Some Tips For Coding Interviews
Dont Be Afraid Of Algorithmic Thinking
Many interviewers like to focus their questions on algorithm design. What does that mean exactly? That means writing code that not only works, but works efficiently. An important tool for this is Big O notation and if its new to you, youll want to practice it.
Its tempting to skip this algorithmic problem-solving piece altogether especially if its new to you and I see so many candidates make this mistake. And remember, it doesnt matter if youre interviewing for Google or a small start-up many small shops like to talk about algorithm design just as much as the big guys.
If this stuff is hard for you, youre not alone. This is the hardest part of coding interviews for most candidates, even folks who have a computer science degree. But youll find that Big O notation and algorithm design come together more quickly than youd think. On top of all that, and maybe most importantly, it really will make you a better engineer. It totally changes your relationship with coding. Eventually youll find that you can rigorously reason through whether your code is the best solution to a problem.
Use An Actual Whiteboard
Coding on a whiteboard is awkward at first. You have to write out every single character, and you cant easily insert or delete blocks of code.
Use your practice sessions to iron out that awkwardness. Run a few problems on a piece of paper or, if you can, a real whiteboard. A few helpful tips for handwriting code:
- Start in the top-left corner. You want all the room you can get.
- Leave blank space between each line of code. This makes it much easier to add things later.
- Slow down. Take an extra second to think of descriptive variable names. You might be tempted to move faster by using short variable names, but that actually ends up costing more time. Itll make your code harder to debug!
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The Coding Interview Faq: Preparation Evaluation And Structure
With the coding interview being so prominently used by tech companies, its no wonder that software engineers spend months preparing. However, for many, the coding interview can seem like a nebulous process. What is it? How do I prepare? Because a coding interview is different for each company, it can be difficult to have a good overview of the coding interview as a whole.
So, weve compiled the most frequently asked questions you may have about the coding interview and attempted to distill simple answers.
This article does not answer technical coding questions but rather is a resource for those curious about the coding interview process. If you are looking for coding questions, please check out some of our resources found below.
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What Is Qualitative Coding
Qualitative coding is a process of systematically categorizing excerpts in your qualitative data in order to find themes and patterns.
It enables you to take unstructured or semi-structured data such as transcripts from in-depth interviews or focus groups and structure it into themes and patterns for analysis.
Coding your qualitative data makes your analysis more systematic and rigorous. It also provides transparency and reflexivity to both yourself and others.
Itll enable you to find insights that are truly representative of your data and the human stories behind them.
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Track Your Weak Spots
One of the hardest parts of practicing is knowing what to practice. Tracking what you struggle with helps answer that question.
So grab a fresh notebook. After each question, look back and ask yourself, What did I get wrong about this problem at first? Take the time to write down one or two things you got stuck on, and what helped you figure them out. Compare these notes to our tips for getting unstuck.
After each full practice session, read through your entire running list. Read it at the beginning of each practice session too. Thisll add a nice layer of rigor to your practice, so youre really internalizing the lessons youre learning.
Interview Coding Questions For Practice And Master Programming
You can not master any of the programming languages without Practice. The common things that I see among all the expert programmers- they do Practice. Lots of Practice. Practice solving interview coding questions.
The more you practice the better you become in the programming.
Programming is a skill best acquired by Practice and Example rather than from Books.
For every beginner, it is easy to start reading programming books and gaining theoretical knowledge. But whats the next?
No one has become the programmer by reading the books. You should actually do the programming.
Before going to list out interview coding questions for practice, let me tell you, these are the generic coding questions. You can use these coding questions to challenge yourself and to practice any programming language like Python, C/C++, Java, and all other generic computer languages.
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Tip #: Clean Up Your Social Media Presence
Did you know that 70 percent of employers use social media to screen potential candidates and out of those, 57 percent have found content that compelled them not to hire a candidate? Its no joke a tasteless comment or unprofessional picture could derail your chances of landing your dream job!
If you want to optimize your chances of making an excellent first impression on your interviewer, you should take some time to clean up your online presence.
Coding Interview Tips:
- Search your name on Google to see which profiles will be easily visible to interviewers.
- Do an audit of your social profiles to remove any pictures, posts, or conversations that might come off as a red flag to interviewers.
- Make a habit of creating and posting content online that relates to your industry.
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.
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Tips To Ace Coding Interviews
Before the interview, it is worth clarifying with recruiters what kinds of coding questions will be asked, as well as the approximate difficulty level. Lots of data science interviews do not require heavy programming, but that does not mean interviewers will not expect basic coding proficiency at your fingertips. Always ask your recruiter what to expect. If you make incorrect assumptions on the types of questions that can appear during interviews, you may end up preparing inadequately.
During the interview, use these tips to answer coding questions effectively.
Study Your Algorithms And Data Structures
This goes hand-in-hand with the hard skills but deserves its own section. You dont need to be a master of computer science to ace a coding interview, but there are some standard algorithms and data structures that you should feel good about referencing, or at least mentioning and talking about. For instance:
- How does a bubble sort work vs. a merge sort?
- Whats the difference between a stack and a queue?
- Whats a linked list? What about a hash table?
Its likely that youll be asked one algorithm question in a job interview, so becoming familiar with and being able to speak about them to a degree is a good thing. Cracking The Code Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell is a great book covering all of the essential algorithms, data structures, and how to implement and use them in sample code challenges.The coding interview is an opportunity for you to not only show off your skills as an engineer, but also to demonstrate how well you work with others as a data scientist. Its designed to simulate what its like to work with you on a team. So be yourself, study, know the programming language and practice, take a deep breath, and crush that coding interview!
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List Of Interview Coding Questions
Here Im listing basic programming questions you should practice to master any of the programming languages.
We also have a list of coding questions categorized by data structure.
Basic Coding Questions
If you are learning Python, check the bitwise operators in Python.
Advanced Coding Questions
These two questions are more related to network programming. If the job profile is related to networking, you have to prepare for such questions. These questions were asked in the Persistent coding interview as per the experience shared by the candidate.
Interview Roadmap And Coding Interview Prep
The Definitive Interview Prep Roadmap was written by Fahim Ul Haq, Ex-Facebook, Ex-Microsoft, and Co-founder of Educative. Having interviewed hundreds of candidates for software engineering jobs and even failing at several coding interviews himself, Fahim pulls from his personal experience to provide a 3-month Self-Study Roadmap.
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Mock Interview And Resume Feedback From Engineers At Amazon Facebook Google Linkedin And More
Coding, System Design, and Machine Learning– Get a 1 hour mock interview session or resume review with experienced engineers from top tech companies. At the end of each session, you’ll get verbal and written feedback and the opportunity to ask questions. Have a special request? Custom interviews are available upon request.
How Do I Pass A Coding Interview
You must be enthusiastic about your work… You should study common interview concepts…. Find out from your interviewer what you need to do at this point. There are trade-offs to be made. Find out whats working. The language should be dynamic, but mention C…. The more you practice, the better you will become.
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How To Pass A Programming Interview
This post started as the preparation material we send to our candidates, but we decided to post it publicly. For a more detailed reference of technical interview study materials, check out this extensive guide.
Being a good programmer has a surprisingly small role in passing programming interviews. To be a productive programmer, you need to be able to solve large, sprawling problems over weeks and months. Each question in an interview, in contrast, lasts less than one hour. To do well in an interview, then, you need to be able to solve small problems quickly, under duress, while explaining your thoughts clearly. This is a different skill . On top of this, interviewers are often poorly trained and inattentive , and ask questions far removed from actual work. They bring bias, pattern matching, and a lack of standardization.
Running Triplebyte, I see this clearly. We interview engineers without looking at resumes, and fast-track them to on-sites at top tech companies. Weâve interviewed over 1000 programmers in the last nine months. We focus heavily on practical programming, and let candidates pick one of several ways to be evaluated. This means we work with many programmers without formal CS training. Many of these people do poorly on interviews. They eat large sprawling problems for breakfast, but they balk at 45-min algorithm challenges.
After The Technical Interview
When the technical interview is over, take a breath: you made it through! There are a few things you can do to follow up, but for the most part, its just a waiting game now.
Tips for after the tech interview
- Keep some emotional distance from the process. Expect to get rejected a lot, and its important to not view it as personal judgement, advises Chris.
- Even if you dont get the job, have the perspective that the interview was great practice for the future. If it was your first one, now you know what to expect from a technical interview! Glean insights from the experience and use them to propel yourself forward.
How to be a memorable candidate
Send a short and sweet thank you email to the recruiter/hiring manager within 24 hours of the technical interview.
Make a note of everyone you speak to during the interview and reach out to them with a quick note of thanks as well. You can send emails to them individually if you made more of a connection, or send a group email with a general note of thanks to everyone. It will definitely help the team remember you!
If you havent heard back after a week, send a brief follow-up email to the tech recruiter or your possible future manager, reiterating your interest in the role and asking about potential next steps.
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Code Quality And Best Practices:
The interviewer will also evaluate your overall code quality. While the standard expectations in a DS interview would not be as high as those in a software engineering interview, candidates should still focus on several aspects:
- Whether the code is executable without any syntax error.
- Cleanliness and conciseness.
- Whether the solution is optimized in terms of run-time/storage efficiency.
- General coding best practice, e.g. modularity, handling of edge cases, naming conventions, etc.
Give Yourself An Edge At Your Next Interview
With Educative Unlimited, you can access hundreds of courses tailor-made for software developers for less than $17 a month. Stay on the cutting edge by accessing interview prep courses designed by industry leaders at top tech companies while brushing up on your technical skills through hands-on coding environments.
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.
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
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