Hiring guide for Pascal Engineers

Pascal Developer Hiring Guide

Pascal is a high-level, procedural programming language that was developed in the late 1960s by Niklaus Wirth. It was named after the famous French mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Pascal. The primary purpose of creating Pascal was to encourage good programming practices using structured programming and data structuring which makes it an ideal language for teaching students. Pascal is statically typed and compiled, known for its strong typing discipline. It supports multiple data types and offers features such as records, enumerations, subranges, dynamically allocated variables with associated pointers. This language became very popular in academia during the 1970s and 1980s due to its simplicity yet powerful capabilities. Even though it's not widely used commercially today, it served as a foundation for several other languages like Delphi which is commonly used for Windows desktop applications development. Despite being relatively old compared to modern-day languages like Python or Java, Pascal remains relevant as a stepping stone into more complex object-oriented languages due to its simple syntax but robust structure.

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

First 20 minutes

General Pascal app knowledge and experience

The first 20 minutes of the interview should seek to understand the candidate's general background in Pascal 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 Pascal?
Pascal has several basic data types including Integer, Real, Char, Boolean, and String.
How would you declare a variable in Pascal?
To declare a variable in Pascal, you use the var keyword, followed by the variable name and the data type. For example, var x: integer;
Describe the difference between the := and = operators in Pascal.
In Pascal, := is the assignment operator, which assigns a value to a variable, while = is the equality operator, which checks if two values are equal.
What are Pascal procedures and functions?
Procedures and functions in Pascal are subprograms which allow code to be modular. A procedure performs a task, while a function performs a task and returns a value.
How would you implement a recursive function in Pascal?
A recursive function in Pascal can be implemented by making the function call itself within its own definition. The base case should be defined to prevent infinite recursion.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a solid understanding of Pascal language?
Have they demonstrated problem-solving skills during the interview?
Does the candidate have experience with similar projects?
Does the candidate show good communication skills?

Next 20 minutes

Specific Pascal 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 the uses clause in Pascal?
The uses clause in Pascal is used to include external units or libraries in the program. It allows the programmer to use pre-defined functions and procedures.
How would you handle exceptions in Pascal?
Exception handling in Pascal is done using the try...except...end construct. If an error occurs in the try block, the program control is transferred to the except block.
What is the difference between records and arrays in Pascal?
In Pascal, an array is a collection of elements of the same type, while a record is a collection of elements of different types. Arrays are used for homogeneous data, and records for heterogeneous data.
How would you implement inheritance in Pascal?
Pascal doesn't support inheritance in the way that object-oriented languages do. However, one can achieve similar functionality using 'include' files or by using Object Pascal, an extension to Pascal that supports object-oriented programming.
What is the use of the new and dispose procedures in Pascal?
New and Dispose are standard procedures in Pascal used for dynamic memory management. New is used to allocate memory for a pointer variable, and Dispose is used to free that memory.
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The ideal back-end app developer

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

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

What does the following Pascal code do?
var x, y: integer; begin x := 10; y := 20; x := x + y; writeln(x); end.
This code declares two integer variables x and y, assigns them the values 10 and 20 respectively, adds y to x, and then prints the new value of x, which is 30.
What will be the output of the following Pascal code?
var x: integer; begin x := 5; if x > 10 then writeln('Greater') else writeln('Lesser'); end.
The output of this code will be 'Lesser'. The code checks if the variable x is greater than 10. If it is, it prints 'Greater'. If it's not, it prints 'Lesser'. Since x is 5, it is not greater than 10, so 'Lesser' is printed.
What does the following Pascal code do?
var numbers: array[1..5] of integer; i: integer; begin for i := 1 to 5 do numbers[i] := i * 2; for i := 1 to 5 do writeln(numbers[i]); end.
This code declares an array of 5 integers, then uses a loop to assign each element in the array a value that is twice its index. It then uses another loop to print each element in the array. The output will be the numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 each on a new line.
What does the following Pascal code do?
uses crt; var i: integer; begin clrscr; for i := 1 to 100 do begin if i mod 5 = 0 then writeln(i); delay(500); end; end.
This code prints every multiple of 5 from 1 to 100, with a half-second delay between each print. The 'mod' operator is used to check if the remainder of i divided by 5 is 0, which means i is a multiple of 5.

Wrap-up questions

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

Describe the difference between a packed array and an unpacked array in Pascal.
In Pascal, a packed array stores the elements in a minimized way to save memory, while an unpacked array doesn't use any memory optimization. Packed arrays are slower to access but save memory.
How would you work with files in Pascal?
Working with files in Pascal involves using the AssignFile, Reset, Rewrite, Read, Write, CloseFile functions. AssignFile associates a file variable with a file, Reset opens a file for reading, Rewrite for writing, Read and Write are for data transfer, and CloseFile closes the file.
What is the purpose of the exit procedure in Pascal?
The Exit procedure in Pascal is used to terminate a loop, procedure or function. It can also return a value from a function.

Pascal application related

Product Perfect's Pascal development capabilities

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