As a developer, you likely know many different programming languages, even some obscure, interesting ones. During coding interviews, you must write code, so you’re probably wondering what is the best code to use in a coding interview.
The advice for this can depend, so listed from AlgoMonster are some helpful tips on picking the best code to use in a coding interview and the advantages and disadvantages of different programming languages.
Pick your best programming language for a coding interview
Is there a language that you know best? A coding interview is not only going to be about how well you write code. The interviewer will likely ask you some specific questions about the programming language you pick, including quirks or particular things related to that programming language.
If you can’t answer these questions, the interviewer may conclude that your understanding of the programming language is not good enough. The interviewer will be assessing your skills to write efficient code and use all the benefits available to that specific language.
So the general advice is to pick the programming language that you know best and then to brush up on any and all specifics about it so that you can answer questions on the language when asked.
Specific Programming Languages In Coding Interviews
Suppose you have a strong understanding of multiple programming languages, or you know a company has preferences for specific programming languages. In that case, you may need to reassess which languages you will use during that coding interview.
You may even need to pick one or two different languages if you are applying for multiple positions. Some companies have a strong preference for specific programming languages, so using them would benefit you.
Below are some of the top choices of programming language to use during a coding interview.
Python is a high-level programming language and is extremely easy to learn. Moreover, the company you interview with likely uses it, at least in some capacity. At the very least, your interviewer is likely to know Python very well, which is helpful when discussing your code.
If you’re spending time explaining aspects of your programming language that isn’t well known, it takes time away and distracts you from the code you’re writing.
With Python, you can write fast, clean, and easy code which is a significant benefit during the time crunch of a coding interview. Also, it’s a very helpful programming language for data science projects and big data projects.
C is a highly verbose language and will increase the time it takes you to write everything else. Especially when using a basic text editor or whiteboard.
You may want to use C only when interviewing for hardware or embedded system coding interviews. Otherwise, it will take away precious time during your interview.
C++ has similar issues to C in that it will take a long time to write everything out. You get the benefit of object-orientated programming, though you won’t use it during most coding interviews, so it has little benefit in this situation.
Unless C++ is the only language the company wants to see in the coding interview, there are better options.
Probably one of the most common and most used languages in the enterprise world. You would not lose points for using this language or being highly proficient in it.
The downside of Java is that it’s very verbose. You have minimal time writing, testing, and optimizing your code in a coding interview. In addition, writing Java can be complicated and time-consuming if you have to write it out by hand.
Java is a great language but may not be optimal for speed during a coding interview.
Ruby has previously been a popular language, though many companies are moving away from it. If the job you’re going after specifically mentions Ruby, then it could be a good option. Though working in older and less used programming languages isn’t a bonus during coding interviews.
Unless Groovy has been mentioned explicitly in the positions you’re applying for; it’s likely not a good option. It’s not a good option because not many companies heavily use Groovy or even use it at all.
If a company is using it, then it would be a secondary language. The company will probably ask you about other coding languages you know and are comfortable writing code with.
If you’re an iOS developer, then Swift should be your first choice in coding interviews. You can undoubtedly use others, but the company may ask you questions about your understanding of Swift. Either way, Swift would be good to study on top of your preferred language.
If you’re an Android developer and going for an Android development position, you probably want to use Kotlin. Kotlin has been the official language of Android development since 2019.
The only reason you may not want to use Kotlin is if you’re not familiar enough with it. In that case, you would need to fall back to Java. Though you may be getting asked questions about your knowledge of Kotlin so it’s going to be something you should start learning.
Final thoughts on the best programming language to use during coding interviews
Consider your top programming languages, consider the job you are applying for, and the time constraints during coding interviews.
Pick the best language you know well, write quickly, and relates to the specific job you’re applying for.
Some programming languages are almost universally accepted, whether used explicitly at the company or not, such as Python.
So all things being equal, and if you already know Python, it may be the best language for you to use during a coding interview. It provides quick and clean code, and most interviewers already know it, which cuts down on explanation time if you use a more obscure or unrelated language.