Coding challenges as part of an interview

Brent Simmons writing about coding challenges as part of an interview process.

I’ve read a bunch of the advice on this, and the advice says things like: “Start talking. Restate the problem. Talk out an approach. Consider how much space/time it will use. And then start writing code.”

I feel like Brent is speaking for myself when he says:

Which is of course not at all how I solve problems.

He then goes on to explain in detail how he typically approaches a problem domain that he is unfamiliar with when writing code. Which sounds very familiar to how I go on about writing code too. Furthermore,

And — even more critical — I don’t have a 45-minute time constraint. Nobody is watching me type and judging. I’m writing code to solve a problem, rather than writing code to get a job.

There’s a huge difference between “solve this performance problem with a binary search” and “pass this test so you can feed your family.”

This hits the nail on the head. I too had to solve similar coding excercises during an interview only to suffer from anxiety. I get tunnel vision and I am unable to demonstrate clear thinking.

Thank you for saying this Brent. I take comfort reading that a developer like you, at the top of their game, is faced with the same challenges as I do. It tells me I am not alone.

What is this website?

This is a personal website, at the outskirts of the web, away from social media and publishing platforms. This website surfaces social, racial, economic traits and explores human relationships. It highlights the conditions that contribute to one's personal success or downfall. It shares stories that act as a reminder that life is messy, complex, nuanced, diverse. It aims to bring the world closer together. It reaches out to those that feel lost, lonely, inadequate and outcasts. I am with you.