Arslan Ahmad

How To Avoid Coding Mistakes During Interviews

Learn an effective technique to avoid coding mistakes

Coding under pressure, such as during interviews or tight deadlines, can lead to mistakes if you try to tackle complex problems all at once.

A strategic approach to mitigate these errors is through chunking and incremental coding.

Here’s a look at how you can apply this method to improve your coding accuracy and efficiency.

Understanding Chunking and Incremental Coding

Chunking involves breaking down a complex problem into smaller, more manageable parts or "chunks".

This technique helps in handling each part of the problem individually, which simplifies the coding process and reduces the chance of overwhelming your memory.

Incremental coding refers to gradually building up your solution by adding code in small sections, and testing each part as you go.

This not only helps in catching errors early but also makes it easier to adjust the code without disrupting the entire functionality.

Practical Steps to Implement This Technique

Let us discuss the ways how you can implement this technique:

1. Preliminary Thinking:

Spend the first few minutes understanding and planning your approach to the problem.

  • For instance, if you need to create a tool that converts temperatures between Fahrenheit and Celsius, you need to brainstorm first.

  • Decide the data structure (like a list or a dictionary) that will best suit the problem.

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2. Skeleton Code:

Begin by writing a high-level pseudocode or skeleton of your solution.

This acts as a roadmap and helps in organizing your thoughts.

  • If we create a skeleton code for the conversion tool, it will look like:

. . .

3. Incremental Implementation:

Fill in the logic within each section of your skeleton code.

  • Implement one chunk at a time and test each part thoroughly before moving to the next.

  • Continuously revise and refactor small sections for clarity and efficiency.

  • For instance, the implementation for the conversion tool would look like:


. . .

4. Testing:

Before finalizing your code, run through multiple test cases.

  • Start with basic examples and gradually include edge cases.

  • Verify each part of your solution independently and as a whole to ensure it behaves as expected.

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Benefits of Chunking and Incremental Coding

  1. Reduces Complexity: Breaking a problem into smaller parts makes it more digestible and easier to manage.

  2. Enhances Focus: Allows you to concentrate on one part of the problem at a time, improving the quality of each code segment.

  3. Facilitates Debugging: Errors can be identified and resolved during the early stages of coding, which saves time and effort.

  4. Improves Code Explanation: Your structured approach turns your code into a clear narrative that is easy to explain during interviews.

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Practice Makes Perfect

By adopting chunking and incremental coding, you can significantly reduce errors in your code and boost your confidence in handling complex programming challenges.

To get comfortable with this technique, practice regularly under conditions that mimic real interviews.

This method not only helps in interviews but is a valuable practice for any coding tasks requiring precision and efficiency.

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