Interviewing developers is never an easy task. There is a big difference between knowing about programming and actually being able to program. It doesn’t help that there are a multitude of languages and specializations. You’ll find programmers who can claim to do it all while others are focused on a very small niche of programming.
So if you are in need of a Windows Phone App Developer, what questions can help you weed out the bad candidates from the good? Your overall goal is to determine if the Windows Phone App developer across from you is both qualified and a right fit for your team.
Prior to any interview with a developer, you should look them up. Check to see if they have a LinkedIn profile which can provide you with a detailed history of their previous employers. Additionally, you can check to see if they have a personal blog or website which might showcase some of their work. Finally, check Github to see if the developer has a repository.
One mistake made by interviewer’s, especially if they have no coding experience themselves, is to ask questions that use scales. For example, the question might have the candidate rank themselves on a scale of one through ten in terms of their proficiency in a certain programming language.
For one, it is hard for you as the interviewer to actually substantiate that response. Secondly, proficiency on a scale is in the eye of the beholder. A very experienced programmer may rate themselves lower because they know there is still so much to learn. However, an inexperienced programmer might rate themselves higher because they think they know everything but in truth, they just don’t realize the depth at which the language can be used.
With the generalities out of the way, here are some specific questions that you can use to assess the skill level of the Windows Phone App developer.
How do you free up resources and when?
The goal of this question is to get the respondent to think critically about their programming. This is not a multiple choice question that warrants a specific answer. For a response, you are looking for a candidate who can effectively prove that they know ways to free up resources and have actually done so (the when). If they know situations in which they would need to free up resources, they have clearly come across such situations.
Name a couple of ways to persist data on a Windows Mobile device and describe the pros and cons of each.
This question gets a little more specific. Your are essentially assessing how well they know how to preserve previous versions post modification. For example, a beginner programmer might say that they simply copy the data. However, they should also be able to tell you that this is inefficient as it uses a lot of CPU and RAM.
Find out how they handle program errors and warnings.
This is an assessment of how well they handle mistakes. Experienced and dedicated programmers will thoroughly go through their code to fix errors. An inexperienced programmer may not even know where to look. This question is geared towards finding out their process for rooting out errors and warnings.
What are issues associated with developing for mobile devices that don’t typically occur for desktops or servers?
This question is pretty fundamental but gauges how well they work around limitations of mobile devices. For example, they should know that the mobile device will have more limited resources, lower bandwidth, smaller screens, and potential for loss of connectivity. These are common problems with mobile devices and an experience programmer will not only be able to point them out, but describe some ways that they work through them.
Any C# specific coding question.
C# is the primary programming language for Windows mobile phone app development. Any question you happen to find regarding C# and its programming constructs will help you assess a candidate’s experience.
What does the .NET framework have that the .NET Compact framework does not have?
You’re looking for fairly specific responses here. Listen for references to writing unmanaged code or pinvoke. Overall this questions shows that the candidate is in fact a .NET developer.
Why XAML for Windows Phone?
This question is geared towards seeing if the candidate knows why XAML is used heavily in Windows Phone development. Overall XAML defines the visual appearance of the user interface.
Finally, build some coding tests for your candidates. They should be able to find errors, work with different languages and frameworks, and overall prove their competency with developing Windows Phone apps.
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Andrew Fujii is a marketing professional with expertise in digital/web and content marketing. He is also a copywriter for multiple agencies producing copy for blogs, articles, websites, product packaging, mobile apps, and more.