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. The timed technical challenges will include both solo and paired and will vary in difficulty. Do not be discouraged if you are unable to implement a solution in the alotted time. These scenarios are focused on helping you develop a good approach and do not always allow enough time to complete the challenge.

Technical Prompts

Technical Challenge Format

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 where to start. If you are feeling stuck or not sure where to begin, use this problem-solving template. Please keep your challenges local and do not make your code public.

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 write a personal reflection on the process.

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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