Interview Cake is a service that aims to prepare poor little coders for the stress and humiliation they are likely to encounter during a traditional technical interview, where candidates must solve problems using code, on a white board, often implementing common data structures and algorithms in order to do so.
For various reasons, I have never had to endure one of these interviews.
However, during my most recent/current job search I decided I would try and talk to some companies with a more rigorous approach to interviewing candidates.
I also have a niggling (occasionally crippling) fear of being found out as a fraud because I only became interested in computers later in life, and therefore must be a big fat faker who has only managed to get where he has due to luck.
And so, to assuage my feelings of inadequacy, I set about refreshing my very rusty knowledge of DATA STRUCTURES AND ALGORITHMS (the caps are because that is how I read it in my head whenever I see it on a job description).
After a bit of research I came across Interview Cake and decided this was the service for me.
Here is my unbiased and very limited review.
What is an Interview Cake?
Interview Cake is an online platform designed to offer an interactive way to familiarise yourself with common Algorithms and Data Structure related problems.
It does so via a series of short theoretical articles, and a decent number of practice questions, complete with hints and solutions.
The idea is to give the user exposure to the sorts of problems they will encounter during their interview, and to build up the mindset for breaking down complex problems and coming up with a working solution under time pressure.
For me it has felt a bit like exposure therapy.
I recently had a phone interview where I was asked to write a function in an online REPL, involving n and recursion and stack overflows and combinations and time and space complexity, and many other things that make me internally scream and want to run away.
Thanks to having spent the weeks/months before immersing myself in interview cakey goodness this was significantly less scary.
Would I recommend Interview Cake?
It costs money, enough that it is a bit painful, but that has historically proved to be a good thing for me.
I am a cheapskate and the idea that I’m paying for something and not using it provides additional motivation to do the thing.
It is also expensive because it is good.
How good? Pretty good.
Why should you try it?
You get three free questions to see if you like the system, and if you pay for it and decide you don’t love it, you can get your money back.
Will it solve all your interview needs?
Probably not. I had to supplement it with videos, articles, blog posts etc., but for the practice side of things, it’s hard to beat.