Hack Reactor Application Part II: The Technical Interview

You’ve made it past Hack Reactor’s Admissions Challenge. Now what? You are now eligible to schedule the second and most important part of the admissions process, the technical interview. The bulk of the interview consists of a live coding session with one of our technical mentors. This is a collaborative process that we hope is fun and educational, regardless of the final outcome. (See here for more on the Admissions Challenge.)


What does the technical interview test for?

Throughout the Hack Reactor program, students tackle unfamiliar problems in a collaborative setting. Our interview process creates this basic context, which serves as a barometer for how the student will handle these challenges 66 hours a week. While some amount of studying ahead of time is advisable, especially for people new to JavaScript, we are less concerned with what one knows than how they handle new challenges.

“We’re not just looking for people who can memorize how to do things, we’re looking for problem solvers,” explains interviewer Charlie Depman.

coding school, learn to code, pair programming, software engineers

We value both our students' ability to code, and their comfort working in teams.

How should I prepare for the technical interview?

Familiarity with JavaScript essentials, namely objects, arrays and functions, is necessary, and it helps to have some comfort with calling functions within functions.

While not necessary, building a simple app or program may help to get a handle on how various concepts are employed.


How about soft skills?

Glad you asked -- soft skills are equally as important as technical chops. Explaining your thought process as you work through a problem is a key skill, both as a Hack Reactor student and in the professional world.

“Just being able to describe the process that you are using to approach a problem is one of the most valuable skills that you can have,” notes Depman. “Even if you can’t solve the problem 100%, being able to talk it over with someone else in a way that they can help guide you is really essential to succeeding here at Hack Reactor.”

Coding with a friend or finding other opportunities to explain how you broke down a problem can be invaluable practice.


What resources do you recommend?

Eloquent JavaScript chapters 1-5 do a great job of explaining core JavaScript concepts. To put these concepts into action, coderbyte and codewars provide good challenges to work through.

If you are still getting comfortable with concepts like objects and arrays, Codecademy and Khan Academy provide good beginner courses.


Anything else?

If you have done a good amount of preparation but are still nervous about the interview, just take the plunge and sign up. Many people over-prepare out of nervousness, and even if you are not accepted, you will be given recommendations for future study. Often students get in on their second try.

Ready to apply to our life-changing immersive program? Take the first step, the Admissions Challenge, today!

Read more:

Hack Reactor Application Part I: the Admissions Challenge

Student’s Advice to Anyone on the Fence About Applying to Hack Reactor: Just Go For It

Announcing Need-Blind Admissions for Hack Reactor’s Remote Beta Immersion Program