Big tech companies are famous for their esoteric questions and other tech shops put developers through basic, but challenging, coding tests where they’re asked to write a routine to find the palindromes in a text and sort them by length in n log n time or something like that.
I have a better idea. For programmers and system administrators of UNIX-like systems, I propose the following tests (to be performed without consulting a man page):
- Successfully create a symbolic link to a file.
- Create a tar file for a set of files and extract it to a predetermined directory in one attempt.
- Open a file in either emacs or vi, navigate to the bottom of the page, and exit without temporarily (or permanently) modifying the file.
- Remove the third field in every row from a csv file without using perl or ruby. If they opt for awk or sed, assess whether you want someone who sees things as awk or sed problems.
- Name their current programming font.
- Name a unix shell that’s not bash.
- Name the package manager that you’re most familiar with.