Google FooBar Challenge Experience

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A couple of months ago, I got the Google challenge. You are greeted by this unusual looking page when getting selected.

I first heard about it a year ago when I read an online article about it. I felt that it was a cool easter egg that Google has and then completely forgot about it. Then while searching for a completely simple term (take command line arguments in python), I got this weird looking page which asked me if I am up for a challenge. Of course, yes.

What is the Foo Bar challenge?

It is a secret hiring challenge from Google which you get when you match some search pattern on Google search or their documentations. You are given a prompt and if you accept it, you are sent to a geeky looking UNIX-shell type website.

What happens after I get the invitation

google foo bar challenge invitation, prashant sengar google foo bar
This is how the invitation looks like

You are redirected to a geeky website where you are given the instructions on how to continue. You can request a new question by sending a command. You have to solve the question in the given time in either Java or Python 2.7.

The time limit is long enough for you to learn the concept to be used in the problem and then solve it.

How Many Questions are in there?

There are 5 levels in the foobar challenge. There 1+2+3+2+1 = 9 total questions. The difficulty of the questions keep rising as you move up the levels.

What did I do

The first level was of very easy difficulty level, and one could easily solve it within a few minutes. As I was pretty excited about it, I completed it then and there. It took me a while though, coding in Python 2.7 was new to me.

Since I had an ongoing internship, I had to pause it until my working hours got over. I completed the next round on the next day which was a weekend. The questions were still quite easy and required simple logic.

Then the third round took longer to complete for two reasons, one – the questions were tougher, two – I was doing them on the weekdays after the work hours. The questions involved using Dynamic Programming and BFS.

After the completion of the third round, I was asked about my details so that recruiters from Google can contact me.

foobar acceptance prashant sengar, google foo bar


The End

The end was sad, I requested the fourth level’s first questions and then left it to be completed later. It had to be completed within 2 weeks so I procrastinated a little, completely forgetting about it in the end.

The challenge was challenging, and I learnt a lot while solving those questions. All Google Easter-eggs are impressive, and this was not an exception.

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