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Why don’t learn this thing for once? It is not difficult, and everybody will benefit from doing that at least once, even the most senior and accoladed engineers.

Well, sure, inverting a binary tree isn't hard to learn. But there's countless interview questions, not just that one. A lot are more tricky - and not everyone is good at coming up with such solutions from first principles under interview pressure.

While I'm reasonably good at these style of questions, I'd be very unsurprised if there were a few that'd just catch me cold, even today. And I'm probably working in a field that's a lot more day-to-day data structure heavy than most (RDBMS internals).

She learned it, in college. Her job isn't to write code. And I can't even remember the last time I implemented a damn binary tree.

It's not that it's difficult. It's that it's stupid.

edit: Let me put it this way... if you're hiring a senior/lead level code security analyst, the odds that they will be implementing (or even reading for comprehension) a binary tree are effectively nil. The odds of having to show how to mark false positives in a Fortify scan are very, very high. Can they explain buffer overflows, html encoding, etc? Can they write a description of unsafe practices in plain English, for both developers and managers? Do they have experience in conducting training classes for developers to reduce security problems? Do they have a working knowledge of HIPAA, SOX, or other relevant industry regulations? Can they do good Powerpoint presentations on this stuff?

Being a security analyst isn't about writing homework assignments from freshman year of college. It's about regulations, about training others, about using high end tools that aren't taught in college, and a bunch of other stuff. Ask questions about the actual job.

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