Why get tested on Data Structures for an Interview

I posted a little status update on Facebook stating that I was looking for a job and needed to study Data Structures and Algorithms. One of my friends asked me why I needed to study this since I already knew the language I was going to be interviewed in.

Well, a lot of the ‘big brain’ shops expect you to be able to pick up a language fairly easy because once you know one, the others are, for the most part, a variation on a theme. So, testing on this really doesn’t show anything more than knowledge of an API (which you could quickly learn)

What they want to test is how you think and if you know when you should use certain things (not language specific). Data Structures is great for this type of test because it allows them to test if you know when certain structures are better than others. Algorithms prove how well you can think things through.

Now, I haven’t had to do any REALLY complex algorithms in quite some time and I haven’t really had to worry about performance to the degree of carefully picking what data structure to store things in. I learned all of this in college but that was 15 yrs ago.

So, time to study!

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