Today organizations such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, and others use Algorithmic Coding Interviews when hiring engineers.
Engineering candidates are given an abstract premise or situation and asked to solve a problem by implementing a solution algorithmically in a coding language of their choice.
While there is no “right” or “wrong” answer, these types of interviews are intended to assess a developer’s aptitude at applying techniques in computer science to real-world problems in real-time collaborative situations (the interviewer typically is available to answer questions and give basic guidance).
In my conversations with developers, I have heard a variety of opinions about these types of interviews, but they are mostly negative. Developers may feel that solving abstract problems is arbitrary or capricious, and ultimately may lead to false negatives for otherwise very competent computer programmers.
Regardless, the technique is commonplace and reminded me of my advanced applied mathematics mid-terms and finals while I was earning my degree at the University of Colorado.
As such, I founded a meet-up group called Whiteboard Warriors with the mission of giving developers an opportunity to gain experience performing algorithmic problem-solving in the style of “Oral Recitation” (a technique which helped me immensely during my time in school).
Participants are given a problem premise and pair up as proctor/solver groups. The problem solver has 45-minutes (roughly) to work out a solution (there are no wrong answers) while asking questions of the proctor, and gaining confidence in their ability to perform in these types of situations, as well as learning techniques in problem recognition and solution formation from their peers.
If you’d like to learn more, have any suggestions, or would like to participate, please visit the meetup group
Our first meetup will happen at EvoNexus, Irvine in the Spring of 2019.