Job hunting - Prepping for technical interviews
Job hunting is a skill of its own. It's different from the things we have learnt to do as part of our day-to-day work or learning to code experiences. It requires a certain set of skills that are bound to get rusty unless you are interviewed every other month or so. So, it ends up being an almost new experience every time you get back in the pool.
If you haven’t, check out the first part of this article Job hunting - Cleaning up your resume
A little over a year ago, I was in the market looking for my next opportunity. I wanted to get a frontend engineering role or even better, an engineering role that would still let me do developer advocacy things.
Although I was already working on and building products, writing code every single day as a Frontend Engineer at Flutterwave, it was a different ball game trying to ace technical interviews. And I had to do a few things that helped me get better at them.
A different mindspace
The first thing we need to realize is that, solving technical challenges especially under the kind of pressure that you would be under during an interview requires you to be in a certain mind space. The best way to describe this space is an over-familiarity with the focus required to correctly breakdown problem statements, easily remember example scenarios you’ve solved before that are similar to the current problem, and just have your mind sharpened to tackle these problems as well.
The only way to get into this mind space and stay there, is to spend time solving different technical challenges starting from the really simple ones. The saying “Iron sharpens iron” wasn’t a misconception.
It is very important that you’re honest with yourself with the technical areas that you seem to struggle with. You don’t have to know everything but being able to progressively build on the existing knowledge you have would serve a great purpose.
You can’t look to learn about what you don’t know if you won’t admit that you don’t know it well enough yet.
Choose where to learn
Like in many cases, there is usually more than one way to skin a cat. There are multiple platforms that provide a learning opportunity to pick up on some of these exercises. I think it’s very important to stick to the one that best addresses the areas you have found yourself lacking. I went with Leetcode, but there are many others like TopCoder, HackerRank or even a book might come in handy.
What’s important is choosing and following a structured path to your learning.
Practice, Practice, Practice.
To wrap this up, it’s important to invest hours in getting comfortable in that mind space, filling empty gaps and learning new ways to solve these challenges. The only way to do that is practice and more practice.
I wish you all the best on your journey to find the next opportunity for yourself and I look forward to hearing any recommendations that may have assisted you in preparing for and acing a technical interview.