OK, let us admit it. Coding interviews are tough.
There are nerves involved. There is uncomfortableness. There is awkwardness. There is also this strange fear that we might ‘suck’ in this interview and create a laughing stock of ourselves. The possible scenarios that can go wrong are endless.
But that brings us to a question.
Why are coding interviews tough? Is it only about the technical stuff that is asked or is it something deeper?
Charles Darwin had a similar question(no, he was not a programmer!!!) when he studied the theory of evolution. One day while at the London Zoo, Darwin decided to conduct an experiment. He pressed his face as close as possible to the thick glass separating him from a poisonous puff adder. He found that every time the snake would lunge at him, he would instinctively jump back several feet despite the fact that the glass was unbreakable and the snake cannot harm him.
Darwin finally concluded that human beings, despite their superior intelligence still continue to react as per their primitive survival animal instincts. This is known as the “fight-or-flight response”, a physiological reaction to perceived threats which is designed to prepare an animal to either flee from danger or fight it.
And in modern times, these threats boil down to losing reputation, becoming a subject of ridicule or even getting tongue-tied, all of which get painfully exposed in a tough coding interview. And these possibilities are scarily real enough to make us fumble through the interview and finally lose the plot.
That said, being a good programmer does not guarantee you success in a programming interview. Every interview, besides the technical stuff, is a battle of nerves in which you need to solve problems quickly, under duress, and explain your thoughts lucidly. This is a different ball game from the usual technical stuff. On top of this, we may have poor interviewers also (I had explained it in my earlier article) who can make a royal mess out of a good interview.
And here are some of the things that helped me in my career to clear interviews successfully.
This content was originally published here.