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Interviewing for a LabVIEW developer position, how should I prepare?

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At my current job I work primarily in LabVIEW but not on a daily basis. Coding discipline is lax as the software organisation is fairly new and everything is made to just work for a single project.

I will be interviewing at a startup for a position requiring mostly LabVIEW and would like to have some advice on how to prepare.

I've looked at Core 1, 2 and took a in person class for embedded controls and monitoring. In addition, I've read LabVIEW for everyone and LabVIEW Essentials. However, I feel like I'm on shaky grounds and can't confidently call myself a professional LabVIEW developer. Is there anything else I should do to improve my confidence as a LabVIEW engineer? 

For the interview I will be presenting my solution to a take home code problem as well as one-on-ones just talking most likely about good practice.

 

Thanks for any advice.

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This advice may not be much use for your imminent interview, but for the future it may prove useful.

If you are looking for a job/career that focuses on using LabVIEW, then you should seriously consider gaining a LabVIEW certification. Certified LabVIEW Developer is the sweet spot. The NI web site has lots of information, including preparation material. Check it out at: http://sine.ni.com/tacs/app/main/p/ap/ov/lang/en/fmid/499

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5 minutes ago, austinman said:

This advice may not be much use for your imminent interview, but for the future it may prove useful.

If you are looking for a job/career that focuses on using LabVIEW, then you should seriously consider gaining a LabVIEW certification. Certified LabVIEW Developer is the sweet spot. The NI web site has lots of information, including preparation material. Check it out at: http://sine.ni.com/tacs/app/main/p/ap/ov/lang/en/fmid/499

that's very insightful thank you. NI nicely outlines what I need to know for a CLD. I think I will prepare like I am taking a CLD exam for this interview.

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If you have significant experience in any programming languages, but not LabVIEW specifically, I'd be satisfied (as an interviewer).  Graphical programming is certainly a different kind of animal, but programming is programming, and you can add another language to your repertoire faster than you learned the first few.  If you don't have significant experience programming, share with them (and with us, please) what you hope to bring to the table while you improve as a developer.

I've interviewed several engineers that had the AUDACITY to put LabVIEW on their resume just because it was in a class they once took or they used someone else's stuff.  Oh, the horror!  I was not impressed and they were not hired.  I'm thoroughly jaded...

Edited by jcarmody

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31 minutes ago, jcarmody said:

If you have significant experience in any programming languages, but not LabVIEW specifically, I'd be satisfied (as an interviewer).  Graphical programming is certainly a different kind of animal, but programming is programming, and you can add another language to your repertoire faster than you learned the first few.  If you don't have significant experience programming, share with them (and with us, please) what you hope to bring to the table while you improve as a developer.

I've interviewed several engineers that had the AUDACITY to put LabVIEW on their resume just because it was in a class they once took or they used someone else's stuff.  Oh, the horror!  I was not impressed and they were not hired.  I'm thoroughly jaded...

It's a small and niche sector. You have students being taught by students and the experienced ones have either been moved on to management or are a key person and dead-mans shoes.

I, along with you are jaded. When you have seminars and talks consisting of nothing more than someone relaying their bumbling through to an epiphany,you know there is a dearth of experience. There are lots of architects and students and very little in between and those architects only want to do the design, not the coding. 

 

The good news for the OP is that because it is a niche market; specific knowledge makes way to "potential" knowledge and an unsaturated market opens more opportunities with a lower bar to entry.

Edited by ShaunR

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I've hired all the engineers in my department personally and for me once you get to the interview, it is 80% about your personality. Sure, on the surface I'll ask quite a few questions about your programming experience and philosophy, and if it is obvious that you do not know what you are talking about (especially if you do not seem aware of that fact either), you will not be hired. The real clincher is about the person's attitude and general behaviour though. If you seem bored(!) or out of focus and energy during the interview, have a limp hand shake (the fact that you do not know that it is a negative signal is the most serious offence), or are unable to present previous projects with enthusiasm and clarity, it is difficult to trust you, even if you can demonstrate brilliant coding. Preparing for standard interview questions like "what is your greatest weakness" is a must (do not say that you have none for example, that just demonstrates lack of self awareness(!)). I'm sure there are lots of cultural differences though. In Norway, where I am located, we probably pay less attention to formal training than many other places, and have a tendency to expect people to be humble for example. 

Edited by Mads
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2 hours ago, Mads said:

Preparing for standard interview questions like "what is your greatest weakness" is a must

I'd have to say that my biggest weakness is that I care too much.  I will work and work and work and work until the job is done ahead of schedule and below budget with all expectations exceeded and everyone is happy.

Puke! :D

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Worst quality?  I am a workaholic, I push myself too hard...or...it takes me a long time to learn anything, I'm kind of a goof off, and stuff starts disappearing from the work place...

When I was first starting out I knew nothing, but a company took a chance on me.  Not because they thought I was a good engineer, but because they thought I was a good fit for the culture/work environment, and I was eager to learn.  Things certainly are different as you have a career but as others have said, when you are starting out, attitude is probably more important than skill.  Having any level of certification (in anything) shows a great deal about yourself too.  If you are willing to put yourself out there to try to accomplish something optional, then I assume you are interested in it.  I don't have a certification in basket weaving, but if I did you would probably think I like basket weaving.

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Slightly related to an earlier thread:

What are the different ways you can provide a stop signal to a loop and what are the advantages and disadvantages to each way.

Edited by infinitenothing

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20 hours ago, rakuz said:

I will be interviewing at a startup for a position requiring mostly LabVIEW and would like to have some advice on how to prepare.

When I interview someone I check:

  1. If they are familiar with the OpenG libraries.
  2. How much they know about version control
  3. If they know what VIPM is
  4. If they know and have used: Queues, Dynamic Events, DVRs, libraries(*.lvlib) and classes (*.lvclass) types.
  5. Which (if any) LV-forums they visit regularly (it's important that the person is looking around to see how other people solves problems)
  6. Then of course I ask them about Quick Drop and QD Short Cuts
  7. I ask them about: Custom probes.

If you know all these things I would hire you :-)

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1,3,6, and 7 would not be very important to me. They seem very easy to teach. I guess I don't care so much about what you know as much as how you think.

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6 hours ago, Mads said:

I've hired all the engineers in my department personally and for me once you get to the interview, it is 80% about your personality. Sure, on the surface I'll ask quite a few questions about your programming experience and philosophy, and if it is obvious that you do not know what you are talking about (especially if you do not seem aware of that fact either), you will not be hired. The real clincher is about the person's attitude and general behaviour though. If you seem bored(!) or out of focus and energy during the interview, have a limp hand shake (the fact that you do not know that it is a negative signal is the most serious offence), or are unable to present previous projects with enthusiasm and clarity, it is difficult to trust you, even if you can demonstrate brilliant coding. Preparing for standard interview questions like "what is your greatest weakness" is a must (do not say that you have none for example, that just demonstrates lack of self awareness(!)). I'm sure there are lots of cultural differences though. In Norway, where I am located, we probably pay less attention to formal training than many other places, and have a tendency to expect people to be humble for example. 

I'm going to be honest. Some of that stuff sounds borderline discriminatory. Maybe the person comes from a culture where a firm handshake and overstated enthusiasm isn't ideal. They might still provide a diverse perspective that will compliment your team's ability.

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21 minutes ago, infinitenothing said:

1,3,6, and 7 would not be very important to me. They seem very easy to teach. I guess I don't care so much about what you know as much as how you think.

I Agree that all those things are very easy to learn, but if the person knows about them, it tells me that they are curious enough to looks at our peoples solutions.
So even if you have >10 years LV experiences but never heard about OpenG VIs, Custom Probes, VIPM or QD, that tells me that the person have probable not worked in a team, and been doing the same style of coding since the they started.

They probably still thinks global variables are the best way of sending data between processes.

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10 hours ago, infinitenothing said:

I'm going to be honest. Some of that stuff sounds borderline discriminatory. Maybe the person comes from a culture where a firm handshake and overstated enthusiasm isn't ideal. They might still provide a diverse perspective that will compliment your team's ability.

An interview is done to discriminate ;)  

Kidding aside:
If the person comes from a different culture where limp hand shakes are the norm, then two things will come into play: First off I will probably have read up on his cultural background (if I am not familiar with it already) up front and/or take my lack of familiarity into account. Secondly I will still expect the person to have done his research too, and know to have a firm hand shake.:thumbup1: The hand shake is never a deal braker, do not get me wrong here, it is just one of the many social details that I think you should expect interviewers to be noticing.

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14 hours ago, jcarmody said:

I'd have to say that my biggest weakness is that I care too much.  I will work and work and work and work until the job is done ahead of schedule and below budget with all expectations exceeded and everyone is happy.

Puke! :D

Absolutely. :D

The devil is in the details when answering such a question. An answer like the one you describe could sound sincere and OK if expressed in the right way, but most often it would come out as fake - which in turn tells the interviewers plenty. That is why this is such a good question. It is a multi-layered test. Even if I believed that answer, there are in fact consequences to it that are not just positive. Superficially people might think it is the "perfect" answer, but I might for example think that you will not be able to compromise when needed, which can be quite often in real life.

So, never answer questions the way you think is expected of you, you have to be honest. You should be a bit tactical of course, but I would say a good interviewer (one from a company you would really want to work for, an interview goes both ways too!) will prefer that you are more honest than tactical...

Edited by Mads

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On 11/30/2016 at 4:10 PM, rakuz said:

Is there anything else I should do to improve my confidence as a LabVIEW engineer? 

How is this for a confidence boost: remember that there is a good chance the folks interviewing you are not particularly good with labview. Might sound silly, but if you're not going to an alliance partner or interviewing with any of the people who post here its likely that the organization's user base for labview is some folks who found it useful for accomplishing their work. Even if the company has a dedicated labview team, you're still likely to be interviewed by folks in different areas of the company and some of them will not know labview, so wowing them with labview skills...is meaningless.

Along those lines, I think its better to focus on what you have done to meet the goals of your current organization...with some little bit of focus on how you used labview to accomplish those goals. If you are like me, nobody you're doing work for cares whether or not you use labview. They care if the data gets acquired reliably and they care that the system doesn't break, but could not care less about the tool used to do this. So, to me, your concern/confidence should be centered around "can I do the sort of work they expect from me, or can I learn in a reasonable time frame" rather than "am I good enough at labview".

 

Bonus confidence boost: if you believe folks on the internet, the hiring process for most software jobs is terrible and broken so it likely doesn't matter how good you are :)

Edited by smithd

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