Technical Interview: An Enigma Explained

Part 2: Build a Solid Foundation — The Complete Guide for Interview Preparation

The Shortest Path

The most common mistake most people make is practicing the coding questions before having a clear understanding of the basic knowledge. These folks might have a “better” performance in the short term, however, they will have to re-visit the basic knowledge sooner or later.

This is because without fully understanding the basic data structures and algorithms, it’s almost impossible to come up with the right idea to write bug-free code. If you want to be fast in preparation, spending enough effort on basic things will save you tons of time in the long run.

And we would strongly suggest that you do not jump straight to working on interview problems before you are confident with the foundation.

Tips to ace the interview preparation-

You should keep in mind that an interviewee who is confused about the basic concepts will never get selected. On the contrary, even if someone doesn’t solve the problem completely, he may still have a chance if everything is clear in his mind.

We would recommend people go over all basic data structures/algorithms one by one. Understand the concept, figure out the pros & cons, and implement it by themselves.

Don’t rush to practice coding questions before you are done with the basics.

More often we see that people are confused on “What is meant by a solid computer science foundation?”

For coding interviews, foundation mostly means a clear understanding of basic data structures and algorithms. Can you answer the following questions:

  • How to search in a graph? What are the pros and cons of each approach? How do you decide which one to use?
  • For a list of objects, you can use a linked list, array, stack, queue, and other data structures. How would you decide which one to use? What is the biggest advantage/disadvantage?
  • What’s the difference between dynamic programming and recursion? How do you compare a recursive solution and its iterative version?

These are just a few sample questions but if you can’t answer all of them immediately, you’d better revisit your algorithm books.

Also, If you seek guidance from experienced interviewers, you can come and join us at the event The Technical Interview: An Enigma Explained scheduled to be held tentatively in March 2022.

For more details please write to us at



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