Preparing for a coding interview
If it's your first time interviewing for an engineering job, a coding challenge can be a real awakening, especially if you have no idea about what is expected.
You may think it’s ridiculous, a waste of time, and not a good tool to accurately evaluate your development skills—and you may be right.
But this is the reality of the tech industry. There’s no sense in fighting it. If you want to land a full-time developer gig at your target company, you’ll need to practice all sorts of algorithms and coding challenges to be more efficient, relaxed, and prepared to take them head-on.
Essentially, coding interview preparation needs to be a daily habit. You’ll soon become familiar with the most common coding interview questions, and with practice, they’ll get easier and your brain will become a storehouse of patterns that can be applied for various problems.
Along the way, you may even learn to master time complexity and find yourself writing much more efficient code.
Here are some great resources to help you prepare:
- Cracking the coding interview: 189 Programming Questions and Solutions - a great book by Gayle Laakmann McDowell
- Codility: A coding testing platform many of our customers already implement
- CS Dojo: A Youtube channel run by an ex-google employee on coding questions that are used by some of the most well-known tech businesses
- Codewars: A website you can train by taking coding challenges in a variety of programming languages
If you’ve got tech interviews coming up, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of working a couple of different coding challenges each day. They may not be the most enjoyable thing in the world, but the more experience you have working on these types of problems the more confidence you’ll have when presented with a new one.
In the same regard, you should not turn down any invitations to interview—even if you don’t think that you’ll take the job. The reason for this is that you’ll become more experienced with the process of taking interviews and feel more comfortable with each one you take. That way, your confidence will show up when it really matters.
Another good tip is to practice coding in a plain text editor. If you’ve been programming for many years you may not realize how much you’ve come to rely on the IDE to autocomplete your syntax and point out errors immediately. You likely won’t have this available to you in the interview. Get some practice coding your favorite language unassisted by the computer to become better at remembering proper syntax.
Finally, good physical and mental health is always of the utmost importance when it comes to performing at a top-level. Interviewing is a stressful situation for everyone—it’s totally natural to feel a bit nervous. But you don’t want to increase your stress levels unnecessarily by cutting short on your sleep. Always get a good night’s rest to recharge your brain for the coding interview.