How To Ace Coding Interviews at Top Tech (FAANG) Companies.

Road Map for Ace Coding Interviews
Road Map for Ace Coding Interviews

Coding interviews are stressful. Prepping for interviews at top tech companies or sometimes we most often use the term FAANG(Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) might be intimidating to most beginners and experienced engineers. Almost, all of the students and software professionals tend to learn more and more to get themselves better at problem-solving and system design compared to yesterday.

With so many topics to prepare the timeline given to a potential candidate varies from a week to 3 weeks based on the company policies. Most of companies wouldn't give time for you to prepare. They reach you either through email/call and fix a date for an appointment and ask you to write some code and code walkthrough!

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Acing Coding Interviews

Acing Coding interviews at top tech companies can be intimidating to a lot of software engineers and software aspirants.

They fail because of the following reasons:

  1. Lack of process awareness.
  2. Candidates directly jump to solutions instead of running through the “Thought-Process”.
  3. Ignoring the edge/base cases.
  4. Not able to implement a solution or algorithm for the use case asked in interviews.
  5. Not spending enough time in preparation for coding interviews.
  6. Candidates lack experience in Data Structures and Algorithms.
  7. Candidates lack experience in problem-solving techniques.
Learn the ABC's.
Learn the ABC's

Ok, enough!! These are mere considerations when someone is unprepared. So, in order to ace coding interviews, you need to work on the following items.

  1. Choosing the right topics instead of going through a massive pile of algorithms.
  2. You need to solve more puzzles in order to get your brain thinking out of the box.
  3. Try solving more questions.
  4. If you’re unable to solve a problem, don’t look for the editorial optimal solution. Instead, go through all the solutions from the Brute-Force approach and other ways that the problem can be solved. This makes your brain register all possible ways and helps you solve many more problems.
  5. You need to fire up your resume with short notes, that talk more about your skills, achievements, and projects that you have worked on in your spare time or tell them you’re so interested in software that boosted you in doing the project. This will not only impress your interviewer but also you will be able to establish a good relationship and at the end of the interview you both will be on good terms, or a weighted bonus.

Prepping for FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) requires a solid knowledge of data structures and algorithms, problem-solving, HLD, System Design and LLD, etc.

Data structures and algorithms are the most intimidating 😟 subject for a lot of software aspirants and software professionals.

So, what makes a difference if you learn them all and attend interviews at the FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) companies?

This is a good question. Here is the curated content, before starting prepping for the coding interviews, you need to do the below five things.

  1. Choose a Programming Language.
  2. Learn the basics of the chosen Programming Language.
  3. Brush up on Data Structures and Algorithms.
  4. Problem-solving patterns.
  5. Big O complexity analysis.

1.  Choose a Programming Language

There are many languages out there for you to start with.

If you already knew a programming language and wanted to start learning a new one because that’s famous and listed in the top 3 programming languages to learn in the current year.. then yes, you can learn but the best practice is to stick to the already known programming language of yours so you won’t spend wasting time on learning a new programming language.

Just keep in mind when considering learning a language.

  • Does Learning a new programming language take 1 week? Just go for it and then do problem-solving.
  • If learning a language takes more than a month. It’s better you focus on solving problems rather than on learning a language.

2.  Learn the basics of the chosen programming language

Learn basics and that’s all you need to kickstart problem-solving and prepping for coding interviews.

You can always watch the video/text-based courses without having a knowledge of any of the programming languages. But, you need to get some basics done before you are done with the course, so you understand each word and line that’s written.

3.   Data Structures And Algorithms

Data structures simply organize data in memory in a variety of different ways in the way that you might organize that for that specific problem is really depend on what you’re trying to do so. In other words, it is a way to store/organize data in computer memory.

An algorithm is a process or set of rules to be followed in solving a problem.

4.  Problem-solving patterns

Once you start solving problems, you will never look back, trust me 🤩 .

  • Solve 5 problems each day on a topic and the next day revises old and solve another set of 5 new problems.
  • See the patterns in solving the problems.

5.  Big O Complexity Analysis

Big O helps in understanding whether an algorithm scales or not.

Scalable means if an algorithm scales when input grows large. Just because your computer executes the code doesn’t mean it is scalable.

Learn more about Big-O: What is Big O Notation.

This is the reason we use Big O notation to describe the performance of an algorithm. Well, what it this have to do with data structures.

Preparation plans

No matter how busy you are, you at least get 2 hours daily. For example, you can save time by eating your lunch/dinner in 20min instead of eating your food with watching Netflix. Or getting up early an hour or sleeping early at night.

You can invest these couple hours in prepping coding interviews daily and within weeks you can sure learn something!

This is one of the most asked questions by software aspirants and software professionals over the years.

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Although there is no straight answer to this question I like one of the preparation plans posted on the Coding Interview roadmap.

This 3-month preparation plan is by far one of the top-rated and most people upvoted it in the last couple of years.

First, you need to know the basics of any programming language, so you can start working on your data structures and algorithmic skills. But what if I say that you are learning in the wrong way?

Yes, you don’t need to master the data structures first to start solving problems.

Go to any problem-solving website, first take a look at the problem and try to solve it using a pen and paper. If you cannot understand the problem or not come up with a solution, that’s totally normal.

Almost all of the coders were there in that situation when they started prepping for the first time. So, first, check the editorials so you can understand the way to solve the problem.

I recommend you choose problems that have editorials or solution notes that help you.

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Note: If you choose a problem on Heap DS, first take a peek at what Heap means and just the basics, and then try to come up with a thought process, you don’t have to have skills or language proficiency to solve the problem. If you know how to solve it in mind and put notes on paper, that’s fantastic. You can learn to code later.
  • Because most professionals lack a thought process in solving a problem, they are good coders but not great when thinking and analyzing the problem given.
  • Because most professionals lack a thought process in solving a problem, they are good coders but not great when thinking and analyzing the problem given.

Some of the most popular problem-solving websites for your practice. Below are the top coding platforms.

  1. LeetCode (One of the top Active communities platforms)
  2. HackerRank
  3. HackerEarth
  4. Structy
  5. CodeChef
  6. Code Forces
  7. SPOJ

If you want to master data structures and algorithms, and want to ace FAANG companies, you definitely need to check these below course. Which helps you master the skill in 60 days.

Few of the courses which really got admired by most of the developers in the online communities are listed based on platforms.

  1. Grokking The Machine Learning Interview.
  2. Ace The Java Coding Interview.
  3. Ace The JavaScript Coding Interview.
  4. Ace The Python Coding Interview.
  5. Ace The C++ Coding Interview.
  6. Ace The Front-end Interview.
  7. Become a Machine Learning Engineer.
  8. Master Bit Manipulation For Coding Interviews.
  9. Grokking The Coding Interview: Patterns For Coding Questions.
  10. Grokking Dynamic Programming Patterns For Coding Interviews.
  11. Master The Coding Interviews – Data Structures and Algorithms.
  12. Master The Coding Interview – Big Tech FAANG Interviews.
  13. JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures Masterclass.
  14. The Coding Interview Bootcamp – Algorithms + Data Structures.
  15. Cracking The Coding Interview – 189 Programming Questions And Solutions.

Final notes, don’t memorize the solutions, companies don’t want a Memory device 😅, they want human brains 🤩 to solve a problem in the most efficient way.