Solving a classic interview problem with Go

Programming Snapshot – Go Slices

© Lead Image © bowie15, 123rf

© Lead Image © bowie15, 123rf

Article from Issue 236/2020

Springtime is application time! Mike Schilli, who has experience with job application procedures at companies in Silicon Valley, digs up a question asked at the Google Engineering interview and explains a possible solution in Go.

The TechLead [1], Patrick Shyu, is a YouTube celebrity whose videos I like to watch. The former Google employee, who has also completed a gig at Facebook, talks about his experiences as a software engineer in Silicon Valley in numerous episodes on his channel (Figure 1). His trademark is to hold a cup of coffee in his hand and sip it pleasurably every now and then while he repeatedly emphasizes that he's the "tech lead." That's how Google refers to lead engineers who set the direction for the other engineers on the team. The first-line managers there traditionally stay out of technical matters and focus primarily on staffing and motivating their reports.

Figure 1: On his YouTube channel, TechLead Shyu blusters about the daily grind in Silicon Valley.

One episode on the TechLead channel is about typical questions asked at interviews at Google, of which the former employee says he has conducted hundreds. In this Snapshot issue, we'll tackle one of the quiz questions that he allegedly invented himself and kept asking, a slightly modified version of the flood fill problem [2]. The latter is so well-known that by now any candidate can rattle off the solution blindfolded. That's why Google has removed it from the list of questions, and the TechLead created his own version [3].


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