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How to pass a coding interview (for junior devs)

santamariacode profile image Salvatore Santamaria Updated on ・3 min read

Getting that first developer job is hard! Especially coding interviews. Here is my 1 pager of tips to prepare pass a coding interview. I’ve also included a video as well discussing in coding interviews in further detail.

Prep

  • Find out about the company as much as you can. Go to their website, look at articles, etc.

  • Algos algos algos. More algos. And, WHITEBOARD THEM OUT!!

Dress

  • Dress nice but be comfortable. Dress code tends to be fairly casual but you will look better if you dress nice. Who would you hire, guy in slacks, or guy in jeans? Who is more serious?

Arrival

  • Read through your notes and STAR stories. A trick to get over nerves, listen to some comedy and laugh before you go in. Arrive at the office 10 minutes early. No earlier and no later.

During the interview

  • They are trying to find out:

    • Are you a good fit for the team?
    • Do they like you? Would they like working with you?
    • Would you enjoy the work?
    • Are you smart?
    • Do you have communication skills?
  • Be honest and enthusiastic, not apologetic for what you don’t know.

  • Be confident. You're going for friendly, confident, eager and team player.

  • DO NOT LIE!

  • If you don't know, say you don’t know but indicate that you would love to learn

  • Again, DO NOT LIE!!

  • Try to relate your past experiences and skills to your current job. Talk about what you can bring to the table, as this is important as a junior.

  • In a junior role you should be looking for a great team and mentor ship that can help you become a better developer.

  • Tell them what you are currently doing to become a better developer.

  • Tell them how you keep up to date. How do you learn best? It’s a red flag if you don’t have an answer. Do you like videos? Read documentation? No answer means you aren’t studying.

  • Have some STAR stories

    • Situation with a position outcome
    • Tasks needs in the situation
    • Actions taken to complete tasks
    • Results achieved from the actions

Some Common Questions

Q: what projects have you done?

A: Talk about your GitHub and portfolio and the projects. Mention the technologies, challenges, and future improvements on them. And, what you learned!

Q: Where you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?

A: You need an answer for this question! (like Sr. Developer or team lead or director)

Q: Personal Questions- like what do you do for fun?

A: Talk about whatever tech you do in your spare time. You are a jr. You want a job so you can work in a team with mentors so you can further knowledge, learn best practices, contribute and work in your passion.

Q: Do you have any questions for me?

A: Ask what is the project like? What technologies are used? What are the challenges?

  • Ask what they expect from a Junior developer? You are looking for something about learning and growing, and personal development. Answers about work hours, workload, bug fixing and test coverage are red flags that they might just be looking to put a body in front of a keyboard and aren’t interested in your growth.

  • Do you have feedback for me? What are my gaps? Ask for feedback!

Whiteboarding

  • PRACTICE WHITEBOARDING!!!

  • Start in the middle, use plenty of space

  • Use a dark pen. If the pen is lousy ask for a different one.

  • Write pseudocode first

  • Don’t BS. Ask for clarity and help. If you aren’t sure, say so. A good team will try to help you through the problem. They want to see how you go about solving a problem under stress and how you think.

  • After you think you have solved it, run the function on the whiteboard to look for errors

Ending of the interview

  • Thank them for their time, and ask what the next steps are. They will tell you what that is. Ask so you know and aren’t wondering. If they offer the job don’t accept the salary immediately. Take some time to think about it, call/write them back and counter.

Following up

  • Immediately write your contact a note thanking for the time, tell them why you think you are a good fit and if you struggled anywhere, DO SOME RESEARCH on it and explain what it was. Ask if they had any further questions for you.

Lastly, remember it's OK to fail! Write down what you could do better and have learned, and keep trying.

Discussion (2)

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emma profile image
Emma Goto 🍙

I like that you've not only posted your video, but put down your notes too! 👏

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santamariacode profile image