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I'm applying for an R & D role in a big company. As part of the application I've been asked for some code that shows my skills with a specific programming language and software engineering (so I assume they will kind of review the code).

Now I didn't have code, even though I usually program outside my job, but I haven't specific code to forward to other people.

Now... I assume whatever code I'll submit this should probably be related to what the job requires. As I said it is an R & D position, so what I've been thinking is to forward them some implementation of some medium difficulty algorithm/library related to what they're asking for in the job. When I say "medium" I don't mean specifically the difficulty of the algorithms I'll implement but they have to be appropriate enough to let me show that I know how to use some software engineering approach and allow me to do an analysis more or less complicated (in such a way I would be able to show that I can handle every aspects of a design). Also I don't want to forward them very complicated stuff because it would be very tedious for a review.

I mean... I want to make their life easy, but at the same time I have to show that I'm good for the job.

Is this approach ok? Or should I assume they're expecting something particularly complicated from me?

(it's the first time people ask me for code).

  • Have you asked them what level of complexity/size they are looking for? My guess is that you are thinking along the fight lines, but that's just a guess. – keshlam Nov 4 '16 at 21:04
  • We're not going to be able to answer the question as written. Fortunately, your point of contact at the company should be able to answer some of those questions or at least provide some guidance. – Chris G Nov 4 '16 at 21:06
  • No, I haven't, they neither gave me a deadline. I've asked if it was ok by the end of next week, they said it was ok. What do you mean "along the fight lines", am I overthinking? – user8469759 Nov 4 '16 at 21:11
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Show off your skills

If you don't have something great in your portfolio or in github, show off some skills you think might be relevant for the job. Make sure a technical person reviewing the code sees that you have all the elements--organized code, solid algorithm, coding conventions, best practices--everything should look professional.

If you do that, it doesn't need to be ground-breaking or complex. It will show that you know what you're talking about, and that you'd fit into the company as a solid contributor.

  • So I shouldn't focus that much on complex things, but just show off I have the key points they require, right? – user8469759 Nov 4 '16 at 21:51
  • Exactly. If you can do something non-trivial, that's better. But if it's non-trivial at the expense of proper structure and good use of the language, it's not worth it. – jimm101 Nov 4 '16 at 21:53
  • Hi, I sent the code (C++ code, relevant for the position). May ask you as a thought whether or not 2500 lines of code are a good sample for the purpose of my original question? (Just a as a reference for the future). – user8469759 Nov 18 '16 at 9:53
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Any interview code I have either asked for or given has been to show knowledge of the language and program structure and was reviewed for that, not function or relevance. People tend to want to see that you follow standards, reasonable naming conventions, document, use structure, know what a unit is, etc. If appropriate, include unit testing. If java, use java doc standards, etc.

Usually, but not a certainty. If unsure that is what they want, it is usually better to ask than guess wrong.

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