Cracking the Coding Interview: How to Prepare
The most tensed and perhaps the most feared round during the recruitment process of an IT company is the technical cracking the coding interview round.
A technical cracking the coding interview is not a tough nut to crack, provided you get your basics right. A technical cracking the coding interview can comprise of questions from any subject in your curriculum. Some of the most common coding interview questions include Operating Systems, Database Management, Networking, Software Engineering, etc. But the topic which has destroyed many promising interviews is coding.
The interviewer might not know some of the above-mentioned subjects, but they will definitely have enough knowledge of Java, to give you a hard time about coding. During the Java technical interview, you would not only be judged your answers, but you will also be judged by your way of answering the questions.
Knowledge and Application:
It is important to note that in order to crack the coding interview, you must type code and then answer questions on your code.
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Questions such as, how efficient was your algorithm? How well did you understand the trade-offs between different choices? How well did you communicate those trade-offs? How long did it take you to develop your algorithm? How clean was your code? How well did you test your code? How buggy was it? When you found bugs in your code, how did you go about fixing them?
In other words, it’s not always about a specific algorithm, but more about one’s analytical and problem-solving skills. Additional factors being evaluated include attitude towards constructive feedback and cultural fit.
Cracking the Coding Question:
So if that’s what interviewers are looking for, what can you do to boost your chances of landing a position? McDowell (expert on coding, and conductor of many code interviews) recommends these steps:
1. Asking questions – so you understand exactly what to solve.
2. Talking aloud While Solving – so the interviewer can hear your thought process.
3. Openly discussing Trade-offs – to demonstrate awareness of trouble spots.
4. Fixing bugs – to show off follow-up skills.
Tips to Remember Before and During Cracking the Coding Interview
Many people are not aware of how simple it can be to crack some of the toughest technical interviews in the software industries, here are some tips on how to do so.
Before The Interview
1. Before facing the interview, you need to do some homework to find out the requirements of the project in which you will be working on and the needs of the people within the project.
2. More than 75% of the interview questions are based on your own resume. So always try to put only the relevant materials on the resume, the contents should be the reflection of your domain knowledge and skill set.
During the Interview
1. Firstly one should know how to code obviously. As a software engineer, knowing how to code is a vital requirement.
2.During an interview, you need to think out loud even if you don’t get the question right. This will tell the interviewer that you are not lazy minded and you are trying to find an answer.
3. Test the code before you give it to the interviewer. This is because your code may be having errors hence the need to test it.
4. Ask for feedback especially if you don’t know the answer to a problem and your time is over. This shows that you are interested in learning.
5. Never rush during the coding interview. Be thoughtful, careful, analytical and accurate. They are interested in your super speed.
6. Wherever possible briefly demonstrate how you applied your skills and knowledge in the key areas like business skills and interpersonal skills etc. The interviewer will always be interested to know your approach to solving particular problem. Always raise questions and answer those questions to show your strength and capability about the subject.
6. You should be honest in answering technical questions since nobody is expected to remember everything. For example, you might know a few design patterns but not all of them etc. or you might not remember a particular piece of code. If you have not worked on a particular domain, you can explain a similar domain that you are confident of, the interviewer will be more than happy to know that you are aware of similar technology that they are probably looking for.
7. Do not be critical about a subject; focus on what you can do best. Also, try to put some sense of humor to show your composure and intelligence.
8. Do not try to act superior, just because you can solve things that the interviewer cannot. This can trigger a severe negative impression about your attitude.
9. Outline your achievements in the resume. If you are an experienced professional, always try to say this. A professional should mention something like – Achieved best design recognition for a JAVA based project on last organization.
10. Most of the candidates are nervous during the interview and it is natural to be nervous, but you shouldn’t be too nervous. Have the right amount of nervousness just to keep you alert is ideal to face crack the coding interviews. Keep calm and carry on coding!