Interviews are always fun, but some make them even more interesting by asking questions about things that you never really got to handle in practice, but you generally know the context. They test your ability to think on your feet, if not exactly, your knowledge...
One such question I got was, how you would pivot a table with columns (col1 number & col2 varchar2) with data such that there are maximum 3 rows per a distinct value in col1, and the desired output is col1, col21, col22, col23. Whereas I have worked with pivoting data that could be aggregated, text data type for column col2 makes it more interesting.
Here is one possible solution using SQL in Oracle database,
create table test( col1 number(10), col2 varchar2(10));
insert into test values(1,'a');
insert into test values(3,'c');
with t as(
select col1, col2, row_number() over (partition by col1 order by col2) rn
select a.col1, a.col2 col21, b.col2 col22, c.col2 col23
from ( select col1, col2 from t where rn = 1) a
left outer join
( select col1, col2 from t where rn = 2) b on ( a.col1 = b.col1)
left outer join
( select col1, col2 from t where rn = 3) c on ( b.col1 = c.col1)
About Sarbjit Parmar
A practitioner with technical and business knowledge in areas of Data Management( Online transaction processing, data modeling(relational, hierarchical, dimensional, etc.), S/M/L/XL/XXL & XML data, application design, batch processing, analytics(reporting + some statistical analysis), MBA+DBA), Project Management / Product/Software Development Life Cycle Management.