- Give everything your best shot
- There is always room for improvement
- Tighten the feedback loop on your growth
Earlier this year I left my job at Cisco to build a startup. The response has been a little underwhelming so I decided it was time to start looking at jobs. To prepare for that, I started doing a lot of leetcode and studying algorithms and data structures. I've never been that great at them (and I'm still not as good as I want to be). I was making improvements though.
Last year in October, I had tried to get onto the Toptal. I didn't get in so I had to wait a few months before trying again. With COVID and a lack of job opportunities, I decided to give it another shot.
I was given three algorithm questions. On my previous attempt I only had to answer one question. They were pretty difficult but after reading them through I thought I might be able to finish at least one or two of them.
I was given an hour and a half. I spent the entire time coding. I was able to submit two out of three of the problems. The third problem was close to be solved as well. Or so I thought.
It turns out I only scored 57/300 on the entire test. You need at least 150/300 to get to the next round. The highest score was actually the problem that I hadn't even completed! Even though my two submitted questions past all the test cases, they clearly didn't cut it. It hurt pretty bad because of the effort I'd been putting in the past few weeks studying. Clearly I have a lot more work to do.
I'm banned from Toptal for the next two years. I've decided to go to school full time so I guess this is fine.
I forgive you for not being an algorithm expert (yet).