Hiring guide for Batch Engineers

Batch Developer Hiring Guide

Batch computer software programming language, also known as batch processing, is a method of executing a series of programs or commands without manual intervention. It originated in the 1950s with early mainframe computers, where tasks were bundled together and run during off-peak hours. This technique is still widely used today in operating systems like Windows and Unix for automating repetitive tasks. Notable examples include Shell scripting in Unix and Batch files (.bat) in Windows. The information is sourced from "A History of Operating Systems" by Thomas Haigh and "Unix Shell Programming" by Stephen G. Kochan and Patrick Wood.

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

First 20 minutes

General Batch app knowledge and experience

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

What is your experience with Batch programming?
I have been working with Batch programming for over 5 years now. I have used it in various projects, including automating tasks, managing system settings, and processing data.
How would you handle errors in a Batch script?
I would use error handling techniques such as 'IF ERRORLEVEL' to check for specific errors and take appropriate actions. I would also use 'ECHO' to display error messages and 'EXIT' to stop the script if necessary.
What are some common uses of Batch scripts?
Batch scripts are commonly used for automating repetitive tasks, managing system settings, processing data, and deploying software.
Describe the difference between Batch and PowerShell scripting.
Batch is a simple scripting language that is limited to basic operations, while PowerShell is a more advanced scripting language that supports complex operations and object-oriented programming.
How would you use variables in a Batch script?
I would use the 'SET' command to assign a value to a variable, and then use the variable by enclosing its name in percent signs.
The hiring guide has been successfully sent to your email address.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

What you’re looking for early on

Has the candidate demonstrated a strong understanding of batch processing?
Does the candidate show a good grasp of programming languages relevant to the job?
Is the candidate able to solve complex problems and think critically?
Has the candidate shown experience with the tools and technologies used in batch processing?

Next 20 minutes

Specific Batch 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 are some limitations of Batch scripting?
Batch scripting is limited in its functionality and performance. It does not support complex operations, and its error handling capabilities are rudimentary.
Describe the difference between local and environment variables in Batch scripting.
Local variables are only available within the Batch script where they are defined, while environment variables are available to all Batch scripts and applications.
How would you pass arguments to a Batch script?
I would pass arguments to a Batch script by including them after the script name when running the script. I would then access the arguments in the script using the '%1', '%2', etc. variables.
What are some ways to optimize a Batch script?
Some ways to optimize a Batch script include minimizing disk I/O, avoiding unnecessary computations, and using efficient algorithms and data structures.
Describe the difference between synchronous and asynchronous execution in Batch scripting.
In synchronous execution, each command is executed in order, and the next command does not start until the previous one has finished. In asynchronous execution, multiple commands can be executed at the same time.
The hiring guide has been successfully sent to your email address.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

The ideal back-end app developer

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

At this point, a skilled Batch engineer should demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, proficiency in Batch 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 Batch.

What does the following simple batch script do?
@echo off
set "path=%~dp0;%PATH%"
This batch script turns off the command echoing, sets the current directory path to a local environment variable, and then ends the localization of environment changes in a batch file, restoring environment variables to their values before the corresponding setlocal command was run.
What does the following batch script syntax do?
@echo off
set /p id=Enter ID:
if "%id%"=="" (
echo ID cannot be empty
) else (
echo Your ID is %id%
This batch script prompts the user to enter an ID. If the ID is not provided (i.e., it is empty), it prints 'ID cannot be empty'. If an ID is provided, it prints 'Your ID is' followed by the entered ID.
What does the following batch script do with an array of files?
@echo off
setlocal enabledelayedexpansion
set i=0
for %%a in (*.txt) do (
set /A i+=1
set file[!i!]=%%~a
echo There are !i! .txt files.
This batch script counts the number of .txt files in the current directory and stores each filename in an array. The 'enabledelayedexpansion' allows the use of the '!' operator to access the variable within the loop.
What does the following batch script do related to threading?
@echo off
start cmd /C "echo I am process 1 && pause"
start cmd /C "echo I am process 2 && pause"
This batch script starts two separate cmd processes concurrently. Each process prints a message and then waits for the user to press any key.

Wrap-up questions

Final candidate for Batch 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 Batch application deployments. Inquire about their experience in handling system failures and their approach to debugging and troubleshooting.

How would you debug a Batch script?
I would use techniques such as 'ECHO' to display the values of variables and the flow of execution, and 'PAUSE' to stop the script at specific points.
What are some security considerations when writing a Batch script?
Some security considerations include avoiding the use of hard-coded passwords, validating input data, and using secure communication protocols.
Describe the difference between 'CALL' and 'START' in Batch scripting.
'CALL' is used to run another Batch script or subroutine within the same command interpreter, while 'START' is used to run a program or command in a new command interpreter.

Batch application related

Product Perfect's Batch development capabilities

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