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Amazon
Technical Program Manager was asked...9 July 2011

Given a string like "I'm being interviewed by Amazon" implement a method that reverses the given string so that it looks like "Amazon by interviewed being I'm".

10 Answers

we can first reverse the whole string, and then reverse the individual words O(n) complexity Less

3-line solution in PowerShell: $str = "I'm being interviewed by Amazon".Split() $([array]::Reverse($str) ) [string]$str Less

" ".join("I'm being interviewed by Amazon ".split()[::-1])

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Amazon

What is the hardest thing in moving a team to Agile?

5 Answers

Personalities and level of comfort of the development staff. Some team members can resist change they don't understand. The key is in presentation of the core of Agile/Scrum and not in the buzzwords or trendiness - emphasize the minimized reaction to positive developments and test/missed Architecture or requirements, the daily standups being the only real hassle, etc. You pitch it to the team member's values and sense of worth, as being an improvement to empower the coder and add worth. The next hardest thing is convincing a skeptical management, PMO, Systems Engineering staff, and probably best to not mention it to the Customer for a release or two. Less

- New team (everyone is still forming, norming, storming) so hard to estimate and collaborate - Distributed team members (works best if teams are collocated) - Strong, individual performers. Agile is about team work. - Not having a product owner - etc. Less

It's the people. Getting them to understand the Agile concept, then utilize it. Some developers never get "Fluid Requirements". They want final requirements and that's it. Less

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Google

Estimate the number of spark plugs in the state of California.

5 Answers

In fact the number is much larger than that. The average number of sparks per vehicle (in CA) is probably closer to 5.5. Four-cylinder vehicles are the norm in Europe, but in the US is common to see a higher percentage of V6 and V8 engines. For every gas (not diesel, as noted previously) vehicle in CA, working or not, you could estimate ~5.5 sparks. In addition, you have to account for all stored (i.e. not necessarily installed in vehicles) sparks. So if there are, say, 20k car shops in CA and each of them holds 100 sparks in stock, that's another 2M sparks. How about motorbikes? Probably 2.5 sparks on average? Any spark factories in CA? Finished product would count too. How many unsold/retired vehicles? I'd say the final number is well north of 100M. Less

Cars, lawn mowers, edgers, and many other engines. Only going by cars is a huge underestimate. Less

This is a fermi question. assuming there is one sparkplug per vehicle, and the number of sparkplugs used in other machinary pales in comparision to the number of vehicles in california, then you just need to get the ball park figure for the number of vehicles.. here's my shot at it.. CA population is roughly 40 million. I would estimate roughly 1 car per family.. so lets say about 15-20 million cars in CA (taking into account children). so ball park figure of 20 million. lets add 10 million more for commercial vehicles, motorcycles,trailers etc.. . I would estimate a total of 30 million spark plugs in the state of California. Less

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Amazon

what was most innovative technical work you have done

5 Answers

We have developed Virtual Music Instruments for A.R Rahman. These are musical bands worn to hand and these generate midi tones and sent over Air (two variants Bluetooth, UWB). A third variant is again demonstrated by A.R.Rahman in many concerts, with technology based on camera. All of these variants are used by A.R Rahman in various concerts. Less

We have developed Virtual Music Instruments for A.R Rahman. These are musical bands worn to hand and these generate midi tones and sent over Air (two variants Bluetooth, UWB). A third variant is again demonstrated by A.R.Rahman in many concerts, with technology based on camera. All of these variants are used by A.R Rahman in various concerts. Less

We have developed Virtual Music Instruments for A.R Rahman. These are musical bands worn to hand and these generate midi tones and sent over Air (two variants Bluetooth, UWB). A third variant is again demonstrated by A.R.Rahman in many concerts, with technology based on camera. All of these variants are used by A.R Rahman in various concerts. Less

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Amazon

What is the difference between a risk and an issue?

4 Answers

An issue is an actual problem which is (negatively) impacting your project. A risk is an unknown or potential future event -- can have negative OR POSITIVE impact (yes!) and may or may not occur. Less

The key difference is an “issue” already has occurred and a “risk” is a potential issue that may or may not happen and can impact the project positively or negatively. We plan in advance and work out mitigation plans for high-impact risks. For all issues at hand, we need to act immediately to resolve them. Less

This is classic project management professional terminology, which I knew. But since I'm not a PMP I didn't know the precise definitions so I didn't try to bluff it. In the real world the two things are so different that you can't really point out what the differences are. I was left doing a goldfish impression - mouth opening & closing. Less

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Amazon

A vaguest ion that was asked in a very general way, but which the interviewer clearly had specific answers he was looking for: "what are four components that are included in every specification doc". That sounded a lot like a thing you would find at Microsoft and similar large companies where process is more strictly defined. I answered poorly, I think, perhaps because I haven't worked with that kind of spec in a very long time, and not on any projects that worked out well. Smaller orgs/programs/projects (startups and incubators, for example, where the outcome is always in flux, as I am accustomed to working with) can have poor specs, specs that are centered on marketing, planning documents that are made up of wireframes and time-based stage gates. In any case, I choked a bit, and the interview kind of skated around and became more specific as we went along. I don't think that is inappropriate, though, because Amazon does value and expect the ability to deal with ambiguity.

4 Answers

"what are four components that are included in every specification doc" This question is insane, and I would hate getting an interviewer that asks such a question. Correct answer can be: "1. Title, 2. Author, 3. Requirements, 4. Version". If the title "requirements doc" is not there, maybe it is not a requirement doc. Specific sections are: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_requirements_document Less

The toughest interviewer with the "4 components" question was a dev, in fact. The TPM screen was not so academic, more about challenges and solutions, philosophy, team fit, familiarity with the specific technology and business. That was definitely the screen that didn't go well, although he was wicked smart and wasn't just trying to mess with the candidate or anything. Less

What do you mean of Sepc ? If you mean a document which will be used for developing a feature of software i.e Use case sepc, user story, backlog item, It should contain at least following components : 1- Who is Actor / Role 2- What action will actor/role will take ? 3- Goal. Why actor do that ? what the software will provide for user. You may add acceptance criteria to the above list. Less

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Amazon

Given two arrays find all the points of intersection between the (i.e. equal elements) and return them in an array.

4 Answers

traverse first array: O(n) put elements into hashtable: O(1) traverse through second array: O(m) check for existence of element in hashtable: O(1) if yes, add to resultant array. return resultant array So, final time complexity is O(n) Less

couple of solutions - sort the array (nlogn) complexity - browse with the smaller array and visit each of the bigger array and return if there is a match. Complexity (n square) thus not a good solution next solution - sort the arrays and remove duplicates (nlogn) - create a table, with the longer array - browse to the smaller array and update the count - Less

use a hashtable. O(n).

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Apple

If you had to float an iPhone in mid-air, how would you do it?

3 Answers

Use airflow like the old beach ball on the end of a vacuum cleaner. Forget the string... they said "float". Less

The correct answer is : "How long would it need to float for? What is minimum required distance from a fixed stationary object that the iPhone would need to meet or surpass for the requirement of "floating" to be satisfied? Are there any dependencies or blockers that you are aware of initially? By when do you need it to float by, and how many engineers will you be able to grant based on project plan sizing?" Its a critical thinking exercise, I do not believe they are looking for you to truly engineer a device to make iPhones float... Less

Magnetics, acoustic waves, transparent string with anti-reflective coatings...

Google

select two numbers whose sum is under a given number.

3 Answers

binary search

x= 1000 ; Say, x is given for i in range(0,x+1): j=x-i print(i,j) i+=1 Less

input GN i = 0 j= 0 for i=0 to i =GN { for j = 0 to J = GN { If i+J < GN print (i,J) J++ } } Less

Amazon

Explain how you would design and implement a asking algorithm using Java.

3 Answers

The interview question was "Explain how you would design and implement an algorithm for load balancing across a network using Java without the usage of a Centralized load balancing server." Less

What is an a asking algorithm?

add a field to the messaging for average load/latency/serving time, have each server advertise it's load by a moving average formed over the last several transactions with clients. Have that algorithm age off old data on a sliding timebase of 10s of seconds for heavy load to 4 hours or so for a light load, such that light usage over the longest time results in the lowest load score... Less

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