Interview Coding Challenges for Technical Assessment of High-Performing Engineers

Your company’s success depends upon the highest-quality software engineering. That means finding the best engineers and putting together the best teams. But, you are competing with engineering companies literally worldwide as well as the multitude of organizations that recruit and hire engineers.

This puts a premium on your own recruiting, interviewing, and final assessment of candidates. In fact, it probably is one of the most impactful things your company does. The problem, or challenge, is that top engineering skills are highly technical, diverse, and subtle, not merely reservoirs of information but abilities to set up a new problem in all its detail and creatively solve it, communicate with the development team, and much more.

Every company’s recruiting and interviewing process is different, often highly time-consuming for engineering staff, and too often hit or miss. Many companies are discovering that putting interview coding challenges in the hiring process can reduce these problems. Coding to create solutions for software development tasks is the essential ability the candidate must bring to your company. Coding challenges, if they are top quality, put your candidates into the world of your company’s development tasks.

Ideally, the candidate is solving the kind of problem he or she will be asked to solve on the job. When the candidate demonstrates how to solve interview coding questions it captures his or her performance objectively and assessment by informed and experienced engineers can reveal much of what it is important to know about your candidates. Coding challenges that are effective can save a lot of engineering staff time and get at information no interview alone can uncover. But only if the coding challenges are appropriately targeted to the role you are filling, test the kind of work the role will demand, and are original (not out of the box).

The coding exercise interviews created by Woven, for example, may be focused on such tests as a debugging problem, systems thinking, skill in technical communications, and front-end programming. The clustering of these challenges in a typical 90-minute test in front of a screen depends on the role to be filled by the candidate. Each test is a challenge to the coding abilities your development teams apply daily on the job.

Three examples of approaches to coding challenges

​​While interviewing candidates, employers will often ask candidates to complete some sort of coding challenge. There are at least three different ways you can approach this: a take-home test, a pair programming session, and an in-person code quiz.

A Take-Home Test is when you ask the candidate to complete a coding challenge and return it. Take-home tests are great for candidates who don’t live nearby or candidates who would like to take their time with the coding challenge. They are great for finding out about a candidate’s skillset and general working style, but they can be difficult to grade.

A Pair Programming Session is when two people work together on a programming problem. One person works at the keyboard, while another person reviews each line of code that is written. This is an opportunity for employers to get a feel for how the candidate works in real life, and it’s also great practice for the candidate. It can be intimidating at first, so most pair programming sessions are scheduled over video chat.

One drawback with pairing sessions is that it’s difficult to grade a coding challenge. With a take-home test, employers can look at each program from multiple angles, but with pair programming there are usually only two people working on the problem together.

In-person coding challenges can be done onsite or over zoom. This is a great opportunity for employers to assess how well the candidate handles themselves under pressure. But it can be intimidating to work with someone else in the same room. It’s also difficult to grade a coding challenge because you’re looking over the candidate’s shoulder and it’s hard to see the big picture.

No matter which approach you use, it’s important to pick one that matches what you’re looking for in an employee. If your team is remote, then maybe a take-home test would be the best option. If your team is in-office, then an in-person coding challenge might work better. Pair programming sessions are great for assessing how well someone works together with their co-workers. It can’t make up for lack of skills, but it’s a useful tool to supplement thetraditional coding interview.

Coderbyte challenges

Another tool to supplement traditional coding interviews is the Coderbyte challenges pdf. The Coderbyte web platform emphasizes courses and code challenges using an online editor that help engineers prepare for job interviews.

Coderbyte offers more than 400 challenges from which companies are supposed to select those that best assess skills needed for the technical position being filled.

Alternatively, companies can select a template or an automatic selection of challenges. A typical interview screen test gets assembled from challenges like bracket combination, Windows substring, tree constructor, bracket matcher, and username validation. Engineers receive free access to all these challenges to prepare for interviews. Here are a few questions from the coding challenge for Python:

  • First Reverse: For this challenge, you will be reversing a string.
  • Letter Changes: For this challenge, you will be manipulating characters in a string based off of their positions in the alphabet.
  • Letter Capitalize: For this challenge, you will be capitalizing certain characters in a string.

JavaScript interview coding challenges

Companies who want candidates who know JavaScript can find a wide selection of tests from various companies for JavaScript interview coding exercises. Here are three examples of frequently used interview coding questions on JavaScript tests:

  • Write a function that will check if the string is a palindrome [a word, sentence, or character sequence that reads the same in reverse].
  • Write a function that returns the nth entry in the Fibonacci sequence [number where every number in the sequence is the sum of the two previous one], where n is a number you pass in as an argument to the function.
  • Write a function that console logs the numbers from 1 to n, where n is the integer the function takes as its parameter logs fizz instead of the number for multiples of 3, logs buzz instead of the number for multiples of 5, and logs Fizzbuzz for numbers that are multiples of both 3 and 5.

Fizzbuzz is a popular challenge in coding tests and is frequently seen in JavaScript interview questions. However, it’s not frequently used in real engineering work. That’s why experienced engineers might be annoyed by its use whereas junior developers fresh out of college could find it familiar.

Java interview coding questions

Instead of Fizzbuzz, you could ask questions about their experience with specific projects. Java is a widely popular programming language. Companies that are looking for skills in Java code also have a wide selection of interview coding challenges, in this case challenges related to Java code snippets and their application. Here are four common technical interview questions in Java:

  • Write a Java program to replace certain characters from String like public String replace(String str, char ch).
  • Write a Java program to print Fibonacci series up to 100.
  • Write a Java program that prints the numbers from 1 to 50. But for multiples of three print “Fizz” instead of the number and for the multiples of five print “Buzz.” For numbers which are multiples of both three and five print “FizzBuzz.”
  • Write a Comparator in Java to compare two employees based upon their names, departments, and ages.

Front-end interview coding challenges

Woven approaches technical vetting and engineering interviews code challenges by testing for the role with real work that’s evaluated by real engineers. Our mission is to close the gap between talent and opportunity, so hidden gem talent can help you ship market-defining products. Woven’s vision is to fix technical recruitment with the kind of 10X improvements that technology and AI have produced in other fields.

Our approach goes beyond highly specific applications of coding skill and competence in a specific popular programming language. Instead, we zero in on the role to be filled and the work simulations for that role in your team (e.g., Mid/Senior Front-end Engineer, Mid/Senior Generalist Engineer, or Junior/Mid Backend Engineer).

We then configure a coding scenario for that position based on problem-solving skills that are required: e.g., debugging, technical communication, systems thinking, backend programming, and front-end programming. And, we devise real work simulations that put these skills on display for an engineer.

Because the goal is to identify both excellent engineers and highly effective team members, a cardinal focus is upon communication of technical challenges, ideas, and information.

For example, front-end interview coding challenges for assessment of a candidate for Mid/Senior Front-end Engineer calls upon abilities to design, debug, and own front-end web architecture and API interaction in production. The candidate should write code that is clear, concise, and well-honed for the front-end and be able to work in front-end frameworks. But the capabilities to be tested are debugging, technical communication, systems thinking, backend programming, and front-end programming.

Test results are reviewed and assessed by engineers at Woven to yield a report on the candidate’s specific skills, approach to understanding the challenge in detail, performance in solving the problem, and our recommendation for your company.

This approach has made Woven the preferred technical assessment tool for both engineering managers and the experienced engineers they want to hire.

Best coding challenge websites 2021

One hiring procedure for many software engineering teams is the coding challenge. Candidates get invited to submit a sample of their code, usually coding up small problems related to their language and/or technologies.

For the best sites to practice programming online, try Reddit’s top code challenge websites, this JavaScript coding questions and answers PDF, or our list below.

The following websites serve as resources for the top 10 most popular coding challenge websites of 2021:

  1. Codility: Codility offers over 500 coding challenges, organized by language and difficulty level. You can solve their simplest problems with ease even if you are still a beginner.
  2. TopCoder: TopCoder is a household name in programming contests. Their website offers a great practice environment also for those programmers who are not as experienced as others and wish to sharpen their skills.
  3. CodeEval: CodeEval is another standard-bearer of the coding challenge industry, with hundreds of different tasks on hand that will test your general programming skills.
  4. HackerRank: HackerRank is home to hundreds of coding challenges on different topics, including mathematics. You can use their advanced search tool for filtering tasks by category or difficulty level.
  5. CodeChef: CodeChef hosts a wide range of programming contests and you can practice solving problems from many well-known contests such as Google Code Jam and Facebook Hacker Cup right on their website. You can even get recognized officially as a CodeChef member and receive certificates for your achievements!
  6. LeetCode: LeetCode offers hundreds of daily coding challenges, which you can solve in bulk or one-by-one. They are very useful if you wish to check how prepared you are for hackathons.
  7. DevPost: They offer programming challenges that are related to the products of companies that use Devpost for hiring. As a result, you can also find extremely interesting tasks by extremely attractive employers there.
  8. InterviewStreet: If you want to check your knowledge before your first technical interview, this website can help you assess yourself with ease. You can solve tasks that require knowledge of algorithms, data structures or other computer science topics.
  9. Coderbyte: Coderbyte is full of challenges that can help you improve your programming skills. You can solve problems both in Java and C++, which are the two most popular languages for coding interviews at tech companies.
  10. CodeForces: CodeForces offers many interesting algorithmic challenges, which makes it useful if you want to prepare yourself for an interview at a tech company.
  11. Woven: Woven is the only coding challenge that’s worthy of experienced engineers. What makes Woven different is that a network of certified engineers evaluate candidate free text response, which means you can go beyond code to assess problem-solving ability along with programming skills.

The next step for a company intrigued by Woven’s distinctive approach to using coding challenges in hiring is to take it for a test drive. You can take a free work simulation, too. When your company is ready to work with Woven to identify the coding challenges you need for interviewing, we will begin by understanding your software development challenges and where additional engineering talent is required now. On that basis, we can create a coding challenge that reflects what the candidate will do on the job.