The job market for software development is as competitive as it is rewarding. However, there are many barriers to entry for those who want to break into software development. Besides going through training and certifications for required technical skills, coding challenges during technical interviews also make entry into the software development job market difficult for many hopefuls.
Coding challenges are a crucial part of software development recruitment, especially for positions that require code writing. When applying for vacancies that require software writing, it is only natural for interviewers to make you write software, hence the widespread use of online coding challenges, which help recruiters narrow down their pool of candidates to absolutely qualified and skilled talents. When you are up for a programming assessment test, here are tips to help you excel:
1. Read the instructions carefully. A typical coding challenge comes with written instructions. Take your time to read through what is being asked of you to make sure that you understand what the challenge entails. It would be a shame and a huge waste of an opportunity to write a flawless code that solves the wrong challenge or misses out on a key requirement only because you failed to read the instructions through.
2. Plan out your actions. Sketch a plan before jumping in with both feet to tackle a coding challenge. The best way to fail at online coding challenges is to make stuff up as you go. If you plan out your coding strategy, it will be easier to create a code that works and not one that will back you into a corner or a dead end.
3. Make a list of technical decisions you will likely have to make. This will help you look at the development from a wider, big-picture perspective, hence enabling you to make critical coding decisions faster.
4. Opt for test-driven development. Your unit testing skills can very well make or break your chances at progressing into higher levels of the recruiting process. While failure to write test may not necessarily disqualify you from the running toward a particular position, including testing in your coding strategy is going to be a huge advantage as reviewers favor a holistic approach to coding.
5. Make your code readable. Remember that your solution is going to be read and assessed by a software developer. It is for this reason that you should make your code legible and easy to follow
Most coding challenges include stages including parsing and processing input and presenting output—critical code writing stages that you should prepare for if you want to ace a coding challenge.