How To Prepare For A Technical Interview
Some elements of coding interview preparation should ideally start well before you even land the interview. Other job interview preparation steps can be accomplished closer to the day itself.
So, here are some of the most important coding interview preparation tips to master in the days, weeks, or months leading up to your job applications and interviews:
1. Prepare a 30-second to 1-minute elevator pitch for the tell me about yourself question
Its important that you go prepared to talk about non-coding topics like your employment history, career goals, past projects, etc. The technical interview could just be one part of many if youre at a company with a long interview process, and youll probably have to answer some version of this question when you meet new interviewers. Its a great time to demonstrate soft skills and passion.
2. Before you go, study up on the most important CS fundamentals
Dont stress yourself out like youre cramming for an exam and trying to learn everythingbut do dedicate extra preparation time to key technical interview skills.
Parker advises narrowing your focus to two main areas: Fill the gaps in your knowledge of data structures and algorithms. Run a lot of practice problems.
Start with these must-study topics:
3. Pick one programming language and know it really well
Check out these LTCWM resources for places to go to brush up on your coding skills:
Software Developmentthe 2 Types Of Software Engineering Interviews And How To Prepare For Thempublished September 19th 2019
Technical interviews can be broken down into two broad categories: domain specific interviews and computer science fundamentals interviews. To grow your career as a software engineer its important to recognize the different methodologies for evaluating talent.
Being able to pass technical interviews is crucial for career growth as a software engineer, yet it can be hard to know exactly how to prepare. Different software companies evaluate engineers in different ways and theres nothing worse than being blindsided in a pressure-filled or important situation.
Fortunately, technical interviews can be broken down into two broad categories: domain specific interviews and computer science fundamentals interviews. To grow your career as a software engineer its important to recognize the different methodologies for evaluating talent. Improve in the area where you need the most help. This article breaks down what you can expect from each type of interview and what you can do to nail them.
To grow your career as a software engineer its important to recognize the different methodologies for evaluating talent.
What Is Agile Software Development And What Are Your Thoughts On It
Process is an extremely important component of software development. Agile is currently one of the most popular software development processes adopted in the industry. The core concepts were introduced in 2001 when The Manifesto for Agile Software Development was published. Since its inception, growing numbers of companies have adopted the methodologies in some form. However, there are a wide range of opinions and interpretations on the subject. Some invest the time to train for Agile certification while others use the principles as guidelines rather than hard rules, interpreting Agile as an adjective rather than a noun. And there are yet others who wholly disagree with the philosophy.
No matter your opinion, wide industry adoption means you will likely work within the framework at some point in your career. You should be capable of articulating the details of the process. Try using concrete examples from your experience. In your answer, address areas of the process such as:
- What worked about the process?
- What did not?
- Did your team deviate from the recommendations?
- Did that work to your benefit or detriment?
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During The Technical Questions Think & Process:
As mentioned above, this is your chance to show how you deal with new challenges. Sometimes the problems are intentionally difficult to get a feeling of how you can handle roadblocks. Its not expected of you to know the answer upfront.
- Anchor your thinking process and your conclusions along the way
- Read the problem several times and define it in your own words
- Before coding, lay out your strategy to solve the problem
- After first draft, point out any edge cases that need further handling
- Ask questions that can lead you to a better solution
End the interview on a positive note with letting the interviewer know youll be happy to meet again and that you feel this is a good fit for both of you.
Questions About Your Background
You should be prepared to answer questions regarding your background, experience, past projects and knowledge. These questions are mostly open-ended and give you a good opportunity to choose what you want to talk about. Some example questions could be:
- Tell me about a project you worked on, and you what you did or did not enjoy.
- Tell me about what you learned from working on this project.
- Can you talk about some challenges you faced?
- How did you coordinate the tasks among team members?
- If you did this project again, is there anything you would do differently?
You can talk about software projects that you worked on during internships, work experience placements or college course work depending on your experience. Any experience you have is valuable so dont undermine the knowledge you gained through it. When speaking about those past projects, a great answer would include a description, objectives, stakeholders and the impact of the project or the what,who,how and why. This will help you demonstrate that you have a good understanding of the whole development process and not only the technical side of things. Its a good idea to include measures of success if theyre relevant, i.e. It helped people do x easier,It automated this process saving x amount of time for the team, etc. This shows that you care about the impact of your work.
Interviewers start with a total blank page and have a very short amount of time
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What Is The Tesla Software Engineer Interview Process Like
The overall hiring process at Tesla takes roughly two weeks. You can either apply through job websites or directly through the companyâs website.
Based on the experiences of several current and former Tesla employees and after studying multiple reliable resources, we have compiled the following skeleton of how a Tesla software engineer interview works.
It typically comprises the following phases:
Conquer The Whiteboard Exercise
Sometimes a company would prefer to take a look at your technical skills and ability to break down complex problems in more of an abstract way. The most common way of testing a candidate this way is by having them complete a whiteboard exercise.
This method of interviewing might be the most talked about, and the most feared. If you are asked to use a whiteboard to solve a question remember this: they are far more interested in how you communicate your problem-solving process, not that you can solve the problem.
If the problem they give you seems really hard, that is not because they are trying to stump you. They want to get a feel for how you tackle a hard problem. If you dont end up solving the problem, that does not mean you blew your chance.
If you keep these things in mind during this exercise, it will increase your chances of impressing your interviewer:
- Repeat the question back to the interviewer
- Ask clarifying question about edge cases
- Confirm optimal results of the problem
- Write your code legibly
- Communicate each step you take
If you answered the question successfully by the time the session ends, ask your interviewer if that was the solution they commonly got. If not, ask what other candidates have done or what you could have done differently. This shows that you are engaged and curious.
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Tell Me About Yourself
This is the way pretty much every interview has started since the beginning of time.
True, this wont always come up in technical interviews, since interviewers may just want to get to the meat, but you should definitely be prepared to answer this.
The core tenets apply to this question just as much as any of the other ones.
- Keep it concise and dont ramble.
- Dont go into too much technical detail unless they specifically ask you to.
- Keep it to two minutes or less.
- Sell yourself!
Laakmann McDowell recommends the following basic template, which gives you a very good starting point:
I am a _____ at _____. In college I studied _____ at _____. Then I worked for _____ where I did _____. Then I worked for _____ where I did _____. In my current role, Ive accomplished _____. In my free time, I enjoy _____.
Obviously youll want to tweak this a little to make it work well for you, but this is a good place to start. For each job, focus on two or three of your main accomplishments AT MOST, and give just some high level technical detail. They can always ask you to expand further if they want more information.
Also, you dont have to share what you do in your free time, but it can be a nice way to humanize yourself. It doesnt really matter what you share, but do make sure to consider how what you do reflects on you.
What Is The Difference Between Black Box And White Box Testing
Your interviewer may ask you a variety of technical definition questions that test your knowledge of specific software engineering concepts. When responding to technical questions like this one, define the basic terms and review the primary considerations you should know. You can also add details explaining how to use those terms in software engineering.
Example:“White box and black box testing both validate a program’s inputs and outputs. The difference between them is that white box testing also validates the program implementation, whereas black box testing does not.”
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Preparing For The Systems Design And Coding Interview
At Big Tech and high-growth startups, coding and systems design interviews are common – and fairly standard. A lot of people have asked me for preparation advice for these. Here is what I used when getting ready for an E5/E6 Facebook interview, and the one at Uber – where I was hired as a senior software engineer . It’s the same resources I recommend to people who are preparing for Big Tech or high-growth tech company interviews.
Tesla Software Engineer Interview Process
The California-based electric vehicle and clean energy company, Tesla, offers some of the world’s best career opportunities for software engineers. It currently employs several software engineers who work on, develop, and maintain different types of software. This includes user Interface software and embedded software for vehicles, to name a few.
What makes Tesla an ideal company for software engineers is that it offers a host of employee benefits and lucrative salaries. In fact, the average annual pay for Tesla software engineers is around $126,000. That’s nearly 21% higher than the national average.
Naturally, the Tesla software engineer interview is quite a tough nut to crack. But itâs certainly not an impossible feat if your tech interview prepis solid. This blog covers everything you need to know to prepare for your tech interview at Tesla.
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How To Prepare For An Engineering Manager Interview
Hey there! Engineering Management Interview Course
Engineering manager interviews are some of the toughest in the tech industry. Not only do you need to demonstrate your technical prowess and experience with designing complex systems, you also need to showcase your soft skills in people management.
Unfortunately, engineering manager interviews can often be quite opaque – EM interview questions can range a wide spectrum, and it’s usually unclear what good preparation looks like. We sat down with engineering manager interviewers from some of the top tech companies including Google, Facebook, Stripe, and more to clarify what’s actually asked in the engineering manager interview and how to prepare.
Questions About The Company
Interviewers normally will also ask about the factors that attracted you to the company and to the software engineering role. Its crucial to do some research about the company in advance and prepare answers to questions, such as:
- What interests you about their industry?
- What made you interested in the company?
- What do you expect to achieve by working there?
- How does your background fit with what they do?
- What makes you think you would be a good fit for their culture?
Knowing already about the software products they build can take you a long way. This involves both understanding the product space and being somewhat familiar with the technology stack. I usually leverage interview preparations as an opportunity to learn something new and understand if I would be interested in contributing to it. Then I am able to ask more relevant questions during the interview. Moreover, I find it much easier to be successful in an area that Im interested in.
Dont worry about not knowing all the technologies they use. Being open about what you dont know looks good to most interviewers. Showing an interest to learn their domain before being offered the job looks even better.
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B Learn Programming Fundamentals In That Language
You should take a course in that language to build basic programming skills. By the end of it, you should be able to understand concepts like data types, variables, arrays, recursion, object oriented programming, etc. You need a solid foundation to build on before you get to more complex topics. Here are two courses that will help you learn Java and build these fundamentals: Udacity and Coursera.
Congratulations Youve Landed A Job Interview Now What
First off, lets just put it out there – a technical interview is a stressful situation, no matter how experienced you are. Its ok not to know everything and its ok to make mistakes.
Ive had a couple ofbad interviews in the beginning of my career. Ill never forget the one where I had a complete blackout andforgot all the technical phrases to explain about my projects. Yes, it happens, but Ive learned from those experiences that the right preparation makes all the difference.
To own the interview, you need to practice every aspect of it, from introduction to coding questions. Focus on practicing your abilities to solve problems effectively and talk with confidence about yourself.
In a technical interview, youll probably have to solve a problem by writing code, but they didnt bring you in to do just that. The company wants to see how you think, act and code its on you to communicate it.
In this article, Ive spread out my tips across a timeline leading up to the interview: week, day, minutes.Plus, what you can do right after to improve yourself even more. Interviewing is not an easy process and my #1 tip for balance is to keep your cool before as well as after every interview.
During The Introduction Open Conversation:
Remember that this is a conversation, not a test. Keep it in your head that if they invited you they are already interested in you.
- Sit comfortably and professionally. Stay in your comfort zone
- Ask about the job requirements, the team and the work process to get a real sense of the job. It will also help the job feel more reachableand accessible to you.
- Use the questions you wrote down to interview the company. They want to get to know you better to make sure you fit the company but you also need to make sure the company fits you.
Replying To An Interview Invitation
When replying to an interview invitation, ask the following questions:
Reply promptly but calmly, taking your time to devise a professional response that shows that youre interested in the position, and are looking forward to the next step. Heres an example of a good standard reply to an interview invitation:
Good Day ,
Thank you for inviting me to progress to the next round. I am available and eager.
Would it be possible for you to provide me some information concerning the upcoming interview? I’m intrigued by what type of interview it will be, who I’ll be speaking with, and whether I should bring my laptop. Any assistance you can provide will help my preparation immensely.
Once again, thank you!
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Tell Us About A Recent Project You Worked On
Hiring managers may ask you about your past project experience to learn more about how you work, what your priorities are and how you manage setbacks. When answering questions regarding challenges or problems, consider using the STAR interview method. This technique involves discussing the situation, the task and your specific role in the situation, the actions you took to resolve the issue and the results of your actions.
Example:“In my previous position, I had to create an internal online learning program for company employees to ensure all employees received a uniform and effective training on workplace ethics. At first, I struggled to incorporate content like the games and point-based rewards features. However, after researching similar training programs, I used Java to code an application where we could upload training courses and incentives for all employees. My implementations were successful and helped the organisation eliminate lengthy training processes.”