10 Tips and Tricks for Cracking the Coding Interview Online

November 12,2020 - 5 min read
10 tips and tricks for cracking the coding interview online

Coding Interviews are an important part of a programmer's life. They lead the developers to their dream job. Coding interviews are like the first hurdle developers need to cross to get the coveted job they had wished throughout their school and college days. Cracking these coding interviews is tough as everyone knows but they aren’t impossible. The pandemic has only added to the difficulty and complexity of coding interviews because everything has gone virtual. In this blog we discuss some of the important tips and tricks for cracking the coding interview online.

Well, the most important thing to prepare for coding interview is the concept and questions of Data Structure like array, string, linked list problems, binary tree, system design problems etc. Apart from data structure-based questions, algorithm, design, bit manipulation, and general logic-based questions are also important. Questions based on these concepts become tricky to solve in the actual interview and hence having practiced them before not only makes you familiar with them but also gives you more confidence in explaining the solution to the interviewer.

In this blog we are going to talk about the top 10 tips and tricks for cracking coding interviews online. After you are done with the basic concepts of algorithms and data structure, it’s important that you revise these tips and tricks to ace your next tech interview smoothly. Let’s get started with our comprehensive guide to tips and tricks for cracking the coding interview online. Let us begin the journey!

  1. Practice, Practice and Practice!

    Practice is the key to success is any field. Coding interviews are no exception too! There is no substitute to practice to do well in Coding interviews and grab your dream job. Practice trains your mind to recognize algorithmic patterns and also give you the much-needed confidence to solve the surprise problems that the interviewee might throw at you. If you Know some of the general coding patterns like Sliding Window, Two Pointers, Fast and Slow Pointers, Merge Intervals, Cyclic Sort, Top K elements etc. Theses concepts can help you to solve zones of frequently asked coding problems in interviews.

  2. Work on Software Design Skills

    Coding interviews are not just about complex coding questions but one of the toughest problems in these interviews are on software and system designs. These questions like often throws candidate off their feet because the questions are fairly new, out of the box and they don’t know from where to start and where to finish. Students fresh out of college don’t know how to design systems and how different part of the system works together to achieve the common task. It is very important that you know about software design and understand the pros and cons of every design decision in the process of development.

    You are not expected to know the details of system design but you can always look over the internet to know the basics and try solving some questions. You can find these questions along with concepts on a variety of websites and comprehensive YouTube videos. Knowing these concepts would definitely make you stand out from the array of competitors.

  3. Learn the Basics

    We have discussed about learning and implementing data structures and algorithms before appearing for your next coding interview online. An important tip is to not just practice or code as many data structure and algorithms as possible but also read a lot about them. You should know about all time and space complexities of essential data structures like an array, linked list, string, hash table, and binary tree, etc. Data structures are important because choosing the right data structure is a very important part of software development and until you have proper knowledge, you won’t be able to choose and make an informed decision. Books are often a great resource but the world wide web too has a number of articles and tutorials on data structures and algorithms.

  4. Time yourself

    In a fairly competitive scenario, merely knowing the answer won’t land you anywhere, candidates are expected to solve interview problems within the time limit. Interviewees who answer quickly and efficiently are more likely to do well in the interview and even grab the job. An underrated but important tip for cracking the coding interview is to time yourself while solving and practicing questions.

  5. Testing the Edge Cases

    Even in coding competitions, edge cases have extra marks and in coding interviews these extra marks turn into extra brownie points. It is a good practice to always think of edge cases and run your code through them. Some edge cases might be the empty input, some weird input, or some really large input to test the boundary conditions and limits.

  6. To Teach is to Learn

    Once you have learnt a concept or solved a problem, try explaining it to a friend or colleagues. It is cherry on cake if he/she is also interested in coding problems because then you will be bombarded with questions which is eventually good for you as it will prepare you for your coding interview. This entire exercise of explanation will tell you whether you have really understood the problem or not. A healthy discussion makes your mind work in the right direction which enables you to come up with alternative and more creative solutions and also lets you find some flaws in your existing algorithms if any.

  7. Rehearse Coding Interviews

    Another useful tip to crack Coding interviews online is to sit for as many coding interviews as you can. You will discover that you are getting better after every interview. It may be mock interviews or real ones, but make sure you appear in lots of them before giving the coding interview for your dream company. These multiple interviews also help you to get multiple offers which further allows you to better negotiate and get a good deal when it comes to salary and remuneration.

  8. Be Honest

    If you don’t know the answer then the best answer is to admit it and say that you don’t know the answer. There is no point in trying out different tactics as it opens doors for your weakness. Honesty is truly the best policy in life as well as coding interview. If the interviewer finds you as an honest as well as skilled and talented, then you surely stand out as a potential candidate among other competitors. We encourage you to prepare as much as you can, however, at the day of the interview if you don’t understand any question, it’s best to say that you don’t the answer but are eager to learn more and find out of answer to the question asked.

  9. Ask Questions

    This is not only a tip for cracking the coding interview but also a lesson for life! You should always ask questions because no question is a dumb question. The practice of asking meaningful questions makes your mind works which helps you understand the problem better, it also shows that you have confidence and communication skills to ask the right questions and hence your inter-personal skills are at display in the front of interviewers.

  10. Speak your thoughts

    When you are solving a coding problem, it is always better to speak out your approach to the problem so that the interviewer knows about your thinking process. Silence for too long can give out all the wrong indications. Candidates should engage the interviewer in a meaningful conversation as much as possible. While you are talking about your prospective solution, the interviewer might help you by pushing you towards the right direction.

With this, we come to an end of top 10 tips and tricks for cracking the coding interview online. We have covered a wide variety of tips and tricks that might come handy, the next time you appear for a coding interview. One last tip that is the most important is to not get discouraged if the results were not as you expected. Failure is just one chapter that gets you closer to the success story.

There is no better way to do well in Coding interviews than practicing as many coding problems as possible in a timed environment after learning about as many data structures and algorithms as possible. While you code or practice problems, make sure to think of edge cases and run your code through them. One last thing is to explain the concept to a friend or colleagues apart from appearing in lots of coding interview.

If you think we missed some important tips and tricks to crack coding interviews online, then you can always reach out to us and help us deliver better content to the tech community. We hope that this guide helps you crack the coding interview online and grab a job as a software developer in your dream company.

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