Technical Challenges

Technical challenges may be given as part of the interview process to help assess candidates on how they break down problems, communicate their logic and reasoning, demonstrate their technical knowledge, and implement a working solution. Our goal is to provide you with the opportunity to practice these skills and develop a good process. Over the course of 1 week, students will complete daily timed technical challenges and reflect on their approach to these problems.

These scenarios are focused on helping you develop a good approach and do not always allow enough time to complete the challenge. Do not be discouraged if you are unable to implement a solution in the alotted time. Some of the challenges are very difficult and assigned intentionally to emphasize process over results.

Technical Prompts

Technical Challenge Format

Technical challenges will either be solo or paired.

After each challenge, students should track their reflections in a GitHub Gist that they will submit at the end of the week.

Students will also complete the Technical Challenge Confidence Check survey at the beginning of the week and retake the survey at the end of the week to measure their progress.

Solo Challenges

For solo challenges, you will be given a technical challenge and a designated amount of time to work through it. Start by focusing on your approach to breaking down the problem. Work to develop a process for when you don’t know the answer or where to start. If you are feeling stuck or not sure where to begin, use this problem-solving template.

After the time is up, talk through your process with a peer. Share your solutions, compare approaches, and ask questions to help one another see the same problem from a new perspective. If you want to take it a step further, talk about the Big O complexity of your solution.

Once you’ve finished your discussions with a peer, take time to add your personal reflection on the process to your GitHub Gist.

Reflection Questions

  1. What worked well in your process?
  2. What was difficult/where did you struggle?
  3. What feedback/discussion did you have with your peer?
  4. Is there anything you want to change about your approach to the next technical challenge?

If this isn’t your first technical challenge:

  1. Were you able to improve your approach? What went better?

Paired Challenges

You will be assigned either a partner or a small group. Start by coordinating who will be the problem solver and who will be the observer first. The problem solver will then work through the challenge in the designated amount of time. The observer should be participating and taking notes for feedback. Once the time is completed, the observer should share feedback. Switch roles and repeat with a new problem.

Problem Solver Outline

  1. Clearly define what you are trying to solve
  2. Communicate any considerations or questions that you would ask
  3. Pseudocode your solution (Pseudocode should simply be words. Don’t try to write a mix of code and words.)
  4. Implement & Test your solution

Observer Outline

  1. Actively listen to who you are observing
  2. Take notes for feedback. Use these questions to help guide your feedback:
    • Did your partner clearly define the problem they were solving?
    • Was communication clear and were you able to follow their thought process?
    • Did your partner use technical vocabulary or use vague terms?
    • Did your partner take time to plan out their approach to the problem before trying to code a solution?

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