An Anxious Persons Guide to Live Coding
So, I just graduated from the FlatIron School Full Stack Software Engineering Bootcamp! I am so happy about that! It feels good! After countless hours of staring at official documentation and VS Code I passed my Final Assessment! My Final Assessment ended up being broken up into 2 parts, Initially I passed the React/Redux fundamentals and project explained portion very well, but I did not do so well in live coding. This lead to my reviewer giving me a live coding assessment 2 days after and I was finally able to get that done and graduate. In this article I am going to explain some tips for success on live coding and the 2 problems I had to solve in my assessments!
Ask a Ton of Questions!
Even if the prompt is clear, ask tons of questions. Why? Well it helps to know every single detail of what they want. Whether it is a project review or a job interview, the person running your assessment wants to see how you go about problem solving and if you understand the language. Asking questions will help you achieve what they are looking for. This leads me to my next tip…
Think Out Loud!
Like I said before, the review person wants to know how you are going about solving the problem. Software Engineering is all about problem solving and your interviewer is going to want to see how you go about that. Thinking out loud or explaining what you’re doing/why is going to help the other party see the thought process and see if you’re good for the position/understand the material.
Break It Down!
It helps to break up the problem! If you are anything like me then you tend to freak out in live code situations and that’s okay! What will help you get through it will be to break the task in to smaller tasks and that way you are at least always working on something and not just staring at the screen. It especially helps to do this by typing out the prompt and then typing out what you have to do to achieve this goal. Your reviewer will also be able to help to some degree if you ever get stuck and at the least they’ll see your thought process if you break it down.
Use Your Resources!
The reviewer may or may not allow you to use the internet, but most likely you’ll be able to. Official documentation is normally what you are allowed, so familiarize yourself with it. If you forget an input type, go to the HTML form documentation and navigate to the input section. Google around and find the little hints to get to your solution. Your googling should also give your reviewer an insight in your mind, which is always a benefit.
I think using all these tips should help ease your anxiety. It helped mine! As long as you can keep your mind on the task at hand you are gonna be okay! Now let’s talk about the prompts I had to work with!
For my first challenge I had to create 2 inputs, one for a number and one for a string. Additionally the string input can only have the number of characters that was equal to or less than the number in the number input. So for example if the number input had 10 typed into it, the string input can only have 10 characters or less. If you are getting to a point where you need live code this in React then you should already be familiar with state. The missing key part for me was the input attribute “maxLength” and setting that to the value of the number.
This was my solution…
The second challenge was to create a 2 input calculator with a drop down menu for the operator, button to run the calculation and an output. This tests someones ability to create a form and utilize state. I am not going to explain it to you because I think it is good practice. Go try it yourself! It does not take long at all!
Here is my solution…
I hope there was something you can take away from this! These tips should help you with live coding and these two prompts should give you some practice! Thanks for reading and Happy Coding!