Hiring guide for ZX80 Basic Engineers

ZX80 Basic Developer Hiring Guide

ZX80 Basic is a programming language that was used in the Sinclair ZX80, an early personal home computer released in 1980. It is a variant of the BASIC (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) language, which was widely used for teaching beginners the basics of programming. ZX80 Basic supports integer arithmetic and simple string manipulation, and it allows users to define their own functions. However, it lacks certain features found in more advanced versions of BASIC such as support for floating-point numbers or complex data structures. The simplicity of ZX80 Basic made it suitable for use on the limited hardware resources available on early home computers like the Sinclair ZX80.

Ask the right questions secure the right ZX80 Basic talent among an increasingly shrinking pool of talent.

First 20 minutes

General ZX80 Basic app knowledge and experience

The first 20 minutes of the interview should seek to understand the candidate's general background in ZX80 Basic application development, including their experience with various programming languages, databases, and their approach to designing scalable and maintainable systems.

How would you define ZX80 Basic?
ZX80 Basic is a programming language developed by Sinclair Research for the ZX80 and ZX81 home computers. It's a dialect of the BASIC programming language, with enhancements to support the hardware capabilities of these machines.
What are the fundamental data types in ZX80 Basic?
The fundamental data types in ZX80 Basic are numeric and string. Numeric variables can hold both integers and floating point numbers, while string variables can hold sequences of characters.
How would you declare a variable in ZX80 Basic?
In ZX80 Basic, you declare a variable by simply using it in your program. For example, 'LET A = 10' declares a numeric variable A and assigns it the value 10.
Describe the difference between the PRINT and INPUT commands in ZX80 Basic.
PRINT is used to output data to the screen, while INPUT is used to read data from the keyboard. For example, 'PRINT A' displays the value of A, while 'INPUT A' waits for the user to type a value and then assigns it to A.
How would you implement a loop in ZX80 Basic?
You can implement a loop with the FOR and NEXT commands. For example, 'FOR I = 1 TO 10: PRINT I: NEXT I' prints the numbers from 1 to 10.
The hiring guide has been successfully sent to your email address.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a strong understanding of ZX80 Basic?
Has the candidate demonstrated problem-solving skills?
Is the candidate familiar with the ZX80 hardware?
Has the candidate shown an ability to work in a team?

Next 20 minutes

Specific ZX80 Basic 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 GOTO command in ZX80 Basic?
The GOTO command is used to transfer control from one part of the program to another. The command is followed by a line number, and execution continues from that line.
Describe the difference between the IF...THEN and the IF...THEN...ELSE structures in ZX80 Basic.
Both structures are used to make decisions based on conditions. IF...THEN executes a block of code if a condition is true, while IF...THEN...ELSE executes one block of code if a condition is true and another block if the condition is false.
How would you handle errors in ZX80 Basic?
ZX80 Basic does not have built-in error handling commands. You have to write your own error checking and handling code. For example, you can use the IF...THEN structure to check for invalid input and take appropriate action.
What are the main limitations of ZX80 Basic?
ZX80 Basic has several limitations, including lack of support for structured programming, limited data types, slow execution speed, and limited memory management.
How would you optimize a ZX80 Basic program for speed?
There are several ways to optimize a ZX80 Basic program for speed, such as using integer variables instead of floating point variables, avoiding the use of GOTO and GOSUB commands, and using loops and arrays efficiently.
The hiring guide has been successfully sent to your email address.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

The ideal back-end app developer

What you’re looking to see on the ZX80 Basic engineer at this point.

At this point, a skilled ZX80 Basic engineer should demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, proficiency in ZX80 Basic 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 ZX80 Basic.

What does this simple ZX80 Basic code do?
10 PRINT "Hello, World!"
20 GOTO 10
This code prints the string 'Hello, World!' to the console in an infinite loop.
What will be the output of this ZX80 Basic code?
10 LET A=5
20 LET B=10
The output of this code will be 15. The code assigns the values 5 and 10 to the variables A and B respectively, then prints the sum of A and B.
What does this ZX80 Basic code do?
10 DIM A(5)
20 FOR I=1 TO 5
30 LET A(I)=I
50 PRINT A(3)
This code initializes an array A of size 5, assigns each element of the array with its index, and then prints the third element of the array, which is 3.
What does this ZX80 Basic code do?
10 FOR I=1 TO 100
This code prints numbers from 1 to 100. However, it stops execution when the number reaches 50 due to the STOP statement.

Wrap-up questions

Final candidate for ZX80 Basic 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 ZX80 Basic application deployments. Inquire about their experience in handling system failures and their approach to debugging and troubleshooting.

Describe the difference between the ZX80 and ZX81 versions of Basic.
The ZX81 version of Basic is an enhanced version of the ZX80 version. It includes several new commands and features, such as the ability to handle string variables and the addition of commands for graphics and sound.
How would you create a subroutine in ZX80 Basic?
You can create a subroutine with the GOSUB and RETURN commands. GOSUB transfers control to a line number, and RETURN transfers control back to the line following the GOSUB.
What are the key differences between ZX80 Basic and modern versions of Basic?
Modern versions of Basic have many features not present in ZX80 Basic, such as support for structured programming, more data types, better error handling, and more powerful commands for graphics and sound.

ZX80 Basic application related

Product Perfect's ZX80 Basic development capabilities

Beyond hiring for your ZX80 Basic engineering team, you may be in the market for additional help. Product Perfect provides seasoned expertise in ZX80 Basic projects, and can engage in multiple capacities.