Hiring guide for Elixir Distribution Engineers

Elixir Distribution Developer Hiring Guide

Elixir Distribution is a computer software programming language that was created by José Valim in 2011. It is based on the Erlang programming language and is designed to be used for building scalable distributed systems. Elixir is open source and is licensed under the Apache License 2.0.

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

First 20 minutes

General Elixir Distribution app knowledge and experience

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

What is your experience with Elixir Distribution?
I have been working with Elixir Distribution for over 5 years, developing and maintaining distributed systems.
How would you handle a situation where a node in the Elixir Distribution system fails?
I would use Elixir's built-in tools for handling node failures, such as the Supervisor and GenServer modules, to automatically restart the failed node and maintain system stability.
What are the benefits of using Elixir for distributed systems?
Elixir provides high concurrency, fault-tolerance, and real-time data processing, making it ideal for distributed systems.
Describe the difference between Elixir and other programming languages when it comes to distribution.
Elixir, being built on the Erlang VM, has built-in support for distribution, unlike many other languages. This allows for easy communication between nodes and robust error handling.
How would you ensure data consistency in a distributed Elixir system?
I would use techniques such as CRDTs (Conflict-Free Replicated Data Types) or distributed transactions to ensure data consistency across the system.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a strong understanding of Elixir and its ecosystem?
Has the candidate demonstrated experience with distributed systems?
Is the candidate familiar with OTP (Open Telecom Platform)?
Can the candidate solve complex problems and debug issues?

Next 20 minutes

Specific Elixir Distribution 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 challenges you might face when working with Elixir Distribution and how would you overcome them?
Some challenges might include network partitioning and node failures. Elixir provides tools to handle these issues, such as the Supervisor and GenServer modules for handling node failures, and the :net_kernel module for handling network partitions.
Describe the difference between synchronous and asynchronous communication in Elixir.
Synchronous communication in Elixir involves waiting for a response before continuing, while asynchronous communication allows the process to continue without waiting for a response.
How would you handle a situation where a distributed Elixir system is experiencing high latency?
I would first identify the cause of the latency, such as network issues or resource contention, and then take appropriate action, such as optimizing code or increasing resources.
What are some techniques for scaling a distributed Elixir system?
Some techniques include adding more nodes to the system, optimizing code for better performance, and using load balancing to distribute work evenly across nodes.
Describe the difference between stateful and stateless processes in Elixir.
Stateful processes in Elixir maintain state between function calls, while stateless processes do not. This makes stateful processes useful for things like caching, while stateless processes are useful for tasks that do not require maintaining state.
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The ideal back-end app developer

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

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

What does this simple Elixir code do?
IO.puts "Hello, World!"
This code prints the string 'Hello, World!' to the console or standard output.
What will be the output of the following Elixir code?
IO.inspect([1, 2, 3] -- [2])
This code will output '[1, 3]', which is the result of removing the element '2' from the initial list '[1, 2, 3]'.
What does this Elixir code do?
Enum.map([1, 2, 3, 4], fn x -> x * x end)
This code will return a new list '[1, 4, 9, 16]' where each element is the square of the corresponding element in the original list '[1, 2, 3, 4]'.
What does this Elixir code do?
Task.async(fn -> 1 + 2 end) |> Task.await
This code will asynchronously execute the function 'fn -> 1 + 2 end' in a separate process and then wait for the result, which is '3'.

Wrap-up questions

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

How would you handle a situation where a distributed Elixir system is experiencing a high error rate?
I would first identify the cause of the errors, such as bugs in the code or network issues, and then take appropriate action, such as fixing the bugs or addressing the network issues.
What are some techniques for debugging a distributed Elixir system?
Some techniques include using the built-in :debugger module, logging, and using tools like Observer to monitor system performance.
Describe the difference between hot and cold code upgrades in Elixir.
Hot code upgrades in Elixir allow for code to be changed without stopping the system, while cold code upgrades require the system to be stopped. This makes hot code upgrades useful for systems that require high availability.

Elixir Distribution application related

Product Perfect's Elixir Distribution development capabilities

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