Which programming language should you learn if you want a job at Google, Amazon, Facebook or any big software company? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by John L. Miller, Software Engineer/Architect@ Microsoft, Amazon, Google, PhD, on Quora:
Getting hired by one of the big software companies requires two things:
- Getting chosen for an interview.
- Passing the interview.
In the ideal case, you know the same programming language as the people who will evaluate you technically. Your experience is compelling enough that you are chosen to be interviewed. Your approach to problem solving and coding is crystal clear, and since the interview is fluent in the programming language you use, they can admire your handiwork and be duly impressed.
In a more typical case, the interviewer knows several programming languages and is best at one. The candidate knows at least one language the interviewer knows.
For example, I might be best at C++, but I can still interview someone who is best at Java or C#. I’d have a much harder time interviewing someone who insists on using PERL. It’d be impossible for me to interview someone who used Haskell or Smalltalk: I wouldn’t be able to evaluate their approach, the elegance of what they write, and so on.
Knowing a similar language is good enough. Not being able to communicate with the interviewer in a shared style of language is a fail.
In general, you’re safe knowing Java, C#, or C++ for any non-front-end position at a big software company.
A final caution: don’t waste time learning the language that the company is using for the group you want to go to just for that purpose: you won’t be good enough at it, and will hurt rather than help your chances. Instead, continue growing in the language you’re best with, and show what a great coder and problem solver you are in the interview.
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