Microsoft Coding Interview: Process
Microsoft is always looking for smart people, like all companies. But this company is looking for a candidate who is passionate about technology. During the coding interview at Microsoft, you probably wont be tested on the ins and outs of APIs, but you will have to write code on the board.
During the coding interview at Microsoft, you will first have a brief interview with a recruiter who will ask you a few questions to prepare yourself. Typically, your first interviewer will not ask you about coding and technical questions, but if you are asked about coding and technical questions, they will only serve to prepare you for your next rounds so that you are less nervous in the next round.
You will have the coding interview at Microsoft at the office itself, unlike many companies where you are interviewed in a conference room. But if the Covid-19 continues till your interview, you can have a virtual interview where you give an interview on a video call, but the entire process remains the same. On the day of your interview, you will have 4 to 5 interviews. Make sure to be nice with all your interviewers as they can fight for you to be hired or not.
Research Research And More Research
Begin by scrounging up all those juicy informative morsels you can get your hands on to give you a leg up during the interview itself.
Research the company
Dig through the companys official website to gain an understanding of what it is all about. Use Google to track down press releases, news articles, blogs and even social media posts about the company.
Combine all this researched info into the most up-to-date account of what the company is best known for or what it is focusing on lately, which will provide you with an arsenal of information for your own questions or talking points during the interview.
Find a current developer
Browse through the company directories and dig into social media connections to locate a current or previous developer from the company. While you dont want to force anyone into an uncomfortable situation, if the opportunity presents itself, getting in touch with one or two company developers can be a huge boon to your research endeavors. A company employee can provide a great deal of insight into the interview techniques the company uses as well as the day-to-day activities of the position for which you may be interviewing.
Look up your interviewers
To 23 Patterns To Ace Any Coding Interview
This article expands on a well-known interview prep document, 14 Patterns to Ace Any Coding Interview , by providing a more limited starting point, a more inclusive destination, and updated guidance along the way.
14 Patterns is useful as a prep tool for Leetcode-style data structures and algorithm interviews. Leetcode-style DS& A interviews and System Design Interviews make up much of the broader category called Whiteboard Interviews, a style of technical interview that traditionally involves a physical whiteboard in the context of an in-person interview. This style of interview is standard for a Big Tech interview cycle. While much of the interview process is conducted remotely these days, the term has stuck.
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Try Out Mock Coding Interviews
Coding right in front of your interviewer can be a nerve-wracking experience especially if you have never done it before – which is why getting hands-on experience is so important.
interviewing.io is currently the best mock technical interview resource in the market. It allows you to book mock coding interviews with real Google and Facebook engineers, albeit anonymously. You could even book interviews for specific roles like Mobile, Front End, Engineering Management. Even better – if you want to have an easier transition into real world coding interview – you could view recorded interviews and see what phone interviews are like.
Moreover, if you were to do very well on your mock interviews, you will be able to unlock the “jobs page” which allows you to book interviews directly with top companies like Uber, Lyft, Quora, Asana and more. I’ve used interviewing.io both as an interviewer and an interviewee and found the experience to be excellent.
Read more about different mock coding interview platforms here.
Improve Your Coding Skills
It should not be about one interview or two. As a developer, you should develop a habit of solving code challenges. The crucial thing in every coding interview is about coding itself, and if you dont know how to code well, no other tip or trick can support you.
Therefore, find online sources and improve your coding skills. Take coding challenges, understand the basics of your preferred programming language, and join communities of developers. This will help develop core skills, which are extremely important for any interview process.
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Describe The Runtime And Memory Usage
This is another step that looks great if you do it without being asked by your interviewer. Knowing the runtime and memory usage of code you write is incredibly important as it determines if your code is good enough for production. If you can, try going line by line to show you understand how to determine these values.
The Trouble With Technical Interviews They Aren’t Like The Job You’re Interviewing For
Interviewing for an engineering job in the tech world can mean youâll be asked all sorts of questions. Sometimes, the interview questions can be pretty straightforward: âTell me about a time that you have implemented an effective monitoring solution for a production system.â Other times, the questions are impossible to answer and designed to spark your creativity: âHow many windows are in New York City?â After passing the initial interview, the candidate graduates to the next tier of interviewing: The often-dreaded technical interview.
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Final Thoughts On Improving
Thats a lot to keep in mind while doing an interview. As with any skill, practice is the best way to improve.
Practice the different aspects Ive described. Do mock interviews with friends or colleagues, and ask them to rate you on the criteria above.
Interview your friends. Its easier to spot mistakes and areas for improvement when youre on the other side of the table. This process can help you stay attentive to your strengths and weaknesses in interviews. Conducting interviews as an interviewer has been a key factor in making me a better interviewee over the years.
Do leetcode questions. Practice makes permanent. The point of doing leetcode is not to memorize solutions, its to recognize different types of problems. When you see a new question, youll be able to categorize it and draw on your knowledge to have an idea of which path to take, which edge cases might be an issue, which questions youll need to ask, and what kind of performance implications youll need to address.
Thank you for reading. I hope this guide helps you ace your next coding interview!
How do you approach coding interviews? If you have any tips or tricks, please comment and share!
What Concepts Are Emphasized During A Coding Interview
Concepts frequently emphasized include arrays and strings, binary trees, dynamic programming, and linked lists. According to CoderPad, other common interview topics include breadth-first search algorithms, palindrome checker, and sorted lists of numbers. Interviewers may emphasize data structures and algorithms.
Common data structures tested include arrays, linked lists, stacks, and queues. Common algorithms tested include recursion, bubble sort, insertion sort, and binary search.
Of course, the interview topics will also depend on the role you are interviewing for and the skills and tools that will likely be needed for the job.
In addition to assessing your technical skills, the interviewer will also be watching for examples of creative thinking and the ability to receive and apply feedback. They may look for signs that tell them how you may fit in with the team and company culture, and judge your understanding of the role and the companys work.
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Can You Tell Me A Bit About Your Experience
This is one of the most fundamental questions you should expect to answer in any coding interview and any interview at all, for that matter. The hiring manager will want to know about your experience and how well you can work in the companys environment.
This question is relatively open-ended, and having a good answer can feel overwhelming. One common tactic is to answer in a present, past, future format. Start by talking about what youre currently doing, how your past experience prepared you for the position and what you hope to be doing in the future. Mention any relevant projects, coding languages or other factors specific to the job youre interviewing for.
One way to answer this question using the present, past, future format could be:
At the moment Im working as a programmer for a medium-sized software development company. This is my first programming position, and I got started by working on open-source projects and completing a coding boot camp. My eventual goal is to learn more about software development and become a software engineer.
Preparing For Technical Interviews
Prospective engineers often face a challenge when it comes to preparing for the technical interview, largely because there is no playbook for how companies set them up technical. Itâs unclear whether to prepare by memorizing many different topics, or focusing on specific projects. Is it better to practice with a computer or a peer engineer? There are an overwhelming number of resources available online, but with little clarity as to what the standard is for a technical interview and little guidance from the company on what to expect, most of the time engineers start technical interviews in the dark.
Inconsistencies in the technical interview process isnât just a job candidate problem. In fact, many companies struggle to set up a technical interview process that is effective, equitable, and allows the hiring manager to compare candidates. The problem with technical interviewing compounds when a company is experiencing rapid growth.
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Roles That Are Likely To Have Coding Interviews
Of course, the level of coding required does differ depending on the position. Check this YouTube video if youre interested in learning the differences between various DS roles. If you are looking for a data scientist role that falls into any of the categories below, the chances of encountering a coding interview are very high:
- Data scientist roles with a heavy machine learning or modeling emphasis: For these kinds of roles, candidates are expected to work independently or closely with engineers to productionize machine learning, statistical, or optimization models. Such roles, though titled data scientist, are more similar to machine learning engineer or research scientist roles. A few examples of such jobs are Core Data Science at Facebook, Data Scientist Algorithms at Airbnb and Lyft, etc.
- Companies in which data scientists are part of an engineering org: For such positions, there is a general expectation that every data scientist possesses sufficient programming proficiency. Robinhoods data scientist position is an example of this kind of role.
- Data scientist roles at small to medium-sized tech companies: The environment in such companies tends to be fast-paced, and data scientists may wear multiple hats. In particular, they are required to demonstrate full-stack skills to get things done quickly and efficiently.
Eat The Elephant One Bite At A Time
The topic of computer science is, by its very own nature, very dense, and the subject matter can be hard to digest. Pick a particular area, increasing the difficulty as you go, and try to solve 23 coding questions per day. Anymore than this, and you may start to lose your drive to study, begin skipping days, etc., and a good study plan will immediately unravel.
Dedicate one day to reviewing that weeks questions and study topics. This is extremely important for material retention. Take one day off per week to give your brain a break. This is important, everyone needs to rest and reset.
Lets say you devote 6 weeks to interview preparation. At 6 days per week, with 1 day dedicated to review , youre going to solve 60 questions , or 90 questions . Thats pretty serious progress, and 6 weeks will go by in a blur! Again, dial the time up or down as needed.
Dont cram, unless absolutely necessary! Re-read the section on properly preparing if needed. A crash course will yield marginal results at best, failure at worst.
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Define Your Inputs Outputs And Edge Cases
After you’ve clarified the problem, it’s time to start finding a solution. Write the inputs or functions that’ll lead you to a solution, and explain what outputs you expect them to produce. You’ll also want to address any edge cases as you find them.
In the video above, Farish shares an example. Imagine that your task involved merging two sorted arrays to a new sorted output array. In this case, your edge cases would be duplicate numbers in the two input arrays.
Onsite Interview And Whiteboard Challenge
Now weve arrived at the most intimidating part of the entire tech interview process. At tiny startups, onsite technical interviews might be a lot less formal than at bigger companies. Heck, there may not even be a whiteboard to do a coding exercise on! Still, whatever the company size, it never hurts to do coding interview preparation so youre ready for any situation that may arise.
What to do during the onsite technical interview + whiteboard challenge
1. Ask clarifying questions before you even start writing code.
I appreciate it when someone takes the time to evaluate the question he faces in the interview, says Refael . It shows me that this person is calculated and rather than just writing code, he sees the whole picture.
Ask questions around assumptions of the question, and try to reason about the question from a bottom-up perspective, adds Chris.
2. Talk through your code to give the interviewer a window into your thoughts.
What happens in a technical interview is as much about the journey as the destination. Its designed to test a candidates communication and problem-solving skills, says Refael. More important than the solution is how they work at getting the solution. Can they articulate their thoughts while writing out the code on the whiteboard? Are they putting together a clear response to the question?
3. Speak clearly and precisely.
A few of Chriss specific tips to help your interview skills:
How to stand out in the whiteboard interview
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Dont Forget Soft Skills
Other than hard skills, soft skills are unavoidable in almost every job role. To ace the interview, you need the power to speak with confidence and skills to explain your point. You should understand that soft skills are not just a way we communicate it is our thought process, quick decision making, problem-solving, and leadership skills.
How well are you reacting to a stressful situation?Are you panicking during the interview?Are you failing to put forward your point?
Because of how we traditionally perceive the role of a developer, it is assumed that you dont require soft skills. While that may have been the case five years back, we need to have soft skills to grow with the company.To improve your soft skills, you can talk about your code and explain it in front of the mirror. Try to make your language and explanation informative yet straightforward.
Top 16 Coding Interview Questions And Answers
Programming is an excellent profession with a strong job outlook, competitive compensation and a dynamic work environment where youll solve exciting problems. These factors can make programming positions highly competitive, so knowing what to expect from a programming interview is vital for any job seeker, and can make the difference between landing the role and being overlooked. This guide will discuss some of the most common coding interview questions asked in programming interviews so youll be more likely to ace your interview and start your career as a programmer.
Acing the interview is just one step on the path to becoming a coder. If you havent yet reached this stp in the process, or youre not ready to apply for positions quite yet, our guide on how to become a coder can help you determine where to start.
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Can You Talk About Some Projects Youve Worked On
This question allows you to discuss previous experience regarding the projects youve worked on in the past. If you have professional coding knowledge, you can talk through the development life cycle of some of your best projects the planning phase, how you contributed to the projects execution and any post-completion maintenance you were involved in.
If you dont have professional coding experience, but youve worked on impressive projects on your own, consider discussing your contributions in that context. Many programmers get started by contributing to open source projects, working for clients on a freelance basis or developing their own applications. Discussing these projects in detail can help you showcase your experience without previous job experience.
An example of how to answer this question could be: I got started by doing simple bug fixes on open source projects. This helped me learn how to work on a project with a larger group of people. One project that Im proud of is a personal to-do list that I coded using Java. It syncs tasks across multiple applications and is customized for my coding workflows.
If youre just getting started and need to build up your experience, our guide to the top ten coding projects for beginners can help you come up with some ideas.