After completing Flatiron School’s program, you’ll begin preparing for your job search. Flatiron provides A LOT of great information and resources for you to prepare. But unless you are very unique (and maybe overly confident), the most anxiety-inducing step of finding a new job (in a completely new career!) is by far the technical interview.
The problem, is that you’ll need to do a good amount of practice and reading about topics more related to computer science than what we learned at Flatiron. I’ve heard that, on the ‘flip side’, Computer Science graduates have much less experience with actually building web applications than we bootcamp grads do. Who knows. But I’m sure there’s work for everyone to do when it comes to being fully prepared for your technical interview (well, as much as you can without knowing what you’ll be faced with).
I’ve found that there are actually a lot of resources out there (for free, and for fee) that, if you practice on these sites as often as you can (read: every day if at all possible!), then you’ll start to feel a little less nervous about ‘not knowing what you don’t know’. At least, that is what is currently happening to me (thankfully), and I’m right in the middle of feeling a little more and more less anxious about the technical interview.
Right now, my absolute favorite resource is -by far- InterviewCake.com. This site explains computer science terms (that we’ve heard of, maybe even know a little about) and how your computer’s memory allocates and looks up data (you’ll learn how this is important when deciding how to write your algorithms - to be either space or time efficient, or both).
Their information and explanations are written really well in easy to follow, quick to read (and understand) examples and diagrams. I actually was essentially glued to the site when I found it and read everything they had, then signed up for their daily emails with more tips about technical interviews. I decided to purchase their full course, because I got a pretty big discount for being a Flatiron School student. In fact, the discount was big enough, that it was the factor that compelled me to purchase the three week technical interview crash course.
I am currently working through the material, and each concept ends with some related practice technical interview questions. They aren’t easy, either. Even when you think you’ve got one figured out and click the I have an answer button, they then reveal the ‘gotcha’ scenarios (or edge cases) for you to check against your solution.
In addition to the edge cases, they also focus on you finding the most efficient algorithm in terms of either time or space (i.e. execution time of your algorithm or memory allocated to run it), or both. They explain BigO notation really well at the start and refer back to it with each practice question to challenge you to create solutions with this in mind (because it’ll likely come up in an interview).
Long story short, InterviewCake.com is a great resource to learn, understand and practice the concepts that weren’t covered in detail at The Flatiron School. And you’ll need to know these in order to do well in your technical interviews. If I wasn’t already clear, I highly recommend it.
But there are also other great free resources out there. One of my favorites has been HackerRank.com, which gives you practice technical interview questions that you can solve, in several different languages. It first let’s you ‘run’ your code, to see if your function and algorithms solve the problem. Then, if that succeeds, when you ‘submit’ your code, it runs it though several additional ‘edge case’ scenarios. If one of the edge cases fails, you can give up some of your earned points to actually see the edge case, or you can try and figure it out what the edge case is on your own and keep submitting your solutions, until it passes all tests. There’s no explanation or teaching on these (at least that I’ve seen, but I wasn’t looking). You simply work through challenges and earn points. Great for daily practice as well. Another high recommendation.
Here are links to these sites and some more sites that I have either tried, or have found/heard about (but haven’t actually tried yet):
- Interview Cake
- TopTal (you may be familiar with this site, but didn’t know they have interview questions, too)
I’m sure that you’ll find too, that if you practice solving these problems and creating algorithms every day, you’ll start to feel a little better about walking into your technical interviews. Good luck! And as always, please feel free to send me any other resources that you’ve found that you think deserve mention in this post. Thanks!