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blackwellsmith
blackwellsmith

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Coding Challenges: How to get over the hump

I have been hitting the coding challenges on Hackerrank pretty hard. At first I would google the parts of the problem and find that jazzy ES6 feature that would help make my code beautiful and succinct. Wouldn't that be nice. Problem was I didn't learning how to solve problems with code. I didn't understand how to solve problems with basic plain ole JS.

This issue truly came to light when I signed up on Skillz and did a mock technical interview. As a very sociable person, talking with someone that has way more experience than me isn't intimidating, it's an opportunity. I took this opportunity to find out what my short comings would be. Everything was going great. My interviewer presented the problem he gives to every Junior hire at his firm. Then came the crickets. I stumbled through the iteration, eked out the if statements and created a poorly named variable that eventually returned correctly. Passing the verbal communication part and failed the coding part. Why couldn't I get it? I understood what needed to happen in the problem. Those jazzy ES6 features eluded me and Google Fu couldn't save this interview.

The feed back was simple, you don't know the basics well enough to pass a Junior interview. Not shocked but bummed out. The interviewer laid it out for me in very basic terms. Most data comes in form of objects, array or array of objects. Then it came the golden goose, Iterate through your data, filter out with comparison operator or save specific data to a well named variable and return data. This nugget was a true turning point.

From that point on, a new approach to coding challenges was born. At first it was really hard, the commitment to avoiding Google eventually got me over the hump. Using the basics helped me understand JS more. Using skills that I have is more impressive then trying to impress with ES6 features I can't remember and don't understand. When I am writing more complex code in the future the basics will be the building blocks of those jazzy ES6 features. For now this what I got..

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