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Is it a good idea to interview for practice?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community2 months ago

Interviews typically comprise two main elements: DSA and behavioral assessments. Both demand practice to excel. Reflecting on my own journey, I vividly recall struggling with initial DSA rounds during college (lol I failed to reverse a linked list). However, through some practice through the years, I've significantly improved (one recent interviewer said something like I used up their followups and that didn't happen so often). Nevertheless, I still notice a disparity in my head when solving technical problems in live coding scenarios compared to when I'm quietly practicing on leetcode. The pressure of performing in real-time often induces anxiety, brain fog and being stuck when there's a bug. I believe additional practice could mitigate these challenges.

Needless to say, behavior & system design need practice as well. I also tried to sign up to be a interviewer of my company to practice from the other side, but there's not a lot of hiring happening.

I think currently the biggest efforts is to find the companies that are giving interviews.

Which companies are hiring / best for practice? I also heard you can interview with multiple teams in TikTok, which make it a perfect practice land.

What thoughts do you have?

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Discussion

(2 comments)
  • 1
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    Staff Software Engineer [L6] at Google
    a month ago

    If you cleared interviews once, I'm sure you can do it again with a few months of practice. I sense fear that you need to keep up the same level of practice or you'll lose it altogether. But that not entirely true imo. Yes you will struggle in the beginning, you would've forgotten a few complex topics, you'll make bugs in coding etc. But eventually muscle memory kicks in, and second time around it's much easier.

    You can invest time in a few other areas meanwhile -- getting promoted in your current company, learning new skills, exploring new software engineering domains that might be interesting to you, do side projects etc.

  • 0
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a month ago

    I'm not a fan of doing interviews purely for practice, especially not in this market. Unless your current job is trending downwards and a job search is imminent, I recommend focusing on actually growing your skills and trying to get promoted at your current role. It's true that promo budgets have been slashed too, but they're still possible. In our Asking 7 Levels Of Engineers The Most Important Skill series, 2 of the engineers in it got promoted this year:

    • Sammy went from Staff to Senior Staff at Gusto
    • Kaushik went from Senior Staff to Principal at Instacart

    Even in this terrible market, engineers are getting promoted and grinding for promotion is generally far more conducive towards organic skill-building compared to interviewing.