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Using Code Snippets for Coding Interview Prep

Using Code Snippets for Coding Interview Prep

Many developers dream of working for FAANG. If you’re wondering how to get a FAANG job or how to prepare for a coding interview, read on for some really useful tips. Prepping for DSA coding problems and approaching your interviews using these tips could land you in your dream role. Practicing DSA is a crucial task in the process, but can be made much more efficient using code snippets. Pieces for Developers is a useful snippet-saving tool (and more) that helps developers to save time and effort by saving their templates, important algorithms, and solutions as snippets, making search quite easy. It’s an amazing tool for developers who want to boost their FAANG interview preparation.‍

Why try for a FAANG job?

Ridiculously high salaries, beautiful offices and free meals, bragging rights for you and your parents....it's no surprise that there's intense competition for top developer jobs.

I'm Anushka from Pieces. I work with developers on how to leverage their tools and workflow to be more productive. Before Pieces, I won my 15 minutes of fame with a post on coding interview prep tips for younger developers. It made it to the list of Top 10 trending repositories on Github worldwide.

Clearly the topic struck a nerve, so today I'm following up with part 2 on how to nail the coding interview and bag your dream offer from FAANG or that hot startup.

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DSA is the key to a cracking a code interview

While there are a lot of areas you will be evaluated on at FAANG companies, let's be clear about one thing— you need to crush the DSA interview. Never heard of DSA? Let’s understand what it is and what makes it a relevant coding interview challenge.

DSA stands for data structures and algorithms. A data structure is a method of organizing data for efficient use, like sequences or data tables, whereas algorithms are the steps or procedures for solving a well-defined problem. They are the dynamic underlying parts that interact with data structures and help create well-optimized, efficient software.

Interviewers are looking for candidates who understand data structures like hash tables, trees, graphs, and various algorithms. But, they also must be able to apply the right set of tools to solve a given problem efficiently. If you know DSA well, you'll be better equipped to decide on the most efficient data structure to solve a problem.

DSA is so critical during FAANG interviews because it provides the interviewer with a simple approach to evaluate your problem-solving skills, coding skills, basic computer science knowledge, and clarity of thought.

DSA helps illustrate your understanding of the nature of a problem at a deeper level, making it a beloved topic for your FAANG interview.

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How to prepare for FAANG interview: Let’s jump into coding interview patterns and prep

OK, so now you know what DSA is.  What is the best FAANG interview prep to help you crush these interviews? Well every interview is different, and while there isn’t a comprehensive list of common coding interview questions, I can help you with the top 4 tips to help you prepare for FAANG interviews.

1. Speed up your practice to learn faster

Saving templates of your most-used data structures and algorithms as code snippets is one of the best ideas to speed up your learning. Use a modern code snippet tool like Pieces for Developers to keep templates ready with your common algorithms, operations on the data structure, macros and common imports. You'll save time that you otherwise would have spent writing code from scratch. You can repurpose that time to focus on logic building and other coding interview prep.

Finding the critical topics to study right before your interview is painful. You'll likely visit a ton of sites and webpages, and it's hard to keep track of the valuable material. Snippets can be invaluable to better organize this research and prep. Plus, your saved snippets are easily accessible to brush over before a coding test. So, if you need to do a DFS (depth-first search) ever again, you'll have already saved it.

Viewing saved snippets in Pieces for Developers.

2. Pick a language you’re confident with

Most interviewers will ask you to choose any language, but you need to choose wisely. Select a single language and practice DSA entirely with it.  Switching between different languages will hurt your FAANG interview prep.

3. Talk through your solution

It never hurts to ask if you can start your implementation with a  pseudocode example. Interviewers are keen on understanding your thought process and are likely less concerned with your ability to use proper syntax on a whiteboard.

4. Always start with the brute force approach

While solving questions, always make it a habit to start off with the solution with the worst time complexity. Talk the interviewer through your approach and then think of how you can improvise further to make your solution more efficient. For example, you can start with a solution with O(n^2) time complexity and then come to O(n) and then O(log(n)) if possible. It's better to save all of the different approaches as separate snippets so that you can find them later.

The Power of the Code Snippet

Really though, we're just scratching the surface on how using a snippet management tool like Pieces can turbo-charge your coding interview prep. Let's dig deeper.

Save Time

Whenever you start a new problem, there's code that you might have used previously that could help with logic-building. Think of macros, boilerplate, templates, libraries, or standard algorithms. You need them in almost every problem, but you're wasting your time rewriting them every time without free coding interview tools that help you save and reuse snippets like Pieces for Developers.

Instead, use snippets as a coding interview tool to save and reuse this sort of code. You'll only need to worry about how to reduce the time and space complexities of your solution, rather than spending most of your time writing repetitive code.

For example, if you're trying to use binary search, why waste time writing the same old template for the 100th time when you could be spending that precious time determining the best approach and then optimizing that approach? Save that template as a snippet!

Stay Organized

Another issue you might have faced is remembering all of the important topics that you need to brush up on before your interviews. A hot tip for this is to save important algorithms and solutions as snippets. Whenever I finish practicing and plan to review, I already have my saved collection of snippets of important concepts in one place that I can visit anytime.

Maintain Your Flow

When it comes to technical interview prep, you're going to prepare a lot. When you get into the zone where distractions drop away and you start cranking, the last thing you want is to break your flow.

Pieces for Developers is designed with this flow state in mind. You can save snippets in literally less than a second straight from your IDE or browser, without even having the Pieces desktop app open. There's no need to name the snippet, format it, and put it into a folder- the snippets are auto-formatted, tagged, and searchable, which makes it a no-brainer to save snippets there.

Saving a snippet with the Pieces for Developers Chrome extension.

Get rolling with Pieces for Developers

It's completely free to get started with Pieces! You don't need to enter any personal information to start using it.

Download Pieces for Developers and boost your coding interview prep.

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Don’t forget to install our JetBrains Plugin, VS Code Extension, and/or Chrome Extension to enable single-click save!

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