I have had a very productive couple of weeks. I have been able to get a few assessments sent my way, some of them, I have handled better than others. Some I have walked away feeling like I must have looked like a deer in headlights. In the end, all of these opportunities; no matter how I felt walking out of them, have helped me grow and see opportunities for improvement.
I have had some take-home tests from companies that asked me to build something for them in my preferred language and framework; so far, they request I pull from an API they use for their own products. This did help me pinpoint some weak spots that I should be able to do in a few hours on the spot if asked to.
I have also received some algorithm assessments, I have managed to solve one of these with all passing tests. This single passes problem is hardly a win, considering the amount I have struggled with. What I am starting to realize is that even people who do not fully solve the problem can still make it to the next round of interviews. What the company is looking for is if you have a basic knowledge of data structures and if you can try to work the problem out while reaching for the right tools. Or at least if have read this in a few books and hear it in a webinar or two.
I have also had a conversation with someone I reached out to on what kind of advice they would give to someone who is trying to land their first full-time job. His response was very insightful in helping guide my strategy for preparing for interviewing with companies. He said newer companies are looking for people with a “T” shape model of knowledge. In other words, the person has a deep level of knowledge in a specific aspect but is capable of wearing many hats on the job and knowing a limited amount of many other things. Bigger companies are worried about you really have a deep understanding of data structures and a deep understanding of what they are hiring you to do.
With this knowledge and the recent opportunities I have had to learn from, I am excited to continue to try and continue to grow as a programmer. To think that only a year ago I had zero knowledge in this arena, to now having conversations with companies I never thought would be possible. I am doing something right, now it's a matter of doing enough things right.