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Mbonu Blessing
Mbonu Blessing

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How to get over my fear of algorithms and test when applying for a job

Hello everyone,

This week, I want to open the floor for discussions on how one can overcome their fear of algorithms and tests in general when applying for jobs. I have always felt the need to start applying for another job but the fear of all the tests, algorithms, one on one technical interviews just gives me cold feet. If you have been in this situation before, do you mind sharing practical steps you took to get over your fears and get better in the job application process. You could also share books, articles or courses you took that helped as well.

Looking forward to hearing from you all.

Top comments (11)

eljayadobe profile image

Step one to get over your fear. If you mess up, move on. It doesn't matter that much.

Even if you mess up, if you can explain your rationale, it may be a save. I've gotten through two gauntlets and got hired where I did not crush the coding exercise.

kfecho30 profile image
Kelsey Fecho

This might not be the silver bullet you're looking for, but honestly practice helped me more than anything. My favorite tool has been Codewars--they have all tons of different languages and subjects to practice with, and you can chip away at it whenever you have a spare moment.

nkemjiks profile image
Mbonu Blessing

Thank for the tip. I have tried using algorithm website like hackerrank before but found it had to stick or more like got scared of the questions. I will give it a try one more time

automationhacks profile image
Gaurav Singh

I have found that like with everything else, the change will not happen overnight or in one or two weekends. So take some time out on a daily/other frequency that you have time for and solve coding problems. First step would be to know the basic data structures and algorithms, Big O and then try and solve problems regularly.

All it takes is incremental progress. I found the Python data structures and algorithms book by runestone, cracking the coding interview book and the course on Interview cake to be very helpful.

My journey is still ongoing though. Hope this helps.

danyduran profile image
Daniel Isidro Custodio Duran

I started to read the "Cracking the coding interview" book and I'm on udemy course Javascript algoriths and data structures masterclass, those have helped to leverage my understanding about trees, recursion...

ben profile image
Ben Halpern
sinhavartika profile image

I don't fear algorithms. But I am not a champ either. I have started following algorithm and data structure track from geektogeek. I solve the problems and enter them in leet code to check edge cases and to also check the time complexity. Putting my solutions in leet code helps me identify optimal solutions entered by other people.

charisseysabel profile image
Charisse • Edited

I'm not great at algorithms and I used to be scared of it as well. Like many others who said already, it takes time. But what really helped me is to change my mindset and my overall approach to these types of challenges. This helps me to panic less because I'm not too overwhelmed and therefore could think much more effectively.
This post explains it very well: (make sure you're on the article view to see everything)

Also, don't forget that you're basically solving algorithms pretty much everyday of your working life as well!
Hope it helps!

amytangcodes profile image
Amy Tang

I am honestly going through this RIGHT now. After being part of a 3rd mass layoff during COVID, I took some time off since it was summer and I was in the middle of renovating my house. I knew by August I wanted to start ramping up studies to get ready for interviews, but I already had two interviews lined up. I FELT RUSTY. One company scheduled me for a 30min pair programming through Coderpad. It ended up taking 1hr and even though I was filled with so much anxiety, it was a great experience. Thankfully I had an amazing developer go through it with me and it was as if we worked together and were working through algorithms together. He gave insightful feedback and I have the 2nd round of coderpad technical testing on Friday but to build a react piece together. STILL nervous but it will probably be helpful. Another company gave me a take-home-build-an-app-in-this-timeframe challenge. Again, it was super helpful as I built something and learned a lot of new things, also again more practice. There were some incomplete parts to the challenge but it is something I can continue working on my own time and then eventually use as a project piece to showcase as it encompasses some big pieces. Also, I could use it as a template for future projects. So ya.. SUPER scary personally for me to go through but even if I don't get these roles, I still learned a lot in the past week going through these two interviews and hopefully it prepares me for the next ones! Keep building things and I would also do daily small coding exercises from hackerrank, codesignal, leetcode, exercise, and codewars to name a few. Have fun!!!

andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

Practice is the way to go you can never be 100% prepared because you have no idea what type of tests they will have. The best solution is to just know a lot that at least will give you some more confidence.

shiftyp profile image
Ryan Kahn (he/him)

Focus on what excites you about problem solving, and set an intention to call that up when self talk turns negative. What people want — more than anything — is to be excited about their work. Show them that side of you and you'll impress, and maybe even impress yourself! 🔰