Tuesday, Jan 21 2014

Top 5 Coding Interview Questions to Prep For

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As an IT candidate, you’ve got more to worry about than the average job seeker. In addition to the resumes, cover letters, and initial interviews, you have to be ready for the technical interview—a real-time test of your skills that will make or break your chances at getting the job.

Fortunately, you can prepare for the tech side of your interview process. Here are five of the most popular types of coding questions you can expect, so you can get ready to ace your technical interview.

Back to the basics

It might surprise you to know that the simplest skills are highly likely to be included as part of a technical interview. Basic data structures and algorithms are typically core questions, and even though they’re simple in comparison to the actual work you’re doing, you will need to prep for them.

You should be intimately familiar with the basics and ready to demonstrate your proficiency with a fundamental understanding of coding. Before you hit the interview trail, take some time to refresh and practice your basic skills—even if you think it’s “too easy” to bother.

Linked lists

You will undoubtedly be asked to write some code that involves a linked list during your interview. This topic is extremely popular with technical interviewers, because it demonstrates your ability to produce simple, clean code at a fast pace.

Potential questions you may be asked regarding linked lists may involved finding specified elements in a single pass, implementing functions (such as Insert or Delete) for different types of linked lists (singly-linked, sorted, circular), or finding solutions without marking nodes.

Hash tables

Technical interviewers love these. Hash tables are versatile data structures with the primary advantage of letting you search for and retrieve information quickly from massive arrays. It’s essential that you have an intimate familiarity with how they work, so you’re ready to tackle any coding question.

Know the difference between Maps and Sets, and understand the typical operations of hash tables as well as the various applications. You should also be familiar with the tradeoffs of using hash tables versus other data structures.

Array programming

Arrays are important elements in programming languages like C# and Java. This topic is frequently part of technical interviews, and the questions range from incredibly simple to extremely complex.

You may be asked to find a missing or duplicate number in an array of 1 through 100. Or, you could be given an array of characters that form a complete sentence, and asked to write an algorithm that reverses the order of the words, but not the characters.

String programming

Another favorite for technical and programming interviews, string is a primary topic that, like array, is common to many programming languages. Coding questions on string programming may be related to length, permutations, finding and replacing values, and more. Questions involving palindromes are also popular.

The best thing you can do for yourself as an IT candidate is to practice coding prior to interviews. Use real code for your practice runs, and after you write it out, compile and run the code to check your answer. With practice, you can go into your technical interviews confident and ready to land the job you want.

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