Life is a video game. Well really a series of minigames. Some of the minigames aren’t as fun as others, but you have to pass them to move on. Right now you’re on the ‘get hired as a developer’ minigame. You beat that minigame by memorizing things like Algorithms and Data Structures.
Yes it’s stupid. Yes it’s not something you’ll ever actually do on the job. No it’s not a real indicator of your actual programming ability. But it’s what you have to do to beat this part of the game and move on.
And, yes it sucks, but it’s not THAT hard in the grand scheme of things. Basically what’s happening is someone is saying “we’d like to hire you for a job that pays significantly above the national average, is safe, low stress and generally pretty easy when you think about it. All we ask in return is that you brush up on some things that you have already had to learn anyway.”
I would also argue that it’s at least partially about seeing how driven you are. Everyone knows that you’re probably going to get asked Algorithm and DS questions in an interview. There are literally several very popular books entirely dedicated to that fact. So you can either have a self-centered, egotistical, “I don’t think I should have to know this and I know better than everyone else so I am not going to learn it” attitude, or an open, eager “I really want this job and I know they will probably ask me some of these kinds of questions, so if I have to take a week to brush up on these concepts I am more than willing to do so” attitude. Which do you think makes for a more attractive potential employee?
Maybe it’s because I am still relatively new to the industry, but if the only hoops I have to jump through to land a fantastic, well paying job all involve me just brushing up on stuff I SHOULD already know, well, I mean, come on. Maybe when one day I get to the point where I am such a special snowflake programmer that I shouldn’t need to go through an interview process. But in the meantime, I am like most programmers (and really most job seekers in this not-so-great economy general), I realize that it’s a dog eat dog world out there, no one is going to just hand you what you want. You have to earn it, you have to work for it. If that involves going through a few obnoxious interviews, so be it. It could be a LOT worse.
Never forget that there are people out there busting their ass 80 hours a week digging ditches just to get by.