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When I first heard about programming bootcamps, my assumption is that they were scams—the slightly more modern version of ITT Tech (which has now been shut down). They had the same characteristics: for-profit, not well-regulated, targeting people who are eager to turn their career around, etc. I figured it had all the same pitfalls. Even if the founders had good intentions and weren’t trying to take advantage of people, that didn’t mean the results were any good. Plus, they were only three months long; how could the education even come close to a four-year program? But then...
Your algorithm was correct, your code was correct, but you still got rejected. This is not only possible, but incredibly common.
Candidates are routinely surprised when it does because they don’t quite understand the interview process and how they are evaluated.
FizzBuzz might be a "classic" coding question, but it doesn't make it a good one.
If you want an A+ career in technology, you should move to the San Francisco Bay Area. The same argument can probably be made of finance and New York. It’s not that you can’t do it in another city, but your odds are just much better in your industry’s hub. So if you want an A+ career and your industry has a clear hub, go there.
Accept that invitation to do a talk that you don’t really you’re qualified for. Go meet that person for coffee, even if you don’t really see the point. Throw together that website that will almost certainly never lead anywhere.
Opportunities start from saying yes.
The "Google-style" interviews is the one people love to hate. It's broken, good candidates fail, bad candidates just memorize the answers, yadda yadda yadda.
That's all true.
But this is also true: all processes are broken.
FizzBuzz is not the basic, sanity-check interview question that many presume it to be. Use it and you might just end up filtering out some of your good candidates who, unfortunately, suffer from the Smart Person's Mirage.
I'll get to the fifteen pieces of advice. But first, let me explain what awesome careers look like.
They don't look like nice linear graphs, where you're moving up a little bit each month. (Heck, even so-so careers don't look like that. You don't move up every month. You get a bit better at your career every month, but you move up in big steps.)
After coaching hundreds of people through coding, behavioral, and product manager interviews, I’ve distilled some of my core advice into some handy prep sheets.
Study these sheets before your interview. Really understand them. Email me questions if you have any.
As you prepare for interviews, use these sheets. Walk through your next coding problem closely following the procedure below. It’ll help you — I promise.
Getting acquired by a big tech company is a dream for many start-ups. That dream comes with caveats. The acquiring firm may love your product but they still want to assess the skill of your technical team. As a result, they will often interview them just as they would “normal” candidates applying to software engineering and PM roles. For the last year, I've been semi-secretly offering a new service -- what I call "acquisition consulting". People found out about me from word of mouth mostly, and word spread. Now that I've got quite a few successes behind me, it's time to announce publicly what I've been doing.