Tips for prepping for pair programming interviews

So I thought I would take a little break to offer some tips for preparing for pair programming interviews from the view of a newbie to pair-programming.

Focus on high-level rather than low-level concepts

Trying to crash course in all the Ruby/Rails features of a language is going to overwhelm your brain. Focus on really getting main concepts of Rails and how everything is connected. Read the Ruby and Rails docs. Code School‘s Rails courses are great too.

Work through existing apps, both your own and others.

Most likely you will be working off an existing coding database in your interview. Studying existing apps is super helpful for this. Be able to speak about the model relationships. Be able to speak about what is going on in the controllers vs the models. How does this all connect to the views? Find apps that have tests, walk through them. If there aren’t tests, write some! Do some refactoring. Maybe build a feature or two.

Practice with someone

I was really nervous about doing this because I didn’t want to inconvenience someone and I didn’t want to look stupid. Better to feel that way in practice than the interview!  Ideally you should be set up in an IRL setup (side-by-side dual screen if it will be in person or a remote solution if your interview will be remote) but take what you can. Think out loud, ask questions, switch roles.

Get a good night’s rest…no really

You are going to need to be alert and able to speak clearly…and code at the same time…for several hours right along with someone so make sure to get a good night of sleep! Sleep over cramming.

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