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Ask HN: How can I not fail at programming interview questions?
2 points by httpcode419 15 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 3 comments
I've never been able to do well on programming interviews.

I'm 4 years into my career, and have received exactly 2 offers over that time: my current position and another startup sales focused company.

When I start wanting to interview, the thought of going through another whiteboard/google notes interview causes me so much anxiety that I put it off and accept that I'll be at my current job a little longer.

When I finally start grinding leetcode, I take forever to finish a question, usually need to look up answers, and still end up bumbling around during technical screens - doesn't matter if it's a FAANG shop or a 4 person startup.

I have a bad feedback loop now when it comes to doing these types of questions: when I cannot solve it, I assume it's due to lack of intelligence, and not belonging in this field.

How're you able to study HN? And have you figured out a system that's healthy and long-term sufficient to being a software engineer?

Doing a little over a long time will more be more comfortable and achievable. For a couple months prior to interviewing, pick up CTCI or another similar text and try to spend 15 minutes a day (at least) reviewing your algos, data structures, and system design. After you get in the habit of trying every day, you will probably find yourself able to spend more time more effectively as you learn the content.

I do some hiring and we offer either whiteboarding or a take-home exercise, because of this exact situation. Anyone that you would enjoy working for would probably provide accommodations if you told them in-person whiteboarding gives you anxiety.

Also, we generally use whiteboarding as a way to understand how a person works, if they are on the track that's good enough. I would focus on getting better programming in general, by doing it, study interview questions for whatever you are interviewing for, and then try to take the pressure off yourself. It's ok to have imperfect whiteboard answers and the stress of the situation can make it harder.

don't feel bad, a lot of people working at Big N companies have a lot of those interview qs memorized.

most interview questions you get are variants on a few themes (DP, binary trees, sorting, etc, etc). if you can do a few problems from every theme on autopilot (through a shit ton of practice) you'll be able to do the variants.

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