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7 ways to prepare for a coding test

Elice

11/23/2023

Numerous companies incorporate algorithmic questions in coding tests to gauge candidates’ programming acumen, problem-solving capabilities, and algorithmic understanding. These tests have become a cornerstone in assessing an individual’s fit for roles within IT companies or development positions. Indeed, coding tests are now a crucial step in the journey to securing a developer job. Consequently, it’s understandable that candidates might feel heightened anxiety about these assessments. This article aims to provide guidance on preparing for coding tests, offering valuable insights for those aspiring to a career in development.


What is coding testing?

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Coding tests require you to solve problems using a programming language within a given time frame. You’ll mostly solve algorithmic problems, and the difficulty and types of problems vary by company and position. Coding tests are usually taken online and involve solving a given problem within a certain amount of time and submitting your solution.


The need for coding tests

Coding tests are one of the most effective ways to assess developer skills in the IT industry. This is because coding tests allow candidates to write code and solve problems in a short period of time and directly assess their logical thinking, problem-solving, and programming skills. Coding tests also provide a fair assessment because they focus on the developer skills needed for real-world tasks rather than external factors such as a developer’s education, experience, and specifications.


Learn the difference between algorithmic coding tests and job skills tests


7 ways to prepare for a coding test

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Prepare for coding tests in your flagship language

Coding tests aren’t just about solving lots of problems - you need good problems and a programming language that works for you. Everyone has a different programming language that they’re comfortable with, so make sure you choose one that you can use under pressure without stuttering. Once you’ve chosen your main language, study the grammar of that programming language. It’s a good idea to go over the basic syntax several times to make sure you’re comfortable with it.


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Learn basic algorithms and data structures

Learning about algorithms and data structures is a must before preparing for a coding test. It’s best to start with a solid foundation in theory before attempting to solve algorithmic problems. Coding tests usually ask algorithmic questions that can be solved in a short amount of time. To solve them, you need to understand the underlying data structures and common algorithms and be able to apply them.

Therefore, when preparing for a coding test, it’s important to understand the algorithms and data structures used to solve the problem, not just answer the algorithmic questions correctly and move on. We also recommend trying to solve as many different types of problems as possible on coding test sites.


Understanding the Big-O Notation

It’s also important to find efficient ways to solve algorithmic problems. You should consider the time complexity and space complexity of your algorithm to write code that solves the problem most efficiently. There is a way to represent the efficiency of an algorithm - its time complexity and space complexity - called Big-O Notation. Big-O Notation is most used because it expresses minimum guaranteed performance, so it’s important to understand it and be able to use it in problem-solving and technical interviews.


Take practice questions on a coding test site

Various coding test platforms, such as LeetCode, Codility, Baekjun, and Programmers, offer practice tests both in Korea and internationally. These sites present algorithmic challenges across different levels of difficulty and feature community sections where users can exchange and debate their solutions. Engaging with these communities can illuminate your weak points and sharpen your development skills.

A strategic approach to tackling these problems involves focusing on one topic at a time on a coding test site, advancing to other areas only after achieving a thorough understanding. Diving deep into a single subject allows you to recognize patterns within the questions. Grasping these patterns and the methodologies to solve them enhances your problem-solving ability.


Algorithmic problems to prepare you for a technical interview - watch now


Timed problem solving

The most effective way to prepare for a coding test is to repeatedly solve problems in an environment that resembles a real-world coding test. We recommend timing yourself when solving problems, especially on coding test sites, but if you haven’t solved a problem by the time the time is up, you should think about it for at least an hour. Trying multiple ways to solve a problem, even if you don’t find the right answer, will build your problem-solving skills.

Coding tests aren’t just about algorithmic knowledge; they’re also about real-world developer skills like problem solving, so it’s important to practice facing a variety of problems and thinking about them for a long time.


Reviewing code

Coding tests evaluate not only your problem-solving skills but also the quality of your code, emphasizing the importance of readability and efficiency. These aspects are crucial for demonstrating developer competency, as they ensure your code is accessible to others. Cultivating a practice of seeking and providing constant feedback, such as through code reviews and studying others’ solutions, is essential for improvement. Regularly engaging in self-review and critique of solved problems helps pinpoint areas for enhancement. When assessing solutions, focus on analyzing the time and space complexity using Big-O Notation and compare your approaches with alternatives, aiming to discover more efficient methods.


Create a consistent study habit

Effective preparation for a coding test is a long-term commitment, necessitating regular and disciplined practice. Establishing a routine of solving problems daily at a set time can not only aid in coding test preparation but also foster a consistent study pattern. The field of development is ever-evolving, requiring continuous learning and adaptation to new technologies and trends. This principle holds true across various professions, making the development of sound study habits critical for career advancement.

This guide has outlined strategies for coding test preparation, emphasizing that proficiency in programming alone is insufficient. Developing a broad skill set, including problem-solving abilities, algorithmic knowledge, and coding proficiency, is vital. Resources such as coding test platforms and algorithm tutorials offer foundational training. For those seeking a comprehensive approach to mastering coding test essentials and problem-solving, Elice’s Algorithmic Coding Test Preparation Course might be the next step.


Complete Algorithmic Coding Test Preparation Course - Watch Now


*This content is a work protected by copyright law and is copyrighted by Elice.

*The content is prohibited from secondary processing and commercial use without prior consent.

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