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How to Stand Out in a Python Coding Interview (Summary)

You can now feel comfortable using some of Python’s less common, but more powerful, standard features in your next coding interview. There’s a lot to learn about the language as a whole, but this article should have given you a starting point to go deeper while letting you use Python more effectively when you interview.

In this course, you learned different types of standard tools to supercharge your coding interview skills:

  • Powerful built-in functions
  • Data structures built to handle common scenarios with barely any code
  • Standard library packages that have feature-rich solutions for specific problems, letting you write better code faster

Interviewing may not be the best approximation of real software development, but it’s worth knowing how to succeed in any programming environment, even interviews. Thankfully, learning how to use Python during coding interviews can help you understand the language more deeply, which will pay dividends during day-to-day development.

If you’d like to continue building your interview skills, then check out Write and Test a Python Function: Interview Practice.


Sample Code (.zip)

12.3 KB

Course Slides (.pdf)

273.2 KB

00:00 Let’s go through what you learned in this course. You learned a bunch of different concepts, and it’s always good to revisit what you learned. It’s also good to go through them and maybe make a cheat sheet or put them somewhere so you don’t forget.

00:11 I have an interview prep document where I’ve written a lot of this down, just so I don’t forget. In Section 1, you learned about built-in functions—for example, enumerate() and range(). For enumerate(), you can loop through the indexes and the element, while range()—you just loop through the numbers. List comprehensions, where you were able to construct lists in a very Pythonic way and also find the min and max, and do some other aggregates on lists.

00:34 print() versus breakpoint(), where you learned how to debug very easily in Python. f-strings, where you were able to construct various different strings in a very simple manner.

00:44 Sorting, where you could sort using the sorted() function, and then pass in a key to sort based on some function. In Section 2, you leveraged different data structures—for example, sets, where you’re able to check membership in constant time, generators, where you could iterate through a sequence using constant memory, dictionaries and defaultdict, where you could set default values for dictionaries, collections.Counter, where you could count the number of times a element appeared in an iterable, collections.deque, where you could pop and push both on the left and right side of the iterable, and collections.namedtuple, where you could basically create immutable classes. In Section 3, you learned about different built-in modules: the string module, which helped you get all the digits and lowercase letters which you could use in the interview question, itertools module, which helped you iterate over sequences effectively, functools module, which had higher order functions and properties where you could cache different values, and then doctest and assert, where you could test your code and also make sure that certain conditions were always met in a very easy way. In Section 4, you used all those concepts to solve an easy, medium, and a hard interview question. You also learned about the PriorityQueue, which helped you get the minimum value in logarithmic time.

02:02 Hopefully, you can see that everything in Section 1, 2, and 3 can really be applied to real-world problems and can show the interviewer that you really know Python. And then, of course, this video, which is the conclusion and course overview.

02:15 I want to thank you for listening to the course, and please, if you have any questions or comments, write them down below. Again, thank you and good luck interviewing.

Pygator on April 30, 2020

Lots of nice features displayed, and a review of some basic to intermediate skills. Thanks; the problems were interesting.

Cristian Palau on May 4, 2020

Thanks for the useful tips!

James Uejio RP Team on May 8, 2020

@Pygator and @cristian thank you for watching and for the kind words!

Balaviknesh Sekar on June 20, 2020

Thank you James. Its really helpful.

ajitsekhar on Sept. 5, 2020

Amazing tutorial. Very helpful.

ekawade1394 on Oct. 9, 2020

Enjoyed watching the tutorials. It was very helpful. Thank you!

ambreen2006 on Nov. 19, 2020

Thanks for the tutorial!

brunosilvaferreira on June 7, 2021

I did dozens of RP Courses but this one is for sure one of the best, thanks!

Eric William on Oct. 25, 2021

Thanks James for the tips!

Ivanhoe on Dec. 15, 2021

Hi James,

thanks a lot for a great tutorial. You mentioned something about a cheatsheet that you’ve made for an interview prep. Could you perhaps share this?

All the best!

pdcpython on Feb. 16, 2022

Excellent learning path!

pedroifgonzalez on Feb. 2, 2023

Great course and beautiful code! Thanks!

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