Preparing for an interview is intimidating, but preparing for such a technically focused interview can be downright petrifying. Out of the entire wealth of knowledge of the coding world, how do you know what questions the hiring manager will ask? What can you do to prepare?
Preparing for an interview as a software engineer coder and programmer requires understanding the essential principles and processes of coding to the point that the interviewee can clearly and thoroughly explain them. Preparation includes being refamiliarized with fundamental concepts and processes, understanding the company, and having enough time to practice.
In this article, I’ll go over what you should read, watch and do in a month to prepare yourself for an interview with any coding company. Below will also be a convenient table, so scroll down for that!
What You Need to Read
The obvious thing is to brush up on your coding knowledge. The only problem with that is knowing which of that knowledge is the most important.
This is when familiarizing yourself with sample coding interview questions becomes extremely useful. Looking through two or three different interview question sources will give you a more well-rounded understanding of what may be asked of you. Better yet, it will give you an idea of what principles of coding and programming are the most important to refresh yourself on.
Of course, the best thing you can do is make sure you are completely familiar with the fundamental principles of coding such as complexity hiding, open/closed coding, and object-oriented programming.
The next thing you want to do is make sure you’re familiar with is common data structures, coding solutions, as well as algorithms. It’s really important that you can explain all of these things very clearly, and in fact, practice visualizing your solutions with a whiteboard. You may be asked to do that.
Find out if your potential company has a blog! This is a perfect way of discovering a treasure trove of information on what the company practices, what principles they use, and more.
What You Need to Watch
Many men and women have gone through this before you, and are sympathetic enough to share how they prepared for and went through their interview. A good example is Codebasics, whose founder has 15 years of coder-interview experience and shares his experience with you through videos.
The more videos you can watch from both the interviewer's and interviewee's perspective, the more prepared you’ll be. And when it comes to coding, the more recent the video, the better.
Next, find out if the companies you’re interested in have videos on YouTube. Videos that companies are willing to put out will reveal what they expect their employees to know. They’re also usually reliable in finding out what these companies care about and focus on.
What You Can Do
You need to try to find out which coding principles are the most important for the company you’re about to apply to. Calling to ask never hurts and will save you significant stress and guesswork. If calling isn’t an option, their website should also reveal their core values, goals, and the technology and programs they use so that you can provide the most relevant answers to related questions.
When you’re confident in the information you’ve found, it’s time to practice. You need to practice your responses to eliminate the dreaded “um's,” get a whiteboard to practice mapping out your solutions to common coding problems, and take practice tests online to make sure you understand your coding concepts. Those tests will show you where your knowledge and expertise could be improved.
30 Day Preparation Plan
|Time:||What to Read:||What to Watch:||What to do:|
Understand What to Expect
|Fundamental Coding Principles|
|Videos made by the company (if available)|
Videos on how to prepare for coding interviews
|Look through the company’s website|
Identify the coding principles the company values most
Get a whiteboard, markers, and eraser
Renew Your Knowledge
|Sample coding interview questions||Common coding problems & solutions||Begin online quizzes on coding|
|Week 3: Keep Training||Review notes you’ve taken||Watch videos that talk you through being confident and prepared in an interview||Practice interview responses on paper / whiteboard|
Plan what you will wear / test your mic & cam
|Week 4: Take the Leap||Review the concepts you had the hardest time with||Browse through all the previous videos (at 2x speed maybe!)||Reward yourself for your efforts|
When it’s all over, and you begin the waiting period, reward yourself in some way for all of your hard work. It may seem silly, but it feels really good to acknowledge credit where it’s due, even if it’s just you recognizing it in yourself.
If for whatever reason you don’t land the job you should always ask what you were lacking so that you can improve next time. Sometimes it comes down to who has more experience but don’t let that dishearten you because your obvious efforts have a good chance of overcoming experience.
Good luck with your interview, and know that you do have someone rooting for you at Tech Interview Coach!