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73 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'Must-study' before taking a Tech Interview
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...
Published on August 28, 2011 by ginnie

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31 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very well-written with great code examples/exercises. Not very "real-world" though and needed more depth.
I respect this book for being jam packed with lots of info and no filler. It's very well-written, well-organized, and having authored many documents myself, I can tell you that I couldn't have done a better job! All that aside, I gave it 3 stars (instead of 5) because I had some significant issues with the content. I'd recommend skimming/ignoring everything in this book...
Published 10 months ago by Will


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73 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'Must-study' before taking a Tech Interview, August 28, 2011
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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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should I buy this book for Interview Preparations ?, November 18, 2011
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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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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great investment, March 16, 2012
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This review is from: Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions (Paperback)
Bought this book 3 weeks before interview. Read the book twice with careful hand-writing practice on each question. Got Amazon offer. The interview had 4 questions and one was in the book. The other 3 were not in the book. This book will not prevent you from getting new questions during interviews. But it does cover most of the common areas that interviewers are interested in. Once you are familiar with the solutions, you have the skills and confidence to solve new questions during interviews.
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31 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very well-written with great code examples/exercises. Not very "real-world" though and needed more depth., September 21, 2013
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Will (Denver, CO) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions (Paperback)
I respect this book for being jam packed with lots of info and no filler. It's very well-written, well-organized, and having authored many documents myself, I can tell you that I couldn't have done a better job! All that aside, I gave it 3 stars (instead of 5) because I had some significant issues with the content. I'd recommend skimming/ignoring everything in this book but the code examples. The code examples/exercises are where you'll find the most value in this book.

If you're interested in my personal issues with the content, read on:

1. The author presents her claims as if she's worldy, having worked for Microsoft, Google, et al. I simply didn't feel this book was very "real-world". I've been consulting for nearly 2 decades, have interviewed dozens of people, and have thus been on both sides of the interview many, many times. In all that time, I never witnessed some of the experiences/conditions that this book pretty much guantees you'll encounter. Some of her advice is simply illogical and makes no sense. I'm not saying she's giving bad info, and the material is presented very well. I'm simply recommending you take what she says with a grain of salt.

2. The code style isn't the best. I hesitate to judge here because, not only have I seen SO much worse, but because well-written code doesn't always fit nicely into books. Sometimes everything gets crammed into tight, hard to read, crappy code statements with poor formatting. However, this is THE book (if there ever was a case to be made) that should have made space. EIther that or the author simply doesn't care about code style. Then again, she may thing her code looks wonderful. It's all perspective. Just wanted to include a warning that, given 2 candidates and one write clean code vs. the code in this book, I'd probably pass on hiring this author.

3. The code exercises are good. My problem is that the material is basic. Any (good) programmer will already understand everything in this book by the time they get their degree (or equivalent experience). Sure, sorting and searching algorithms are fun. We all live for bit shifting and implementing our own stacks. That said, I can't recall every seeing that come up in an interview. Surely, it can come up and probably does. You may be asked lots of basic, technical questions. The issues is that, while some interviews are easier than others and you should definitely know this stuff, it's really not what I think companies care about. I've seen brilliant people fall flat on their face when approached with a real-world problem. I see morons write better code than PhDs on average. Skills are very, very important...but getting the work done (right and on time) is critical.

The material in this book only goes so far. Coding is only a part of what's covered in the interview. I'm not saying the book promised something it didn't deliver. It IS named "Cracking the Coding Interview" and not "Cracking the Interview". However, the author opened up that can of worms when she addressed issues beyond code in this book. I just wish it had more depth to it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written, May 15, 2014
By 
James Collings "Standards" (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions (Paperback)
I think it has all the right problems in it but the book itself is not concise. For example, you get discussions of a formula for finding the start of a loop in a looped linked list but not the formula and in the discussion the author uses K and k variables which is confusing when you are looking at text in paragraphs rather than formulas. Also, the author forgets that in Java String is immutable. Either that or he is using String interchangeably with StringBuilder or character array, which leads to confusion. I'm only 2 chapters into the book which is not good.

Regarding String immutability, I am specifically referring to the solution to the very first problem where they propose sorting it as a space saving option... if you are allowed to modify the string in question... except sorting the individual characters in an actual String object, which is immutable, will not save much space. Each time the string is manipulated an entirely new string will be created.
Regarding the looped linked list, I found the formula buried in the text eventually. It's supposed to be part of the diagram for clarity though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book is good, but missing some important stuff., May 28, 2014
This review is from: Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interview prep, May 25, 2014
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This review is from: Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions (Paperback)
A great book for anyone preparing for a technical coding interview. It starts 1 year before the interview, so it's a good way of checking the areas you need to work on before you start applying for positions.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read if you're looking for a tech job!!!, March 21, 2013
By 
J. Braun (New England, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions (Paperback)
I wish I had read this book 90 days ago. I wouldn't have blown a great job that I really wanted.

This book goes beyond the usual answers to questions likely to be asked. Instead of telling you what to think it teaches you HOW to think. This will prepare you for the hard edged interviews that ask you to go to the white board and write code in front of a group of people. It's not impossible if you know that it's coming. I didn't and I did well but not enough to get a job offer. If I had read this book first and knew what was coming I think I would have nailed it.

Sample: Write an algorithm to produce the angle in degrees between the hour and minute hand on a clock. The book doesn't tell you how to do it but how to go about reaching the solution.

Priceless!!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable training before an actual interview, August 29, 2011
Given how hard it is to get an interview at one of the top IT companies you really want to make sure you come prepared..

Here is where 'Cracking the Coding Interview' comes.

It's essentially 2 things:
1) A short walk through the whole hiring process. From both of the perspectives: a recruiter and a job seeker.
2) Huge collection of a potential interview questions that are going to make your brain melt..

Invaluable training before an actual interview.

The author really know what she's talking about. She's been there, done that, on both sides..
She's concise, unapologetic and straight down to the point.

No interview is going to be scary if you master the questions from this book.
A friend of mine who recommended it to me recently scored a position at Microsoft. Need anything more for recommendation?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Questions so tough you'll think your interview was easy, January 15, 2014
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This review is from: Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions (Paperback)
I studied this book thoroughly in preparation for some technical interviews. It provides a great overview on all the basic structures and algorithms you will be expected to know when you have your programming interview. Despite the fact that you think you know linked lists like the back of your hand, Gayle McDowell will give you a question that makes you scratch your head a bit.

The solutions for all the questions are explained in great detail in the back. Usually she starts with a naive solution that works, and the one you likely came up with first, and then she refines it to give a better Big-O complexity. It's kind of a meta-lesson to train you to refine your solutions after you've come up with them during the interview.

Like I said in the title of this review, there are some very hard questions. I personally found my programming interviews (with some serious tech firms) to actually be overall easier than the questions presented here, so there was a bit of a confidence boost from going in expecting questions of the same caliber as in this book.
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Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions
Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions by Gayle Laakmann McDowell (Paperback - August 22, 2011)
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