In the article 5 things you need to know in a programming interview, Zhia Hwa Chong gives some useful tips for those starting their programming careers or those who are preparing for an interview. A quick summary of these tips are as follows:
- “Always Think Ahead” – Referring to making sure when solving a problem to always look ahead and think about potential improvements. For example, he specifically says to think about edge cases, scaling issues, problem areas, and other topic-specific issues (e.g. handling collisions in a hash table).
- “There’s more than one answer” – Each interview problem always has more than one solution, however, some of these solutions may not be optimal. It’s important to be able to write a working solution, but you should also look to improve upon it.
- “OOP is not dead” – Make sure to think object-oriented (e.g. don’t cram everything into one method, don’t reuse code, etc.). Following these practices creates cleaner code, simplifying the code and makes it easier to understand.
- “Craft your résumé” – Make sure to not skip preparing a great resume.
- “Communicate early and communicate often” – Talk through the problem with your interviewer so they can understand your thought process and push you in the right direction.
- “Use abstraction” – Using abstraction to hide complicated implementation details creates clean and easy to understand code. Afterwards if requested, you can implement any abstracted details.
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I chose this topic because it’s something that is currently very relevant to me, as I’ll be graduating next May and hope to get something lined up before then. I had already seen many variations of these tips before, but I think reading this is useful for reinforcing them. While not necessarily applicable to all interviews, most popular tech companies follow the white-boarding process that this blog is giving tips for. For anyone looking to work for any of those companies, following these tips would definitely be valuable. However, they only cover things you should do during your interview, not topics that you would need to prepare for long before it, such as data structures, algorithms, general problem solving skills by solving similar problems, etc.