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Youngho Chaa cha cha

Interview Questions - Your experience

interview5 min read


These are my revision notes for my job interviews. As a contractor, I have job interviews more often than a permanent employee. Writing down the revision notes does not imply that I am incapable of answering these questions naturally. During interviews, I naturally get nervous, and due to my introversion, I often struggle to clearly articulate what I already know and understand. I simply want to avoid those situations and prepare myself to present myself in the best possible way.

Talk us through your current role

  • Senior Full Stack engineer in Platform team and Practitioner team
  • Platform team
    • Created IDS endpoint with terraform
    • Duplicate the network traffic to the endpoint
    • Fix and patch NPM package vulnerabilities
    • Fork a repository that’s not maintained any more and update the ruby syntax
    • Update docker images and upgrade vulnerable dependencies
  • Practitioner team
    • Write Cypress E2E tests
    • React app using react hook form
    • Jest and react-testing library tests
  • Deepeyes
    • Provision Lambdas, API Gateway, DynamoDB, Cognito, CloudWatch with terraform
    • RESTful APIs and GraphQL queries and mutations
    • Next.js web app and React Native mobile apps.
    • Use React Query for Offline support in mobile apps

How did you approach the coding test and where did you start?

  • Build walking skeleton, implementing only the happy path to understand what it does and how it works
  • Write tests and work on unhappy paths and validations, refactoring the existing code
  • Consider Domain language and refactor code, following the emerging pattern

What do you understand by operability and how do you use it in your current role?

  • Operability means how easy it is to keep running a software system smoothly and to maintain it.
  • Monitoring: track errors, slow transactions, and infrastructure metrics to detect and address issues proactively
  • Logging: emit useful logs, entry and exit of each module that can aid in debugging and provide valuable insight into how the system behaves in production
  • Documentation: ADR, On call documentation, usage of various tools, run book
  • Automation: automate routine tasks to reduce human errors and to improve efficiency
  • Incident response: well-defined incident response procedures
  • Postmortems and continuous improvement

How do you keep updated with tech news

  • Hacker news
  • Twitter. Kent Beck, Martin Fowler
  • ThoughtWorks Tech Radar
  • Tech Meet up

Can you provide an overview of your experience working in Agile environments? How do you ensure effective communication and collaboration within the team?

Agile environment

  • Work in a cross-function team
  • Sprint and Kanban
  • Agile is about receiving feedback early and often
  • Retrospective is the foundation

Effective communication

  • daily stand-up meeting
  • team channel
  • pair-programming
  • regular demo and show and tell
  • open discussions and active listening

How do you approach estimating task complexity and time requirements during sprint planning sessions?

  • Estimation is an ongoing process
  • Break down larger tasks into smaller, manageable subtasks
  • Use techniques like story points, T-shirt sizing, planning poker
  • Use historical data
  • Collaborative estimation
  • Consider risks and dependencies

Describe your experience working with solution designers and DevOps architects to design and implement technical solutions.

  • Weekly catch up with a principal engineer and a DevOps engineer
  • In case of Data Bricks data migration, a principal engineer, MS consultant, and a platform engineer were involved
  • Validation rules on API endpoints. Together with other teams, involving a principal developer

Can you share your experience mentoring less experienced colleagues within a team? How do you approach knowledge sharing and supporting their growth?

  • Pair programming: show that I make mistakes, have gaps in my knowledge and not afraid to google to find the answer. Share my shortcuts, my practices, and how to solve a problem step by step, learning something new on the way
  • Show and tell. Encourage everyone to share what he or she has learned. People can ask questions
  • Whiteboard session. Present a challenge what we have. Provide a few options we can think about. Then we discuss them

How do you ensure that code reviews are thorough and lead to best practices being followed within the team?

  • Team coding convention
  • Ensure at least 2 people review the code
  • Make the PR small and more often
  • It should have accompanying tests
  • Automate common checks: use linters and formatting tools

What was a time when you have been responsible for taking an influential technical decision and implementing it? What was the outcome?

  • Go for messaging service, rather than API calls between services to make them loosely coupled. From Bi-monthly release to multiple releases a day
  • BFF: Backend for FrontEnd. The website was based on replication data. Built a new APIs for FrontEnd that can modify and delete data.
  • Data migration with Data Bricks, rather than using CosmosDB change feed. One time job, quickly done. No need to provision the resource and destroy it.

How do you motivate colleagues and create a positive working environment?

  • Create an intellectually safe environment - people can ask questions without fear of being seen incapable. Nurture growth mindset. We learn something along the way
  • However small, try to take a step towards our technical North Star
  • Encourage open communication: Active listening and let people talk and be heard before we make a team decision
  • Recognise achievements and hard work, and show appreciation
  • Offer opportunities: brown bag session talk, show and tell, go to team leads meeting
  • Transparent and honest
  • Healthy work-life balance

What is your experience with mentoring and supporting fellow developers and team members?

  • Open and honest, and approachable. Create an environment where they feel comfortable sharing their concerns or challenges
  • Share my knowledge and experience. Show I approach a problem and learn along the way.
  • Offer support and resources
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