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  • Writer's pictureTim Buchalka

Do All Programming Interviews Have Coding Tests?

Do all programming interviews require a coding test? Let’s talk about that today.

The question again was do all programming interviews have coding tests? Well the short answer is no, they don’t. I’ve actually been in quite a few interviews where a coding test wasn’t even discussed and for me it was relatively rare to actually have a coding test, but it does depend on where you’re going for the job. If you’re going to apply for a job with Microsoft, with Google, or some of that nature, Apple then almost certainly you will have a coding test, because they’re looking for the best of the best. They’ve got a streamline process which generally involves quite a few things, multiple interviews and coding tests as well.

So to get in you will need to understand and pass those coding tests basically to have any chance of working for those companies, but in general depending who you’re actually going to work with you may not get a coding test at all rather.

So what they might do is try and find some way to figure out if you’ve got the experience. If you’ve already got some programming experience it can be relatively easy for them to just ask you a few general questions without you needing to go through a full formal coding test. Relatively rare in my experience generally for general companies for you to have to get on the whiteboard and do extended coding tests, but basically it comes down to the employer. Don’t assume it’s gonna happen in all situations, but you probably want to be prepared depending on who you’re actually considering working for and who the interview is with to be prepared to at least answer.

Now, some of the other things, or one other thing that I want to point out here is that it’s not actually essential for you to pass a coding test. This is something that a lot of people probably don’t realize, because you know, it’s a highly stressful situation. Let’s face it, when you’re in an interview process it’s really hard to think clearly, probably your heart is racing a little bit, you’re trying to remain calm, and you’re trying to figure out what the best answers are. A lot of the time what an employer is looking for is just to find out more about your thought process leading to a solution. In fact, some of the sneaky employers out there will give you a solution or a challenge I should say, a test, that hasn’t got an answer.

So they’re looking to see how you go about approaching solving the problem and you will get points for doing that even if you don’t actually get to the stage of completing the test, so keep that in mind. Don’t sort of look at a coding test if someone gives it to you and go blank and simply say, “I can’t even do anything there.” Have a stab at it, go through the process, think logically, and even if you get some of it right that might be enough, a bottom might be enough I should say, to get you over the line and to succeed.

So coding tests aren’t necessarily as scary as you might be thinking they are. They are in some cases if you’re going to work for Google, Microsoft, or a company of that nature. Probably they are scary and you really need to know your stuff, but in general focus on if you do happen to get a coding test trying to go through and think about it logically and sort of demonstrate and talk the process through with the interviewee, interviewer I should say, and make sure that they can see that you are approaching it in a logical way and that will certainly help.

So in general, again, answering the question today, not all interviews have coding tests.I hope that helped. If you’ve got any questions feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll get back to you.

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