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Cracking the Coding Interview, Fourth Edition: 150 Programming Interview Questions and Solutions 4th Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1451578270
ISBN-10: 145157827X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gayle Laakmann’s interviewing expertise comes from vast experience on both sides of the desk. She has completed Software Engineering interviews with - and received offers from - Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Capital IQ, and a number of other firms.

Of these top companies, she has worked for Microsoft, Apple and Google, where she gained deep insight into each company’s hiring practices.

Most recently, Gayle spent three years at Google as a Software Engineer and was one of the company’s lead interviewers. She interviewed over 120 candidates in the U.S. and abroad, and led much of the recruiting for her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania.

Additionally, she served on Google’s Hiring Committee, where she reviewed each candidate’s feedback and made hire / no-hire decisions.

She assessed over 700 candidates in that role, and evaluated hundreds more resumes.

In 2005, Gayle founded CareerCup.com to bring her wealth of experience to candidates around the world. Launched first as a free forum for interview questions, CareerCup now offers a book, a video and mock interviews.

Gayle holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 4 edition (October 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145157827X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451578270
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a software engineer at a billion-dollar company, with about 10 years of experience after college. I decided to interview at a promising early-stage startup and thus bought two interview books (this one and Programming Interview Exposed) to brush up on things and get back that interviewing magic. (I had been at my last job for over 5 years, so it has been a while.)

This book is good in some ways. The best thing about it is the set of problems in it. It's quite comprehensive: every area I could think of is covered. Even the knowledge-based chapters (e.g., on threading, or networking, or low-level programming) are surprisingly up-to-date and representative of the type of stuff that is asked. So if you want to get a big list of problems and at least a good stab at the solutions (if you're stuck), it's much better to get this book (as opposed to looking for problems on the Internet).

So why only two stars? The biggest issue is that there are tons of errors in this book. I can't tell you how many, but I know I personally found at least 5. Some are trivial -- the book may say something is O(n) space, when it's O(1) space. Some are egregious -- the smart pointer implementation, which is compressed to one page in the solution section, is utterly broken. (For example, operator=() fails to give up ownership of what it points to before the assignment, before taking ownership of the new object. That is a completely wrong solution to the problem! What if an inexperienced reader reads this section and becomes confused?) Books like this should not have mistakes, especially not a 4th edition.

Sometimes the problem isn't clearly stated, so that trying to solve it is very difficult without more explanation.
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Format: Paperback
My background: worked as a software developer for 5 years before changing companies and I needed to freshen up my interview skills. Having conducted dev interviews before, I wanted to be as prepared as possible.

I used this book as a practice guide for my interviews with Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. Got offered to two of the companies through practicing the questions in this book over and over again. I was only caught off guard by one or two questions during my interviews through at least 15 interview loops. Most of the interview questions at the above companies follow the same two dozen or so coding patterns and the questions in this book thoroughly covers them. Learn the coding patterns from this book and you won't be surprised or nervous during your loops. I tried not to act too surprised when 1/5 of the questions from my interviews were straight from the book.
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Format: Paperback
"Cracking the coding interview" (4th ed, 2008) by Gayle Laakman is a
good book, but so is the very similar book "Programming Interviews
Exposed: Secrets to Landing Your Next Job" (2nd edn), John Mongan,
Noah Suojanen and Eric Giguère (2nd edn, 2007) . Which should you
choose? Here are the main differences:

- "Exposed" is much more readable: it explains the solutions in
English before giving code, whereas "Cracking" often just presents
code with minimal explanation. Another nice thing is that "Exposed"
presents the solution in stages, so you can read the first part of the
solution to get a hint, and then try again. By contrast, "Cracking"
just gives the key idea right away, so even a "peek" at the solutions
means it's game over (modulo coding issues, which are usually easy).

- "Cracking" has more questions, and they generally seem to be a bit
harder. They are sorted in order of increasing difficulty, which is
helpful.

- "Cracking" gives solutions in Java, although the code seems to have
some errors (see other reviews on amazon). "Exposed" gives solutions
in a mix of languages (C++, Java, C#), although they only use one
language per question.

- "Cracking" contains some grammatical errors (for example, Gayle
often mixes up "eg" and "ie"). In addition, many explanations would be much clearer with
an example.

- Both books are similar in length (about 300 pages), and their "non
technical" advice is very similar.

- Overall, "Exposed" is easier to read, but "Cracking" has more
content. Tough call.
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Format: Paperback
If you are planning to appear for a technical interview at any big software-firm, I highly recommend studying this book.

When I started my preparation, the entire process seemed really daunting. There is so much to study, and there is vast amount of study-material available out there. I was really confused on what/how to prepare. A friend of mine suggested me this book and so I read it.

To summarize, this book is an awesome compilation of problems, strategies and approaches you must know for doing well in a Tech interview.

It starts with chapters focusing on non-coding aspects (company-info, resume, behavioral etc.). I feel that, thoroughly covering just these first 30 pages is suffice for doing well in the 'HR' parts of tech-interviews.

After that, it contains 150 questions grouped by categories, covering all the relevant areas. And finally it has useful information, solutions and discussions for all the questions.

Qu. "If I memorize solutions for all these questions, Can I crack an Interview?" Ans. No Way!
Rather, if you slog through these questions, learning techniques; I am sure you will be able to solve questions on that day.

Solving problems through the book, I learnt different [ingenious] approaches. And with practice, I was be able to [/tried to] identify patterns in new questions that I faced.

I particularly love 3 chapters- "Recursion", "Moderate Interview Problems", "Hard Interview Problems". Because they contain some really neat algorithms :)

Hope this review helps.. And all the best for your interview :)
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