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Ask HN: How did you get better at coding interviews?
3 points by sadamznintern 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 1 comment
I’ve been down in the dumps about my abilities in coding interviews for a while now and I would like to get better to increase my TC in the next two years.

I read and did problems feom Cracking the Coding Interview and about ~220 problems from Leetcode/HackerRank during my 4 years of undergrad, but that hasnt translated into problem solving ability - I feel like I am just memorizing.

Any tips from folks that made it into elite companies?

I'm surprised that solving 220 problems was not sufficient to nearly master interviewing. The set of problems interviewers choose to ask from is relatively small. If you've done 220 problems, chances are high that you will have an interview where you answer a question you've seen before.

Is your problem with the implementation of solutions, or recognizing which solution to apply to a problem? Interviews are testing for both, but really the most important aspect is recognizing the stated problem as an existing one. That is, you must be able to translate a convoluted description into a well-known algorithm, like "Oh, this is asking for min-cut/max-flow!" Formally, this is called reduction [0] -- reframing an unsolved problem into one you know how to solve. Not only is it an important skill in day-to-day work, but the better you are at it, the more efficient you will be in interviews, where time is precious. You don't want to spend 10 minutes deciding how to approach the solution, only to realize 20 minutes into writing it that it's the wrong approach.

It sounds like you have a really solid base of knowledge from all that practice. Perhaps you could work on leveraging that knowledge more by improving your ability to quickly pull solutions from it.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduction_(complexity)

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