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Snippet: Practicing the Coding Challenges ☇

Shared on April 28, 2020

Brent Simmons:

If I were on the other side of the table, and this is what the candidate did, I would be quite happy — because they’ve achieved not just correctness but clarity. They’ve solved the problem using a coding style that I’d want to see in production code.

But that’s not what these questions want to see at all.

I had a course in college where the final exam was a assigned-at-the-start-of-class partner setting, timed, and pass/fail. Due to an odd number of people in the course, we were the trio. Despite all the best preparation on my part, it went as poorly as you’d expect. The lesson I learned years after that exam wasn’t necessarily the material in the course, but that a test environment like that is unrealistic. There’s a number of ways to solve a problem, you have plenty of tools and resources at your disposal, and if you aren’t by yourself, you learn the strengths and weaknesses of your team.

I can only imagine how difficult it is to evaluate candidates on a technical level when hiring, but the only-our-way-is-right idea is quite the buzzkill.

Since I added the original post to my Reading List, there’s been a follow-up post.

Snippets are posts that share a linked item with a bit of commentary.