Python Interview Questions

Tim Chase python.list at
Mon Jul 9 19:40:59 CEST 2012

On 07/09/12 08:25, Roy Smith wrote:
>> On Tuesday, 30 October 2007 21:24:04 UTC+2, Tim Chase  wrote:
>>> - more detailed questions about the std. libraries (such as
>>>    datetime/email/csv/zipfile/networking/optparse/unittest)
> You need to be careful when you ask questions like this.  I would expect 
> somebody to be aware of those and have a high-level understanding of 
> what they do, but certainly not remember the details of the exact syntax 
> and argument order.  Even with stuff I use everyday (like unittest and 
> datetime), I have a browser open to the reference manual most of the 
> time.

Yeah, the aim isn't to grill them on the minutia, but to get a
feeling that they know the basics.  The zipfile module offers a
ZipFile object for reading/writing zip files with or without
compression.  The CSV file allows for reading/writing CSV files with
definable delimiters and quoting/escaping.  Etc.

>>> - questions about PDB
> Heh.  I would answer that with, "Python Debugger?  I've never used it".

The ability to know off the top of your head that it's the "Python
Debugger" is more than enough :-)  That's just first-order
ignorance:  you know what you don't know and can spend a few minutes
reading up on it if you need it.  The second[or higher]-order
ignorance of not knowing what pdb is (or, if you need more powerful
debugging, how to do it) is sign the person hasn't been programming
in Python much.

>>> Python History:
>>> ===============
>>> - decorators added in which version?
>>> - "batteries included" SQL-capible DB in which version?
>>> - the difference between "class Foo" and "class Foo(object)"
>>> - questions from "import this" about pythonic code
> With the exception of the question about new-style classes, these are 
> silly questions.  I was around when both decorators and sqlite3 were 
> added.  I couldn't possible tell you when to any precision better than 
> "2 dot something". 

I'd even be satisfied if a person just knew that such features
weren't there all along and might need to be worked around for older

> As for the zen of python, it's cute, and a piece of python
> folklore, but hardly an essential part of being a good python p

[Ed: something appears to have gotten truncated there]  Yeah, it's
more about a person being sufficiently steeped in python to know
bits and pieces of the zen, and their ability to recognize/create
pythonic code.  I've seen enough Java-written-in-Python to know what
I don't want :-)


More information about the Python-list mailing list