Could you not: A Rant About Front-End Coding Interviews

Krystyna Ewing
Jun 12, 2017 · 5 min read
How’s that palindrome problem coming along?

So, if you’re a developer you’ve had your share of coding interviews. NOW before you read this, please know that I am totally for proving of ones skill before they are accepted for a job, it’s a HUGE red flag (for me) when there is an offer of a job, and I haven’t shown someone what I can do ( a portfolio of work is not going to prove that, especially if you’ve been out of work for weeks or if you’re like me, months at a time).

They’re important so folks can get a taste your skillset and so you can get a taste of dealing with those folks (i.e what it’s like to ask them questions, how do they handle someone getting stuck) on a daily basis, bet you didn’t know that a coding interview could work for you too. Every time I do one I make sure I ask questions, and when I get “stuck” I always ask the interviewing developer for guidance to see how they’d react. However let’s get one thing straight here, if you’re looking for a junior front end developer, they don’t need to know how to iterate over a multidimensional array and return all of the even numbers in an array to do their jobs. If you’re hiring a junior back end developer they might, but DEFINITELY not a junior front end developer, trust me, I been doing front end development for a few years now and not once, while writing javascript for an element on a page, have I ever thought:

“Ya know what’ll get this accordion working right? A multidimensional array that I have to iterate over to open and close the sections, that way it’ll be super complicated and super cool”

Seriously not once……have I ever thought this, no one who’s done front end development has ever thought this, and if you have…….WHY?

It’s getting out of hand……

There’s many a thing that’s important to front end development, understanding responsiveness, knowing how to use flex-box, understanding and utilizing properly the timing on hover effects and using pseudo elements to make some crazy designers dream of round dots instead of square dots become a reality (no joke I’ve had this happen…….). Knowing actual front end development techniques is what should get someone the job, not finding out if a word is a palindrome or not…..seriously stop……

I know what’s going on here……

I hear it all the time:

Front end development is easy!!!

The person who’s said this has never had a logo, and a list element fighting for dominance in the same space, trust me, there’s been times where I’ve spent HOURS placing something and then moved on to the next thing and then, guess what? There’s more hours spent trying to get those two things to behave with each other. That padding that you just added to that header is now in a full on fist fight with the margin on the top of the letters that are overlaid on your hero image and that button that you had? WHERE THE HELL IS THE BUTTON????

Point is, you don’t have to prove that it’s hard, anyone who’s done front end development or any kind of development, knows that it’s hard. Have you browsed Codepen lately? Some crazy projects done in CSS on there, if you haven’t I suggest you do. None of it is easy, and to create and curate false difficulty, is really discouraging. I’ve stopped applying to front end jobs all together because of the coding interviews, and I’m not the only person who goes “wat” when you’re in an interview for a front end developer job, and that pesky palindrome problem comes up (alliteration, gotta get you some).

But how can we fix it???

Make front end development problems about front end development, instead of the palindrome, hand someone a design and tell them to code it, instead of making someone iterate over a multidimensional array, show them some code, show them a messed up element and ask them how they would go about fixing it, and actually have them fix it. Front end development isn’t arrays, it isn’t palindromes, and it’s not sorting all 50 states in alphabetical order…so why are the coding challenges that way?

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Krystyna Ewing

Written by

Artist | Vet | Product Design | Member @ZincCooperative |Non-Binary Dragon| @operation_code volunteer| Reptile Hoarder | @BPOD_clan Worse Jumper 2018

HackerNoon.com

how hackers start their afternoons.

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