Algorithms and Interviews

June 17, 2017 0 Comments by

Forget what it takes to succeed in developing JavaScript applications. To succeed in garnering many job offers while interviewing, focus on getting really good at interview coding challenges and algorithm questions. You will become a better coder by building applications. You will generally do better in interviews when you practice coding challenge questions. This is the norm, not the rule.

The System is Antiquated

We can get angry and refuse to accept it, or we can choose to go with the flow. The fact is we often pass on talented software developers because they don't do well in coding interviews. This is rational when we ask them to write code pertaining to work they will actually do. This is irrational when we ask them to write code that has nothing to do with the job at hand.

Missing the Mark

I once sat in on an interview where the interviewer asked the candidate questions about data structures. What is a data structure? What is a linked-list, trie, and what is big O notation? The irony is that, this was for a JavaScript role. Then he proceeded to ask the interviewer to implement Heap's algorithm on the whiteboard. Had the interviewer gotten these questions right, he would have been made an offer. He would have used none of this knowledge in the actual job, but this was a way to earn the confidence of the interviewer.

look for something better
Hiring is Broken

Openly refuse to whiteboarding
How I Survived It, It Isn't Worth Fixing

accept the system and practice whiteboarding
Whiteboard Interviews Suck, Get Good at Them Anyway

What's Important

Decide what's important to you at this time and plot a course. Get really good at code challenges and you will have more options to choose from. Not all options are the same, and maybe you don't want to work with organizations that operate like this. Focus your time and energy on getting better at coding, build applications and work on projects. This will mean you get less offers, but the ones you land may be more suitable.

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