If you are an aspiring programmer, then you already know that you will have to face one too many coding interviews all your life. These interviews are crucial, and one of the first hurdles that you will have to cross to become a good software developer.
Unfortunately, if you have ever sat or even prepared for a coding interview, you are already aware of the nerve-wracking process it can be. To be able to think, code, and simultaneously communicate with your interviewer can seem like an impossible feat. However, it is not.
Of course, the only way to get better is to practice, practice, and then practice some more.
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Here are a few tips that will help you with your preparation and how you will finally be able to crack that coding interview and get to the next step.
Learn to Play by the Rules
Yes, coding interviews are severe, complicated, and sometimes don’t make much sense at all. However, these are the rules, and you will have to follow them if you want to get ahead and join the company of your dreams.
You will come across a lot of people who will try and tell you about how unfair the entire process of the coding interviews are, or how they think it should be done.
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Pay No Heed
The simple fact is that if you want to get into this field, you will have to learn to play by the rules. And the only way to do this is to accept the fact that the interview will take place, and it might not be a great experience, but you will have to perform great anyway.
Practice your coding skills regularly, even when you think you have perfected it.
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An easy way to get noticed and get called back after your coding interview is to have referrals. It always helps immensely if you know someone working at the company who can give you a reference.
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However, if you don’t, it is still okay. This tip works just in case you do have that contact, or maybe you can figure out how to make contacts by being resourceful. Good referrals are beneficial.
Use Professional Networking Tools
One of the essential networking tools you can have is to have a good LinkedIn profile. Yes, it has to be good enough for recruiters to reach out to you, rather than the other way round.
Even outside of social media and the online world, you should continuously work to create a connection with people who work either in the same profession, the same industry, or even the equal company and building! Getting referrals this way also becomes far easier.
Pick One Programming Language
Except for Google, most companies will allow you to pick the programming language that you want to use for your coding interview. When you do your research about the company you are applying for, you might notice that they use a different programming language than what you know best.
Don’t switch, and start to learn something new just before your interview. In this case, it is best to stick to something that you are familiar with, and practice in that particular programming language.
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However, you should altogether avoid other, low-level languages such as Go and C, as they mostly lack standard library functions as well as data structures.
Master What You Learn Through Practice
This point cannot be stressed enough- you have to practice regularly. When it comes to cracking your coding interview, the only way you will be able to do it is by mastering the skill. During your interview, you will be asked to do several things all at once, and without any practice, this can become completely overwhelming.
Even with a tremendous amount of practice, you will still find some of the best programmers getting nervous during their interviews. This is entirely normal, so don’t focus on that issue for now.
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However, if you want to crack your coding interview, make sure that you get more than enough practise solving algorithm questions in your chosen language. One way you can do this is by typing code, running it, and then getting instant feedback- this way, you can solve algorithm problems.
Solve Practise Problems Online
If solving and running programs on your own are not good enough practice for you, then you can always solve practice problems online. For this, you will find several websites with online judges, who will pose coding questions and ask you to explain them. This form of practice is similar to what is done during competitive examinations.
Practice out Loud at Home
In a real coding interview, you will be given a problem, given a specific time to solve it, and as you solve it, you are expected to say your thoughts out loud. This is done so that the interviewer can understand your chain of thought.
It is also a good practice to communicate your approach to solving the problem with your interviewer first before you begin. This way, then you can validate your strategy, and you and your interviewer will be on the same page as you start solving the problem.
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When you practice doing this at home, make sure you talk out loud as you solve your problem, just so that you get used to calling your thoughts out loud as you solve them.
This approach can often be unnerving for many programmers to do at an interview, but practising it enough will make you accustomed to this as well.
There is a no better tip to cracking your coding interview than practising and keeping a calm mind before and during your interview. This is something that you will inevitably have to go through, and the calmer you hold yourself, the easier it will get overtime.
You can also speak to people who have given or taken these interviews to get an idea into what you should expect once you are there.