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91 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GETTING THE DREAM JOB... Comparing the Top 4 IT Interview Books
I worked with the data science association on their new standards for "Data Scientist" interviews (entry salary of $125,000), and both real questions and after interview polls were included for the biggest names in data today, from the web to corporate and government IT. "Data Scientist" is one of the hottest new jobs out there today, and some companies are even forming...
Published 18 months ago by Let's Compare Options Preptorial

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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good book but too Introductory. Look for other books if you want to practice more about interview problems.
I was a Software Engineer Intern at Facebook before. This book provides an introduction level of text about how those job interview processes go. As a student who never worked at industry before, it is really useful to get know all those details before hand. However, for the problems part, I felt there is a miss in there since there are not enough problems (although those...
Published 23 months ago by David


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91 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GETTING THE DREAM JOB... Comparing the Top 4 IT Interview Books, July 3, 2013
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This review is from: Programming Interviews Exposed: Secrets to Landing Your Next Job (Paperback)
I worked with the data science association on their new standards for "Data Scientist" interviews (entry salary of $125,000), and both real questions and after interview polls were included for the biggest names in data today, from the web to corporate and government IT. "Data Scientist" is one of the hottest new jobs out there today, and some companies are even forming CDSO jobs--Chief Data Science Officer!

To begin, ALL FOUR of the books in this review are 5 star "superstars" for IT interviews. The two problems are, my library customers want to know the top two, and our Amazon shoppers want to know if they can get away with one, two, three, or if they have to buy all four! Of course the answer depends both on the focus of your resume, and the overlap/focus in the four books.

First, the summary, by author, title/Amazon link, year published/edition, number of pages, trim and cost, problems included, main language(s) foci. These four are the most frequently purchased by the over 100,000 libraries (including corporate technical libraries and schools as well as private and public) in our database. (Note: page counts are via visual inspection at the time of this writing, not Amazon stats. Pages can vary with on-demand books.).

Aziz, Elements of Programming Interviews: 300 Questions and Solutions by Aziz, Adnan, Prakash, Amit, Lee, Tsung-Hsien 1st (first) Edition (10/11/2012), 2012, 481 pages, 6 x 9, $25, 300 problems (mostly C++, concurrency in Java, discrete math in formulas and English)
McDowell, Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions, 2011 (5th edition), 500 pages, 6 x 9, $23, 150 problems, (mostly all Java except of course the C, C++ question sections!)
Guiness, Ace the Programming Interview: 160 Questions and Answers for Success, 2013, 419 pages, 6 x 9, $20, 160 problems, (mostly Java and C# but some unusual JavaScript, SQL, Ruby and Perl examples too)
Mongan, Programming Interviews Exposed: Secrets to Landing Your Next Job, 2013 (ed. 3), 301 pages, 7.4 x 9, $18, 150+ problems (C, C++, C#, Java)

All four of these fine prep texts cover the usual suspects in Algorithms and Data structures, including a focus on "scalable" problems of most concern to the Amazons, Googles, Facebooks, etc. of the world. These include recursion, arrays, lists, hash tables, binary searches and trees, and other foundation coding subjects.
All also cover the usual tricks, brain teasers, presentation problems, prep, process, etc. issues, and in the case of Cracking, specifics on many different company processes.

The divergence is in the "extras." Aziz jumps into parallel computing and covers discrete math (in grad school joke terms, all the computer oriented math that has been taken out of high school courses). McDowell has an unusually well written probability section. Guiness is very up to date with cross platform apps and concurrent programming nightmares, and goes into both more depth and detail on individual topics like big O notation. Mongan is published by wrox, and has not only technical editors, but outstanding web resources. His database section is the most robust of the group.

Aziz and McDowell are print on demand, which usually means there are many more errors in early going, but much faster correction of them via almost weekly files to the printer. Guiness is Wiley and bulletproof. We've tested the code extensively in all four (my payroy sister programmers, not me!) and ALL of them are outstanding, with very few errors at this writing, which can only get better fast in the two PODs, and wasn't a problem to begin with via the technically edited wrox and wiley teams.

Surprisingly, there is NOT a lot of overlap in solutions in these four texts, just as there IS a lot of overlap in the questions (strings, arrays, binaries, hashes... structures are structures and algos are algos). The difference in ALL these books (as opposed to a Cormen) is that the algorithm examples are not academic--they give you many options to "cheat" - and most of the cheats are more real world than techniques given in the 1,300 page algo function texts.

McDowell is the industry standard, but she teaches very much to Google, as does Aziz, meaning web focus, and even a little forgiveness on php, but NO forgiveness on memory or scalability. If you're a library client and have to pick two, we advise one from the McDowell/ Aziz dyad and one from the Guiness/ Mongan dyad. If you're applying for a job with a specific language requirement, these self sort, although of course all are object oriented today.

For shoppers preparing for a real interview: buy all four. I mean, come on. This is your future! You can get all four for the price you'd pay for a larger (way less useful) algo + data structure or individual language text, and maybe less. Some points about interview technique are common, but all four offer different and important examples in approaches to solutions, even though they share common algorithmic and data structure challenges.

IRONY: The only programming area growing faster than data scientist today is at the other end of the big scale spectrum: embedded systems. I kid you not, specialize in embedded, and you're GUARANTEED a dream job, both due to the explosion of these systems, and the rarity of programmers here (but yes, you have to get into circuits!). Our sister Payroy group shows job stats, demand and salaries that are to die for if you go there-- way better than Google. NONE of these books cover it (because other than mobile and server embeds, embedded was traditionally automotive and industrial, but even "Google and Microsoft TV" type ventures are now hungering for it).

There is NO good interview book out on embedded yet, but these two are the best of breed in the field itself: 1. Samek (Practical UML Statecharts in C/C++: Event-Driven Programming for Embedded Systems) and 2. White (Making Embedded Systems: Design Patterns for Great Software). Why C and C++? Because that's where the majority of electronics still reside, and "object" programmers in the field often just use the C subset of ++ and don't really get into sexy classes/methods/parents/kids, etc.! 6 months brushing up on this, specializing, and going for an embedded job will be worth years of competing with the interviews in these texts!!!

Now, a simple tip. I was part of a team that interviewed for a high level, very high paying digital art programming position at shader joes dot com. One candidate stood out as really technically challenged--she even confused a call with a register in one of her answers! She called herself an "autodidact" - meaning, unlike Yahoo, we can't be recruiting only from the 18 top schools.

At the end of her interview, she asked us to check out a disc she'd brought. She had programmed her own video game with movie-real characters, explosions, storyline, etc. using Unity, Maya, blastcode, Python, Lua and C#, with web distributions in Java, HTML 5 and php. She proceeded to explain her entire process, from idea to distribution. She was hired before she could reach the elevator. In olden-days, old timer parlance, don't forget your "portfolio" if you have one! It can trump a LOT of the bureaucratic hurdles!

EMAILERS ANSWER: IF you are a manager, rusty at coding, a data scientist, etc. and are in an interview where you have to "understand" coding basics, but not necessarily code, see our review of Karumanchi (Coding Interview Questions).

Library Picks reviews only for the benefit of Amazon shoppers and has nothing to do with Amazon, the authors, manufacturers or publishers of the items we review. We always buy the items we review for the sake of objectivity, and although we search for gems, are not shy about trashing an item if it's a waste of time or money for Amazon shoppers. If the reviewer identifies herself, her job or her field, it is only as a point of reference to help you gauge the background and any biases.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good book but too Introductory. Look for other books if you want to practice more about interview problems., January 9, 2013
By 
David (Stanford, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Programming Interviews Exposed: Secrets to Landing Your Next Job (Paperback)
I was a Software Engineer Intern at Facebook before. This book provides an introduction level of text about how those job interview processes go. As a student who never worked at industry before, it is really useful to get know all those details before hand. However, for the problems part, I felt there is a miss in there since there are not enough problems (although those problems are well-chosen for sure).

After reading this book and having some initial shaky phone interviews, I have to find some other materials to sharpen my problem solving skills. Since personally I know all the basic algorithms and data structures, what I need is practicing lots of problems to apply those skills. I borrowed one copy of Elements of Programming Interviews: 300 Questions and Solutions from my friend which provides rich problems (a little too much to me at that time but definitely a great resource from practice perspective).

In conclusion, this book is good for you to know the interview process (but not enough for others), and you should definitely look for some other materials for practice.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Contain the most entry level programming interview questions., August 19, 2013
By 
David Bryant (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Programming Interviews Exposed: Secrets to Landing Your Next Job (Paperback)
Programming Interviews Exposed (PIE) should be the very first one book seriously talking about how to prepare for programming interviews. Its release clearly sets a standard for all following similar books, like Cracking the Coding Interviews and Elements of Programming Interviews. PIE use interesting and real interview problems as a unit to discuss about the solution, and possible pitfalls you may face during real interviews. However, since the content of this book has not being updated for a long time, my friends and I always joke about that people should not start their interview problems if they cannot solve PIE's problems; those problems are too easy from the point of view nowadays. Therefore, please don't treat this book as an elixir for your programming interviews; you should find some others if you are serious.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ok, this book could be better, August 4, 2013
This review is from: Programming Interviews Exposed: Secrets to Landing Your Next Job (Paperback)
I have been worked at software companies for years, and every time my colleagues and I talked about Programming Interview Exposed, we always think this book is the most classic one, but could be better if more problems are added and the contents definitely need a huge overhaul (instead of minor revisions). The authors did explain the process of interview in a detailed way and use few problems as examples to explain the thought process for approaching and solving problems. However, it did not provide the most important thing when you practice and prepare for your interview---more problems with codes to let readers further exercise on this because no one is naturally born to problem solving; everyone needs to well-practice before they actually want to land a offer for their dream company. As a result, I would like to see the authors add more problems in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, May 31, 2014
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best book for software developer position interview.
I would recommend it for any developer to refresh his algorithms and data structures knowledge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars swathi kumar chadalavada, December 14, 2013
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Nice book and it is simple to read and easy to understand. I recommend this book because it can do the job done.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It is just ok, November 28, 2013
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This review is from: Programming Interviews Exposed: Secrets to Landing Your Next Job (Paperback)
It would be great if it has more examples to explain and exercises for us to work on. It covers a lot of topics but not deep enough. It is more like introductory book to give you an idea.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing different, April 5, 2013
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This review is from: Programming Interviews Exposed: Secrets to Landing Your Next Job (Paperback)
I couldn't find anything different than what you could find in different forums. I'd rather recommend Schaum's Outline of Data Structures with Java, especially if you are not comfortable with data structures or want to learn data structure with enough details.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book of this kind I know, February 18, 2013
By 
Marcos Silva (Recife, PE Brasil) - See all my reviews
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I am currently reading this book, along with Cracking the Code Interview (http://www.amazon.com/Cracking-Coding-Interview-Programming-Questions/dp/098478280X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361193814&sr=8-1&keywords=coding+interview) and Coding Interviews (http://www.amazon.com/Coding-Interviews-Questions-Analysis-Solutions/dp/1430247614/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1361193814&sr=8-2&keywords=coding+interview). Provided that you feel comfortable with code in C and C++, I think Programming Interviews Exposed is the best choice between these three titles. The problems are carefully analysed, a certain number of scenarios and possibilities are presented for each solution, and the code presented is clean, readable, safe and consistent. The style adopted can maybe sounds as excessively detailed or introductory for some impatient readers. I think this kind of text should bring us exactly this experience: learn and re-learn the basics. I give it five stars in my comparison with its most popular concurrents, but I also think no book alone will get you ready to succeed in an interview. This title, though, is a precious acquisition.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't help..., August 10, 2013
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Read this book cover to cover, and took it to heart. Instead of being myself during my interviews, I tried to follow the advice in the book. Biggest mistake I could make. It's got some neat puzzles, and can help you sharpen your critical thinking, but these kinds of problems are contrived and don't really get at what an software developer really does every day (I should know, I've been doing it for over 15 years). Asking a few questions like this during a long interview makes sense: constructing your entire (5+ hour) interview from questions like this doesn't probe the depth of the capabilities of your subject. This book can't possibly prepare you for an interview where every question is a new puzzle. And worse yet, it gives you tips that may help or hurt you.

Be yourself. Solve the problems you are given as you would solve them. Don'e panic, and don't take this (or any) book too seriously.
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Programming Interviews Exposed: Secrets to Landing Your Next Job
Programming Interviews Exposed: Secrets to Landing Your Next Job by Eric Giguere (Paperback - November 13, 2012)
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