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Since when is tree traversal "pure academic"? It's like one of the most mundane things, it's like sorting or hashing, it's something you run into on a regular basis, and the fact that it's wrapped into a library doesn't give you an excuse to not know it, because that knowledge is necessary to use the library correctly (i.e. answering questions like "do I use TreeSet or HashSet here?").

It irritates me because it's not even remotely "academic". Category theory is academic, this is mundane things. It probably is the bare minimum one has to know if they hope to work on anything interesting.

its the same point that am trying to make.my use of pure-academic was in the pun-sense of it.

Interviews shouldn't be checking bare minimum, when we spend a 10minute time talking to each other , i would rather prefer to spend it on something rather less mundane.To check for bare-minimum we could screen via their previous assignments.But again it depends on what level we are looking for.like the above comment , if we are looking for fresh grads it better be focused on basics.

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