Effective Practice Tools to Master Non-FAANG Coding Interviews

With the boom in the tech industry, the demand for skilled developers is increasing, and companies are looking for effective ways to recruit them. Therefore, the developers are also searching for ways to polish their skills and be prepared for coding interviews. While the FAANG companies (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) receive a lot of attention, many other non-FAANG companies offer great opportunities for developers.

On the other hand, a job at a non-FAANG company necessitates a thorough understanding of the behavioral coding interview process and the skills required to succeed. These companies prefer real-life coding challenges over algorithmic tests. Therefore, getting a strong grip on your coding skills and mastering the behavioral coding interview is the key to opening new doors and propelling your career forward. 

In this article, we will discuss the importance of practicing for coding interviews at non-FAANG companies and the practice tools that can help you ace these interviews.

Importance of Practicing for Coding Interviews

It is especially important to prepare for a coding interview for various reasons, including you would be confident in your skills and will be able to anticipate and strategize for the questions that could be asked in the interview. In addition, you will be able to identify your strengths and work on your weaknesses.

The weaknesses encountered and your effort to work on them will help you enhance your coding and debugging skills, giving you the edge over the candidates. Additionally, you will gain a better understanding of programming languages and frameworks, making it simpler for you to write efficient and clean code.

Usually, candidates are assessed on their algorithmic and coding skills in these coding interviews, while these interviews at non-FAANG companies can vary in several ways. They emphasize practical coding skills, such as familiarity with programming languages, frameworks, and tools.

In addition, non-FAANG coding interviews also entail more discussion and teamwork; for example, the interviewer might inquire about the applicant's previous experience working on projects or their approach to a particular coding challenge. It can help the interviewer better understand the applicant's creativity, problem-solving abilities, and teamwork capabilities. On the other hand, algorithmic tests at FAANG companies typically focus on evaluating a candidate's capacity to solve complex coding problems and algorithms.

Some popular non-FAANG companies known for challenging coding interviews include Careem, Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox, Reddit, Binance, Coinbase, and many other tech-based companies. Their interviews may involve practical coding exercises, algorithmic tests, practical problem-solving scenarios, and discussions about the candidate's experience working on specific projects.

Using Coding Assessment Platforms for Practice

The most frequently asked question by developers is how to prepare for the interviews, and the answer is to use a coding assessment platform. It is one of the most effective ways to assess your abilities. These platforms offer a wide range of coding exercises and real-world coding problems. They also provide feedback on your performance, allowing you to identify areas for improvement.

Rviewer, HackerRank, LeetCode, and CodeSignal are popular coding assessment platforms. These platforms provide a variety of coding challenges ranging in difficulty from simple to difficult. They also provide coding challenges in various programming languages like Python, Java, Javascript, C#, or C++. In addition, some platforms also offer videos for explaining some basic concepts and discussion forums to discuss problems.

While Rviewer, HackerRank, LeetCode, and Code Signal are free, some additional features require a subscription fee. Also, some challenges are difficult and irrelevant to real-world scenarios.

Practicing with Code Mentors

Another effective way to prepare for coding interviews is to work with a code mentor. A code mentor can give you valuable feedback on your coding skills and insight into the questions you might be asked in an interview. They can also advise you on best coding practices and help you identify improvement areas.

There are several methods for locating a code mentor. One option is joining a coding community, such as a coding meetup group or an online coding forum. These communities frequently have experienced developers willing to mentor newcomers. In addition, a mentorship platform, such as Rviewer, MentorCruise, or CodeMentor, can help developers connect developers with experienced mentors who can provide guidance.

Participating in Mock Interviews

Mock interviews are one of the ways to get ready for coding interviews. They simulate the interview process, allowing you to practice answering questions and solving coding problems under pressure. Because it is very common for people to have stage fright, it is good to go through the process in advance to avoid being surprised and prepared for your actual interview. They also provide useful feedback on your performance, assisting you in identifying areas for improvement.

There are several types of mock interviews, which are as follows.

One-on-One Mock Interviews

One-on-one mock interviews are the most common type. They involve a single interviewer asking the candidate questions, often focused on technical skills and problem-solving abilities. These interviews can be conducted in person or remotely, allowing candidates to practice their communication skills and receive feedback on their performance.

Group Mock Interviews

Group mock interviews involve multiple interviewers asking questions from the candidate. This format is often used by larger companies or during final rounds of interviews, where multiple decision-makers may be involved. Group interviews can be more challenging than one-on-one interviews, as candidates must navigate multiple personalities and communication styles.

Peer Mock Interviews

Peer mock interviews involve candidates interviewing each other. This format can be particularly helpful for candidates early in their careers, as it allows them to practice their interviewing skills with someone at a similar level. Peer mock interviews can also allow candidates to receive feedback from someone with a different perspective or approach. It is especially helpful because your colleagues and friends can help you conduct them, and as they know you well, they can identify your weaknesses and ask you to work on them.

Recorded Mock Interviews

Recorded mock interviews involve candidates recording themselves answering a series of interview questions. This format can be particularly helpful for candidates who are nervous or uncomfortable with live interviews, allowing them to practice their responses in a more controlled environment. In addition, recorded mock interviews can allow candidates to review and reflect on their performance.

Mock interviews can be conducted in a variety of ways. One option is a mock interview platform, such as Pramp, Gainlo, Preplaced, InterviewBuddy, Codility, Interviewing, Exponent, etc. These platforms offer simulated interviews with experienced developers who can give you feedback on your performance. Another option is to practice mock interviews with friends or coworkers. For example, you can interview and provide feedback on each other's performance.

Completing Coding Challenges

Another effective way to prepare for coding interviews is to complete coding challenges. Coding challenges offer real-world coding problems that simulate the questions that may be asked in an interview. CodeWars, LeetCode, HackerRank, Rviewer, and TopCoder, are just some websites that provide coding challenges. These platforms provide a variety of coding challenges ranging in difficulty level, so you can begin with easy ones and progress to more advanced ones as your skills and confidence grow. 

One advantage of completing coding challenges is that they force you to think outside the box. You will face problems that may appear difficult initially, but you can find solutions by thinking creatively and logically. This skill is highly valued in the tech industry and will help you stand out in coding interviews.

In tech interviews at non-FAANG companies, various coding tests are used. A few of them are as follows.

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Take-home coding challenges

Take-home assignments are tests that candidates can complete in their free time. Companies can test candidates using online platforms like Woven, Coderbyte, or CoderPad. Engineers are expected to produce high-quality work, and with more time and space for reflection, candidates can think about interesting issues or novel solutions.

As a result, candidates are typically evaluated based on various criteria, such as their ability to write high-quality code, their level of comfort in experimenting with new technologies, and their creativity and problem-solving abilities without the assistance of an interviewer.

Pair programming

The interviewer and candidate collaborate on the same computer to solve a programming problem in a pair programming interview, with the interviewer acting as navigator and driver. The interviewer's role in this interview style is to share their thoughts and observations while guiding the candidate through problem-solving.

It is an excellent assessment of a candidate's communication, problem-solving, and decision-making abilities. In addition, candidates feel positively challenged while learning a little about the company, their potential team, and the type of work they will do, with the help of a good problem statement and a competent interviewer.

MCQ or screening-based challenges

A screening interview is a job interview to determine whether a candidate is qualified for a position. These are the most basic types of interviews. Employers frequently conduct screening interviews during the initial hiring process.

A screening interview includes questions and a brief educational and professional background review. In addition, the interviewer may inquire about your availability, desired salary, and credentials. At the same time, the MCQ challenge is a simple test to determine the candidate's suitability for the job description.

Code assessment platform tests

A coding assessment platform is a sophisticated software platform that provides a coding environment to help recruiters evaluate a coder's skill and knowledge. It allows assessors to schedule coding tests online, screen candidates, and distribute invites while focusing on progress and performance. Before the interview round, a coding assessment platform is usually used for technical screening.

Whiteboarding in Technical Interviews

Whiteboard interviews are a type of interview question that evaluates a potential hire's technical and non-technical skills. This can be challenging, as you would have to think of the solution spontaneously and explain your thought process to the interviewer.

For example, they might involve a specific algorithm and data structure issue or a more general question about systems architecture. During whiteboard interviews, interviewers and interviewees are forced to concentrate on problems at a higher level where syntax highlighting, development environments, and mistakes in syntax are not tested. Instead, it determines how the candidate gathers requirements, responds to criticism and feedback, and clearly explains difficult concepts, especially plans, before writing the code.

There are various ways to practice whiteboarding. Some include practicing whiteboarding with a partner to prepare for technical interviews. In addition, you can take turns presenting and solving coding problems on a whiteboard or piece of paper.

As a result, it will help you get in the habit of thinking aloud and explaining your reasoning as you work through the problem. Another option is using online whiteboarding tools like Draw.io or Lucidchart. These tools enable you to create diagrams and flowcharts that can assist you in effectively visualizing and communicating your thought process.

Live Coding And Pair Programming Tools

Solving coding problems in real-time while being observed by an interviewer is known as live coding. At the same time, pair programming entails collaborating with another developer to solve coding problems. On the other hand, live coding and pair programming can be intimidating initially, but they're excellent ways to demonstrate your coding skills, problem-solving, and communication abilities. They also aid in developing communication skills, which are essential in the tech industry.

Many online tools, such as CodePen, CoderPad, Codeanywhere, AlgoExpert.io, Repl.it, and Visual Studio Live Share, can be used to practice live coding and pair programming. These tools enable you to collaborate in real time with other developers and practice your coding skills together. 

Additionally, some tools offer pre-built code libraries with the provided documentation to know how the libraries work that candidates can use to solve common coding challenges, saving the time required for installing libraries. Lastly, some tools offer video conferencing features, helping candidates to communicate with their interviewer or teammate and allowing them to share their code with others, which can help facilitate collaboration and feedback more effectively.

Therefore, it can be quite useful for companies to use them for hiring, but at the same time has its drawbacks too, which include that occasionally people can experience technical issues such as lag or connectivity issues which can disrupt the interview process. In addition, the live coding environment may distract candidates, making it difficult for them to focus on their code and communicate effectively with their interviewer or teammate. Lastly, live coding challenges are frequently time-limited; they can add stress and pressure to the interview process.

Wrapping up

It is essential to practice coding interviews, update yourself on the tech industry about the new technologies, frameworks, or languages frequently used by businesses, and learn them to compete in this fiercely competitive market.

In this article, we have shown several effective practice tools you can use to improve your coding skills, build your confidence, and prepare for coding interviews. Coding assessment platforms, code mentors, mock interviews, completing coding challenges, whiteboarding, and live coding and pair programming tools are all great ways to prepare for coding interviews. Using these tools and practicing regularly will prepare you to ace your next coding interview and land your dream job.