5.23 My first two dev interviews.

2h? Nowadays it is a lot harder to quantify what it is I want to count towards my ‘daily goal’. I’ve always leaned towards only counting the time actually spent typing code, but that is less important for my overall growth right now. Now that I have graduated from Launch Academy I’m hitting the pavement and starting to interview. Today I spent an hour on an interview call, an hour doing prep work for that call, and three hours researching the call and company, writing emails with career services and some networking. I lastly spent almost 2 hours adding some new features to my breakable toy. ALL of that is related to me becoming a coder, but only 2/7th of it is related to typing code. The switch into interview mode has been both exciting and draining, surprisingly difficult and surprisingly easy. I haven’t in any way come close to doing really well in an interview, but I have done my best and I hope they came out with a good idea of where my skills are and how I think.

I definitely have a lot of work to do in furthering my coding knowledge. Don’t get me wrong on that account! I am mostly saying right now I think getting a job will allow me to become a better coder faster than becoming a better coder will allow me to get a job. Consequently I am theorizing that working on my interview skills will help them understand what I am thinking better than me working on the coding part specifically. That’s a weird thing to say so let me give you an example. In an interview today I did just ok on a problem. I could have optimized it a bit more using a different data structure, and I could have come to the overall concept faster. I think my biggest failure was that I forgot a really basic ruby method and I let it slow me down to a crawl. I was trying to remove an element from an array by index. Looking forward I need to do two things:

#1 – remember that it is array.splice!(index#)

#2 – remember how to better handle it the next time I forget something. It will probably be my next interview!

The second one is the more transportable skill. I should have asked for help, or looked it up, or done it a slow dumb way that still worked. I also should have more clearly explained what I was stuck on because I’m not even sure if my interviewer knew what I was struggling with. In the interview it’s really hard to strike a balance between admitting your failures and letting silence take over. In an interview yesterday I got stuck on something, admitted it, and they just told me to assume I had a function to return the value I was looking for. They essentially gave me a ‘gimme’ because that wasn’t the part of the problem they were interested in seeing me solve! I never would have gotten that tip if I had not admitted where I was and what I was thinking.

So looking forward I’m going to do a lot more talking in the interviews. I’m going to work on eye contact more, and ask more questions. I am going to try all of my strategies above when I get stuck, and if I still have a tough interview I’m going to let the experience help me get better for next time and try to not let it damage my ego too much.

Everyone says this is a marathon, not a sprint. Here’s to the next mile!

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