Hiring guide for ALGOL Engineers

ALGOL Developer Hiring Guide

ALGOL, an acronym for ALGOrithmic Language, is a high-level computer programming language developed in the mid-20th century. It was designed by an international committee of researchers for scientific computations and introduced structured programming concepts to the industry. First appearing in 1958, ALGOL had significant influence on many subsequent languages such as Pascal and C. Its most popular version, ALGOL 60, was widely used in Europe and became the de facto standard for algorithm description used by ACM publications. The information is sourced from historical records maintained by ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers).

Ask the right questions secure the right ALGOL talent among an increasingly shrinking pool of talent.

First 20 minutes

General ALGOL app knowledge and experience

The first 20 minutes of the interview should seek to understand the candidate's general background in ALGOL application development, including their experience with various programming languages, databases, and their approach to designing scalable and maintainable systems.

What are the main features of ALGOL?
ALGOL includes features like support for recursive functions, nested functions, lexical scoping, and a strong type checking system.
How would you declare a variable in ALGOL?
In ALGOL, you declare a variable using the keyword 'real' or 'integer' followed by the variable name. For example, 'integer a'.
Describe the difference between ALGOL 60 and ALGOL 68.
The main differences are in their syntax and semantics. ALGOL 68 has a more complex, context-free syntax and includes features like concurrent processing and co-routines that are not present in ALGOL 60.
What is the significance of the 'begin' and 'end' keywords in ALGOL?
The 'begin' and 'end' keywords are used to denote the start and end of a block of code, respectively.
How would you implement a loop structure in ALGOL?
In ALGOL, a loop can be implemented using the 'for' keyword. For example, 'for i := 1 step 1 until 10 do ...'.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a solid understanding of ALGOL?
Is the candidate able to articulate complex concepts in simple terms?
Has the candidate worked on similar projects or tasks in the past?
Can the candidate solve problems efficiently and effectively?

Next 20 minutes

Specific ALGOL development questions

The next 20 minutes of the interview should focus on the candidate's expertise with specific backend frameworks, their understanding of RESTful APIs, and their experience in handling data storage and retrieval efficiently.

What is the use of the 'own' keyword in ALGOL?
The 'own' keyword is used to declare a static variable in ALGOL, which retains its value between function calls.
How do you define a function in ALGOL?
A function in ALGOL is defined using the 'procedure' keyword, followed by the function name, parameters, and the function body enclosed within 'begin' and 'end' keywords.
What is the ALGOL equivalent of an array?
ALGOL supports arrays through the 'array' keyword. For instance, 'array A[1:10] of integer' declares an integer array with 10 elements.
How would you handle errors in ALGOL?
ALGOL does not have built-in exception handling. Errors are typically handled through condition checks and appropriate program flow control.
Describe the difference between call by value and call by name in ALGOL.
In call by value, the actual value is passed, whereas in call by name, an expression is passed which is evaluated at every use within the function.
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The ideal back-end app developer

What you’re looking to see on the ALGOL engineer at this point.

At this point, a skilled ALGOL engineer should demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, proficiency in ALGOL programming language, and knowledge of software development methodologies. Red flags include lack of hands-on experience, inability to articulate complex concepts, or unfamiliarity with standard coding practices.

Digging deeper

Code questions

These will help you see the candidate's real-world development capabilities with ALGOL.

What does the following ALGOL code do?
BEGIN INTEGER a, b; a := 5; b := 10; PRINT((a+b)); END
This code declares two integer variables 'a' and 'b', assigns them the values 5 and 10 respectively, and then prints the sum of 'a' and 'b' which is 15.
What will be the output of the following ALGOL code?
BEGIN REAL x; x := 3.14; PRINT((x * 2)); END
This code declares a real number 'x', assigns it the value 3.14, and then prints the result of 'x' multiplied by 2, which is 6.28.
What does the following ALGOL code do?
BEGIN INTEGER array[5]; FOR i := 1 STEP 1 UNTIL 5 DO array[i] := i * 2; PRINT((array)); END
This code declares an array of 5 integers, and then uses a for loop to assign each element in the array a value that is twice its index. It then prints the array.
What does the following ALGOL code do?
BEGIN BOOLEAN flag; PROCEDURE toggle; BEGIN IF flag THEN flag := FALSE ELSE flag := TRUE; END; toggle; PRINT((flag)); END
This code declares a boolean variable 'flag' and a procedure 'toggle' that switches the value of 'flag'. It then calls 'toggle' and prints the value of 'flag'.

Wrap-up questions

Final candidate for ALGOL Developer role questions

The final few questions should evaluate the candidate's teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, assess their knowledge of microservices architecture, serverless computing, and how they handle ALGOL application deployments. Inquire about their experience in handling system failures and their approach to debugging and troubleshooting.

How would you implement conditional statements in ALGOL?
Conditional statements in ALGOL can be implemented using the 'if' and 'then' keywords, and also 'else' for alternative conditions.
What are string operations in ALGOL like?
ALGOL 60 does not have built-in string operations. ALGOL 68, however, supports string operations like concatenation, substring, length, and comparison.
How would you manage memory in ALGOL?
Memory management in ALGOL is generally handled by the compiler and the runtime system. The programmer does not have direct control over memory allocation and deallocation.

ALGOL application related

Product Perfect's ALGOL development capabilities

Beyond hiring for your ALGOL engineering team, you may be in the market for additional help. Product Perfect provides seasoned expertise in ALGOL projects, and can engage in multiple capacities.