Hiring guide for Elixir Agents Engineers

Elixir Agents Developer Hiring Guide

Elixir Agents is a concurrent programming model built on the Elixir programming language, which is a dynamic, functional language designed for building scalable and maintainable applications. Elixir leverages the Erlang VM, known for running low-latency, distributed, and fault-tolerant systems. Introduced by José Valim in 2011, Elixir provides the productivity and expressiveness of languages like Ruby with the concurrency and fault-tolerance of Erlang. Elixir Agents are used for maintaining state, encapsulating state changes, and providing a higher level of abstraction over state management. They are a core part of Elixir's concurrency model, enabling the creation of robust, scalable, and efficient applications.

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

First 20 minutes

General Elixir Agents app knowledge and experience

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

What are the basic data types in Elixir?
The basic data types in Elixir are integers, floats, booleans, atoms, strings, lists, and tuples.
How would you define a function in Elixir?
In Elixir, a function is defined using the 'def' keyword inside a module. For example: defmodule MyModule do def my_function do 'Hello, World!' end end.
What is pattern matching in Elixir?
Pattern matching in Elixir is a powerful feature that allows you to match simple as well as complex data structures, bind variables to values, and control program flow.
Describe the difference between lists and tuples in Elixir.
In Elixir, lists are stored in memory as linked lists, making it fast to insert and delete elements. Tuples, on the other hand, are stored contiguously in memory, making it fast to access an element by index.
What are Elixir processes?
Elixir processes are lightweight threads of execution that are isolated and run concurrently. They are not OS processes or threads, but rather are managed by the Erlang Virtual Machine (BEAM).
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a deep understanding of Elixir Agents?
Has the candidate demonstrated knowledge of concurrency and parallelism in Elixir?
Can the candidate troubleshoot issues related to Elixir Agents?
Does the candidate apply best practices when working with Elixir Agents?

Next 20 minutes

Specific Elixir Agents 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.

How would you spawn a process in Elixir?
In Elixir, you can spawn a process using the 'spawn' function, which takes a module, a function name, and a list of arguments. For example: pid = spawn(MyModule, :my_function, [arg1, arg2]).
What is the role of Elixir Agents?
Elixir Agents are a simple abstraction around state. They provide a way to manage shared, mutable state.
How would you start an Agent in Elixir?
In Elixir, you can start an Agent using the 'Agent.start_link' function, which takes a function that initializes the state. For example: {:ok, agent} = Agent.start_link(fn -> initial_state end).
Describe the difference between 'Agent.get' and 'Agent.update' in Elixir.
'Agent.get' retrieves the current state of the agent, while 'Agent.update' updates the state. Both functions take the agent and a function as arguments. The function passed to 'Agent.update' should return the new state.
What are GenServers in Elixir?
GenServers are a behaviour module for implementing the server of a client-server relation in Elixir. They provide a generic interface for encapsulating state, handling synchronous and asynchronous messages, and managing the lifecycle of a process.
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The ideal back-end app developer

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

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

What does this simple Elixir code do?
IO.puts "Hello, World!"
This code prints the string 'Hello, World!' to the standard output.
What does this Elixir code do?
defmodule Math do
  def sum(a, b) do
    a + b
This code defines a module named 'Math' with a function 'sum' that takes two parameters and returns their sum.
What will be the output of this Elixir code?
list = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
Enum.map(list, fn x -> x * 2 end)
This code will output a new list where each element is doubled from the original list. The output will be [2, 4, 6, 8, 10].
What does this Elixir code do?
pid = spawn_link(fn -> 1 + 2 end)
This code creates a new process that executes the function 'fn -> 1 + 2 end'. The 'spawn_link' function links the new process to the current process.

Wrap-up questions

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

How would you handle state with a GenServer in Elixir?
In a GenServer, state is handled by implementing the 'handle_call', 'handle_cast', and 'handle_info' callback functions. The state is passed as an argument to these functions and returned as part of their result.
Describe the difference between 'handle_call' and 'handle_cast' in a GenServer.
'handle_call' is used to handle synchronous messages, while 'handle_cast' is used to handle asynchronous messages. In 'handle_call', the server must send a response to the client, while in 'handle_cast', no response is sent.
What is OTP in Elixir?
OTP (Open Telecom Platform) is a set of libraries and design principles in Elixir that provides tools to build scalable, fault-tolerant, distributed, and concurrent applications.

Elixir Agents application related

Product Perfect's Elixir Agents development capabilities

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