You made it through the online coding problem nonsense. You endured the tedious whiteboarding problems. You sat before the condescending interviewer.
All for nothing. Time and time again. You've gone on too many interview loops to count, and yet you can't get a single job offer.
You understand data structures. You know the contract between .equals and hashcodes. You can breadth-first search a binary tree. So why aren't you having any success?
Your confidence is battered. Your interviewers smell the fear on you, and they don't like it. So how do you come back from all of this rejection?
You need to build something.
Build a complicated, hulking four-month deliverable that nobody else commissioned and that nobody else will care about. Make a game, or model an elevator system, or an economic phenomenon.
You will learn so much, but that's not where the most value comes from.
Building something big insulates your ego.
If you have built and shipped something cool and unique on your own, nobody can deny your identity as an engineer, even if you sometimes forget how to find all the subsets of an int array that sum to k.
This is so important--if you lose confidence that you actually belong at a strong company, you are dead in the water.
I've been where you're at.
Spending months and months preparing for interviews, doggedly memorizing the cookbook answers for how to rotate a matrix, find anagrams, and so on. Cracking the Code Interview is an awesome book, but also reinforces the status quo of a certain kind of uninspired, assembly-line narrowness to the interview process.
It's really sad that a lot of companies think this is the best way to screen people. I have to believe it's not.
I've failed in more final round interviews than literally everyone else I can think of, and I bust my ass and write code all weekend and soak myself in engineering information.
But it's OK.
Their loss. I've built stuff, and so many of the people I know who can close on these positions at FB, GOOG, etc have not. They are either scared to build from the ground up, or they continually start and can never push through to ship a project.
If I hadn't built and shipped cool, difficult projects, I wouldn't have this sense of validation and internal strength.
I've learned far more from side projects than anything a university or a tech company taught me. I think that we should be spending more time on side projects. That's why I started FindCollabs.
FindCollabs is a place to build projects and find collaborators. On FindCollabs, we take our work seriously and we help each other to design, invent, and engineer the systems of our dreams.
You can integrate with GitHub, post your project, and start working with peers to build whatever you want.
If you don't know what to work on, you can find a project that already exists and find friends to build things with.
FindCollabs: build projects, find collaborators.
Throughout the last year, I have worked part-time as a working student and also studied at the university. I was not the first and not the last one who has combined that during their studies, but the problem for me was, that at the end of the day I have felt absolutely exhausted mentally and physically. That caused problems with my health and motivation to continue working on my goals or anything. (yeah, “goals,” I wish I had something more specific at that time).