Could a Vietnamese 11th grader pass the Google interview process?
According to one Google engineer the answer is yes, but it seems that may be more of a commentary of the state of US education rather than Google's hiring process. Google's hiring process is known to be one of the more difficult around, but one Google engineer says that the average 11th grader in Vietnam is answering computer science questions to be put in "the top third" of applicants.
The story goes that Google engineer Neil Fraser took a trip to Vietnam and toured some schools in the country. He was impressed to find that by 3rd grade all students knew how to use Windows (XP), and begin learning to type in English using Microsoft Word. By 4th grade, students begin to learn programming using Logo to create commands and loops. By 5th grade students are writing "procedures containing loops calling procedures containing loops". Fraser compares this to the US where many 11th and 12th graders would struggle to code an HTML img tag.
Fraser then stopped in on an 11th grade class in Vietnam and got a copy of a problem requiring the class to find a solution and implement it in Pascal. The entire class was able to accomplish the task. Fraser showed the problem to a senior Google engineer without giving the origin of the problem, and the senior engineer said the question would be part of the top third of interview questions.
That's some pretty impressive education, especially since, as Fraser says, CS classes are a fairly recent addition to the Vietnamese curriculum. Here's hoping that the US can take a cue. It's an incredibly interesting blog post by Fraser, we'd suggest you all take a look.