You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
– Jim Rohn
If you’re preparing for an software engineering interview, then clearly you want to be the average of five awesome engineers. But we don’t all have the luxury of hanging out with awesome engineers all the time, and I don’t know about you but my friends get really tired of hearing me talk about code after a while.
Luckily, with social media and this exciting thing you may have heard of called the internet (gasp), there are a lot of options to connect with like-minded people online. To that end, I’ve put together a list of my top places to congregate online to talk with people and prepare for your interview.
Hands down one of the best communities out there, this Hackathon Hackers group is one of the most involved communities I’ve seen. There is a broad spectrum of discussion, although it all revolves very closely around coding interviews.
One of the big advantages of this community is that it is a great place to get info about interviews at specific companies. With over 10k members, it’s easy to find at least a couple people who have interviewed at whatever company you’re prepping for, even if it’s not one of the big 4. There are also some big names in the group like Gayle McDowell, who regularly participate in discussions, occasionally leading to amusing conversations like this one:
Tips for participating: Read the rules carefully. The moderators are not shy about taking down posts that are off-topic or blocking members who repeatedly break the rules.
r/CSCareerQuestions and r/LearnProgramming on Reddit
These two subreddits go hand in hand and are a great place for Reddit fans to find info as well as ask questions. r/CSCareerQuestions is primarily a place for questions about the nontechnical parts of the interview, such as how to respond to a recruiter, whereas r/LearnProgramming is focused on the technical stuff.
Although both of these groups have wide-ranging discussions that go well beyond coding interviews, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I really like these subreddits for that exact reason and it gives you reason to participate well after you have finished your job search. That being said, these subreddits are very… reddity. If you don’t like reading/posting on Reddit, they may not be the right places for you.
Tips for participating: Learn how to use Reddit properly. Reddit has a very specific way of doing things and lots of unwritten rules, so take a bit of time to just lurk around and understand how things work before diving straight in.
I’m personally a huge Quora addict, so this is one of my go-tos. This is definitely focused more on answering specific questions than having a back and forth discussion, but there is a ton of valuable information here. Given that Quora attracts a lot of techy people, there is a wealth of knowledge there to be tapped into.
A big advantage, and one of Quora’s selling points in general, is the large number of influential people who write on Quora. Gayle has answered tons of questions, and you also often have the opportunity to talk directly with the people who work at the company you’re applying for. Use caution though, because you don’t want to get your offer rescinded as a result of a Quora post.
Tips for participating: Look before you ask. Unlike the other communities, Quora has great search features, so it is worth checking if someone has already asked your question.
And there you have it. There are tons of communities out there, but these are the three biggest and most vibrant that I have come across. I would love to compile a more in-depth list, though. If I missed a community that you think would be valuable for people to know about, please leave a comment below and I will be amending this list over time.
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