How to Prepare for a Coding Interview

Coding Interview

You’ve been working hard to learn how to develop programs. But, once you are ready to start real work how will you prepare for an interview.  

Note that you may be an expert in coding but the interviewer is looking for more than coding skills.

Read on to learn more on what to expect, how to prepare, and online resources that can help you ace a coding interview.

What to Expect in a Coding Interview

Since you never know how the exact interview will be like. It’s good to be prepared. For instance, you may be required to show your skills by writing code to solve a problem on a whiteboard or computer. So, it’s best that you also know how to write code using paper and pen.

Some companies may send you a task that you are expected to present during the interview and explain how you did it as proof it was your work.

You may also be required to send a link to a project you have done. You mustn’t make the mistake of sending something you don’t own because you will only embarrass yourself and lose a good opportunity.

Expect more than coding questions. The interviewer wants to know if you can adapt to their company culture or if you are going to be a troublesome person.

There are common questions that you will not miss in any interview. Such as “Tell us about yourself”. Whatever questions you will be asked prepare 1-2 lines for the answer unless the question requires a detailed explanation. Simply avoid talking too much – no one is interested; they only want to know if you are a good fit for their company.

Tips to Prepare for a Coding Interview

A prepared person is confident and this helps you be more composed. Here are tips that will help you as you prepare for an interview:

  1. Deepen your understanding of core concepts including system design components and design patterns.
  2. Prepare for common interview concepts such as linked lists, arrays, input validation, strings, graphs, geometry, and recursions.  
  3. Online interviews – if you will be having an online interview, learn about code-sharing tools for online interviews.  
  4. Mock interviews – If you know experienced developers who have them help you do a mock interview.
  5. Keep to the programming language you know. Don’t try to learn a new program when preparing for an interview.
  6. Use one or two resources and avoid jumping from book to book or going through multiple sites trying to learn everything. There is too much stuff that will only get you lost.
  7. The coding question – Don’t jump into coding. Ensure you understand the problem well before you start writing down your solution. Don’t be afraid to seek clarification this shows you are attentive to details. You can go through a solution with the interviewer before writing code.
    Once you are done coding don’t rush to announce it before checking for bugs or syntax errors.
  8. Think beyond a solution. It’s not enough that you are given a problem and you can get a solution for it. You may be given a code and asked how you’d improve it. This is meant to check how you can scale a solution.
  9. Check your resume. Ensure you have an updated resume and that you know what you have put in it.
  10. Have questions to ask the interviewer. As it is common in most interviews, once the interviewer has finished, you will be asked if you have any questions.

Online Resources that Can Help You Prepare for a Coding Interview

Google is a good place to start. Search for commonly asked questions in a coding interview. Search for programming problems and solve them in the language that you are familiar with. However, remember it is also easy to get lost in all the available information.

To avoid searching through a lot of sites subscribe to more specific sites that can be useful such as Stack Overflow, Reddit, and Meetup.

You can also join online groups for developers on social media platforms.

Another important resource is online mockup interviews with sites like Gainlo, Interviewing, and Leetcode.  


Finally, practice and learn how to communicate clearly. And, when the day of the interview comes be prepared, presentable, and punctual.

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