The comprehensive guide to nailing your coding interview in 2021
Already applied to your dream companies? Wish to crack your next technical interview? Here is how you can do it.
Coding interviews are an integral part of the Software Engineering hiring process. These interviews are great for evaluating how deep problem-solving skills one possesses. The assignments that are part of this screening process allow interviewers to assess your level of understanding of the associated topic as well.
It is highly necessary to prepare yourself well for these technical interviews, as the selection of a candidate completely relies on his/her performance during these interviews.
We will now go through a few quintessential questions to answer how you can nail your next coding interview!
Question #01 — What to learn?
Let us have a look at the technical interview round for applicants who are applying for their first employment or internships. After an evaluation (screening) session comprising of MCQs or (and) aptitude-based questions, coding interview rounds normally run for 1 to 2 hours. The technical interview process for freshers is comparable to that of any other technical interview for seasoned software developers. If you are a new employee, you will most likely be evaluated mostly on your problem-solving abilities.
You don’t need to revise or learn every subject in your Engineering Course. Let’s check what topics these technical interviews are based on. These majorly include:
- Programming Basics such as Python, Java, and C++.
- Data Structures & Algorithms.
- Mathematical and Logical Reasoning.
- Database Management System
- Operating Systems
- System Design [For experienced candidates]
Here are some common example problems taken from real coding interviews:
- Tower of Hanoi
- Return subsets sum to K
- Print Permutations — String
- Binary strings with no consecutive 1s
- Longest Palindromic Substring
- Count number of ways to cover a distance
- Binary Tree to BST
- Strongly Connected Components (Tarjan’s Algorithm)
- Reverse Level Order Traversal
Question #02 — How to Learn?
We’ve established that “Problem Solving” is the most critical ability to demonstrate in a Coding Interview, therefore we’ll focus on how to perfect it. The good news is that with the correct plan in place and coaching, you should be able to ace it in no time. Moreover, there’s a three-step guide to address this situation:
Step 1: Make sure that your basics are right. You know at least one programming language and have decent aptitude skills.
Step 2: Get absolute clarity about the problem statement. Read it multiple times. Break it down into smaller parts and look apply this 3-step strategy:
- What is the data provided?
- Which data structure would work best to store that data efficiently?
- How can you query data from the data structure efficiently?
Step 3: Now “Practice”. Practice under the correct mentors, we will guide you further in this article to find your mentor.
Question #03 — Where to learn?
Many of us consider technical interview preparation as a time-consuming procedure, but it does not have to be. With the correct coaching, you can prepare for interviews with businesses such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google in as little as 3–4 months.
Textbooks aren’t the only way to learn how to code. There is already a wealth of content online in the form of videos, practice websites, structured courses, and so on.
You can choose anything that meets your demands and is within your budget, depending on your needs and budget.
There are multiple YouTube channels available with a lot of free content. Just search the topic you want to learn on YouTube and you will find a good number of videos that will help you start your journey.
Similarly, for practice, there are a lot of coding practice websites like Codeforces, Codestudio by Coding Ninjas, and TechGig practice platforms.
- CodeStudio has a plethora of well-structured interview-based coding problems and real interview experiences.
- TechGig hosts a lot of Coding Challenges to practice your coding skills in a timed environment.
And if you can afford to spend some money, the best way to go about it is to get enrolled in some mentorship-based online learning program, so that you can get your doubts cleared in real-time. It also helps to avoid making silly mistakes and learn under experienced guidance.
Above all else, do not become disheartened or frustrated. Technical interviews are lengthy and demand a great deal of patience and confidence.
Also, attempt to glean as much information as possible from the interview; bring a notebook with you to jot down issues you want to revisit later or places where you need to improve. You should now have enough firepower to decipher the code.