The Night Before A Coding Interview

Published on Apr 12, 2024, by Junji Zhi

Ah, the night before a coding interview. It’s like the night before Christmas, if instead of presents, Santa was bringing a whiteboard full of algorithms and data structures for you to solve while someone watches over your shoulder. The anticipation is palpable, the anxiety is through the roof, and your brain decides it’s the perfect time to replay every piece of code you’ve ever written, questioning if any of it was ever good.

Let’s set the scene: The clock strikes midnight, and there you are, lying in bed, eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling. Your mind races faster than Usain Bolt, zipping from one programming concept to another. Binary trees, linked lists, recursion… Oh, my! You try counting sheep, but your brain automatically starts sorting them using QuickSort, which, let’s be honest, is not the most relaxing algorithm.

You think to yourself, “Maybe I should get up and study some more.” So, you roll out of bed, fire up your laptop, and the glow of the screen in the dark room feels like the opening scene of a hacker movie—except, instead of hacking into the mainframe, you’re watching “Crash Course in Data Structures” for the hundredth time.

As the night drags on, every tick of the clock feels like a taunt. “Tick, tock, your interview’s a mock,” it seems to say. You try every trick in the book to fall asleep. Warm milk? Check. Counting backwards from 100? Check. Listening to whale sounds? Check. But nothing works. Your brain is like a web browser with 50 tabs open, and you can’t find which one is playing that annoying music.

Finally, after what feels like an eternity, you see the first light of dawn creeping through the curtains. Birds are chirping as if to say, “Good morning! Ready to fail that interview?” Thanks, birds. Really helpful.

You arrive at the interview, running on fumes and caffeine, looking like a character from “The Walking Dead.” The interviewer asks, “How are you today?” And with a caffeine-induced grin, you respond, “Great! I spent the night embracing the complexity of computational problems instead of sleeping. So, I’m ready for anything!” The interviewer, slightly taken aback, proceeds with the questions.

But here’s the twist: Despite the sleepless night, the gallons of coffee, and the nervousness that feels like it’s going to make you implode, you start solving the problems. One by one, your sleep-deprived brain digs deep and finds the answers. It turns out, the night of panic was like a hardcore training session, and you’re now in the zone, unstoppable.

In the end, you walk out of the interview feeling like a gladiator who just won a battle in the arena. You might not remember your own name at this point, but darn it, you solved those problems. And then, as you step outside, you think to yourself, “Maybe next time, I’ll try sleeping. Just to see if it’s any easier.”

So, my friend, if you’re feeling bad about that sleepless night before your coding interview, just remember: you’re not alone. It’s like a rite of passage in the tech world. And who knows? It might just be your brain’s way of saying, “We got this.”

(Edited with ChatGPT)