I've been exceedingly lucky landing gigs at great companies that don't filter with these questions. I worked for LeadGenius (YC S11!) and the technical portion of the interview was super fun and effective; I was asked to write a useful piece of software in python which I later applied to school projects! No whiteboarding, no data structures. I'm currently interning at General Motors and their interview was similarly sans whiteboarding, and I'm surrounded by brilliant interns and coworkers. Hmm. At least for me and a few of my peers, being asked to solve the type of problems presented in the article raises some red flags about a company's culture.
By the way, we're hiring: Visual Interaction Designer, Senior Product Engineer (Front End), and Senior Product Engineer
Hope you're liking it over at GM!
1. Those that love love love solving Puzzles.
2. Those that question whether solving this or that puzzle is going to bring in any money for the company.
For a places like google or deranged YC startups, whether what you are assigned has any bearing on cash flow is something way above the typical engineers paygrade. There are a lot of companies where that isn't true.
Learn to write, English. Learn it well. How to clearly explain idea's and requirements. How things work, how they are broken. Justify what you did, or cover your butt. Where you are in twenty years will depend mostly on this.
Learn to speak fluently in front of a group of people.
Or whatever the locally appropriate language is.