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Preparation tips for live-coding interviews

December 19, 2022

Live coding is usually part of a technical interview where a candidate gets a task and demonstrates the coding solution in front of interviewers. As a candidate and interviewer, I have experience with both sides, so this post covers an opinionated list of tips.

Communication

Good written and verbal skills in the English language are essential so candidates can understand the task, explain the solution and ask understandable questions.

Technical preparation

Include pair programming sessions in your daily workflow so you feel comfortable when someone looks into your screen while you're coding. Include git in your daily workflow since some of the challenge requirements could be to clone a specific repository and start working on it instead of writing the solution from scratch. Prepare yourself with data structures fundamentals knowing when you should use them, for example, why and when it's better to use a hash map instead of a two-dimensional array. Prepare yourself with the most used built-in methods for strings and arrays for the programming language you use during the interview. If your current job role consists of more management duties, take some time to practice the syntax of the chosen programming language. Read the Clean Code book to dive deeper into writing clean code.

During the interview

Use the programming language you're most comfortable with if requirements are not strictly coupled to one programming language. Share your thoughts while you're coding so the interviewers can feel your way of thinking and problem-solving. Also, ask questions when something needs to be clarified for you. Try not to write pieces of code you don't fully understand, for example, using IIFE and not knowing how to pass an argument into it, using ; in front of it, and not knowing why it's used. Try to write readable code with understandable variable and function names. Avoid writing too nested statements, so it's not easy to understand the code's flow. Try to write code that is easy to cover with the tests.

 

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