Well, blame my exclusive ownage of the words ‘idd salim‘ on google, my rich CV and list of systems done and out there, or just plainly the references I have, but a week after my 28th Birthday, google came calling…
Their main point of reference was my Xing Profile.
Alot of my facebook, gmail, symbiotic, redtape, Qz and PLG buddies have requested me to blog about the google Interview process. What they require. How to prepare.. yaddayadda.
I could not refuse. Who am I to refuse?
Their initial point of contact was an email below:
SRE are an elite group of circa 350 engineers in Google. This is obviously a very small group of the overall organization.
Technically this team consists of both Systems Admins and Software Developers.
Sys Admins are expert Linux admins with kernel level hacking experience. They also tend to have exceptional scripting experience and some networking knowledge. Developer tend to come from a C++, Python, C or Java background with exceptional Design and algorithms and data structures experience.
The team has a large number of industry leaders and industry technical pioneers especially in the area of Linux and Python.
SRE work on all of the major internal and external Google systems. Gmail, Search, Maps, Earth etc etc
They are responsible for the Scalability, Reliability and Efficiency of all of the systems from both a software and hardware perspective.
This is not an operations team (we have one of them!) but rather an internal consultancy type group.
The job specs are below:
We have these roles available in Dublin, London, Zurich, US and Sydney.
If you are interested, send me back your updated CV and we can arrange a time to discuss
I sent them my CV and then Google sent me a self-evaluation test:
Thanks for your reply and the updated Resume.
Can you complete the skills assessment below as accurately as possible and return it to me.
Self Evaluation Guide:
10 = you literally have written a book
7,8,9 = expert, go-to person on this technology
5,6 = solid daily working knowledge. Highly proficient.
3,4 = comfortable working with this, have to check manual on
1, 2 = have worked with it previously but either not much, or rusty
TCP/IP Networking (OSI stack, DNS, etc.)( )
Unix/Linux System Administration tasks( )
Unix/Linux internals( )
Algorithms & Data Structures( )
SQL and / or Database administration( )
Shell Scripting (sh, bash, ksk, csh)( )
Whats days and times this week would be suitable for us to discuss.
I would like to call you and discuss your Resume, give you more information regarding the roles that we have available and also ask you a number of technical questions.Kind Regards,
I responded as honestly as I could. We set a date to a week later via email for a phone interview. So I spent a week brushing up on my skills on things like as Trees, Calculus I and II, Algebra V, Discreet maths, Big-O, Data Structures, Algorithms and the full unoma shebang.
And so, the big day came. Google was to call at 5pm. I was the young Salim again. I now could speak-out the code to do a heap-sort, merge-sort, Dijkstra’s Algorithm, TSP, Graphs etc, in C and Java.
At 5:07pm. Google Calls. The callers accent was somewhat faster than I could decipher, but after a verbal interview on what languages I know, about systems and databases, started. The following some of the few questions I can remember:
- How many bytes are there in a MAC Address?
- Explain the 3 way HTTP TCP handshake.
- Explain, in detail, the sticky bit flag on Unix directories.
Not surprisingly, this is all I can remember as I blog this. As I give them space to get back to me (not holding my breath of-course), the hassle continues.
Benefits from this exercise
After the Google contact forced be to revisit things that I had completely ignored or postponed like the books of Knuth, the Dijkstra’s algorithm, B+Trees… It made me a better optimizer. I now look at my YU and Orange projects with optimism as the systems will perform better. Ramadhan period locks me indoors and I can only improve.
Google job or no Google job, I am now a better coder, thanks to the contact.
Wazi, back to Dijkstra!