Students going through coding schools such as Hack Reactor and Austin Coding Academy, face challenges around the lack of coding experience to land senior coding positions. The lack of preparation around nailing the coding interview is something most coding schools do not prepare students for, which we want to solve within our community. Coding schools teach students how to code and solve technical problems, not prepare for technical interviews.
The lack of preparation around nailing the coding interview is something most coding schools do not prepare students for — Hispanic Hackers.
So to start the event, which was held at Capital Factory, Co-Founder Eddy Reyes introduced and detailed the coding interview experiment. To start, each job seeker participant would come up to the whiteboard and get grilled with technical questions for 20 minutes. Whiteboard sessions allow interviewing companies to assess the interviewees problem solving thought process, as well as their technical capabilities. Job seekers carried out their individual interviews at the whiteboard in front of a full audience of +40 participants. This included five members from Austin based startup Tenfold, who were the interviewing judges. Tenfold focuses on integrating SAS platforms to solve common sales teams problems. So, no prizes were offered, just the opportunity to formally interview with Tenfold.
As the interviews progressed, participants received questions that interviewees would normally encounter during coding interviews. Questions covered the implementation of algorithms and other basics of computer science. Questions from the onlooking audience featured company hiring managers and entrepreneurs looking to hire technical talent for their organizations.
Each participant was encouraged to talk out their thought process and show their work as they problem solved for solutions. As they continued to troubleshoot, an onslaught of questions challenged the interviewees to see beyond the problem and understand the bigger picture of the interview process and the process of the interviewer.
Fellow members in the audience also chimed in to make suggestions in ways they could break down the code, white-boarding in a way that would make it more efficient; for example, calculating the runtime of each algorithm which makes coding more efficient and faster.
The participants were very appreciative because they learned collectively from the audience by going through the process; this helped to improve their skills overall.
One member who just arrived from Cuba a few months ago said, “I feel like I’m not ready to go into an interview because I know my English is not good”, Eddy and the rest of the community supported their fellow member and reinforced him with positive feedback to go for it! Pedro Assis from Tenfold explained one of the most important things in an interview you can do is to show them you have the ability to solve their problem. The language barrier is one that can be overcome, but at the end of the day they want to know you can handle the problems the company would send your way.
The evening’s event brought up real questions to the Hispanic Hackers leadership team; such as how to close the gap between earning technical skills from coding schools, coding interview skills, and building connections with local startups.
At the end of the experiment, everyone in the room both technical and non-technical members, expressed their gratitude to the group’s leadership for conducting the experiment. Eddy Reyes final thoughts to the group where, “We hope that by doing more events like this we can actually make a real dent in the lack of diversity which exists in the tech industry. This is Austin Hispanic Hackers where we teach tech skills for tech jobs.”
Interested in joining or supporting the community, sign up for the meet-up.