Surviving the Technical Interview

By Deb Shinder (Send Email)
Posted Dec 20, 2010


It seems there is no quicker way to strike terror in the heart of an IT professional (or aspiring IT pro) than to speak those ominous words:

SWatch Reader Favorite! It seems there is no quicker way to strike terror in the heart of an IT professional (or aspiring IT pro) than to speak those ominous words: 'First, you'll need to pass a technical interview.'

"First, you'll need to pass a technical interview."

I've had students who were at the top of their network training classes call or write to me in a panic, asking what to expect. As if a job interview weren't nerve-wracking enough by itself, when you add the word "technical," it becomes a whole different - and even scarier - prospect. This article will, I hope, help you to overcome your fears and doubts about the process and tame the tech interview beast.

Before I get into the how-to's, though, I have a confession to make. Even though I've sat on the other side of the interview desk on many occasions as the hiring authority, even though I enjoy the chess-like game of strategy of the job interview situation, even though I am - after building a highly successful IT business along with my husband, teaching hundreds of students in computer-related courses, and with eleven IT books published - pretty confident of my skills and knowledge, I still dread the "technical" interview.

Technical Interview Facts of Life

But it's a fact of life in this industry, so it's important to learn our ways around the tech interview, anticipate some likely questions (or types of questions) that we'll encounter, and understand what the technical interviewer is really looking for (contrary to what you may feel during the interview, most are not sadists who stay up nights thinking of new ways to torture job applicants with obscure and convoluted interrogatories).

Revised, Dec. 20, 2010

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