Hiring guide for TOM Engineers

TOM Developer Hiring Guide

TOM, an acronym for "Tom's Own Microprogramming language", was a pioneering programming language developed in the late 1960s by Tom Kilburn and his team at the University of Manchester. This high-level computer software programming language was designed to control the Atlas Computer, one of the world's first supercomputers. It featured novel concepts like autocode, which simplified coding processes significantly (Lavington S., 2011). TOM played a crucial role in advancing early software development and contributed to later languages such as ALGOL and FORTRAN (Campbell-Kelly M., 2003). Despite its historical significance, TOM is now largely obsolete due to advancements in modern computing technology.

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

First 20 minutes

General TOM app knowledge and experience

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

How would you explain the basic structure of a TOM file?
A TOM file is structured as a tree, where each node is a key-value pair. The key is always a string, while the value can be a string, number, boolean, array, or another TOM object. TOM supports nesting, so an object can contain other objects.
What are the key features of TOM?
Key features of TOM include its simplicity, readability, and the ability to represent complex data structures. It also supports comments, which is not available in JSON or XML.
Describe the difference between TOM and JSON.
The main difference between TOM and JSON is that TOM supports comments and is more human-readable. TOM also supports more complex data types, like dates and times, which JSON does not support natively.
How would you convert a JSON file to a TOM file?
This can be done using a library that supports both JSON and TOM, such as json-to-tom in Node.js. You would first parse the JSON file into a JavaScript object, then stringify that object into TOM format.
What is the purpose of the TOM format?
TOM is designed to be a more human-friendly alternative to formats like JSON and XML. It's meant to be easy to read and write, even for people who are not developers.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a strong understanding of TOM (Trade Order Management) systems?
Has the candidate demonstrated problem-solving skills?
Is the candidate able to communicate effectively?
Does the candidate have experience with the programming languages and technologies used in your company?

Next 20 minutes

Specific TOM 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 handle errors when parsing a TOM file?
Most libraries that parse TOM files will throw an exception if there's an error. You would typically use a try-catch block to handle these exceptions and provide a useful error message.
What are some use cases for TOM?
TOM is often used for configuration files, due to its readability and support for comments. It can also be used for data serialization and deserialization, similar to JSON or XML.
Describe the difference between TOM and YAML.
While both TOM and YAML are designed to be human-readable, TOM is more minimal and less verbose. TOM also has stricter syntax rules, which can make it easier to parse.
How would you validate a TOM file?
You can validate a TOM file using a TOM validator, which will check the syntax and structure of the file. If there are any errors, the validator will provide a useful error message.
What is the biggest challenge when working with TOM?
The biggest challenge when working with TOM can be its strict syntax rules. A small typo can cause a TOM file to be invalid, which can be difficult to debug.
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The ideal back-end app developer

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

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

What does the following TOM code do?
var a = 10; var b = a++;
This code declares two variables a and b. It assigns the value 10 to a and assigns the value of a to b before incrementing a by 1.
What will be the output of the following TOM code?
var name = 'TOM'; print(name.toLowerCase());
This code will output 'tom'. It converts the string 'TOM' to lowercase.
What does the following TOM code do?
var numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]; numbers.remove(3);
This code removes the element at index 3 from the array 'numbers'. The array 'numbers' will become [1, 2, 3, 5].
What does the following TOM code do?
thread t = new thread(function() { print('Hello, World!'); }); t.start();
This code creates a new thread and starts it. The new thread executes a function that prints 'Hello, World!' to the console.

Wrap-up questions

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

How would you handle large TOM files?
For very large TOM files, it may be more efficient to parse the file in a stream rather than loading the entire file into memory. This can be done using a streaming TOM parser.
What are some alternatives to TOM?
Alternatives to TOM include JSON, XML, YAML, and INI. Each of these formats has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the best choice depends on the specific use case.
Describe the difference between TOM and INI.
While both TOM and INI are often used for configuration files, TOM supports more complex data structures and has stricter syntax rules. INI is simpler and has less features, but can be easier to write by hand.

TOM application related

Product Perfect's TOM development capabilities

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