A good problem-solving strategy that I've learn while taking an online assessment

"Going nowhere fast"
The online assessment was about C#  and the result was very good, but this does not really matter.

What matter is that I had to answer to every question in a short time (3 minutes) using all I wanted : books, internet, my PC and of course my own knowledge.  So the main constraint here was the time, like in the real life you cannot stretch or shorten the time.

What worked best, which was the best strategy ?

  1. Act: when possible, just trying the code on the compiler was the fastest way. Personal knowledge here is useful to know which code to try to get the answer quickly.

  2. Search on-line: most simple questions have a quick answer in internet. Personal knowledge here is useful to know what keyword search and to quickly find and understand the answer.

  3. Search on books: more complicate questions require specialized sources like good books. Books index (not the table of content) work well here. Personal knowledge here is useful to know what book search and to quickly find and understand the answer.

  4. Think: when all the others don't work, reflecting and rational thinking come in help, even if it is slower then the others.

So for me action (intuition and experience) work better when time is short! And this is valid not only for test but also for day to day situations.


One last note about online technical skills assessment: the most hard and time (=money) consuming skills to learn are team work, TDD and refactoring of real production legacy-code. I have seen Java developers be successful in .NET teams and vice-versa. So imho online technical skills assessments fail to assess the most valuable skills for professional computer programming.

Print | posted @ Monday, November 16, 2009 2:54 PM

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