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Tips to crack a coding interview

Tips to crack a coding interview
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Top 10 steps to crack coding interview

  • Practice on paper
  • Collecting the best resource for learning
  • Do Mock Interviews
  • Write down your mistakes
  • Work on Software Design Skills
  • Listen to Every Detail
  • Company-specific preparation
  • Speak your thoughts
  • Write Clean Code
  • Test Your Code

  • Tips for cracking the coding interview


    Interviews can be overwhelming for even experienced candidates and  It is the first step to getting qualified for that dream job. When it comes to a programmer, coding interviews are considered one of the toughest rounds to crack as it assesses a candidate’s skills, logical thinking, intelligence along the ability to solve problems and decisions. So, before attending the coding interview, one must prepare well for their interviews in advance. Cracking the coding interview is not easy as it involves working with algorithms, problems and complex scenarios that require strong technical and logical skills to crack. 

    In this blog, we discuss some of the important tips and tricks for cracking the coding interview.

    Top 10 steps to crack coding interview

    • Practice on paper
    • Collecting the best resource for learning
    • Do Mock Interviews
    • Write down your mistakes
    • Work on Software Design Skills
    • Listen to Every Detail
    • Company specific preparation
    • Speak your thoughts
    • Write Clean Code
    • Test Your Code

    Step 1: Practice on Paper

    Practice is the key to success and coding interviews are no exception. Practising on paper helps you train your mind to recognize algorithmic patterns and also give you the much-needed confidence to solve the surprise problems that the interviewee might throw at you.

    Learning to code with autocomplete assistance offers luxuries such as syntax highlighting, code completion, and quick debugging, but coding on paper does not! So, prepare these challenging interviews with a plain text editor, a piece of paper, or a whiteboard.

    Step 2: Collecting the best resource for learning 

    Cracking the coding interview is not easy, so one of the best ways to enhance your coding skills is with learning! Learn coding with the help of books, youtube content, blogs and courses. 

    Here is the list of top five books that can be a great resource to crack coding interview

    • Programming Interviews Exposed by John Mongan, Noah Suojanen Kindler, Eric Giguère
    • Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell
    • The Algorithm Design Manual by Steven S Skiena
    • Elements of Programming Interviews by Amit Prakash, Tsung-hsien Lee, Adnan Aziz
    • Programming Pearls by Jon Bentley

    Some of the free online courses to crack coding interviews are listed below:

    Some of the free resources for preparing coding interviews are:

    • FreeCodeCamp
    • Cracking the Coding Interview
    • BaseCS
    • LeetCode
    • An Interview Primer
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    Step 3: Do Mock Interviews

    Just like drama rehearsal, take up mock interviews before appearing for the actual interview. 

    Practice as many interview questions and answers as possible from the above-given resources(step2) and start giving mock interviews. This can help you to learn a lot by experiencing the real mistakes which may happen during mock interviews.

    Some of the free mock interview sites are: 

    1. LeetCode
    2. MyCareerStack | Programming Questions
    3. Logicmojo
    4. Stack Overflow
    5. GeeksforGeeks – A computer science portal for geeks
    6. Programming Interview Questions | CareerCup
    7. Algorithm Tutorials
    8. CrackTheInterview
    9. Hacking a Google Interview
    10. Techinterview

    Step4: Write down your mistakes

    After each mock interviews or practice sessions try to analyse your mistakes and learn from them. Remember this step for next time, so you’ll be less likely to repeat the same mistakes and, eventually, this will become second nature.

    Step 5: Work on Software Design Skills

    Coding interviews are not just about coding questions but also about solving problems on software and system designs. These questions throw candidates off their feet due to their complexity. It is very important as a fresher to understand software design and the development process as it would definitely make you stand out from the array of competitors.

    Step 6: Listen to every detail

    Coding interviews are interactive so practice your attentive listening! Your active listening reveals the intelligence and inquisitiveness in the interview.

    When you listen to a problem, you need to pay attention to all of the details so that you are not off to the races solving the wrong problem. Asking for clarification is encouraged.

    Step7: Company-specific preparation

    Spending some time researching about the company helps a lot to drive your conversation with interviewers. This boosts your confidence since you know the latest interview format and the kind of questions being asked by the company.

    Step 8: Speak your thoughts

    While solving a coding problem, it is always better to speak out your approach so that the interviewer knows about your thinking process. Candidates should engage the interviewer in a meaningful conversation while solving the problem as this might help the interviewer by pushing you in the right direction.

    Step 9: Write Clean Code

    In the interview write the code in such a way that it is easy to read and understand. To master the coding interview questions one must know the algorithm well. If you don’t understand the algorithm well, you’ll struggle to code it.

    Step 10: Test Your Code

    In the interview you can’t test your code on a computer, you need to manually check it using the power of your own brain.

    One of the faster approaches to test the code is to:

    1. Read the code line-by-line, explaining what each line of code does to the interviewer.
    2. Scrutinize your code that looks odd to you. 
    3. Check spots prone to error. 
    4. Test with a small test case and also  null or extreme cases.

    Tips for cracking the coding interview

    • Pratice coding 
    • Do company specific preparations
    • Analyze different interview senaiors and prepare for a unique strategy.
    • After getting the problem, never waste your time in thinking, instead get your thoughts  down on paper, write different approaches.
    • Communication skills plays an important role during the interview.
    • Don’t get discouraged if you get stuck.
    • Think lound and explain your approach to the interviewer
    • Test for all edge cases before giving the final output.


    What are the basic coding skills?

    Top Skills Necessary for Coding
    Attention to Detail
    Logical Thinking
    Abstract Thinking
    Strong Memory
    Scientific Method

    Can I use Google during coding interviews?

    Yes, coders should be allowed to use the internet during coding interviews.

    How do you prepare for the Coding Interview?

    Check out Great Learning Academy’s Course on cracking coding interviews. These courses will help you understand the coding concepts, the process of coding and prepare you for the coding interview.

    What are the coding questions asked in an interview?

    The most frequently asked coding questions are from topics such as Recursion, Sliding window, 2 pointers, Merge sort, BFS & DFS, Subsets, Modified BST, Top K, etc.

    How long does it take to crack the coding interview?

    Coding interview preparation time depends on the level of experience. If you’re fresher, it’s a good idea to spend at least 6 months in preparing. If you have more experience, 4-8 weeks is suggested for interview prep.

    How do you ace a coding test?

    Follow these 5 simple steps to crack the coding interview
    Master the basics. 
    Focus on a programming language you’re good at. 
    Practice coding. 
    Be prepared to explain your code. 
    Be open to learning.


    This article on  “Tips to crack a coding interview” provides you with the necessary tips to crack the coding interview. Each interview will teach you something important. Thus, don’t over-expect or get dejected.

    Follow the above-mentioned tips to prepare for your coding interview and be present in the situation i.e. in the interview room but don’t rush to the end. So, be open and embrace the journey. 

    0 Source: GreatLearning Blog

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