23: Technical Interview Prep with Clement Mihailescu

"Practice an absurd amount!"

Clement went from no coding experience to bootcamp grad to Google engineer in less than a year. Sounds too much like a fairytale? That's because a ton of work went on behind the scenes to get him there.

In the first half of this interview Clement goes into the interview prep framework he recently presented at Fullstack that has helped him pass the toughest technical interviews. There is a lot to cover and if you are preparing for technical interviews definitely check out the full video here.

In the second half, we go into Clement's Origin Story in true Impostor Syndrome fashion, asking hard questions like: was all this possible without a bootcamp?

Finally, we talk about how AlgoExpert.io condenses all of Clement's interview prep experience into a video-packed course.

Think about it: how much would you pay for a Google engineer to curate and grade problems for you to work on, give hints, and then sit down to explain them to you for 40 hours? $2000? Try $50, if you sign up now with our promo code "impostor"!

Show Notes

  • What is your background? Math major, bootcamp straight out of college, now at Google
  • Clement's framework for Technical Interview Prep:
    1. Algorithms and Data Structures - especially Dynamic Programming (see below)
    2. Complexity Analysis - BigO of computation and memory
    3. Coding Style - assessing if you can write DRY, naming variables well, abstract code
    4. Communication - Just do a lot of it. Don't be afraid to ask the interviewer for a hint
    5. Problem Solving - Ask questions, split smaller, testing your code even if they don't ask
    6. Culture Fit - Do research on the product; Be a smart person they'd enjoy working with
  • Key Questions covered
    • What's the impact of being wrong on Big O? Just show you care
    • How do you avoid simply memorizing Big O? Derive best/worst case
    • How do you show good coding style? Name variables well, structure code logically
    • Non-technical elements of a Technical Interview? Look at their product/industry
    • Top thing people should do more of? Communication. Try public speaking!!
    • Should we put off applying to jobs until we feel ready? Depends on company's hiring pace.
    • Is the job market oversaturated with bootcamp grads? Don't know but don't decide NOT to go to a bootcamp because you think the job market is oversaturated. 
    • Could you have learned all this and got into Google on your own? Probably not. A year ago he had no programming experience and information overload.
    • Impostor Syndrome at Google? On some level yes, but confidence builds based on work and help
  • Clement's Origin Story
    • Tried a lot of entrepreneurial ventures in college (blogs, youtube, phone app)
    • Did Fullstack because required technical skills to be a Founder or a PM
    • Bootcamp personal growth: made friends, expanded network, gained a skill he uses daily at Google and in his side business
    • Post Bootcamp: graduated in December, just prepped and did side projects. Took a long while to finally get Google
  • Clement's Post Bootcamp advice
    • Post bootcamp life? Journey's just beginning. Spend every day working towards goal.
    • Resume, cover letters, networking, applying, interview prepping
    • Practice an absurd amount.
  • AlgoExpert.io (Use Promo Code "impostor" to sign up for only $50!!)
    • Good videos on algorithms are hard to find!
    • 40+ curated problems with language agnostic execution, hints, and explanation videos.
    • Covering a variety of interview topics from all of Clement's experience
    • Why the focus on Dynamic Programming questions? Companies love to ask them.
  • Clement's Full Talk on Technical Interview Prep
  • Clement on LinkedIn, Github, contact him on AlgoExpert.io!

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or any RSS based Podcatcher, or download episodes at impostor-syndrome.org! Send your questions and feedback to @swyx or swyx@swyx.io. If this story reminds you of someone you know, send it to them!