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Developer's Journey, a technical interview paradox

Table of Contents

The why

Now, let's not pretend that we were never envious of those effin geniuses that stood on the shoulders of Tech giants, eating popcorns while we, the humans, tried to get a step through the door.

It's not easy, it's not. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You don't get into a billions dollars company by just being, you actually gotta do something. That's the hard part, isnt it? Doing things.

Especially when those things are about studying mathematical, logical concepts with that algoword.

I often hear a guy on YouTube saying "Hey, do you want to be a software engineer at Google? Go to Algoexpert dot io!" (this last part should be appreciated by Sardinia's people)

The entire dialogue from that girl in the video is looping in my mind, I know it by heart now!

But while I wait to be contacted for the next Youtube video by Clément I guess I should continue talking about the subject of this article.

Spongebob talking about Algoexpert

The recruiter et al

Contrary to the other published articles this one is about technical interviews but doesn't show any code.

I don't think the TI (technical interview, from here on) is unfair or unjust to anyone, really. It's actually a good tool to take into consideration if done properly, but, as you can read from the summary of this article, what I'm talking about is the TI done by less knowledgable companies that want to be like MAANG (Meta, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) but don't have the people, the expertise and the time to actual follow through a thorough process.

Now, don't get me wrong, you gotta start from somewhere, but maybe that somewhere is not the billions dollars companies way? I mean, they all practically started from an effin garage.

I'm not telling you, a possible recruiter who is reading this article, that you should abandon the culture of TI, rather, inviting you to choose a better way to assert the candidate's preparation.

There are better, more suitable solutions. I'm a big time fan of takehome assignments. They show a lot more about the candidate's state of mind, coding art and knowledge.

You might reply: "yes, but you can't see how they behave in front of dire situations"

And I'd reply: "an algorithm in a TI is not a dire situation. Deploying on fridays at 5 minutes leave might be"

Of course, this conversation about our preferences could go on forever so you should just merge both tactics and develop your own TI to make sure that the candidate is in a good place to give their best and that you, as a recruiter, can see what you care to see in them.

How would that go? In simple steps.

  1. Basic interview to know the candidate and get to see if they know the company they are applying for
  2. If the application was not done by the candidate, but rather invited, see if they make interesting questions
  3. Takehome assignment of various difficulty degrees depending on the role
  4. Technical Inteview with senior members discussing the takehome assignment.

That should be enought to validate a possible prospect for your company. Also, you should notice that it's only 2 live meeting, which I consider to be a plus.

Thanos did too many interviews to candidates

The candidate

Wow, we're finally at you, the candidate. That was a good ride, wasn't it?

You lost 12 months of your life learning every algorithm you could on every website you found.

Leetcode? Sure. Hackerrank? F* yeah. Codingames? Definately.

Are you work ready? Probably not.

Am I telling you not to study algorithms? I am definately not. In fact, I encourage you to check out those mentioned websites and have fun coding.

Algoexpert is also a good place to boost your algorithmic knowledge, but I think you should build projects, read other people's code on Github which is a gold mine, and actually care about what you are building.

This is not a must, of course, this is just my advice to someone who does care about this journey and is having fun while traveling through it.

Study your algorithms, eat your veggies and if any random company is gonna go full-MAANG on your interview, just remember to breathe, because you can do it champ!

Tech interview cat

The goodbye

I hope you found this article useful and to your liking and if you have any requests, drop a message on one of my social media accounts or open an issue/start a discussion on github, on this repository!