12 Aug

Announcing a Powerful Terminal for CodeSignal Interview

These days, engineering teams have to be able to go fully remote with their technical interview process. One of the most valuable steps in that process has traditionally been the onsite interview. The onsite is the time when you really test what it would be like to develop software together, as the candidate and interviewer sit down at a computer, open up an IDE and a terminal window, and start building. 

How do you go remote with an onsite interview? CodeSignal Interview offers tools that create a real-world environment for live technical interviews, like an advanced IDE, easy-to-use whiteboard, and built-in video conferencing. Now, we’re excited to announce the launch of Terminal for CodeSignal Interview. Terminal pairs with our IDE to give candidates and interviewers the two key tools they use every day to develop software. After all, it can feel like your hands are a bit tied when you don’t have access to the command line. With a terminal, teams can evaluate more complex software development skills than ever before, and candidates are guaranteed to love the familiarity of this tool as well.

Introducing Terminal for CodeSignal Interview

When you use Interview for a free-coding task, CodeSignal will now host your code in a  pre-configured VM running Ubuntu and give you full access via a terminal window. 

For any free-coding task in CodeSignal Interview, the candidate and interviewer will now have access to a terminal window. Terminal behaves the same way as the terminal on a standard Linux machine. You can run a command-line shell (REPL), install software, run code and debuggers, start services, write to files—the options are nearly endless. The terminal gives you full access to a persistent Ubuntu environment that’s configured per language (CodeSignal Interview supports over 40 languages) and preloaded with all the standard libraries and packages you’ll need. 

To develop software, you need an IDE and a terminal. Now, CodeSignal Interview has both. As familiar as a programmer’s favorite coffee mug, Terminal is also rather revolutionary. While many interviewing tools have basic REPL shells for evaluating code, CodeSignal’s Terminal is much more powerful.

Collaborate in real-time

An onsite is a chance for the candidate and the team to see what it’s like to work together on a realistic software development problem. So we designed Terminal to be a shared, collaborative window. The candidate and interviewer see the same code, and both have access to run commands.

For pair-programming, the candidate and the interviewer share a Terminal window. 

Use REPL to quickly evaluate code

REPL, which stands for read-eval-print loop, has been a top feature request for CodeSignal Interview, and for good reason. It’s a way to instantly return the result of single-line code inputs without having to create a new file and run code. For asking a quick question or testing out a syntax you’re unsure about, nothing is easier. You can also load a file and dynamically explore it, for example by calling its methods with various inputs, which is great for diving deep into a problem. 

With Terminal, you get REPL plus a whole lot more. The candidate and interviewer can use all the standard REPL shells from the command line (for example, node or python), which come pre-installed with the default environment for each language—but REPL is really only the beginning of what Terminal can do. 

Among other benefits, a REPL shell like node lets you load the code you’re working on and test individual methods.

Install packages

What would a command line be good for if it didn’t let you install packages? Part of what makes CodeSignal’s Terminal so much more flexible than REPL is that you can install software and set up the environment in the way you or the candidate might want. Do you want to test the candidate’s knowledge of a specific framework on their resume? Or maybe you just discovered a mutual love of a certain tool or library. Terminal lets you fully configure the programming environment during a technical interview, so “free-coding task” takes on an entirely new meaning.

With CodeSignal Interview’s new Terminal feature, you can install any package you want. 

Start services and applications

For an advanced technical interview, sometimes running code and looking at the results isn’t enough. For example, your team’s onsite process might typically involve asking candidates to develop some form of an API, service, or application. With Terminal for CodeSignal Interview, assessing these skills in a remote interview just got a whole lot easier. You can use the terminal to install and use a framework like Express to start services and applications and write APIs. 

With Terminal, you can start background services and run applications from the command line, letting you explore a wider range of programming skills.

Use a text editor to create small files

Although CodeSignal Interview comes with an advanced IDE, sometimes you might want to create or edit a small file, for example to provide some input to the code that you’re working on in a free-coding interview question. With Terminal, you can achieve this by installing and using a text editor like Vim directly from the command line. 

Installing and then using Vim in Terminal lets you create and edit small files with ease.  

Use a debugger

As any engineer knows, debugging code is an essential skill. Now, it’s possible to install and use a command-line debugger like GDB directly in the Terminal to set breakpoints and step through code. 

You can now use GDB in CodeSignal Interview.

For a great technical interview, it’s important to have tools that help candidates and teams feel confident. CodeSignal Interview’s Terminal is powerful, flexible, and above all familiar. Whether you want to quickly evaluate some code in REPL or develop an entire backend service, the command line is now yours to use freely in a remote interview, as never before. 
With advanced features like a state-of-the-art IDE and Terminal, CodeSignal Interview offers an enterprise-ready platform that’s trusted by candidates and teams alike at some of the world’s fastest-growing tech companies. To try it out for yourself, request a demo of CodeSignal Interview.

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