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API interview in a couple of weeks... what's the best course of action to take?

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Entry-Level Software Engineer at Unemployeda month ago

Hi everybody. Last time I posted on here, I was laid off. I'm still laid off, BUT I got an interview where I interned at! It's a medium-sized financial company, looking to expand soon. The people I know in there are pretty high up. I told the recruiter that I was interested in making an impact on the business, and he really liked that about me. They said that no matter what happens with this interview, they're still gonna try to get me a software engineer job within the company. I think it was in a Taro course I saw when I first signed up where Alex said this, but the recruiters are looking for trust that you'll be able to ship production-level code. I've already done this within the company as an intern, and given my manager there at the time is now one guy under the CTO and CIO (the CIO remembered me and approved getting that position open!), I got that company trying to get me back in. Fingers crossed it works, but I'll have a hard time typing if I keep them crossed rather than code to practice beforehand.

The team is trying to modernize APIs. In the behavioral/vibe check interview, the manager told me that he has a bunch of awesome APIs he'd like to convince other areas in the company to use, but they're stubborn because their current processes work as they are, and they don't want to put themselves at risk by implementing the new awesome APIs. I'd be expected to act as someone who can have these conversations with these groups about the code and APIs they currently work with, and get them to buy in on the said new awesome APIs. It was originally a senior software engineer role, but they're interviewing me to see if they'd like to lower that to a mid-level role, and then (hopefully) hire me.

The role itself uses Node.js, SpringBoot, GraphQL, and Docker. I want to know what plan you guys think I should implement to study this next week and a half before it's technical interview day. I've been building some Node/GraphQL projects, and just worked on a SpringBoot project yesterday, too. A project approach is what I'm doing for this. I can also ask ChatGPT for some good interview questions on these things, but is there anything you guys can lob at me that will help me achieve proficiency (if not mastery) of those technologies in a week's time? Advice, tutorials, strategy planning, etc.

I'd really appreciate whatever y'all can throw at me. Thanks so much!

Evan

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(2 comments)
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    Staff Eng @ Google, Ex-Meta SWE, Ex-Amazon SDM/SDE
    a month ago

    Hm. Being an advocate or cross-org champion for technical solutions doesn’t seem like a mid-level engineer-ish role to me. I’d say senior technical program manager, or part of the work of a senior or staff engineer. I’m not saying you can’t do it, but that work is a lot of soft influence, salespersonship, advocacy, and so on. You’ll be finding the common reasons not to, and finding convincing counterarguments.

    There may be coding work, like building proxies or adapters to allow gradual adoption of the new APIs. There could be coding to demonstrate integrations. Or automate them if possible. Or adding test harnesses or other infra to let teams gain confidence in the transition. It could also be building dashboards, or building experimentation such that you can divert some traffic to the new API in parallel with the current API, comparing results, etc before moving live traffic to the new APIs.

    If you haven’t driven a program like this before, it is sort of… tricky for a new-hire, mid-level engineer to run something like this. You need to garner trust, and if the first thing out of your mouth is a sale pitch requiring engineering time being taken from current priorities, that isn’t going to do it.

    I am not sure how much of this will be in the interviews. Now might be a DSA, coding, problem solving, design type time, tackling the migration program is a “once you have the job” problem, unless you were told you’d have specific questions about this in your interviews.

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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a month ago

    Interesting... To prepare for the technical portion, I would just build APIs in a side project with the technologies you mentioned. Node.js, SpringBoot, GraphQL, and Docker - All of these should be reasonable to spin up in a personal environment.

    Zooming out, I imagine that the interview for this role will be very behavioral heavy as it seems like a Developer Advocate role effectively. Expect a lot of questions like "What do you do if someone disagrees with you on a technical strategy?". If you haven't already, I recommend brushing up on your communication skills with our Effective Communication course: [Course] Effective Communication For Engineers

    The behavioral course is important too: [Course] Master The Behavioral Interview As A Software Engineer

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