a series of strings, find the biggest common prefix.4 Answers/** * Jun Zheng, Rice Univ * Given a series of strings, find the biggest common prefix. * Real question of VMware * Java7; running time: O(n^2) * @param str * @return */ private String biggestPrefix(String[] strs){ String prefix=strs[0]; for(int i=1;i0;i++){ int j; for(j=0;j0)? prefix:"No such prefix!"; }How that works? You are considering "prefix" must come from the very first string, which is not true. In the following string set, the biggest common prefix is "xyzasd" - which this program fails to find! String[] arr = {"MxyzasdNmm", "kxyzasdDodal", "I am a Good Boy", "JadxyznasdM Golmal", "ABCDEF", "ABCDEFGH", "Sunnyvale", "CaliforniaKxyzaszzMon"};What? Prefix is not started from the very first string? Jesus I cannot read Eng!Show More Responsesx = ["Ravite", "Raviteja", "Ravby", "Raviejaain","Ravi" ] #Given String y = x[0] for i in x: if len(i)> len(y): y = i fin = [] y = list(y) for i in range(len(y)): count = 0 for j in range(len(x)): if y[i]==x[j][i]: count +=1 if count == len(x): fin.append(y[i]) else: break if len(fin) > 0: print "".join(fin) else: print "No common prefix in series"

### Staff Engineer at Dolby was asked...

Jan 31, 2010
 Suppose you have a device that fires an interrupt every time it fills up with 5 bits of information; how do you commit this data into a 32-bit addressable memory location, without any padding bits?3 AnswersThis was supposedly the question that sunk many a candidate. I got it using number-theory, and drawing a little block diagram, and using certain registers on the CPU.Please give a specific answer. Explain to us without using drawing or block diagram.I am assuming you stored 5 bits in a CPU register then did some "&", "|" and ">" with next 5 bits and kept count of bits or something and when got to a count of ~32., wrote to memory. Am I right? If not please suggest the correct solution.

### Staff Engineer at Dolby was asked...

Jan 31, 2010
 How do you reverse an integer value (e.g. 1234 => 4321)2 Answerscan be done with one loop, and modular arithmeticI came up with a quicky but it has a problem, if the number ends with a "0", it wont print in the reversed number, will resort to some ugly hack thing for that. int reverseInt(int num) { int res = 0; do { res *= 10; res += (num % 10); num /= 10; } while (num > 0); return res; }

### Senior Staff Engineer at Exar was asked...

Oct 12, 2011
 Explain the gcc command-line options for run-time checking of array bounds.1 Answergcc --help

### Senior Staff Engineer at Exar was asked...

Oct 12, 2011
 Please describe the SONET frame structure.1 AnswerWhat does that have to do with PCIe?

### Staff Software Engineer at Xilinx was asked...

Sep 28, 2012
 describe the shortest path of a graph with negative weights1 Answerif it's a DAG, then we can solve it in O(n) using topological sorting. For a general directed graph, we can use bellam ford to solve it or find a negative cycle in O(mn).

### Staff Engineer at Edwards Lifesciences was asked...

Oct 16, 2012
 The interview was not coordinated and they don't have standard questions. You can easily get the interviewers off track so that they don't ask any pertinent questions.1 AnswerNot necessary

### Staff Process Engineer at Lam Research was asked...

Dec 13, 2013
 I do not recall any difficult questions. The most tricky question asked by most interviewers is: What do you see yourself doing in the future? Its difficult because not only there is no right answer, but the same answer can be perceived as positive by one interviewer and negative by the other.1 AnswerI spoke in generalites, saying that I want to focus on the success of the product and possibly consider a management position in the future.

### Staff Software Engineer at Intuit was asked...

Jul 17, 2011
 The most challenging (and interesting) question was about a strategy for finding signal in a noisy and poorly understood data set. Asking a software engineer a data science question really stretches the mental muscles.1 AnswerChallenging yes. But not necessarily in a good way. Most software engineers do NOT have the training to properly address this question. It requires a background in "data science" or signal processing. Unless the position interviewed for required these skills/background also, I would say the question was highly inappropriate.
110 of 500 Interview Questions