Reddit's Ask Me Anything with Prof. Steven Skiena


Professor Steven Skiena

On February 7, 2018, Professor Steven Skiena from the Department of Computer Science (CS) participated in Reddit's Ask Me Anything (AMA) online discussion. Skiena was invited to participate  by the popular Reddit cscareerquestions forum which has over 140,000 readers. 

During the Reddit session, Skiena answered questions from students as well as people working in the field as software engineers, engineering managers, and developers. With a majority of the questions focused on careers opportunities for the students and the changes to the interview landscape, Skiena also provided insight into the hiring process as the co-founder of the start-up company, General Sentiment, a media measurement company.

When asked about the change in complexity in the interview process, Skiena noted that for the most part all of the CS students get jobs somewhere with varying degrees of interview preparation. He commented, that "generally the students who get the best jobs are the ones who it would be clear are the best."  Skiena feels that it is important for employers to ask candidates questions that make them think, solve a problem, and write a bit of code. 

One of the Reddit participants was a current undergrad in CS at Stony Brook, who inquired about when to focus on undergraduate research opportunities. Skiena suggests that it is more important to "focus on classes and learning as an undergrad than undergraduate research".

After less than 24 hours, the session has been viewed over 6,600 times. ​​For the full transcript, visit

Skiena is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor at Stony Brook University and he is author of the immensely popular book, The Algorithm Design Manual. The book is widely viewed as THE resource for interview preparation, especially for Google applicants. Skiena has also published another five ​books including The Data Science Design Manual and Calculated Bets: Computers, Gambling, and Mathematical Modeling to Win. Skiena earned his PhD in computer science from the University of Illinois and his research interests include design of graph, string, and geometric algorithms and their applications.​