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Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions Paperback – 22 Aug 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
This book is just contains an unacceptably large number of problems - errors in the solutions (code and descriptions, sometimes both in the same exercise!), sometimes plain poorly written code, bad/missing assumptions and more. I noticed that the 5th Edition has a dedicated Errata spreadsheet online. Seriously, a spreadsheet and not a cloud issue tracker! Doesn't that tell you something - hell, I learnt not to conflate spreadsheets and databases in the 80s.

It actually confirms everything I've concluded about coding interviews in principle (from experience on both sides of the table) - they're ineffective, artificial, badly designed and myopic. Of the many variables that go into making a good software developer hire, coding interviews ignore almost all of them and create a false sense of effectiveness. Coding tests are great at filtering through people who are good at taking coding tests - that's all; they don't filter out the crazies, the lazies, the sloppies, the messies, the academics, the unwise and so on. When you want to hire an accountant, do you give them an accountancy test? Would you test someone who's been in the industry for decades on material that they only have encountered decades ago? Does that mean that they couldn't utilize that material in a normal context (not under a timer with potential employers literally breathing down your neck)? Would you really not look-up a breadth-first search algorithm online in real-life, rather expecting to do it from memory?

I blame Microsoft for this disease that infected the software engineering industry - in the 90s, their bureaucracy created bad ideas and the industry adopted them on the basis that the amount of $$$ they were making must imply the ideas are good.
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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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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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Format: Paperback
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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