Where to find interview-style coding problems?

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Phasma Felis
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Where to find interview-style coding problems?

Postby Phasma Felis » Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:04 am UTC

(Not sure if this should go here or in Coding...)

I'm going to be interviewing with a major tech company soon. I'm excited and nervous, obviously. It sounds like the focus will be on coding ability. From the preliminary tests, I feel like I know this stuff but I'm rusty; I've been out of work for a bit, and I'm familiar with all the core concepts, but it sometimes takes me a bit of research to recall specific details--not a good place to be in a whiteboard situation. So I want to brush up before hand.

My contact recommended "reviewing basic data structures and practicing some coding problems you haven’t seen before." That's good, but vague. Any suggestions on where to find stuff like that?

Also, relatedly, I feel like I'm really good at analyzing data (taking a big set of data, which may be inconsistent and/or contain errors, and finding patterns in it), but I know nothing about "data analysis" as a professional field. Any suggestions on how to learn more about that, and (perhaps) bring it up in the interviews?

commodorejohn
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Re: Where to find interview-style coding problems?

Postby commodorejohn » Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:14 am UTC

I imagine it depends heavily on what kind of position you're interviewing for at what kind of shop, but the last time I interviewed for a coding position they threw some pretty basic stuff at me: things like "reverse a string" and "generate a Fibonacci sequence." I was kind of surprised, but I suppose the aim is more to weed out the many candidates who aren't even qualified to do that (and if The Daily WTF has taught me anything, it's that such things are way, way more necessary than you'd think.) The last time someone asked for a sample of my own code, I just gave them a little vector-graphics spaceship demo I'd been working on that demonstrated a working knowledge of basic OOP design, and I got that job.
"'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling."
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Phasma Felis
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Re: Where to find interview-style coding problems?

Postby Phasma Felis » Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:40 am UTC

I should have said, it's a week-long group interview. I don't think it's for any specific position. Thanks!

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Carmeister
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Re: Where to find interview-style coding problems?

Postby Carmeister » Tue Oct 18, 2016 6:58 am UTC

If you're interested in programming exercises, check out https://leetcode.com/. It has a bunch of interview-style questions and lets you submit a program and tells you if it's correct or not.

elasto
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Re: Where to find interview-style coding problems?

Postby elasto » Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:32 am UTC

I used Interview Cake

They give you a few sample questions for free and then you have to pay, but they offer a no-quibble money-back guarantee if you don't land the job.

They go into each answer in depth - not only pointing out the pitfalls that might have caught you out, but detailing a number of simple (but inefficient) and advanced solutions.

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duckshirt
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Re: Where to find interview-style coding problems?

Postby duckshirt » Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:24 am UTC

I go to this, it has some fun data structures/algorithms problems: https://www.hackerrank.com/

Other I hear are good but haven't explored:

http://leetcode.com/ - already mentioned, I think they have tutorials on there too
https://code.google.com/codejam/contests.html
http://www.topcoder.com/tc?module=Stati ... =alg_index

I also like this article for interview prep. It's written from the perspective of the interviewer, kinda old, and not all companies are the same but I find it is in line with West Coast tech companies' general philosophy and was helpful to me. Good luck!

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/ ... wing3.html
lol everything matters
-Ed

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WanderingLinguist
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Re: Where to find interview-style coding problems?

Postby WanderingLinguist » Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:27 pm UTC

I can talk from a hiring perspective, but my approach may be a bit unconventional, so take it with a grain of salt.

I've never asked a coding question during an interview.

The project I head up is a fairly widely used app with a large user base. It's also quite complex, and getting the architecture right was non-trivial, even for my colleagues who have deep experience in the particular field.

In advance of the interview, the candidate is asked to install the app and familiarize themselves with it; then to imagine they have to build the app from scratch. They have to design the architecture and an implementation plan in advance, and present it at the interview.

Nobody has ever gotten it exactly "right" (neither did we, the first time around), but the types of issues the candidate considers and the areas where they indicate further research would be needed say a lot about their background: Only engineers who have had practical experience in the area will know to ask certain questions or follow up about certain areas.

I've had a 100% success rate with hiring, which is understand it fairly unusual.

Then again, I'm somewhat lucky to have a really unusual use case where it's hard to fake knowledge.

What advice I can offer is this: Beyond merely preparing for coding problems, do as much research on the company and products as you can. Think carefully about what problems they may still be trying to solve and research areas where you might be able to contribute. Consider what it took to build their existing products and how you would do it if you were in their shoes. Is there anything you think they could have done better? Anything you're impressed with? Anything that you are curious about? The last point is important: The questions you ask about the company and the product, both from a technical and business point of view say a lot about you in the interview. Go informed about that company and go prepare with your own questions; don't merely prepare for coding problems.

(edit: typos)

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LucasBrown
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Re: Where to find interview-style coding problems?

Postby LucasBrown » Sun Oct 23, 2016 9:51 am UTC

Programming Praxis posts interview questions every now and then.

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ahammel
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Re: Where to find interview-style coding problems?

Postby ahammel » Sun Oct 23, 2016 11:22 pm UTC

WanderingLinguist wrote:I can talk from a hiring perspective, but my approach may be a bit unconventional, so take it with a grain of salt.

I've never asked a coding question during an interview.

The project I head up is a fairly widely used app with a large user base. It's also quite complex, and getting the architecture right was non-trivial, even for my colleagues who have deep experience in the particular field.

In advance of the interview, the candidate is asked to install the app and familiarize themselves with it; then to imagine they have to build the app from scratch. They have to design the architecture and an implementation plan in advance, and present it at the interview.

Nobody has ever gotten it exactly "right" (neither did we, the first time around), but the types of issues the candidate considers and the areas where they indicate further research would be needed say a lot about their background: Only engineers who have had practical experience in the area will know to ask certain questions or follow up about certain areas.
+1 on asking interview questions like this, rather than "how do you implement quicksort?".

On the coding skills side, the best interview question I've ever had was "Here are some of our utility functions. Please write tests for them. See you in an hour."
He/Him/His/Alex
God damn these electric sex pants!


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