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Today we are going to look at how to prepare for an interview from a technical point of view. In this instance we are presuming you are applying for a software developer job. But the techniques will still be largely applicable to many technical interviews in the IT industry.

Setting the scene

You have just finished the first stage interview; you have more than likely spoken to someone over the phone and have been invited to a technical stage interview. These can happen in one of two ways; you can complete them onsite or you may do it remotely. We will be presuming in this scenario that you have been invited onsite. Now you need to prepare.

What technical information you need to know before going in

There are some core pieces of information that you will need to know that don’t really change from company to company. However, the level of complexity may vary. Some of these topics are arrays, strings, linked lists, stacks, queues, trees, graphs, hash maps, and other common classes of data structures. This is not an exhaustive list but should give you an idea of where your head should be.

You will also need to be aware of breadth first search, depth first search, binary search, recursion, and other common classes of algorithms. With a thorough understanding of these topics, you should be able to tackle most technical interview that come your way.

How to approach the technical interview

Do not start right away when you are told to start. Take your time and make sure that whatever you are attempting to fix can be fixed thoroughly. You don’t want to start only to have to redo it because your solution stops after a few lines of code! Be mindful of ambiguities that need to be solved before you start coding, missing obvious ones can be a red flag for your interviewer.

If you only know of a brute force solution, start with that. Explain to your interviewer your choice as it is better to start with something and build up. It would be a waste of both your and the interviewer’s time if you only have a half baked idea for another solution only for it to fall apart.

Speak to your interviewer regularly. Give them an insight into how your mind is working and solving problems. Not only does this provide great opportunity to get to see how your mind works, but often by talking out loud you will solve more problems. Win win!

If you get stuck, explain the situation to the interviewer. They may be able to give a hint to what direction to go in.

As you finish, take your time to tweak it to make sure that all of the details are correct. You will often only have one chance to make sure that it works.

Sounds like something you would like to hear more about for your interviews? Get in touch!

Phone: 0161 975 7525

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