Benefits of using laptop:

  • Quicker writing
  • No issue with bad handwriting
  • Easier to erase/edit/add lines
  • Less stress than the presentation format


  • Slightly harder to collaborate
  • Companies may be worried about you running off with interview questions

My question is, would I be looked at quizzically in major tech companies if I said "hey, I brought my laptop - do you mind if we use it for code writing just to speed things up?" during a 1-on-1 interview?

  • 8
    I think you miss the detriment of "everyone needs to huddle around to look at what you've written". The screen is a lot smaller than a whiteboard.
    – Erik
    Sep 29, 2016 at 5:38
  • 2
    Bringing a projector might solve that. But I honestly don't know what reaction this would get.
    – keshlam
    Sep 29, 2016 at 5:43
  • 1
    For this, I'm more expecting a 1-on-1 interview scenario (edited question)
    – Rollie
    Sep 29, 2016 at 5:59
  • Rollie only if you have a work resumee/Job is it normal to bring a Laptop and beamer. Otherwise Whiteboard or paper Sep 29, 2016 at 7:03
  • @JoeStrazzere Why is that odd? What's wrong with asking? Sep 29, 2016 at 11:01

2 Answers 2


I think it all depends on the expectations that you set with your interviewer.

I do not think you would be looked at "quizzically" if you arranged it with them beforehand. The reason is that they would expect it and they know it will happen. They might even want to help you out with the cabling and providing a bigger screen.

Suppose that they did not expect it, so you just whip out your laptop at the time of the interview; then there exists the possibility of a "quizzical" reaction. The interviewer will probably also just say "no" and force to solve the problem on a whiteboard.

At the same time, I think that the point of a whiteboard question is not to test syntax and speed, but rather to evaluate problem solving skills. There's a different criteria that your interviewer will look for that simply checking "how fast you write/program".

Also consider that you might make it harder on yourself by taking a laptop with for code writing. Your interviewer might be less lenient on you because you're in your ideal setup, so making mistakes might count more. They might even add more criteria than a whiteboard evaluation because of this.

  • 2
    +1 - Ask for permission first. Also, be prepared to go to the board for diagraming. The IDE is little help, and I wouldn't want to sit around while someone is taking too long to draw pretty boxes and things in some designing software. I don't care how bad the handwriting is.
    – user8365
    Sep 29, 2016 at 20:16

In general, bringing anything to share including a laptop, printed code you've written, or even chewing gum would be weird. It's best to ask about the interview format beforehand and prepare accordingly. Depending on the response you get, be prepared for more abstract questions such as:

  • algorithms
  • data modeling
  • refactoring
  • concurrency

or more concrete questions regarding:

  • consuming and producing APIs
  • framework and language specific idioms and gotchas
  • debugging and profiling tools

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