This is a reflection on the best software engineering interviews I have taken part in.

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Previously I wrote about the worst interview I have experienced; This will be quite the opposite. Here I explore all the things that I felt made an interview and assessment great. The aim is to help those planning interviews to plan more effective assessments, for both the candidate and the employer. While I have only observed interviews from the perspective of the employer, I have been through many interviews from the candidate’s side.

Technical Assessment

My favourite way to take a technical assessment is the homework, or…

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

I sat down on the couch and flicked the TV over to the YouTube app. I had seen a couple of Ali Abdaal’s videos before, but this one I had ignored for a few times, scrolling past it each time I saw the suggested video. It was his video How Writing Online Made me a Millionaire. I finally thought I might as well take a look as I had found some moderate success writing online with a few previous articles.

At first I was confused at the subject of the video as it didn’t quite match the title. That’s not…

Photo by Rick Kimotho on Unsplash

A while back I started reading the book “Seven languages in seven weeks: a pragmatic guide to learning programming languages” by Bruce Tate. Coming from a software engineering background I figured this book wouldn’t have much to offer me besides a fun challenge. I was wrong. Through Tate’s work, I learned to fall in love with programming again.

Starting with a section on the Ruby language. I was quickly enthralled and captured by the beauty of the language. It’s so simple, human readable, and most of all: it is just plain good fun to write.

I haven’t felt joys much…

This is a story of the worst interview I have ever experienced. I will be honest and up front in that I did do poorly in this interview and did not get an offer. However, I had already decided before I got that call that I was going to decline to take the job anyway. Based on my experience in the interview, the company was not a good fit for me.

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

Before the storm

There were a few things that should have been indicators before the interview actually began. I was told that the interview would be three hours long. Their reasoning was…

Reflections and observations from a project that went poorly.

Birds flying, with one out front. Photo by Ethan Weil on Unsplash

Sometimes projects can go very, very, badly. Most of the time there are multiple reasons. Technical leadership is one of the key things that is often missing. It can make or break a project. This is a reflection on the insights I have gained from observing, and being embedded in, both high and low performing teams.

Through exploring and reflecting on a project that went poorly, I aim to convey the reasons why technical leadership is the key point in a project’s success. …

Experiences you’ll encounter in the early years of your career

“MacBook Pro inside gray room” by Blake Connally on Unsplash

On the back of my previous article, I want to put forward some experiences and situations you should expect to encounter in your career as a software developer. The life as a developer can be full of fun and excitement, but there are also hard times. Your first accidental commit straight to master, your first failed peer review, your first awkward stand-up. These all form the start of your career, and here’s to that!


You can’t and won’t always be right.

Reflections on my first two years as a software developer.

“Two books on a desk near a MacBook with lines of code on its screen” by Émile Perron on Unsplash

When you first start out in the world of software development, things may seem daunting and unknown. Leaving university and venturing into the real world is a big step, and you will stumble many times on the path before finding your feet and confidence.

You may have confidence in your abilities already. But I ask you, “How many mistakes have you made?”

The start of a career in software development is the start of a journey in mastering your craft. As with any field, there will be challenges and chances to be correct, and chances where you can be completely…


I am a lover of Visual Studio Code, with its power and flexibility, but have had further wanting for a C# IDE on Mac. I decided I would try out JetBrains’ C# IDE: Rider. I’m now so glad I did.


Setup of Rider was super easy. I installed version 2017.2 - As with most macOS software, it was a simple drag and drop of the application into the applications folder. When you open Rider for the first time, a simple wizard guides you through some basic setup. There are options to include certain frameworks and languages, such as Unity, and…

Jack Finlay

Programmer in Melbourne, Australia. Developing my skills through the occasional article on life as a programmer.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store