Tough Job Interview Questions for Engineers

For many of us, prepping for an interview includes practicing our answers for some basic questions we believe we will be asked, doing some background research on the company and making sure we have appropriate attire for the big day.  But for those in engineering, the type of questions asked may need some additional prep time. 

Since launching our Interview Reviews and Questions feature, we now have a total of over 4,500 interview questions- including quite a few from those in the engineering field.  We thought we’d build on some of the unique engineering questions posted on GigaOm last month.  What’s your take on these?  Interestingly, we’re seeing some valuable feedback – and even healthy debate — from the community on many of these types of questions.

Here is a sampling:

You have two strings, each of which burns in exactly one hour, although not at a constant rate. How do you measure 45 minutes with only these two strings? – Software Engineer Intern, Intuit

Describe the anatomy of a system call in depth. Including a description of virtual memory (not conceptually, but including description of caches, page tables, etc) – Software Development Engineer, Apple

If you had to check an integrated circuit for 32-bit and 64-bit optimization, how would you go about creating test cases and plan to do the same?- Quality Engineer, AMD

Describe the process of making a TCP connection from a browser to a server through routers, switches, and a load balancer. –Network Support Engineer, F5 networks

What kind of data structure would you use to index anagrams of words? e.g. if there exists the word “top” in the database, the query for “pot” should list that… –Software Engineer Intern, Google

Let us know if you have thoughts of your own and please share them to help others prep for their big day.  We’d also love to hear about the hard questions you’ve heard in the past.  Let us know and help others in doing so!