Common Coding Interview Mistakes and Practical Approaches to Avoiding

The Coding Interview from start to finish

Even experienced engineers dread coding interviews. Imagine getting thrown out with a whiteboard at your front, without your hotkeys and code editors. Also you request that you proffer solutions to complicated algorithm and data structure questions at that instant. Yikes! Anyone would get a little nervous in this scenario. But luckily for you, Algo.Monster  covers some common mistake coding interviews to make. You can learn from these and use them to your advantage in your next coding interview.

Zero-knowledge of data structures and algorithms

It’s nothing kills off a coding interview faster than a candidate saying “I’m not sure as to how the big O notation works.” No interviewer wants to hear those tales. Thus, if you nurture any concern relating to any concept, that should be high up on your priority list. Using the big O notation as an instance, ensure that you make it a habit to think about it 24/7 daily and in every code, you write – make sure you’re 100% solid on it before approaching any interview. And of course, know your logarithms, you’re more likely to come across them than you think, and usually, they tend to take a lot of interviewees by surprise. Also read>How To Maintain 100% IPhone Battery Health.

In essence, before any programming interview, you intend to attend, take a significant amount of time to study every necessary data structure. Get accustomed to the drawbacks and strengths attributable to each, and their appropriate applications.

Posing to understand what you don’t

Arguably, this is the easiest mistake almost everyone is subject to make. Sometimes, you might feel the urge to pretend to know something mentioned by the interviewer. In this scenario, your first instinct is usually “hope I can get away with pretending to know what this is.” At the same time, It might seem like you’ve gotten away with it at first, the interview might refer back to the term or concept, which will ultimately leave you blank. When you do, not only do you not know what the concept means but also, it paints a picture of a dishonest person. Because at this moment, saying you don’t know is just like saying “I pretended  to know the concept earlier.” Your best bet to approaching this kind of situation is to come out clean before the issue escalates.

Anytime your interviewer uses a concept you’re not familiar with, indicate instantly, and show your zeal to learn. Acting otherwise will only get things messier as the interview progresses. And while doing this, try your best to be as specific as possible about the concepts you’re not familiar with. It presents you as a programmer with organized thoughts. There is a massive difference between asking “I don’t understand what you mean Binary tree” and  “huh?” when you don’t understand.

Creating a code without a knowledge of what it will do

coding interview at algo monster

The coding interview is not all about cramming programming interview questions or cracking the coding interview pdf, or pulling up with the best interview dress code. Knowing when to say “I don’t understand” is also of utmost importance. We saw this case several times in interviews. Just some minutes into the coding interview, you’re discussing the problem with the interviewer, brainstorming on concepts and ideas. Suddenly, you get this discouraging feeling that you’ve wasted a lot of od time, and you still have a blank whiteboard at your front. Then you decide, it’s time to do something. Even though you dint have a comprehensive knowledge of what the code is aimed at, you still decide to move on anyway.

Even after writing all the technical jargon coming to your head, you’d ultimately find yourself coming back to the drawing boards as you still haven’t identified the problem your code is trying to solve. But at this time, all you have is a half-baked code on the whiteboard, which might be already riddled with bugs, perhaps, directing you in the wrong direction. That notion of “keep moving “ and start writing the code, ultimately resulted in a disadvantage. Now, you have several minutes wasted, you’re not even anywhere close to an algorithm, and as well, all you’re left with is a half-baked. messy code written all over the board.

Rather, when this feeling sets in, all you need to do is pause! Take a deep breath. Nurture a viewpoint that getting scared of time will, in no way get you moving faster. You may even shout loud “I’m feeling like it’s time to start writing a code; however, I believe it’s useless unless I have an extensive knowledge of what problem it is targeted to alleviate.” Just return to the primary problem with an intensive brainstorm directed at practical approaches to solving it. Play around with a few sample inputs. Develop a diagram of the data structure. Keep brainstorming, and remember that sometimes, you’re not meant to know the answers instantly, and that’s what good programming interview questions are all about.

Rushing to debug at the terminal

After several minutes, you’ done with writing the code. The instinct is to shut down your brain and relax. That’s when you start to look at your interviewer with massive expectations. All you expect from them at this moment is “Perfect, Just perfect!” Unfortunately, that is not coming. Rather, what they asked was, “can you locate any bug in this code?” You skim through every line, one at a time, but what you’re doing isn’t debugging. You’re merely expatiating each line’s intentions with the hope that your code is right. You’re not looking out for the bugs, and as such, you eventually miss them. And certainly, you interviewers could see them.

To debug a code, put down the sample input into writing. This should be quite short enough so you can get through the entire thing. Go through the code meticulously line-by-line. As it alters any input, make necessary changes on the board. If there are new variables, include them accordingly. Essentially, you’re utilizing your brain as the processor and as well, the board as your memory. This could be a relatively arduous task, but it’s the only feasible approach to debugging a whiteboard code.

Taking note of these mistakes in your code interview practice will help you avoid them, ultimately positioning you levels ahead of your peers and other candidates. Now, go solve some programming interview questions!


JENIKIM is a General Blogger & writer who has been extensively writing in the technology field for a few years. He has written several articles which have provided exciting and knowledgeable information. He is a web content writer, and guest blogger, who offers unique and professional content writing services to online business entrepreneurs.

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