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Lennie
Lennie

Posted on

My First Technical Assessment Experience

Yesterday I did my first real technical assessment for a Software Engineer job interview. The assessment was hosted through CoderByte, and included 3 programming questions and two short answer questions. It was... fine.

Of the three programming questions, there was an algorithm problem, an easy SQL question, and a mini React project. I decided to do the React problem first, thinking it would take the longest but also I would feel the most confident about it.

It DID take the longest, but it was not the one I was most confident about. It involved building a contact list from a provided form. I haven't used forms in React much yet, and it's been a couple weeks since I worked on my flashcard app because I've been focused on prepping for this and another interview process at the same time, so React was a little rusty for me despite my review. (This speaks to how powerful building is as a learning tool over just studying).

I knew exactly what needed to happen, it was just the implementation of it that threw me for a loop. I was not able to complete it because I had to move on to the other questions.

The short answer questions and the SQL question were easy, and I didn't have any trouble there. The last programming question had to do with converting a decimal number into a binary number, and comparing it to a different binary number to see how many differences there were between the two binaries.

I knew exactly what needed to be done, but I choked on the implementation. Converting to binary - check. Converting the numbers to arrays to compare them - check. Comparing the arrays - CHOKE. Comparing two arrays is a problem I've seen a bunch of times so far, but clearly I haven't mastered it yet because I couldn't quite get it right. Part of the issue was that I was running out of time by this point, so the time pressure certainly didn't help. This morning, I woke up with the solution in my head. All I needed was more processing time.

I left comments in my code to demonstrate that I knew what needed to happen and how to do it with pseudocode, but I didn't submit the code with working solutions. If they actually read my code despite not passing the tests, hopefully my comments will earn me some human points and show that I AM a capable programmer.

This experience has me feeling simultaneously like I'm under prepared and like I'm totally ready. On one hand, comparing two arrays is a relatively common task, and I should be able to handle it confidently going into a technical interview. On the other hand, without a time limit and with a person to ask questions to, these questions were not above my head at all.

I haven't heard back yet. Either way, making it to this step is another step closer to becoming a professional programmer!

Discussion (3)

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington (he/him)

This experience has me feeling simultaneously like I'm under prepared and like I'm totally ready.

This is a great description! Admittedly, I'm not a dev, but I really relate to this statement in general.

I've felt this feeling before numerous times... most recently when I went skiing, haha! After the first run down things got more and more comfortable with my confidence building — I edged further away from "under prepared" and closer to that "totally ready" that you're describing. Hope that applies to your experience with technical assessments too. 🙌

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andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

Never give up the more practice you get the more confidence you will have for the next test.

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jordanaf808 profile image
jordanaf808

Thanks for sharing this with us! I have a feeling this will accurately describe my first tech exam :)