Coding is ubiquitous these days, with every company either being tech-centric or tech-enabled. With technology evolving and advancing as rapidly as it is, the demand for coders is at an all-time high.
Every industry is offering coders a lucrative coding career path, primarily in the field of software engineering. Cracking the coding interview at top tech companies can land you in-demand software engineering jobs altering your coding career path for the better.
Software engineering is one of the highest-paying professions in the US, with top-level software engineers earning in the millions. The average annual software engineer salary in the US is $108,249 (base pay), which is comparatively higher than the national average pay for most other professions.
With bonuses, stock, and other perks and benefits, it's no surprise that tech professionals work hard to crack the coding interview at leading tech companies to build a successful coding career path.
In this article, we cover:
- Crafting a Successful Coding Career Path
- Why Is Cracking the Coding Interview So Hard?
- Interview Prep Strategies for Cracking the Coding Interview
- The Challenges of Self-Prepreparing for Coding Interviews
- Interview Kickstart —Your Best Bet to Cracking the Coding Interview
- Interview Kickstart Programs Aimed at Cracking the Coding Interview
- Investing in Success! — How Much Do Interview Kickstart Programs Cost?
Crafting a Successful Coding Career Path
Defining your coding career path is not as cut and dry as it seems. Software engineering is an expansive field with many distinct roles based on different technologies and specializations. A coding career path can follow multiple directions depending on your interests and abilities.
1. Choose Your Role
Your chosen role will set the direction for your coding career path. To choose the right software engineering role, research roles that exist in the job market that suit your coding career path and roles that are evolving and growing in demand.
The in-demand software engineering roles for a stable and rewarding coding career path are:
An online job search will reveal the many different software engineering roles with job descriptions that companies are hiring for. This can help you decide which coding career path to start on.
Learn what the Embedded Software Engineering Career Path is and how to build your career in it.
2. Identify Your Coding Interests and Passions
The coding career paths most likely to lead to success are ones where personal interests are aligned with role requirements. Zero in on your top areas of interest, including the kind of products you’d like to work on and the companies you’d like to work for.
3. Understand Role Requirements
To find a role that aligns with your coding career path interests, research each role’s general responsibilities and functions. This will help you identify the core skills required for each role (which will help crack the coding interview).
Note that companies establish levels for different roles based on responsibilities. At larger tech companies, role levels are clearly defined. However, even smaller companies define a career trajectory based on role requirements. Software engineers generally follow a similar coding career path moving up the career ladder from junior to senior levels.
4. Analyze Your Competencies
Once you’ve understood the key skills required for different coding roles, analyze your current skill sets and levels of expertise. Understand where you stand in your coding career path with respect to skill requirements for a particular role. This will help you determine your appropriate role level within a company.
Software engineering roles call for domain-specific coding skills. In this context, specialization and upskilling are essential to advancing in your chosen coding career path.
Recommended Reading: Best IT Career Paths for Software Professionals in 2022.
5. Close the Skill Gap
If you’re starting on your coding career path, attempting to make a lateral switch into a new coding role, or aiming for a higher role level, you will have to ensure your skills and knowledge are up to scratch. Only the right skills can help crack the coding interview to land your desired coding job.
There are different ways to enhance your tech and coding skills.
- Educational degree: While a degree in computer science, computer engineering, information technology, or an advanced degree like a PhD. for specialized senior roles is commonly cited as a preferred requirement, most tech companies consider experience or other professional qualifications instead of a degree.
- Bootcamp: Bootcamps usually run for up to 6 months and focus on the practical application of skills and concepts. If you want to expand or make a lateral switch in your coding career path, bootcamps allow you to broaden or deepen your skills conveniently and affordably.
- Certifications: A professional certification helps pursue professional development to help you progress along your coding career path. Ensure you opt for professional, industry-recognized certifications. Take a look at the best Coding Interview Preparation Courses to crack your next tech interview.
- Projects: Having practical experience in professional or personal projects proves to potential employers that you possess working knowledge of the coding skills required for your targeted role. Creating an online project portfolio will enable you to showcase multiple skills at varying levels of expertise.
Why Is Cracking the Coding Interview So Hard?
Irrespective of your chosen role, every coding career path is based on the coding jobs you pursue and the organizations you work for. You have to land the right coding jobs to steer your coding career in the right direction. This makes interviewing at companies an integral part of your coding career journey.
Cracking the coding interview, which forms a key part of tech hiring processes, is one of the most challenging stages of advancing in your chosen coding career path.
Coding interviews, which form a part of every software engineer’s coding career path, are usually highly standardized interviews. Cracking the coding interview is considered challenging for the following reasons:
1. Interview Questions Are Based on Coding Concepts
Companies receive applications from candidates with varied tech backgrounds at different stages of their coding career paths. This makes it hard to assess and compare candidates fairly.
Since all software engineers are expected to know fundamental computer science principles viz. data structures and algorithms, this is what coding interview candidates are primarily assessed on.
Although these concepts are the foundation of every coder's working skills:
- They are not directly utilized as a part of regular coding tasks and activities at your day jobs
- They are not directly related to the actual tasks of the potential role
- Most engineers, especially those who are a few years into their coding career paths, find that they are out of touch with these concepts
Cracking the coding interview based entirely on these concepts poses quite a challenge even to experienced engineers.
2. Coding Problems Have Stringent Timeframes
Most coding interview problems are required to be solved within stringent timeframes. Only candidates with good coding skills and conceptual coding knowledge are considered capable of developing effective solutions to challenging problems within a short period.
Cracking the coding interview by developing solutions to complex problems with minimal time is challenging even to seasoned engineers.
3. Interviewers Assess Problem-Solving and Communication Skills
Cracking the coding interview is more than just about arriving at the correct solution to a given problem. Interviewers are keen to understand how candidates approach a problem, including their ability to consider all constraints and perspectives.
It is challenging for most candidates to think out loud and provide a step-by-step explanation of their problem-solving approach while writing solutions on a whiteboard.
4. Coding Interviews are Highly Competitive
Coding interviews at top tech companies are highly competitive, with companies receiving thousands of applications from leading tech talent.
Cracking the coding interview to land a job at a FAANG or Tier-1 company hinges on showcasing adequate knowledge and skills and how well you stack up against the competition. This is especially true in the earlier and mid-stages of a software engineering coding career path.
Interview Prep Strategies for Cracking the Coding Interview
Preparing for a coding interview at top tech companies requires dedicated time and effort. In fact, some would compare it with holding down a second job in addition to their regular day job.
Coding interview prep can run into months, if not a year, of daily studying and practicing, depending on how much upskilling and practice one needs. Given the number of online resources now available promising quick and easy ways to game the prep process, candidates often opt for the self-prep route to cracking the coding interview.
Many software engineers believe that self-prep is a realistic strategy for cracking the coding interview. This is not surprising considering the thousands of coding interview questions available online and tons of information about interview processes, including tips on cracking the coding interview at different companies by past candidates.
This may work for a few engineers with minimal upskilling requirements and a strong coding background and experience that closely matches their target company’s requirements. However, the self-prep route to cracking the coding interview is a hit-and-miss approach for most candidates, resulting in a miss in many cases.
FAANG aspirants are particularly prone to losing out on opportunities due to fallible interview prep processes. With hiring rates of less than 1 - 2%, problem-solving and coding skills have to be flawless, or nearly so.
The Challenges of Self-Preparing for Coding Interviews
Some of the key reasons why self-prep is not the best way to go about cracking the coding interview are:
- Coding interviews cover numerous coding topics featuring thousands of varied coding problems. It is quite impossible to cover every single topic or solve every coding problem out there.
- While there is adequate information available about the types of interview questions one can expect in coding interviews at different companies, it’s hard to identify the right types of questions to focus on.
- Cracking the coding interview requires the ability to solve unseen problems, which cannot be achieved without the right problem-solving techniques.
- Time management is a huge challenge when trying to hold down your regular job and allocate dedicated hours to prep every day. Estimating timelines for each knowledge area to be covered and sticking to a schedule is hard without professional guidance.
- It is also hard to track interview prep progress. This leaves candidates feeling stuck. Even after months of prep, candidates often feel unsure of cracking the coding interview. This either causes delays in scheduling interviews or poor performance at the interview.
Interview Kickstart — Your Best Bet for Cracking the Coding Interview
At Interview Kickstart, we know just what it takes to overcome the challenges candidates face in preparing for technical interviews. Over the years, we have helped thousands of software engineers progress in their chosen coding career paths by helping them build up core coding skills, making them interview-ready and better engineers overall.
As pioneers in the technical interview prep space, we offer top-of-the-line, professionally structured interview prep programs designed by industry experts and professionals.
Our alums consistently crack coding interviews and land lucrative offers from FAANG and other Tier-1 tech companies.
The highest offer received by our alum is a whopping $1.267 million.
So, what makes IK’s interview prep programs stand out?
Our perfectly structured professional interview prep courses are developed, taught, and led by our team of expert instructors comprising hiring managers and tech leads from FAANG and other Tier-1 and leading tech companies.
Their first-hand experience and insider knowledge on how companies conduct coding interviews and what interviewers look for in candidates gives our students an invaluable competitive edge in cracking the coding interview.
2. Comprehensive, Structured Curriculum
Our expertise in technical interview prep and knowledge of what different companies look for in candidates has allowed us to develop a highly focused interview prep strategy.
We offer comprehensive, structured coverage of all the right core concepts and knowledge areas that form the basis of most interview questions.
Interview prep courses at Interview Kickstart are based on a thorough curriculum that covers in-depth concepts and problems needed for cracking the coding interview:
- Data Structures and Algorithms
- Distributed Systems Design
- Domain-Focused Skills
- Behavioral Skills
- Career Skills
3. Short Duration
Our courses are a time-bound way to prepare for coding interviews effectively within a short period. Programs run for 7 to 18 weeks. This allows our students to get job-ready quickly, enabling them to accelerate their careers by capitalizing on in-demand opportunities.
4. Convenient for Working Professionals
Our live online sessions are conducted remotely with self-paced materials and scheduled assignments and tests that allow students to stay on top of their prep schedules and track progress easily.
5. Proprietary Teaching Methods — Power Patterns
Interview Kicstart’s signature approach to solving coding problems is our secret sauce to cracking the coding interview.
Our unique and proprietary technique of identifying and using power patterns enables our students to solve even the most complex unseen problems, a key factor in cracking the coding interview.
6. Mock Interviews With FAANG+ Experts and Personalized Feedback
IK’s prep programs are the most effective at cracking the coding interview because we don’t stop at knowledge upskilling. We also ensure our students are able to effectively showcase their learning by improving their communication and interviewing skills.
All programs include multiple mock Interviews with hiring managers, tech leads, and domain experts who are actively working at FAANG+ companies.
You will receive personalized feedback on your performance, so you can iteratively improve your interviewing skills.
7. Long Support Period
All Interview Kickstart programs come with a 6-month support period, during which you can:
- Practice mock interviews
- Retake classes
- Get assistance with application job applications
- Optimize your LinkedIn profile
- Salary negotiation support
8. The IK Network
With over 11,000 engineers trained, we have the largest network across all top tech companies. We leverage this network extensively to help you:
- Connect with companies to get interviews
- Connect with alums to learn about companies
- Connect with alums to get help with your domain
- Identify companies that are hiring
- Negotiate to get the best offers
Interview Kickstart Programs Aimed at Cracking the Coding Interview
Our coding interview prep programs are specially designed by industry experts and professionals aimed at helping you develop the skills required for cracking coding interviews.
We offer 17 domain-specific courses based on the following most in-demand and highest-paying software engineering roles:
- Back-end Engineering
- Full Stack Engineering
- Front-end Engineering
- Engineering Manager
- Early Engineering
- Embedded Systems
- Machine Learning
- Data Engineering
- Site Reliability Engineering
- iOS Engineering
- Android Engineering
- Test Engineering
- Technical Program Manager
- Data Science
- Product Manager (Tech)
- Cloud Engineering
Investing in Success! — How Much Do Interview Kickstart Programs Cost?
Upskilling is an inevitable necessity in the progression of any successful coding career path. With technology constantly evolving and advancing, the only way to stay relevant and capitalize on the right opportunities at the right time is to upskill and level up in your career. The savviest and most successful coders and software engineers understand that professional development is not an expense but a smart investment in oneself.
The cost of Interview Kickstart’s interview prep programs depends on the course you choose (our domain-specific courses are mentioned above). To get a complete overview of our program costs and fees, register for our Free Webinar.
Interview Kickstart programs go far beyond cracking the coding interview to add long-lasting value by making our students better engineers. The rewards our alums have reaped, landing top-notch offers from leading tech companies by upskilling and cracking the coding interview, far outweigh the cost of our programs.
Our alums consistently bag offers from FAANG and leading tech companies, with a salary hike in the range of $50K to $200K!
Join us, and you too can get closer to cracking the coding interview to succeed in your chosen coding career path.