Preparing for Interviews <Part 1: Technical/Coding>
Written by Aarti Dalvi
Source: Tumisu on Pixabay
I have been conducting mock interviews as one of my pet projects for the past couple of months. Few candidates were at the initial stages when they were still finding a path to start writing code, whereas a few were really good at coding but were finding ways to convey their thought process because there isn’t a whiteboard and a marker anymore!
Let’s start from the basics, shall we?
1) Learn and master a coding language
Choose a language: The first step is to learn a programming language. If you’re completely new, start with any programming language that interests you. Some of the common languages I’ve seen candidates using are Java, C++, and Python.
Master the language: Why? So when an interview question involves splitting a string as one of its subparts, you don’t end up writing logic for it — you already know few basic features provided by the language.
SCJP book is my favorite book to master Core Java by far. I’m sure there are more versions of this book. It answers every ‘why’ question you can possibly have about Java. To add, JournalDev is my favorite blog when I have any questions. Well, being certified in a language would be another bonus if you have time for it, but it’s not necessary!
Implement: While you’re learning the basics of any language, make sure to implement the concepts in the smallest possible units. Get curious; this isn’t a production code to run a service — let it fail, too!
2) Solve problems:
Before trying to code any problem, the first step is to come up with a logic to solve the biiiiiig problem!
- Step 1: Divide it into subproblems;
- Step 2: Make sure to implement the concepts in the smallest possible units;
- Step 3: Get curious; check how this problem is different than others;
- Step 4: Brainstorm, check different cases and see how your logic reacts to it;
- Step 5: Dive into coding the problem.
Tip: Initially, I used to solve problems logically, without really coding each one of them. I realized through the practice was, even though the logic was on point, coding it could be a nightmare.
For example, your logic might need usage of recursion, but coding it could be a little challenging. A good idea is to solve a few problems in each domain to get an idea, and then there can be leeway for a few problems.
3) Practice with Mock Interviews
Mock interviews are the best way to simulate exact interview questions. There are a bunch of tools and websites where you can create a free account to try. Discuss your drafts and answers with your friends and practice each other’s interviews to get more insight into your answers. Sometimes, friends know some work you’ve completed and forgotten; they can remind you of the good bits! It’s always a good idea to discuss casually or just to go for even a mock interview.
4) Apply for jobs
Focus on this part, but don’t have mental blinkers to only go on websites and apply.
Also, ALWAYS do this part as early as possible because applying takes time!
- Step 1: Make a list of companies you want to apply for. Be focused, put your energy in your favorite or most important companies first! How it helps is, you’ll try to put your best in these applications, you’ll be thorough with your research.
- Step 2: Get your resume, cover letter, and different “reaching out” emails or in-mails ready to go. Work on them over and over again!
- Step 3: Apply, reach out, and network rigorously. The more you invest your energy in this step, the easier it will become to get more interviews and practice.
- Step 4: Try to automate things as much as possible.
5) Before you go for the interview
- Research company’s latest news;
- Know their mission and vision to connect with the interviewers;
- Talk to people who work there;
- Search which questions the company has asked in the past — make sure to go through them at least once;
- Sort out the basic things a night before, e.g., what to wear, what all to carry, time, address, the distance to the venue from where you stay, commute. Try not to let your mind worry about anything other than the interview.
6) After the interview
Send a thank-you note. If selected, congratulations! We’ll soon talk about negotiating in upcoming blogs.
If not selected,
- Know this is not the end of the world; there are millions of opportunities;
- Try to get specific feedback than generic;
- Understand the mistakes made and learn from them to implement solutions in the next interview;
- Take a small break before diving into the next preparation (well, small is quite subjective :D);
- Prepare for the next one!
This blog post was written by a WWCode member and originally published on their blog.