Update (12/6/2016) – After 2 years of working in software engineering, I decided to start a podcast called Breaking Into Startups where we interview top bootcamp founder and alumni who broke into software engineering. Check it out http://breakingintostartups.com!
That night I ended up reading as many Hack Reactor student blogs as I could find in search for any insight about the interview process. After reading about a dozen of them, I noticed a reoccurring theme – every applicant thought they absolutely BOMBED it when they took it! This wasn’t particularly reassuring considering a lot of the applicants were coming from some sort of coding background. All of a sudden, getting into Hack Reactor started to seem like a distant reality. The only sort of good news for me was that a lot of the same people who thought they BOMBED it, ended up getting in. Could it be that the interviewers intentionally pushed the boundaries in order to see how much the candidates actually knew? If that was the case, I had to REALLY start studying in hope that the little knowledge I can accumulate before I apply can shine through in my interview.
What you’ll find below are the steps that I took to prep for the technical interview with Hack Reactor. A lot of the study tips I borrowed from other students’ blogs (Forrest, Amira Anuar, Austen Talbot). In order to maintain ethicacy, this blog is NOT intended to provide you with the answers to the problems that Hack Reactor asks during its interview. Instead, I’m sharing what I did to prep in order to help you should you decide to apply to Hack Reactor too.
Hack Reactor’s Website
I then received an email asking to schedule my technical interview and an optional “take-home” project. I’m not going to go into great detail about the project because I want to preserve the surprise, but I found it rather challenging and intellectually rewarding at the same time. I was asked to create a simple application using Ajax, which I wasn’t totally unfamiliar with because I have already taken the jQuery: The Return Flight on CodeSchool. Nevertheless, you should expect to spend a good amount of time on StackOverflow asking for help.
The unique interviewing style at Hack Reactor is telling of their overall approach to teaching. From the beginning of the application process until the final interview, I felt that Hack Reactor placed a great deal of emphasis on applying what you learn! To no surprise, it seems that it’s also the quality they look for in candidates – the ability to pick up new concepts quickly and apply them with little help from the instructors. Ultimately, the format of a 12-week crash course isn’t for everybody and that’s what the interview process is for. However, if you can demonstrate you’re eagerness to learn and the ability to be resourceful, you will undoubtedly get in!
For those of you learning how to code, I put together a curated list of resources that I used to learn how to code which can be found at breakingintostartups.com
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