e-Merge Book Club: Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions by Gayle Laakmann McDowell

The reason why we chose Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions (Createspace) for the September book review is because it’s written by a software engineer and not a recruiter. The book, now in its 6th edition, is written by founder and CEO of CareerCup.com, Gayle Laakman McDowell who’s worked for giants like Google, Microsoft, and Apple. McDowell is able to accurately talk about what it’s like to be asked to “whip up brilliant algorithms on the spot and then write flawless code on a whiteboard” because she’s been both an interviewee and an interviewer.

The book describes itself as a sort of ‘self-help’ book aimed at “helping you through the process of a coding interview, teaching you what you need to know and enabling you to perform at your very best.” McDowell herself says, “I’ve coached and interviewed hundreds of software engineers. The result is this book.”

Online reviewers of the book say it’s a very useful guide on helping you prep fully for a coding interview. Of course, it can’t give you specific examples on specific companies, there would be too many, but it gives a great overall preparation guideline on getting yourself interview-ready.

The one downfall is that it does focus predominantly on Java-related topics, so if you are a Java-enthusiast you will find immense benefit from it. Some reviewers felt that it fell a bit short in preparing you for other coding languages, if yours wasn’t Java.

Overall, we felt it was an excellent read, leaving the reader feeling well prepped and able to take any software programming question head-on. If you’re keen to discover how to break down a problem into manageable chunks, develop techniques to unstick yourself when stuck, revisit core computer science concepts, then Cracking the Coding Interview is a book for you.

If you’re a Java-specialist or coder looking for a new challenge, or change of scenery, add your CV online today.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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