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Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions 5th Revised & enlarged Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 483 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0984782802
ISBN-10: 098478280X
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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

I am not a recruiter. I am a software engineer. And as such, I know what it's like to be asked to whip up brilliant algorithms on the spot, and then write flawless code on a whiteboard. I know because I've been asked to do the same thing--in interviews at Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon, among other companies.

I also know because I've been on the other side of the table, asking candidates to do this. I've combed through stacks of resumes to find the engineers who I thought might be able to actually pass these interviews. And I've debated in Google's Hiring Committee whether or not a candidate did well enough to merit an offer. I understand and have experienced the full hiring circle.

And you, reader, are probably preparing for an interview, perhaps tomorrow, next week, or next year. You likely have or are working towards a Computer Science or related degree. I am not here to re-teach you the basics of what a binary search tree is, or how to traverse a linked list. You already know such things, and if not, there are plenty of other resources to learn them.

This book is here to help you take your understanding of Computer Science fundamentals to the next level, to help you apply those fundamentals to crack the coding interview. Because while the fundamentals are necessary to land one of the top jobs, they aren't always enough. For countless readers, this book has been just what they needed. 

About the Author

Gayle Laakmann McDowell is the founder / CEO of CareerCup.com and the author of The Google Resume: How to Prepare for a Career and Land a Job at Apple, Microsoft, Google, or any Top Tech Company.

Work Experience
Her 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, as a software engineer, 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.

Gayle holds a bachelor's and master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania and MBA from The Wharton School.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 508 pages
  • Publisher: CareerCup; 5th Revised & enlarged edition (August 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098478280X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984782802
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (483 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Should I buy this book for Interview Preparations ?

Short answer - Yes.

There are already many good reviews before this one, so if you are reading this, I would suggest don't waste your time and just buy this book. If you are preparing for companies such as Amazon/Apple/Facebook/Google/Microsoft, you should definitely go through this book. The quality of this edition is unparalled. It shows how much effort the author (Gayle) has put into this book. I specially like the runnable code she has provided alongwith the book to download and play with.

Did I get benefit out of it ?

Yes. I read this book for 2-3 weeks and in very first interview opportunity with one of these companies listed above, got the offer.

Did I absorb everything discussed in the book ?

No. Although I did read 80% of the book, i still feel if I had a bit free time could have absorbed the contents discussed a bit better. So what I mean to say is I am still going to use this book to make myself better (not just for interviews). You can definitely use this book even after you get your dream job (as a reference). Lots of good ideas discussed which may help you in your day to job as well.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First things first: this book helped me get multiple offers, and I recently accepted a job at a top-name developer.

My education is in computer science, and I have been writing software for about 10 years, but that's not enough for interviews these days. They will grill you repeatedly with varied problems, and see how you handle the pressure. I picked up this book mid-way through my interview process for a handful of software jobs. While I am confident in my ability to interview well from a personality perspective, the technical parts of the interview have always stressed me out, and frankly, I'd gotten a little cynical about the whole process.

The problems in the book are cool, but you can find plenty of problems for free online. It's really everything *around* the problems in this book that make it great. The book starts by explaining the "why" of technical interviews, the peripheral stuff, such as how to dress, how to practice for non-technical questions, how to break down problems, how to write good code, and how to respond to rejection and acceptance. Then it breaks down technical problems into a series of categories, such various data structures (arrays, trees/graphs, linked lists, etc), object oriented design, and mathematics and probability.

What helped me more than anything, though, was the breakdown of the "why" of technical problems. In one of my successful interviews, I was presented two purely mathematical physics problems. In both cases, I knew generally how the solution would work, but in one case, I couldn't remember the formula, and in the other I knew the principle of the algorithm, but not the execution.
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Format: Paperback
Would have given 5 stars if the book had the full solutions. The author claims that the full solutions are on the website, but all it did was redirect me to another site, with a few solutions from the book written it different languages. I rather have paid a little extra to have the FULL solutions in the book.
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I know the book is titled "Cracking the CODING Interview," but it seems to put too much emphasis on the technical part of a job interview. I've been developing software professionally for 13 years now and at least HALF of my "hireability" (is that even a word?) at interviews has depended on my personality and communication skills.

As an interviewer myself, I'm most concerned with 1) Can I work with this person, 2) Can they be taught, and 3) Do they seem like a naturally intelligent person? Yes, I want to see some relevant technical skills, and that's where this book can HELP, but overall we are looking for people we will enjoy working with and who can learn the job.

My most recent interview (last week) consisted of meeting with 10 people. Of those 10, four were focused on technical skills and the other six were focused on other skills. They stressed how important picking the right people for their culture was. My point? I could have answered every technical question right and still done poorly overall.

I made the mistake of buying this book with only seven days before my last interview. That was barely enough time to go through much of what the author considered basic (hash tables, etc.). If you think you'll be interviewing in the next few months, buy this book now and start going through it - it's way too dense to use on short notice.

I'd recommend it, but make sure you leave plenty of time to prepare. It had lots of great preparation advice in the beginning that's applicable to everyone. I'd also recommend that you focus on your interpersonal/communication skills because every company isn't just concerned with how good you are at writing code. Be well rounded!
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