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Elements of Programming Interviews: The Insiders' Guide Paperback – October 11, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book is the best compilation of programming related problems I have seen. It is a great resource for a diverse set of topics when preparing for technical interviews, as a quick refresher in a subject area or when you are just looking for a brain teaser to challenge yourself." 
Shashank Gupta / Scaligent, formerly Engineering Manager, Amazon.com, Senior Engineering Manager, Yahoo!, Manager of Software Development, Cisco Systems

From the Author

Have you ever...
  • Wanted to work at an exciting futuristic company?
  • Struggled with an interview problem that could have been solved in 15 minutes?
  • Wished you could study real-world computing problems?
If so, you need to read Elements of Programming Interviews (EPI).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 482 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition (October 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1479274836
  • ISBN-13: 978-1479274833
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By goforfun on November 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In summary, I strongly recommend this book for anyone who wants to excel in interviews in top software companies.

This book has extensive interview problems with detailed solutions. It covers basic to advanced algorithm solving techniques. The book is very comprehensive and detailed - it is by far the largest collections of such problems that I know of. I really liked the fact that most problems have detailed programs which I could download complete versions of. The figures were also very helpful for me to understand some of the harder concepts.

Materials in later chapters which contain dynamic programming and graph algorithms make this book stands out among other interview books. These materials especially help readers to think critically when facing difficult programming problems with efficiency constraints.

I also purchased "Cracking the Coding Interview" for preparing for my interviews. Compared to that book, I found Elements of Programming Interviews to be better preparation for the questions I was asked at the on-site interviews. Cracking the Coding Interview had more basic questions, the kind I was asked in phone screening and on-campus interviews.

I am very fond of algorithms, and, just like Keith wrote in his review, Elements of Programming Interviews nicely supplements traditional algorithm textbooks which lack of practical examples.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By ChengYi He on October 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read through this book in great detail and I found it very useful for preparing for interviews. I appreciate the quantity, quality, and selection of problems. The detailed solutions with working code and well-drawn figures aided my understanding.

These problems would help you understand what is asked at interviews. Although the questions at the interview may not be exactly from the book, the book questions are very similar to those I have seen. I believe reading the book helps me stay calm and solve those questions because it helps me get used to thinking of challenging problems. I really like how the book teaches me to apply the same basic problem solving patterns again and again to conquer problems. If your goal is to work at a prestigious company, you should definitely read these examples before interview. In my experience, without the right preparation it is very hard to even know how to start answering their questions.

Almost each solution includes source code. This code has saved me lots of time. As Knuth said "It has often been said that a person does not really understand something until he teaches it to someone else. Actually a person does not really understand something until after teaching it to a computer." You cannot persuade interviewers that you really understand it unless you could code it correctly. Especially if your first question is data structure problem, you should code a correct and efficient solution quickly and elegantly. It's a pity if you know how to solve a problem but cannot code it when interviewing at your dream company.

I am passionate about programming and the book stimulated my mind a great deal. I like how the authors explain algorithms, and this made me want to keep reading. It was never a burden to work through the book.

I think this book would help lots of people who want to be a software engineer at the best companies and highly recommend you to buy one.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By F. Li on October 19, 2013
Format: Paperback
I am a Computer Science graduate. A friend of mine recommended it to me after he got offers from MSFT and FB by using the book. I have used the book for a while now, and I think I can give some information to help other readers to make a good decision.

Basically this book contains a set of programming problems to warm you up for a job interview. There are many other job hunting books too, so what makes this one special?
I would say it has the following advantages:

0. Smart algorithms and solutions. Better than many other resources you could find.
1. Challenging problems, making it useful for preparing top companies interviews.
2. Source code website. We can actually run the code and compare it with ours. Often, I first write my own program and test it with their driver program.
3. High quality C++11 code with very few bugs. It helped me to refine my coding skills and styles.
4. Study guide. Very helpful for iterative studying.
5. Book chapter organization. It is both detailed and close to complete.
6. Good coverage of recent algorithms.

Let me elaborate a bit.

Taking item 0, Smart algorithm and solutions as an example:
If you have prepared for job interviews just a bit, you may know there is a frequent question for "designing a Stack with Max/Min operations". I solved the problem by myself and after comparing my solution with other resources, I thought mine is optimal - until I saw the solution from this book. It is more space efficient by storing the frequency information.
Another example is the "Permutation Problem". Before I read the book, I already had a decent solution. But the "swap based" solution in this book is simply more elegant and more flexible for solving other problems.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By aditya on October 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
Whether you are preparing for an interview or not, every software developer should own this book! If you are infact preparing, this is a MUST have! Period!

Bought this book after my sister told me about it. The first four chapters looked pretty broad yet informative but somehow I wasn't impressed in the beginning. It was towards the end of the 5th chapter that things got super interesting and I got glued to the book. I consider myself a fairly experienced developer but after working on some of the questions and especially after looking at the solutions, I realized that there are much smarter ways to solve problems. I was looking at geeksforgeeks and careercup questions earlier but was never confident that I had covered all the topics. But after going through the book and after solving the problems I got this immense confidence that I now am better equipped with solving any complicated interview question (yet to be tested : ) but I am definitely a lot more confident than I was before).

Each question is very well thought out and definitely the solutions are one of the smartest ways to code/solve. I was blown away by some of the elegant solutions in the book. I would recommend trying to solve the questions on your own first without looking at the solution at all and then spend time comparing the approach. I specifically like the way the complexity of the topics grows gradually across chapters and also within each chapter.
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