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Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions [Paperback]

Gayle Laakmann McDowell
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Price: £24.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

22 Aug 2011 098478280X 978-0984782802 5th Revised & enlarged
Now in the 5th edition, Cracking the Coding Interview gives you the interview preparation you need to get the top software developer jobs. This is a deeply technical book and focuses on the software engineering skills to ace your interview. The book is over 500 pages and includes 150 programming interview questions and answers, as well as other advice. 

The full list of topics are as follows:

The Interview ProcessThis section offers an overview on questions are selected and how you will be evaluated. What happens when you get a question wrong? When should you start preparing, and how? What language should you use? All these questions and more are answered.
Behind the ScenesLearn what happens behind the scenes during your interview, how decisions really get made, who you interview with, and what they ask you. Companies covered include Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook.
Special SituationsThis section explains the process for experience candidates, Program Managers, Dev Managers, Testers / SDETs, and more. Learn what your interviewers are looking for and how much code you need to know.
Before the InterviewIn order to ace the interview, you first need to get an interview. This section describes what a software engineer's resume should look like and what you should be doing well before your interview.
Behavioral PreparationAlthough most of a software engineering interview will be technical, behavioral questions matter too. This section covers how to prepare for behavioral questions and how to give strong, structured responses.
Technical Questions (+ 5 Algorithm Approaches)This section covers how to prepare for technical questions (without wasting your time) and teaches actionable ways to solve the trickiest algorithm problems. It also teaches you what exactly "good coding" is when it comes to an interview.
150 Programming Questions and AnswersThis section forms the bulk of the book. Each section opens with a discussion of the core knowledge and strategies to tackle this type of question, diving into exactly how you break down and solve it. Topics covered include 
  • Arrays and Strings
  • Linked Lists
  • Stacks and Queues
  • Trees and Graphs
  • Bit Manipulation
  • Brain Teasers
  • Mathematics and Probability
  • Object-Oriented Design
  • Recursion and Dynamic Programming
  • Sorting and Searching
  • Scalability and Memory Limits
  • Testing
  • C and C++
  • Java
  • Databases
  • Threads and Locks
For the widest degree of readability, the solutions are almost entirely written with Java (with the exception of C / C++ questions). A link is provided with the book so that you can download, compile, and play with the solutions yourself.

Changes from the Fourth Edition: The fifth edition includes over 200 pages of new content, bringing the book from 300 pages to over 500 pages. Major revisions were done to almost every solution, including a number of alternate solutions added. The introductory chapters were massively expanded, as were the opening of each of the chapters under Technical Questions. In addition, 24 new questions were added.
Cracking the Coding Interview, Fifth Edition is the most expansive, detailed guide on how to ace your software development / programming interviews.

Frequently Bought Together

Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions + Introduction to Algorithms
Price For Both: £61.74

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Product details

  • Paperback: 510 pages
  • Publisher: CareerCup; 5th Revised & enlarged edition (22 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098478280X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984782802
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gayle Laakmann McDowell's interviewing expertise comes from vast experience on both sides of the desk. She has completed Software Engineering interviews with - and received offers from - Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Capital IQ, and a number of other firms.

Of these top companies, she has worked for Microsoft, Apple and Google, where she gained deep insight into each company's hiring practices.

Most recently, Gayle spent three years at Google as a Software Engineer and was one of the company's lead interviewers. She interviewed over 120 candidates in the U.S. and abroad, and led much of the recruiting for her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania.

Additionally, she served on Google's Hiring Committee, where she reviewed each candidate's feedback and made hire / no-hire decisions.

She assessed over 700 candidates in that role, and evaluated hundreds more resumes.

In 2005, Gayle founded CareerCup.com to bring her wealth of experience to candidates around the world. Launched first as a free forum for interview questions, CareerCup now offers a book, a video and mock interviews.

Gayle holds a bachelor's and master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from The Wharton School.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read 18 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is very well written and exposes all the basic key points of a good technical interview preparation process. Moreover, the book is stuffed with common interview problems that are to be fully understood by candidates as similar problems might be presented in their next interview. If you're preparing for an interview, this book will help you understand what knowledge you're lacking and how to train for whiteboard problem solving exercise that are fairly common in technical interview, especially with big companies such as Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, etc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful if your skills have become rusty 21 Feb 2014
After working for one employer for a number of years I found myself looking for a new job when my contract ran out. I for one benefited greatly from the section on data structures and algorithms. I thought I knew what a hash map was, but when this book suggested I implement one, it was the first time I really thought about what a hashcode meant. I think if you consider yourself an "expert" you will find it too easy, but for most people of "intermediate" ability, its a great refresher. Clearly you need to read other material to revise your skills in addition to this, but I think it covers gaps you won't think about otherwise.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have in your desk, 25 Jan 2012
Cracking the coding interview is one book you should definitively have in your bookshelf, and you should keep reading it now and then.

I have a passion for reading and solving coding interview questions and never found such a detailed source of information.

The book starts with several suggestions on how preparing yourself for an interview. This is an aspect that many people underestimate, whilst having a well-written CV, a personal blog, and possibly a number of open source projects is definitively important. This book gives you a number of good suggestions.

Then there is long part discussing interview questions with a broad coverage of basic data structures, algorithms, programming languages, databases and threads and some advanced coding questions.

The style is concise and you can read each Chapter in isolation. Gayle made an amazing job in illustrating not just the solutions, but several techniques that you can use for solving new problems. Plus, those interview questions, the solutions and the techniques, are not just hypothetical but are very useful in your day by day life as Dev or Researcher.

I would suggest the author splitting the Chapter 7 "Mathematics and Probability" into two separate parts and expand both of them because they are very important during interviews and the current description is probably too synthetic. Also, a Chapter on String algorithms and another one on Parallel programming would be probably useful to have because people will look for them elsewhere.

Having said that, this is definitively a must have book and the money you spend will definitively generate a great return on the investment.

Thanks Gayle for writing it.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't think about it---just buy it 22 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great interview preparation book. It got my rusty coding skills up to speed with the requirements of major silicon valley firms. Using it as one of my major resources while preparing for interviews I managed to get multiple full-time software engineering offers fresh out of grad school.

That said, don't expect to read the book in a week or two and ace every interview. You need to spend time on it, preferably way in advance of your interviews. Ideally, you have to have all the problems presented in your "cache" so that you can easily approach more tricky problems on the spot. Even if you only have a week to prepare, still buy this book---there is no single resource out there that is better.

The book however needs improvement.
-There are typos and minor errors. For a 5th version of a book this is bad.

-Some answers to the book's problems lack even a basic complexity analysis. While I understand that it is not possible to explain the algorithmic complexity of some solutions without sounding like CLRS, the author should at least say that an analysis is not simple and/or give a pointer to another book.

-The worst part of the book is that some answers are not well-explained. This can be improved by just spending more time editing the book. I expect to be able to understand the important ideas/steps behind a solution by just reading the text and not the code. Unfortunately, this is not always the case creating subtle surprises. My favourite example is in page 369 of the book regarding the diagonal of the array. The intro text makes you think that you fully understand the solution ("do that, then compare that with that, recurse, and you are done"). Unless, however, you read a comment in the source code of the solution provided (i.e.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars 21 Aug 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Okay for those wanting to understand behind the scenes of the big companies.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It will make you a better engineer 11 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Let me start by saying that this book is not for everyone. It is a book for Computer engineers.

This book won't get you a job in Google or Amazon if you are not a good engineer, but if you are a good one this book will help you focus on the areas that really need your attention when facing an interview.

Don't read this book from cover to cover. Do all the exercise on a whiteboard, in different languages, think about the solutions, and check other sources. I guarantee you will end up being a much better engineer.

I absolutely love this book, and keep going back to it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is incredibly good to prepare for interviews
This book is incredibly good to prepare for interviews. The chapters include summaries and tips about what you should expect during interviews, all this matched with great... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sebastien Dijols
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good book to know more about software developer interviews
The books starts showing the basics for the recruting process of big software companies which are very interesting. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Manel
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I had a couple of questions during the interview that the author mentioned. It makes me to refresh the right topics before my interview.
Published 5 months ago by Simo
4.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Insight into Technical Interviews
Received this book for Christmas as a gift (currently studying for an MSc Computer Science), and in the near future will be seeking software development positions. Read more
Published 8 months ago by J. Perry
2.0 out of 5 stars ok, not good for contractors
I think if you know your data structures or if you know your design patterns this book is not necessary. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mr T
5.0 out of 5 stars Best interview preparation book
This book will not instantly make you super good at interviews, but you can be guaranteed to be more confident once you've read and attempted most of the questions here. Read more
Published 14 months ago by edwin bosire
5.0 out of 5 stars A must buy!
If you plan to interview on a major tech company or simply if you want to strengthen your skills this book is amazing at guiding you.
Published 17 months ago by Super Duper
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Interview Preparation Tool
When I casually mentioned to a friend that I was interviewing for a software engineering position at XXXX, he suggested having a look at Gayle's book. Read more
Published on 22 May 2012 by erik u
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