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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!

Top comments (3)

michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

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. 🙌

andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

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

jordanaf808 profile image

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