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5 Years of Coding Interview Lessons — in 2 Minutes

Career tip for developers

In the last 5 years I have given 20+ coding interviews.

As a result my approach to prepare and give them has significantly changed.

Reflecting on my mistakes, I have documented my learnings in 28 lessons that I wish I had known sooner. 🥲

These will help you in leveling up for programming interviews.

Let's go 🚀

  1. You only get better by solving more problems.

  2. Pick only ONE programming language you are extremely familiar with.

  3. Biggest mistake you can make is ignoring the fundamentals.

  4. Learn and practice topics in order of importance.

  5. Prioritize practicing the most popular and frequently asked interview questions.

  6. Look for key patterns that help you solve multiple problems.

  7. Revising questions is underrated. That’s how you really internalize topics.

  8. Gather maximum detail about the interview beforehand.

  9. Understanding the problem is the primary step of problem solving.

  10. Clarify the question even if it’s clear to you.
    Clarify question

  11. Come up with more examples to test your understanding.

  12. Break down complex questions into small independent questions.

  13. Think of multiple solutions before committing to one.

  14. It’s ok to take notes during the interview.

  15. Whenever stuck, start with a brute force solution.

  16. Explain the solution approach before writing code.

  17. Solution first. Optimization later.

  18. Let your interviewer know before optimizing the solution.

  19. Prioritize optimizing repeated, overlapping or redundant computation.

  20. For complex algorithms, write pseudo code first.

  21. Explain your thought process while writing code.

  22. Your solution is as good as how well you communicate it.

  23. Step through the code like a debugger to catch bugs.

  24. Show your code works by testing it with sample inputs.

  25. Discuss how your provided solution can be improved.

  26. Prepare well for self introduction and final questions.

  27. Mock interviews are a great way to make gaps in your preparation visible.

  28. Irrespective of the result, reflect on your interview experience.

That's it!

I hope you find these lessons helpful.

If you liked this post, follow me for more of these 🙂

Also, share a coding interview lesson that you learnt the hard way in comments 👇

Top comments (13)

faridzif profile image

Do you have tips for scaredy-cat to handle nervousness to even begin considering to go interview for jobs?

codewithvoid profile image

Oh i didn't face that but mock interviews with peers should help.

tandrieu profile image
Thibaut Andrieu

Train yourself by applying to a company you don't really want to work for, so you only have to deal with the stress of talking to a recruiter and not the stress of not being selected.

You don't have to apply to anything, but the kind of company that "Could be good to work for but not a big deal if they don't take me".

aqsdevtech profile image

These are awesome tips, having just landed here and intending to restart my software development career. Thank You

codewithvoid profile image


abdurrkhalid333 profile image
Abdur Rehman Khalid

That was cool :)

codewithvoid profile image

Thanks for taking out time to read Abdur.

jcsmileyjr profile image
JC Smiley

Thank you for these awesome tips.

codewithvoid profile image

Thank you!

Best of luck with the interviews JC 🙂

jarvisscript profile image
Chris Jarvis

Great tips, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

codewithvoid profile image

Glad to know you found them useful Chris 👍

shbair2013 profile image
Mohammed Shbair

You are a wonderful person

codewithvoid profile image

Thanks for reading Shbair :)

corners2wall profile image
Corners to wall

The author did not discover America in 5 years

🌚 Friends don't let friends browse without dark mode.

Sorry, it's true.