Hiring guide for LabVIEW Engineers

LabVIEW Developer Hiring Guide

National Instruments developed LabVIEW, a graphical programming language, in 1986. It is primarily used for data acquisition, instrument control, and industrial automation. LabVIEW is Windows-based and has a drag-and-drop interface that allows users to create programs without writing code. As of 2023, LabVIEW is used by over 3 million engineers and scientists worldwide.

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

First 20 minutes

General LabVIEW app knowledge and experience

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

What are the basic components of LabVIEW?
The basic components of LabVIEW are the Front Panel, Block Diagram, Controls Palette, Functions Palette, and Context Help Window.
How would you use a While Loop in LabVIEW?
A While Loop in LabVIEW is used to execute a certain block of code repeatedly until a certain condition is met. You can use the conditional terminal to stop the loop.
What is dataflow programming in LabVIEW?
Dataflow programming in LabVIEW is a technique where the flow of data determines the execution order of functions. Each function executes when all its input data is available.
How would you handle errors in LabVIEW?
Errors in LabVIEW can be handled using error clusters, which contain status, code and source. You can also use structures like Case or Select to handle errors.
Describe the difference between local and global variables in LabVIEW.
Local variables in LabVIEW can only be accessed within the same VI, while global variables can be accessed from any VI in the project.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a strong understanding of LabVIEW?
Has the candidate demonstrated problem-solving skills?
Does the candidate have experience with data acquisition and instrument control?
Can the candidate work well in a team?

Next 20 minutes

Specific LabVIEW 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 purpose of a sequence structure in LabVIEW?
A sequence structure in LabVIEW is used to ensure that certain parts of the block diagram are executed in a specific order.
How would you use arrays in LabVIEW?
Arrays in LabVIEW can be used to store multiple elements of the same data type. You can create, index, and manipulate arrays using the Array functions from the Functions Palette.
Describe the difference between a shift register and a feedback node in LabVIEW.
In LabVIEW, a shift register is used to pass values from one iteration to the next in a loop. A feedback node does the same, but it is more compact and allows initialisation before the loop starts.
What are the different methods to deploy a LabVIEW application?
LabVIEW applications can be deployed as standalone executables, packed project libraries, source distributions, web services, or installers.
How would you optimize memory usage in a LabVIEW application?
Memory usage in a LabVIEW application can be optimized by using data types that use less memory, reducing data copies, using fixed-size arrays, and by releasing references when they are no longer needed.
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The ideal back-end app developer

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

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

What does this simple LabVIEW code do?
Add VI
Inputs: 5, 3
Output: ?
This code adds two numbers, 5 and 3, and outputs the result. The output will be 8.
What does this LabVIEW code do?
For Loop
N = 5
Inside Loop: Add VI
Inputs: Loop Iteration, 2
Output: ?
This code runs a loop 5 times. In each iteration, it adds the current iteration number to 2. The outputs will be 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
What will be the output of this array manipulation code in LabVIEW?
Array: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
For Each Element in Array: Multiply VI
Inputs: Element, 2
Output: ?
This code multiplies each element in the array by 2. The output will be a new array: [2, 4, 6, 8, 10].
What does this LabVIEW code do related to threading?
Parallel For Loop
N = 4
Inside Loop: Add VI
Inputs: Loop Iteration, 2
Output: ?
This code runs a loop 4 times in parallel. In each iteration, it adds the current iteration number to 2. The outputs will be 2, 3, 4, and 5, but the order may vary due to the parallel execution.

Wrap-up questions

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

What is the role of a state machine in LabVIEW?
A state machine in LabVIEW is a design pattern used to control the flow of an application. It allows the application to transition between different states based on certain conditions.
How would you implement multithreading in LabVIEW?
Multithreading in LabVIEW can be implemented using parallel loops, asynchronous call and forget VIs, and notifiers or queues to communicate between threads.
Describe the difference between a VI and a subVI in LabVIEW.
A VI (Virtual Instrument) in LabVIEW is a module that can be used standalone or as part of another VI. A subVI is a VI that is used within another VI, similar to a function in other programming languages.

LabVIEW application related

Product Perfect's LabVIEW development capabilities

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