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I have been chosen as one of the 12 final people for a full out scholarship to the college of my choice and it is paid for by a software company so long as I major in Computer Science.I have already had to write an essay on what has most shaped my life (Programming being it) and that was the basis for the interview decision. I now have to go in for an interview with people from the company for the final decision in a week.

I do believe I have a good foundation in computer science already. I have roughly 4 years of programming experience in Java, C++, ASM and your typical web stuff. I have done everything from making my own CMS for my site to an assembler to network file transfer applications.

That said what types of questions should I expect in an interview of this sort? Do I seem reasonably knowledgeable?

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I would just like to point out that programming is not computer science. –  Vitor Mar 10 '11 at 1:32
@Vitor Braga I understand that but there aren't exactly Software Dev. majors in college. I learn everything I can about computers but programming is my main interest. –  Glenn Nelson Mar 10 '11 at 1:37
@Glenn Nelson I understand. I'm mostly nitpicking. A solid computer science foundation will make you a better programmer. But don't say you have a good foundation in computer science if you know about programming but doesn't know about computability, for example. If you do know, say so in the question. If you don't, say you have a good foundation in programming. –  Vitor Mar 10 '11 at 1:43
@Vitor Braga I'm going to take the lazy route here. This posting of mine contains bits and pieces of what I've done: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/44781/… –  Glenn Nelson Mar 10 '11 at 1:46
@VitorBraga: This "programming != computer science" thing comes up every so often, but @GlennNelson has a valid point: Universities typically don't offer programming degrees and the only way to learn programming formally (i.e., outside of being self-taught) is to take computer science courses. The curriculums are full of programming courses, and I got the impression in my looking at schools recently that "computer science" is becoming a catch-all term in academia to meet various needs. I get it that programmers are a stubborn lot, but there comes a point when an issue just needs to be dropped. –  Philip Regan Mar 10 '11 at 2:23

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Check out a book called 'Programming Interviews Exposed' and especially look at the general/personality type questions they have there.

I would expect that in such an interview that you'll have that they'll more likely ask you enthusiasm/passion/personality type of questions as opposed to straight technical questions. That's just my hunch...

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Yep, they may just want to find out whether you would stay the course and whether they would want to hire you should you do so. –  Marjan Venema Mar 10 '11 at 8:05

I'll try to put myself in the shoes of someone selecting a freshman for a scholarship in computer science. My experience is with the Brazilian educational system, so it may be widely different than yours.

I'd never care about the typical programming interview questions. Programming interviews are what one expect from a seasoned professional or a fresh graduate, being selected for a professional position. This is not a professional position.

I'd first would try to gouge if the application has any idea of what waits for him in the University. I'm pretty sure most will not have, even when selecting from an excellent pool of students. Naturally, if this involves the University faculty it is probably biased from the dominant viewpoint in the Department. I'd expect selections from a University with strong software engineering emphasis being widely different than one from a University with a strong theoretical CS component.

After understanding and managing expectations about the course, I'd try to gauge motivation. It takes (four?) years of hard work. It may involve being away from family and friends.

Much like foreyez I'd expect question about personality, expectations, and motivation. Do your homework on the University CS Department and understand what kind of research is going on there. It might give you a few keywords to Google about and learn more.

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