Software developers are in high demand, but to get a job, they first must master the technical interview. Often packed with confusing questions and excruciating tests, it can feel like a lot just to get a job offer. However, if you make it through and impress your future employers, you'll not only get the offer, but you'll have a lot of negotiating power because their desire to hire you will be through the roof.
When teams are hiring for a developer position, they want to make sure people can walk the walk, not just talk the talk. There's too much on the line to risk a bad hire, so tough interviews that involve tests and quizzes are common. Here are a few things to be aware of before entering the job market. For more specific, personalized advice, work with your GetFive career coach.
Developers and other technical gurus are given coding challenges and/or quizzes that must be completed on their own time. Usually these challenges present a problem and you are expected to provide a solution within a given time frame. It's essential to not only provide a solution you're proud of, but also do so by the deadline. In addition, you might have to complete a quiz where you answer different questions or select in a multiple-choice format. If you receive the challenge/quiz and don't think you'll have enough time to complete it, try to negotiate some extra time. If you give a reason (such as you have a full-time job and it's your kid's soccer championship tomorrow), they might give you an extra day.
Technical Interview Questions
While a coding challenge is a take-home assignment, don't think you won't be tested in some manner during the interview. The interviewer will likely want to draw out some information that demonstrates your working knowledge, so be sure to provide examples and be thoughtful in your answers. For example, you might be asked about working on a certain project using a specific technology; then be asked a question about that technology or what you would do differently if you could start that project over again. Insider tip: Be proud of your accomplishment and don't be afraid to show off a little during this part of the interview. It's the best time to let your expertise shine.
The whiteboard is the heart of a technical brainstorm, helping teams break down problems and form solutions. It's also become a common step in the technical interview process. During an interview, you may be presented with a problem and asked to explain and draw out the solution on the whiteboard. A good interviewer will help you by facilitating the conversation with clues as necessary. They want to learn about how your mind works to solve problems as much as they want to see the final solution; therefore, this challenge is as much about smart technical communication as it is about coming up with a logical result. Remember, practice makes perfect, so you may want to get yourself a whiteboard and complete some mock challenges prior to the interview so you feel more comfortable when it's time for the real test.
The key to coming out on top for any of these technical challenges is to take your time, get clarification if necessary, and use your knowledge to complete the tests as best as possible. Be confident in your answers and you're sure to get noticed in a positive light.