Come Up With A Game Plan
Beforeyou start writing code, you should come up with a plan on how to tackle the problem. You should spend around 5 to 20 minutes on this portion. Typically my game plan involves drawing diagrams and doing test examples. For instance, whenever I get a graph problem or a recursion problem, I like to draw a tree to identify the different states that I will be visiting and the order of states that I will be visiting. More importantly, drawing these trees highlights any logic I may need to perform, such as backtracking.
Coming up with a game plan has several advantages. First, the interviewer can inform you if you are heading in the wrong direction. If so, you just saved yourself 30 minutes from writing all that wrong code! Second, it is easy to pinpoint what data structures and variables will be needed to solve the problem.
If your initial game plan is not the most efficient, that is okay! Donot worry about defining the most efficient solution early on. This is because it is better to have a working code than a broken code or even worse no code. This tends to be the downfall of numerous interview candidates.
Once you have implemented your game plan, you can come back to refining your approach to be more optimal.
Common Technical Interview Mistakes To Avoid
Knowing what not to do can be just as important as knowing what to do, so lets quickly cover a few common technical interview mistakes.
1. Not preparing enough
Seriously, theres no such thing as too much coding interview preparation. The good news is, most candidates dont put in that time. So it doesnt take much to really pull ahead of the pack, says Parker . Its such a bummer as an interviewer to watch a candidate really come up short and just think to yourself, I can tell youre smartif you had just reviewed some of this stuff Im sure youd be able to get this.
2. Jumping into the code without taking a moment to think it through
You might be eager to start solving the problem, but take a few minutes to question your assumptions and make a game plan first! Starting too quickly gets a lot of people into trouble when they could have taken a moment to prevent confusion down the road, says Refael . Some of the most common mistakes candidates make are avoidable. Pause for a moment to think through the problem-solving process.
3. Being too arrogant or opinionated
4. Not making conversation/chit-chat
Improve And Maintain Over Time
Once the rust is gone, and youre fully prepped, it is dead easy to keep your CS and interview skills sharp: solve one coding question per day. Ive been doing this for the past 3 years or so, and Ive realized the following benefits:
The relative time investment is small no more than 3035 minutes per day, on average, and the benefit is immeasurable. Were I to find myself in an immediate technical interview need situation, for whatever reason, I am always well prepared.
If this article helps just one person nail their interview and get a hire decision, mission accomplished. I hope you enjoy the content below. Have fun studying, and good luck, wherever your technical career takes you!!
Im a devoted father and husband to an awesome family, and a Software Development Manager and hands-on technical leader and Engineer in my spare time. For more information about me, please visit , or www.booleanzen.com.
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The Week Before The Interview
If you followed the blueprint above, youre not cramming this week. You may be reviewing study material, but mostly youre doing additional research on the company youre interviewing with, the team, culture fit, and position in general. You already put in the study sweat equity. Use this week to spend the time polishing other areas of the interview, such as soft skills, specific technology topics, etc.
Repeat The Question Back
After the interviewer has described the question you are being asked, restate the question to confirm you have understood it. If there are any gaps in your understanding, the interviewer will most likely correct you and also might restate the question in a clearer way. Ensuring you understand the question before you start is extremely important you dont want to be in the situation where you finish writing a solution to the wrong problem.
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System Design Scalability Data Handling
You can expect system design questions if you have 4+ years of experience.
- Scalability and System Design are very large topics with many topics and resources, sincethere is a lot to consider when designing a software/hardware system that can scale.Expect to spend quite a bit of time on this
- Distill large data sets to single values
- Transform one data set to another
- Handling obscenely large amounts of data
The Day/night Before The Interview
Rule #1: get a good nights sleep!! Nothing is more important than being at your best for what promises to be a very exhaustive day of programming acrobatics. Youve done your homework and youre ready have confidence in yourself and the hard work and prep time youve put in to get here!
Do not violate this rule unless a work/family emergency dictates otherwise. And if this rule is broken for subsequently-mentioned reasons, it is probably wise to postpone the interview. This happens more frequently than you think, and folks will understand.
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Prepare A Good Self Introduction And Final Questions
Self introductions and final questions to ask are almost always required at the start and end of any software engineering interview. As such, you should always spend some time to craft an excellent self introduction and set of final questions to ask. When done well, these can leave a good impression with the interviewer that can turn things to your favor.
For the best software self introduction samples and tips, check out this self introduction guide for software engineers. Also check out samples of the best final questions to ask for software engineers in this final questions guide.
More Interview Preparation Courses
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What People Are Saying
|“I wish I had read this book 90 days ago. I wouldn’t have blown a great job that I really wanted. This book goes beyond the usual answers to questions likely to be asked. Instead of telling you what to think it teaches you HOW to think. If I had read this book first and knew what was coming I think I would have nailed it.”- J. Braun, Amazon.com|
|“Bought this book 3 weeks before interview. Read the book twice with careful hand-writing practice on each question. Got Amazon offer. The interview had 4 questions and one was in the book.”- Larry, Amazon.com||“This book is a must-have for any interview candidate. Not only does it give practice problems and detailed answers, but it also gives you good advice about how to approach the problems as well as what to expect. I used this book to prepare for my interviews with Microsoft, and Gayle’s insight gave me a great idea of how to prepare and how to ace the interview. I recommend this book to anyone who has a coding interview in their future.”- Michelle, Amazon.com|
Prepare For The Interview Setting
You may interview in person, but the chance is just as high that you’ll do it over a videoconferencing platform like Zoom. Here are some tips for how to prepare for a remote whiteboard interview:
- Ask the interviewer which conferencing app youll be using and make sure you have downloaded it and are comfortable with its features.
- Choose a quiet, relaxed setting without distractions like your bedroom, an office, or even a side room reserved at a local library. A little background noise is unavoidable, but you want your interviewer to be able to hear you clearly.
- Get a notepad ready to take notes during the interview. You may want to write down things such as:
- The interviewer’s name
- Questions that come up during the interview that you may want to ask after the interview
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How To Ace Your Coding Interview Advice From A Senior Software Engineer
Technical interviews are one of the most stressful parts of landing a job in tech.
You don’t know what questions the interviewer is going to ask. What if you have no idea how to solve the problem in front of you? What if you freeze up and look like you don’t know what you’re doing?
Many aspiring programmers work themselves up into a frenzy as they try to memorize every coding interview question. You and I both know this approach is unsustainable. I’m here to tell you there’s an easier way.
I recently sat down with my friend Michelle, who’s a senior software engineer at Stitch Fix . She shared the kinds of qualities she looks for in developers that she interviews.
Honestly, the qualities might surprise you. I promise they don’t include memorizing coding interview questions and solutions.
The rest of this article will unpack the qualities Michelle looks for in developer candidates. I’ll translate each of these qualities into key interview behaviors. Then I’ll tell you how you can implement them in your own interviews. Let’s get started.
Get Ready For Your Upcoming Technical Interview
If youâve begun preparing for your next technical interview, register for Interview Kickstartâs technical interview webinar and get ahead by understanding foolproof and advanced strategies from industry experts. These reviews from our alums will tell you exactly how weâve helped thousands of students to scallop their professional careers by helping them crack technical interviews at the biggest companies.
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What Is A Technical Interview
Technical interviews are a part of the hiring process for tech professionals. This process also includes phone screenings and in-person interviews, but the assignments you complete during technical interviews help interviewers evaluate your skills.
Assignments vary by company, but common tasks include:
- Debugging existing code
- Adding a feature to an existing code base
- Explaining the design and architecture of a technical problem
While you’ll likely be asked to solve a problem, don’t worry too much about getting it right. Interviewers are typically more interested in your thought process than your solution.
Is Accenture A Great Place To Start A Career
Below mentioned are some of the major reasons why Accenture is a great place to start your career:
- The People:If you are working for Accenture, you can observe that everyone from lower-level to upper-level employees are approachable and there to help you. Accentures One Global Network allows you to reach out to colleagues across the globe for any kind of support. There are plenty of opportunities to network and meet new people in Accenture, from events to getting involved in clubs and societies.
- Fast-Paced EnvironmentIn Accenture, you can directly communicate with the clients and put across your best views at all times from day one of your project. Normally, at Accenture, you can experience working in a fast-paced environment. Working closely with clients and colleagues lets you develop and grow professionally in this kind of robust work environment.
- Continuous LearningWorking for Accenture definitely lets you continue to learn and grow as you are going to be exposed to new technologies and varied business strategies on a continuous basis. At times, working for Accenture can be challenging but the skills that you acquire and develop are important to your professional development.
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Tips On How To Ace Your Whiteboard Interview
To help you prepare for your upcoming whiteboard interviews, we’ve compiled a list of tips that’ll help you showcase your technical, communicative, and problem-solving skills. Not only will they make for a smoother interview, but they’ll also help put your mind at ease. When you’re relaxed, nervousness is less likely to get in the way of clear thinking and communication.
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.
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The Day Of The Interview
Be on time and bring a bottle of water . Most companies will offer you refreshments, but have something handy just in case.
Relax and listen closely. When you engage your interviewer after a coding question has been given to you, do not start coding right away! Ask clarifying questions this is absolutely expected. For instance, you may be asked a question such as Delete the nth to last item from a list. Would you start coding this immediately? I posit that you really couldnt here are clarifying questions that I would ask prior to formulating an attack vector or designing an algorithm to solve the problem.
- What type of list are we discussing? A linked list
- Is this a singly-linked list or doubly-linked list? Singly-linked list
- Is space complexity important? No, but time complexity is
- In that case, is a recursive solution acceptable? Yes, but it would be nice to see an iterative solution as well if we have time
- Do you want me to code the helper Node class? No, you can assume you have int data and Node next
We now have a completely different question than we started with. Delete the nth to last node from a singly-linked list. Since the interviewer isnt concerned with space complexity, we can use an elegant and simple recursive solution to start with . We know that the interviewer doesnt care about the Node class, and wants an iterative solution as definite bonus points.
That Being Said What Do You Need To Know To Ace A Coding Interview
Coding interviews generally test four main categories of knowledge:
- Big O Complexity
- Language Proficiency
There isnt space in this article to give in-depth explanations of the concepts in each of these categories, but Ill give you some pointers about why these are so important and what I generally focus on when I prepare. For full explanations of each of these concepts, Ive listed the resources Ive found to be most useful at the end of the article.
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Coding Interview Questions On Java And Python
Java and Python are the most common programming languages that are used by programmers at coding interviews. Apart from testing your knowledge of core data structures and algorithms, hiring managers also evaluate your understanding of core OOP concepts in these languages.
Weâll look at some sample coding interview questions in Java and Python to help you prepare for your next coding interview!
Be Willing To Just Go For It
Finally, Michelle suggested that developer candidates should just go for it. Meaning, go for the success you want to see.
One of the most common occurrences for candidates is that they freeze up. While this is understandable, no one wins in this situation. You can’t show how incredible you are and the interviewer can’t help you. Here’s what Michelle said to “just go for it”:
Even if you have to pseudocode your implementation, thats better than being too nervous to try. Putting something on the board/coderpad will invite discussion, a chance to share your thoughts, and an opportunity to learn. Dont be afraid to fail! It just means youre one step closer to succeeding. 🙂
“Just go for it” can mean a lot of things. That said, here are a few examples of what that can look like:
- Write pseudocode on the whiteboard, paper, or coderpad
- Note exactly where you are stuck in your logic
- Verbalize the solution you wish you could come up with
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