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So I went to an interview at Samsung here in Dallas, Texas. The way the recruiter described the job, he didn't make it sound like it was too math-oriented. The job basically involved graphics programming and C++. Yes, math is implied in graphics programming, especially shaders, but I still wasn't expecting this...

The whole interview lasted about an hour and a half and they asked me nothing but math-related questions. They didn't ask me a single programming question, which I found odd. About all they did was ask me how to write certain math routines as a C++ function, but that's about it. What about programming philosophy questions? Design patterns? Code-correctness? Constness? Exception safety? Thread safety? There are a zillion topics that they could have covered. But they didn't.

The main concern I have is that they didn't ask any programming questions. This basically implies to me that any programmer who is good at math can get a job here, but they might put out terrible code.

Of course, I think I bombed the interview because I haven't used any sort of linear algebra in about a year and I forget math easily if I haven't used it in practice for a while. Are any of my other fellow programmers out there this way? I'm a game programmer too, so this seems especially odd. The more I learn, the more old knowledge that gets "popped" out of my "stack" (memory).

My question is: Does this interview seem suspicious? Is this a typical interview that large corporations have? During the interview they told me that Google's interview process is similar. They have multiple, consecutive interviews where the math problems get more advanced.


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closed as off-topic by gnat, Giorgio, Bart van Ingen Schenau, Dan Pichelman, mattnz Jun 27 '14 at 4:30

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking career or education advice are off topic on Programmers. They are only meaningful to the asker and do not generate lasting value for the broader programming community. Furthermore, in most cases, any answer is going to be a subjective opinion that may not take into account all the nuances of a (your) particular circumstance." – gnat, Giorgio, Bart van Ingen Schenau, Dan Pichelman, mattnz
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Jeff has ruled explicitly that career development questions are in. This one (and your other example) may be Too Localized, however. –  dmckee Sep 27 '09 at 0:52
How is writing certain Math routines as a C++ function, not programming? Seriously. –  JB King Sep 27 '09 at 1:18
The highest-voted answer seems much better than the accepted one - you should seriously consider changing it. –  rwmnau Dec 24 '09 at 7:52
Shouldn't you describe your memory as a queue since it's FIFO? ;) –  Eric Jan 25 '10 at 21:08
I can't let this stand. "The more I learn, the more old knowledge gets popped out of my stack"?? That isn't how stacks work! –  meagar Jun 1 '11 at 17:39

1 Answer 1

I had an interview at Amazon that was just like that. No technology questions, just problem solving and algorithm design. That's what you ask if you want to hire someone who can solve problems. I can teach strong problem solvers to program acceptably. Teaching problem-solving is much harder.