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How To Prepare For Software Development Interviews

Whether you are interviewing for an internship or a full time job, these tips will help you better prepare and face technical interview rounds for software developer jobs.

There are usually 4-5 stages of interview for a software developer role -

  • Phone Screening
  • Task Round and / or Technical Round
  • CEO / Managerial Round
  • HR Round

This post will focus on the Task / Technical Round stage, and how you can leverage your knowledge, skills, and portfolio projects to get a software developer job.

Let's dive in -

1. Know your concepts

This might come off as an obvious suggestion, but technical interviews always begin by testing your theoretical knowledge on the language of your choice (or the language that the job role is based on).

Just knowing how to put together things does not guarantee a job. You do not need to remember code (nobody should), but the core concepts behind the language MUST be mastered.

This will help you be a better developer in your day-to-day job. If you know the core fundamentals well, you can master any library or framework or tool later on. Companies look for this trait, since adaptiveness to newer technologies can only happen if you know to master fundamental concepts well.

If you are applying for a React developer job, you should ideally master JavaScript well. Concepts to study include knowing how JS works behind the scenes, DOM structure, Scope, Hoisting, Closure, Higher Order Functions, Array methods (map, filter, reduce, forEach), OOP concepts (Object, Classes, Encapsulation, Inheritance), Callbacks, Promises, and Async/Await.

Being thorough in these topics will give you more confidence and leverage to understand and explain React concepts to anyone, including the interviewer.

2. Practice building projects

Technical rounds either consist of, or are preceeded by a Task Round which means that you will be given a specific part of an app or a UI to build using certain technologies like ReactJS, or to build an API using Node and Express.

This part of the interview is to test you on three grounds -

a. Your problem solving approach

✅ More than the solution itself, interviewers in good startups are interested in knowing your thought process. If you can present a valid solution approach on which you can build the solution later on, you are guaranteed to be a good developer.

❌ Do not be haste to jump into the code directly. Whether it's an on-screen task round or a take-home ptoblem, you are always better off by first analyzing the problem statement, breaking it into smaller modules, sketching / writing out a rough outline of your approach on paper, and finally start writing the code. This will help you think in a clearer manner.

b. Your composure

Composure is your ability to stay calm and trying your best to approach a problem with a clear mindset. It is totally okay to not know the entire solution at one go. But as mentioned in the previous point, approaching the problem by bits will ensure you have smaller achievable goals.

In most interviews, if the interviewer likes your thought process and feels that you are a potential recruit, they will even nudge you with helpful tips here and there to help you arrive at the solution.

c. Your attention-to-detail

  • How thorough are you in understanding the task?
  • How attentive are you to analyse small cross / alternate approach questions?
  • How much attention-to-detail can you give to design and develop a UI?

So how do you ensure that you are covering the above grounds? By having mock sessions of such task rounds and by building projects regularly.

Like we say at AltCampus, keep building and keep shipping. The more you ship, the more confidence you get and the better you get at approaching problem-solving.

Take a look at examples of our students learning and shipping regularly with our full stack web development course.

3. Communicate your thoughts

If the interviewer does not know your thought process behind problem solving, then it will be more of a difficult road to get them and yourself to a common ground.

That is why effective communication is crucial in letting the interviewer know more about how you are approaching the task at hand.

Some pointers to have effective communication -

✅ Speak out loud and clear ✅ Do not be ashamed or embarassed in any way; making mistakes is 100% okay ✅ You do not have to have a conversation while you are solving the problem; just talk to yourself if that is more comfortable, but be audible enough ✅ Discuss rather than directly asking help or challenging the interviewer

4. Solve Data Structures & Algorithms consistently

If you are learning full stack web development and then applying for a backend or full stack developer role, data structures and algorithms are a must.

Do not postpone this part till the end of your journey, and then prepare just a few weeks before the interview.

Instead, you are set to start solving problems on platforms like Leetcode, Codewars, and Hackerrank from the moment you learn your basics of JavaScript - Variables, Operators, Functions, Objects & Arrays, Array & String Methods, Basic DOM and DOM & Events.

Focus on mastering these common Data Structures concepts -

  • Arrays
  • Queues
  • Linked Lists
  • Trees (Binary Trees & Heaps)
  • Graphs
  • Hash Tables (Maps)

Here are some common search and sort algorithms to study -

  • Binary search
  • Bubble sort
  • Insertion sort
  • Merge sort
  • Quick sort
  • Selection sort

Check out frequently asked MERN Interview Questions to prepare thoroughly for a MERN developer interview.

As you learn more advanced concepts in JavaScript, you can either revisit the earlier problems and optimise them with better code, or solve higher levels of problems with the knowledge gained 💪

5. Research the company

This cannot be emphasised enough - research as much as you can about the company you are interviewing for, before getting on a call. Winging it (having a glance on Google search for namesake) will NOT work, and interviewers will know immediately if you are uninterested.

Try to genuinely know about the company (LinkedIn and Twitter are great resources to find decent information), its products, its goals, its culture, its founding team, etc. Being proactive like this will definitely show in your interview, and you can easily build rapport with the interviewing team.

Ask questions as well. You have every right and responsibility to know more about the company, so ask genuine, valid questions like more about your role, the expectations on you as a developer, who you will be working with, the company culture, their current and future products, and more.

6. Know your projects

Being able to explain your projects properly shows your interest in building them. You do not have to have 10 huge apps. Just have 2-3 well built full stack or frontend apps that you can showcase with a live link (or a portfolio), and explain your approach in building them.

This will ensure that you know your processes in and out.

Here are 10 full stack project ideas for a MERN developer you can build and master MERN concepts.

These said, there are a couple of other essential tips to improve your confidence -

Have a pair programmer

Learning with peers is a proven way to gain more practice and confidence in building projects. Having a programming buddy to do pair-programming not only helps you discuss ideas clearly but also helps you be accountable.

You can conduct mock interviews to get a feel of the technical interview round. Repeatedly practicing in a simulated interview environment will help you be level-headed during actual interviews.

Have a mentor

Find a mentor who can guide you on your journey. You can gain more insights and learn to write really good code from the mentors' experience.

The full stack web development course at AltCampus gives you access to personalized mentoship, daily doubt-clearing sessions, a peer community, and numerous exercises and assignments to ensure that you have thoroughly mastered each concept before moving ahead.

There are also code reviews at each major checkpoint in the course that will make you progressively better at writing code.

Cracking interviews are easy enough, but takes a good amount of practice beforehand. If you are ready to kickstart your developer career, sign up for our upcoming cohort and start learning full stack web development with a great community 🙂

Learn full stack development at AltCampus and become job ready 🚀


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