Computer ScienceInterviewingJob Hunting

Book Details

Author : Gayle Laakmann McDowell
Category : Subjects,Job Hunting & Careers,Job Hunting,Business & Money
Formats : ,Paperback
Languages : French,English
Pages : 687
Price : Check Price in Amazon
PublishDate : 2015-07-01
ReleaseDate : 2015-07-01

Books Floor Rating

coding interviews
data structures
tech companies
interview process
great book

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Book Summary & Description

  • I Am Not A Recruiter.

  • I Am A Software Engineer.

  • And As Such, I Know What Its Like To Be Asked To Whip Up Brilliant Algorithms On The Spot And Then Write Flawless Code On A Whiteboard.

  • Ive Been Through This As A Candidate And As An Interviewer.

  • Cracking The Coding Interview, 6Th Edition Is Here To Help You Through This Process, Teaching You What You Need To Know And Enabling You To Perform At Your Very Best.

  • Ive Coached And Interviewed Hundreds Of Software Engineers.

  • The Result Is This Book.

  • Learn How To Uncover The Hints And Hidden Details In A Question, Discover How To Break Down A Problem Into Manageable Chunks, Develop Techniques To Unstick Yourself When Stuck, Learn (Or Re-Learn) Core Computer Science Concepts, And Practice On 189 Interview Questions And Solutions.

  • These Interview Questions Are Real; They Are Not Pulled Out Of Computer Science Textbooks.

  • They Reflect Whats Truly Being Asked At The Top Companies, So That You Can Be As Prepared As Possible.

  • Whats Inside?

  • 189 Programming Interview Questions, Ranging From The Basics To The Trickiest Algorithm Problems.

  • A Walk-Through Of How To Derive Each Solution, So That You Can Learn How To Get There Yourself.

  • Hints On How To Solve Each Of The 189 Questions, Just Like What You Would Get In A Real Interview.

  • Five Proven Strategies To Tackle Algorithm Questions, So That You Can Solve Questions You Havent Seen.

  • Extensive Coverage Of Essential Topics, Such As Big O Time, Data Structures, And Core Algorithms.

  • A Behind The Scenes Look At How Top Companies Like Google And Facebook Hire Developers.

  • Techniques To Prepare For And Ace The Soft Side Of The Interview: Behavioral Questions.

  • For Interviewers And Companies: Details On What Makes A Good Interview Question And Hiring Process.

  • Number Of Pages:696

Book Reviews

As programming interview prep books go, this one is currently the most popular of the bunch. Its OK, in that youll find material to practice for the whiteboard interviews that are prevalent at big tech companies. Heres a lady who worked for a few years at Google (thats right — she worked for a *few* years, and only interned at those other big names she mentioned), and has parlayed that rather limited work experience into an entire lifestyle business, where she coaches programmers on how to pass interviews. That should tell you something important: the interview-prep industry has completely decoupled itself from the actual job of programming!If the goal of an interview is to identify competent programmers, weve gone far, far off the rails with these kinds of interviews.

The grinder continues to turn, and whereas ten years ago you could get a good job with some string or linked-list manipulation questions, now youve got people who consider whiteboard coding of topcoder elite questions to be the baseline measurement of programmer competency. Youll even run into lazy interviewers who take questions directly from this book, which is the ultimate in stupidity: if good candidates have prepared from the book, and you ask questions directly from the book, what are you really accomplishing, other than a test of memorization skills?Ive had recruiters from major tech companies send me pages from this book so that I can prepare for their interviews. If you work at a company, please, INSIST that your interview process avoid questions from this book. If you interview programmers, please, stick to questions that demonstrate actual day-to-day work competency.

This is obviously the must-have book to prepare for your SWE/SDE interview. You might even run into these questions in your own interviews since Gayle is choosing questions that are popular among interviewers today. The DP solutions in this book are not actually tabular DP formulations–I recommend looking at the problems here http://people. cs. clemson. edu/~bcdean/dp_practice/ (Brian Deans Dynamic Programming Practice Problems). After the chapters comes a slough of example interview questions rated as easy/medium/hard, each with hints that interviewers might provide if you were to get stuck as well as a solution. Interviewing with companies can be a pretty grueling process so if you want a much better chance of landing the job the first time, I would highly recommend this book. Proven – no one cares how good you are when interviewing with Major Tech Companies.

My only gripe is that it seems like this book is more for the Java-enthusiast programmer who is dying to interview at Microsoft, rather than. . . anyone else. I’ve noticed more companies moving towards a pair-programming style of interview, which focus on your skills as a *programmer*, not a *computer scientist*. I am very negative about hiring practices in the US software industry, where often for a pizza delivery kind of job they interview as if they need a space ship pilot. And this book and many similar ones are culmination of this flawed approach, that forces people to memorize tricky tasks and their solutions instead of developing strong CS and Math backgrounds. Overall the book was OK to get a taste of what insanity to expect on coding interviews. This is a great interview prep book, and I would recommend catering your focus to the types of companies you’re interviewing with.


For better or for worse, this book is a must read for any developer, at least from pragmatic point of view, I personally don’t see the current interview practices any good, but reality is reality. Coding interviews are about judging your approach to problems rather than specific solutions. Although you should try to solve it yourself before reading the solutions, once you have solved it, you should read the solutions anyway, because he explains the approach he has taken to solve the problems and that turns out to be very valuable. This book attempts to define *the* format for programming interviews, equating interviewing with competitive programming, which is the type of programming used at events like IEEE Xtreme or ACM ICPC (among others). In this regard, “Cracking the Coding Interview” is a bit of a disservice to the software engineering interviewing process.

Many people who studied Computer Science did so because they saw it as the best way to satisfy their desire to solve interesting problems and hate it if you must, but this is just a book filled with fun little problems to solve. It doesn’t matter whether you already have the perfect job or you are a college graduate, who needs to find your first job – it provides a good base for how programming interviews are done in the majority of the software companies. The book is structured in two parts: overview of how interviews for software engineers proceed and actual coding exercises with hints and complete answers.

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The goal of the coding in the interview process is not to find out what you know, but how you approach and think through a problem, which you’ve never encountered before. You are graded not based on whether you answered all questions or not, but on how well you perform against other interview candidates. Cracking the Coding Interview is one of the best books to remember old topics. If you are still coding or like coding this book is a great resource to practice old topics. After reading this book, you probably need more detailed books for each subject. A useful guide to the interview process, followed by 150 exercises in a number of subfields relevant to programmers. The book straight-forwardly is what it says it is, and accomplishes what it sets out to accomplish; I do believe if you study the material therein, you will be better prepared for programming interviews.

If you’re paranoid/thorough, go ahead and work through more problems, such as those found in Elements of Programming Interviews, Programming Interviews Exposed, Project Euler, TopCoder, HackerRank, and so on. I have not finished all the exercises in here, but the book did give me a good idea what to expect in a tech interview. Not only the questions are great but Gayle explains the approach to breakdown different problems into steps so that you can easily tackle problems you have never solved before. This book helped me in my placement interviews and I was able to crack interviews of companies like Oracle, Amazon easily. While CtCi is a great coding interview prep book, I still believe that it is slightly over-rated. Overall, I’d recommend this book to someone who had never read other coding interview prep book.

They get a shout-out as a data structure that basically doesn’t show up in interviews, but I interviewed at 5 major tech companies after reading this book and Tries were the right solution in three of them. Take the book, and practice solving the problems on an actual whiteboard. Don’t skip to the answers, but feel free to read the hints (most interviewers will provide similar hints). There’s simply nothing else you can do that better emulates the coding interview than practicing the problems in this book. Before reading this book, I failed all four tech interviews with various companies, 2 bigger companies and 2 startups. And then I got more interviews, and I decided to spend an weekend reading this book. I passed the subsequent interviews with three companies, including Google and a hot SF startup.

Talk out loud so that your interviewer can be on the same page of where you are in your thinking process and can correct you if you go awry. A different way to look at technical interview: it’s not about solving the problem, it’s about showing your thinking process and logic reasoning capabilities. Maybe the Test chapter should be skipped, people from testing profile won’t buy the book, and those who WILL buy are not looking for testing profile. The programming problems and solutions in the book are definitely worth studying if you’re interviewing for top tech companies. Having said that, the most immediate benefit one gets from the book is just what it was designed for — to prepare for a coding interview. Once you know enough about algorithms and data structures, spending time polishing your code to the quality level in the book might even hinder productivity.

I haven’t finished it, nor am I likely to any time soon — like a professional network, it’s the long maintenance that matters most, so this is something to have around to stay sharp whenever you have a chance to sit down and solve coding problems in the way you have to when Google calls. If it has been a while since you’ve really dug into data structure and algorithm topics, I’d skim the sample questions here, then do some deep review elsewhere before coming back to approach the book again. Surprisingly, not a single question asked in a google interview came from any of the preparatory materials I went over. Cracking the Code Interview is a solid birds-eye-view of many concepts needed for programming interviews, but I found it very lacking for algorithmic questions which may be asked during these interviews.

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