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Abdellah  Alaoui
Abdellah Alaoui

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Coding Challenges nailed: how to shine and get the job


So you're looking for your next opportunity and you've applied here and there. The next step is usually a coding challenge.

What's a coding challenge and why am I doing it?

A Coding challenge is how you show off your skills to the company that's interested in hiring you.
Getting it right is not enough, as hundreds of other candidates will as well.

You need to shine ✨ in order to get the job. You need to be the best or at least in the top 5. As the company will only interview 5-20 people for this job.

How to shine in a coding challenge

First, let's clear some misconceptions:

  • Coding challenges are not about code. They're about communication.
  • Don't let anything unplanned. You need to be intentional about the signals you send to the employer.
  • A Coding challenge isn't secondary. If you nail the coding challenge, you almost got the job. As it's your first impression.

What are the signals you want to send to the employer?

Defining those beforehand is very important. As these answers will drive the way you deal with the coding challenge.

  • I am very organized.
  • I am a clear thinker and communicator.
  • I am a great problem solver.
  • I pay attention to details.

That's my list. Tweak it for yourself or create your own. Now to the actionable and fun part. How do you send these signals?

How, When and Where to send your I AM GREAT signals?

Coding challenges are one way communication mediums, just like letters. Take it like you're going to write a proposal letter to your future wife.

When: Choose a good time to start and don't do it in one go

Why? For several reasons:

  • Energy ⚡️: you can't send good vibes when you're down or tired. So make sure you're on a good mood.
  • A second look 👀: You of tomorrow is a new and better You. Have him look at the coding challenge, catch silly stuff and improve the submission.

Where: what are the things that can communicate your skills in the coding challenge?

Readme instructions

Take your time to write a helpful guide with links and all the steps needed. And if you use new concepts or libraries, make sure to link to where the reader can learn more.
Also, make sure you include instructions for different OS if applicable.

Git commits

Git commits are big differentiators. As most developers overlook those and focus on code. Here are the things you need to pay attention to:

  • Break down the challenge to several features and make a commit per feature.
  • Write the commit message in a text editor and make sure to include a body.
  • How to write a good commit message

UI (if applicable)

If your coding challenge includes a UI part, then it's one of the most important things you need to focus on.

The reviewer will probably run the project before looking at the code. And if it doesn't work or the UI is ugly, that's a definite no !!

Instead, make sure the UI is pretty, responsive and includes animations. This way, you're almost sure you will shine ✨.

It should work as expected

It's easy to overlook something in the challenge instructions, so make sure you read those carefully.

Write tests

Many developers won't write tests if not told to. Don't be like them and write effective tests.


Coding challenges can be frustrating and time consuming. But you should take them seriously, learn from them and choose the best times to work on them. Remember to shine and do the best of yourself and you'll probably get the job!

I hope I've helped you nail your coding challenge. If you find this post helpful, like and share it and follow me on twitter

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