In September of 2018, I interviewed for Winter term internships. I applied to 20 jobs in about a month and got an interview with one of the provincial government offices. The job posting mentioned Excel as one of the primary skills. I was quite confused about what Excel had to do with the Junior Web Developer position. But I was quite desperate, so I decided to strengthen my Excel knowledge. The day before the interview, I spent the entire evening & night brushing up on Excel. I even learnt about pivot tables and some other advanced topics.
The following day, I walk into an interview with a written coding test. The written test consisted of HTML, CSS, and PHP questions. Even though I did not prepare for a coding test, I answered the HTML and CSS questions. The last question was worth about half of the test marks. And the problem was to use PHP to loop through an array, build an unordered list, then display the unordered list on the web page. Not too hard a question, you might think, but the problem was that I did not know PHP at all.
On the first day of my internship, I met the rest of my team's internship hires. I found that all 3 of them were in their second or third internships and were part of a degree program. Whereas I was in a diploma program, and this was my first internship. Translation: They were much better qualified than me. The two biggest lessons I learnt from this debacle are that one must never give up even in the face of adversity. Most of the interviewers want to test our problem-solving skills and not if we know the programming language's syntax. And lastly, when facing challenges, we should always remember the wise wisdom imparted by the great Mr. Michael Scott.
What are some of your best and worst interview experiences in tech? Tweet me @sbappan_ and share your story."
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