The Most Effective Way to Study for the Coding Interview

You may be wondering what the most effective way to study for the coding interview is. Because as a software engineer, you’re going to experience a coding interview for any development job you’re looking to get. Your resume only gets you to the point of the interview, and it’s going to be technical and potentially outside your comfort zone.

The coding interview is what allows the company to see how your skills perform in some real-world examples, not just that you can solve the problems but that you can explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

The coding interview also lets you know if you’re even a good fit in the company and for the role you’re applying for. But no matter what, it’s an excellent experience to do coding interviews because they will be required each time you hop companies when you want a pay raise.

Below are some top tips from Algo.Monster for the most effective way to study for the coding interview.

coding interview from algo

Practice Your Coding Interview Hard Skills

A core component of a coding interview is, of course, coding challenges, so ensure you are practicing any many of them as possible. Instead of studying specific components of coding, which you should already know, it’s more effective to study by practicing actual coding challenges.

It’s crucial that you run through as many coding challenges as possible, at least one a day. The more you do, the more you will get used to them and perform better in them, especially their structure and the types of problems or questions that arise during coding.

As you’re performing these challenges, you should also get an idea of what areas you’re having trouble with and can assign some extra time to study those topics specifically and improve your knowledge.

Practice Your Coding Interview Soft Skills

You aren’t the only candidate for whatever roles you are applying for, and part of the coding interview process is assessing your soft skills. In addition, you will most likely be working in a team with people of all different backgrounds and skillsets. So your soft skills are going to be assessed as well.

The types of soft skills being assessed are how well you communicate, if you can collaborate, your composure under pressure, and your ability to explain complex concepts while writing code. Your general personality will also be reviewed, so staying upbeat, positive, and having very clear communication will be necessary.

The best way to practice these skills is to get another coder to work with you while you’re doing coding challenges. Practice together and take turns being the coder and interviewer. While performing the coding challenge, you should be talking to, discussing, and explaining what you’re doing and why you’re doing it to the other person. They will then assess and let you know how well you explained everything and if they agreed with what you did.

If you don’t have a coding partner, your next best bet would be to record yourself during coding challenges and pretend you’re talking to somebody. Perform the same actions and explain everything you’re doing. After the challenge, you can review the recording to see how clear and compelling your information delivery was.

If there is too much rambling or too much silence, that is a bad sign, and you need to work on it.

Silence is extremely bad when it comes to coding interviews.

Practice Multiple Solutions

Because a coding interview isn’t just about writing code for a specific task, an excellent skill to take into coding interviews is flexibility on solutions. For challenges and questions, you should practice different solutions so that if asked or questioned, you can provide various options on what could be done and then explain why you picked your choice.

In doing this, you’re showing the interviewer that you not only know how to write code the way you were taught but that you can understand a problem, see multiple solutions and then implement the best solution as you see it.

You can even use it as an opportunity to show more depth in your implementation skills. For the actual coding challenge, you can write a quick solution because you are being timed. But explain while you’re doing it that your preferred method would be another solution that takes more time or research to implement correctly.

This kind of approach should impress any interviewer and shows them that you understand time constraints, different directions, and the ability to pick the correct options for the task right now while also providing approaches and possibilities for future improvement. Because these days, software is constantly being updated, and speed is essential.

Having a well-rounded, thoughtful coder with the ability to discuss and implement different solutions is a more ideal option for most companies. They don’t want rigid, one solution programmers that can’t think outside the box.

Study Algorithms and Data Structures

While practicing coding challenges is the best method to study for the coding interview, you should also spend some time researching and understanding standard algorithms and data structures and be able to discuss them thoughtfully.

You will be asked algorithm questions in the coding interview, so you will need to be able to discuss them to some degree with confidence.

Some example questions would be:

  • How do you remove duplicates from a given array?
  • How do you reverse a linked list?
  • How do you implement a merge sort algorithm?
  • How do you implement a bubble sort algorithm?

Final Thoughts

A coding interview is a companies opportunity not only to see if you can code but to see how well you work within a team. For example, will you be somebody who sits alone and just codes, or will you be somebody who helps others, improves processes, collaborates with other team members, and even trains junior programmers.

Make sure you put your best foot forward, be a good communicator, bring strong ideas and be able to discuss them with authority. You need to understand that big companies need teams to work together, and being the best coder doesn’t mean you get the job if the company doesn’t think you will work well in a team.

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