Facebook Puts Wanna-be Coders to the Test

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Alesia Benedict, president and CEO of GetInterviews.com, likes to point out that the sole purpose of a resume is to pique a hiring manager's interest enough to call you. In other words, it's all about getting an interview.


Now you can get one at Facebook without the pain of writing a resume. You don't have to have a degree, either. As this InfoWorld article points out, even a sheep shearer in New Zealand with broadband access can do it. The company has set up online coding tests - pick your language: C, C++, Java, Python, Perl, Ruby, C# or PHP. Ace the test and get a phone interview from Facebook.


CTO Adam D'Angelo and engineer Yishan Wong developed challenging programming puzzles five years ago. But the article says the company is taking that to an art form. It quotes Wong, saying:

We developed this theory that occasionally there were these brilliant people out there who hadn't found their way to Silicon Valley. They might be languishing in ordinary tech jobs. We needed a way to surface them.

But don't even think about leaking answers or working with a buddy on this - if two answers are too similar, both will be eliminated and those folks permanently banned.


InfoWorld offers this example:

Small World. In it, you have to write a program that reads location data (latitude and longitude) for a large number of points. Your program must output the three nearest points to every input point. Sound easy? It isn't because the program must be able to handle an arbitrarily large number of points - and it must have asymptotic time growth that is less than quadratic in the number of points.

The tests are expected to take one to two hours. You can get started here. Facebook is hiring for a number of software engineering positions. Along with its never-ending site changes, among its recent projects have been the launch of an HTML5 Resource Center as it tries to entice developers to create Web apps for the site, and testing the use of its virtual currency, Facebook Credits, for payment processing on other websites.


But, of course, the object of a phone interview is to talk your way into an in-person interview. For that, though, you will need a good resume and thorough preparation.