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Cariden phone interview

Now that I'm looking for work again, I'll post my interview experiences, as I did before.

I had a half-hour interview today with the leader of a solutions development group at Cariden, a company that builds network management tools. He gave me a brief overview of the company and some of the things his group does before launching into the Q&A portion of the interview.

What projects did you work on at Equinix?

I gave a brief description of peering at Equinix, in particular the types where customers peer on an exchange using route servers, instead of directly customer-to-customer. Afterwards I told him that I'd worked on EDRS (Equinix Direct Route Server) development and MLPE (Multi-Lateral Peering Exchange) provisioning tool development.

"Can you go into some more detail about the work you did at Equinix, such as how customers is provisioned, and how they interact with your tool?"

I told him that I did not remember the exact URL for Equinix MLPE, but that the form that people use to enter information is available via links from the Equinix IX Portal. (FYI, I did not work on the portal itself.) I described how customers who are current exchange users who want to peer using MLPE enter pertinent information, such as the metros they wish to peer in, their as-sets, and whether they want to use MD5 to sign their peering sessions. The information is sent to members of the Equinix NOC or NSE, who use it to update a configuration file that my software uses to create the OpenBGPD configuration files, which contain the peering details such as the prefixes that each customer is allowed to advertise into MLPE (which are derived from the as-sets the customer specifies). I also mentioned that I did most of the migration from running on individual Dell servers to VMware, and wrote up procedures used by the Equinix NOC and NSE for troubleshooting, etc.

"Have you done a lot of work with Perl?"

I told him that almost the entire MLPE provisioning tool is implemented in Perl, as well as many of the tools I used to test the Equinix route servers.

"Can you go into some detail about the work you did at Nominum?"

It is a good thing that I had my interview notes with me (short descriptions of projects I've worked on), because I didn't remember a lot of what I'd done at Nominum. (I only worked there for a few months, five years ago.) I mentioned doing QA work on FMC (the DNS and IP address management tool) and also working with the tcpdump libpcap module. I used it to take existing customer tcpdump traces and substitute the customers' IPs with Nominum local IPs, and recomputed checksums, so the traces could be used for in-house testing.

"I see you have also worked at AltaVista and some other places. Can you tell me about any other work you've done on routing protocols? I see mostly BGP on your resume."

I said that aside from BGP, I have not done any routing protocol development work. (My past experience with routers was implementing congestion avoidance algorithms in them. More on that soon.)

"Do you have any other questions?"

I asked a few more questions, such as the size of the group he managed, whether he did any software development in addition to managing, and how his group interfaced with the core development and test groups.

He closed the interview telling me that he is in the process of looking at several candidates, and that I'd hear back from him in about a week regarding future steps.

I have to admit that I'm a bit rusty at interviewing, not having done much lately. As before, we'll see how it goes.

Update: I had indicated in my cover letter that I was open to contract work. The guy who interviewed me wrote back a couple of weeks ago to ask if I was interested in a contract position at Cariden and what my rates were. I replied in the affirmative, and sent him my rates. A week later he wrote back and indicated he would call me in a couple of days with an update. His call came a day later than expected. We talked, and he told me that he would let me know if any contract work is available. I haven't heard from him since.

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