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During tech interviews, some companies open up a web application like "codeshare.io" or coderpad.io and they ask an algorithm question etc. I normally use Intellij Idea whenever I code and I'm not used to coding without auto-compilation, syntax checking, debugging etc.. And I usually perform some debugging while trying to find a solution. Because it is a tool, and I want to use the machine to find my mistakes while thinking about an algorithm.

Let's imagine: you have very limited time, you are trying to talk/explain while coding and at the same time you are dealing with restrictions of a very bad IDE. What do you think about this common interviewing practice? Should we exercise coding on notepad to be prepared for this stuff?

closed as primarily opinion-based by simbabque, Mister Positive, Fattie, sf02, gnat Feb 18 at 14:05

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • If you have the time you could try practising each of those things independently. Find a suitably weak development environment and do some practice questions there. Then try to talk while you do the questions. Finally introduce a live audience member to observe and assess the work (you could ask them to interrupt you at unhelpful points too). – P. Hopkinson Feb 18 at 11:04
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's just far too specific to software, and does not relate to "the workplace" issues. – Fattie Feb 18 at 13:27
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As long as you don't need to write a huge application with multiple files, you should be able to write functional code snippets without an IDE. If not, you definitely should practice by answering questions on SO, or the like, where you have below average tools.

But I don't think it matters that much, if the code will actually run. It's more about seeing how you tackle problems and if you are able to work on your own.

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It's you who is being interviewed on your coding knowledge (and proficiency), not the "IDE expertise/ familiarity". You don't get to choose the IDE for coding interviews, it may very well happen on a non-IDE text-editor (notepad, vim, emacs etc., without any plugins).

Assuming that the code can be constructed (written) (and optionally compiled / executed - which is true in most of the cases) without the involvement of a specific IDE, do not rely on IDEs for doing your job specifically during the interview. You should be able to write

  • Code (basic logical structure, no-auto complete)
  • Human Readable code (Indentation)
  • Compile-able code (Syntax and stuff)

Without the dependency on any single IDE.

During the coding interviews, no one writes a project, that you'd need the help of IDE to manage that. For sample code snippets, test-editors are enough - you should be habituated using one.

Let's agree on one point: The choice is really not yours during the interview.

  • A company used their own screen sharing application (similar to team viewer) and I wrote using an IDE. This was more realistic and I performed better. When stuck, I used some debugging feature. I think all companies should let us do that. (I want to use my own guitar to play. Not a 4 string crap) – Bhdr Feb 18 at 11:59
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    @Bhdr and no one is asking you to perform in a concert with that 4-string. Thing is, if you can handle the 4-sting gracefully, I will be more comfortable handing you over my six-string. – Sourav Ghosh Feb 18 at 12:06
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Being able to write code that compiles first time without an IDE is of absolutely no value. I know my IDE. I know exactly what it does. Except for comments, I usually type only half the source code because the IDE guesses most things. (For example, in a switch statement base on an enumeration it suggests all cases, then after the first it suggests the remaining five etc. No need to remember how six enums are spelled. Especially when they have created just an hour before by z colleague).

  • You're right @gnasher729. I realized that the interviewers are usually aware of the limitations of the code sharing platform. Thinking out loud is something they really like and they are more focused on your thinking style rather than compilable or runnable code. – Bhdr Feb 19 at 14:13

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