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How to Ace Your First Coding Interview

Written by James Adams

A coding interview taking place

Landing your first coding interview can be nerve-wracking. You may feel like you're being put under the microscope and that your skills will be tested to the max. But don't worry, with a little preparation you can ace your interview and prove that you have what it takes to be a successful coder! After all, that's why a majority of our students undertake one of our Full Stack coding bootcamps, to get a job.

In this article, we will discuss some tips that will help you prepare for your interview and increase your chances of getting hired. Even if that isn't the entire aim of you attending a bootcamp, there are still some great pieces of advice on coding in general, so it's definately worth a read.

Before we get into the tips, let's take a minute to discuss what a coding interview is and why they are important. A coding interview is an interview in which you are asked to solve a programming problem under pressure.

This is usually done in person, but it can also be done over the phone or via video chat (hasn't Zoom become the new normal since COVID-19!).

The purpose of the coding interview is to assess your problem-solving abilities and your coding skills. This is important for employers because they want to make sure that you are able to think on your feet and solve problems quickly. They also want to see how well you know the coding languages that they use and apply them to a particular situation.

Now that we know what a coding interview is, let's move on to the tips!

Practice, practice, practice

This one is pretty self-explanatory. The more you practice, the better you will be at solving coding problems under pressure. A great way to practice is to find some practice problems online and try to solve them on your own time.

Once you feel confident with your abilities, you can start timing yourself to see how quickly you can solve these, and new problems. This will give you an idea of how you will do under pressure during the actual interview. Try and use all of the experience you have from your bootcamp, remember to stick to the basics first and not to panic even under the time constraint. Clean, well thought out code can be better than just getting it done.

Take your time to understand the question

Oh how we can just hear our school teachers now, but they had a point and so does this tip.

Make sure that you understand the question before you start coding. This sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised how many people jump into coding without fully understanding the problem. This can lead to wasted time and errors in your code. So, take a minute to read the question carefully and make sure that you understand what is being asked.

Think out loud

When you are solving a problem, it is important to think out loud.

At the Tech Educators coding bootcamps, we call this the rubber duck test, imagine you are trying to explain the issue to a friendly rubber duck. This will let the interviewer know how you are thinking about the problem and it will also help you to keep on track. If you get stuck, don't be afraid to ask for clarification from the interviewer. Asking questions is an important part of coding, whether you are asking a colleague or Google.

Take your time

Don't feel like you have to rush through the problem, even when there is a time limit. The interviewer wants to see how you think about the problem and how you go about solving it. Sometimes the final result is just as important as the process you took to get there. So, take your time and make sure that your code is clean and error-free.

Be confident

The most important tip of all is to be confident in your abilities. You have spent this time learning to be a software developer in your coding bootcamp, you have the knowledge to do this. This doesn't mean that you should be cocky, but you should believe in yourself and your ability to solve the problem.

By following these tips, you will be well on your way to acing your first coding interview! Just remember to practice, take your time, and be confident in your abilities. With a little preparation, you will be able to show the interviewer that you have what it takes to be a successful coder.

We teach problem solving and moch interviews on our MERN stack bootcamp, but that might not be the best place to start. You can also find out if coding is right for you with our coding taster session one day bootcamp.

About the Author

James has 8 years with Fortune 200 US firm ITW, experience of managing projects in China, USA, and throughout Europe. James has worked with companies such as Tesco, Vauxhall, ITW, Serco, McDonalds. James has experience in supporting start-up and scale up companies such as Readingmate, Gorilla Juice and Harvest London. James completed his MBA at the University of East Anglia in 2018.

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