Always Be Coding

The “ABCs” of acing an interview


Many university candidates ask me how to succeed in programming interviews. It’s a great question, because it’s nearly impossible to prepare for the unknown. But that is what being an engineer is all about: solving problems that haven’t been solved yet. : )

I always encourage people to think about programming interviews as a conversation and get in the mindset of solving problems collaboratively. We want you to succeed. So consider these ways to do your best:

1. ABC: Always Be Coding.

    • Join programming teams at your school.
    • Follow competitions online.
    • Mentor underclassmen, who are just starting in computer science.

Here’s why: The more you code, the more it becomes second nature.

2. Practice.

    • Use a whiteboard. This will help you think away from your machine.
    • Solve tough coding problems in front of your friends and peers.
    • Encourage those people to ask questions about why you’re solving problems in certain ways, while you’re actually coding.
    • Talk out alternate solutions to the problems and come up with pros and cons for the various solutions you provide.

3. Have an opinion.

    • In your interviews, don’t be shy about talking about the work you love to do. I come to work excited every day and I want my colleagues to as well.
    • You’d be surprised at the number of teams and technologies you don’t know exist at Microsoft. The more we know about you, the better we can find the right team for you.
    • The more passion you have, the better you’ll do in our interviews. We promise. : )


In the news:

Trish also shared her interviewing know-how in a story on Check out “What to Expect During a Microsoft Interview,” and you’ll learn even more about the “ABCs” of interviewing.

Don’t miss this must-read guide: Everything you wanted to know about university recruiting at Microsoft:

How to get started (Hint: If we’re at your university, come say hi…)

How to nail those first-round interviews

How to ace the big day on the Microsoft campus (and enjoy a night out in Seattle!)

How to evaluate a job offer

Be informed:

Learn about our three core tech roles: Software Development Engineer, Software Development Engineer in Test, and Program Manager.

Follow your muse:

Whether you’re a student, recent grad, or working professional, we invite you to bring your passion for technology to your job search. Here’s how to apply.

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