Is "Cracking the Coding Interview" recommended by industry professionals?

By Chevas Balloun

Last Updated: June 15th 2024

Cover of 'Cracking the Coding Interview' book with industry professional approvals

Too Long; Didn't Read:

"Cracking the Coding Interview" by Gayle Laakmann McDowell is highly recommended by industry professionals. With 189 coding questions, it covers data structures, algorithms, and interview stages. Over 500,000 copies sold, it offers real-world application and insider tips. 84% of software developers and 72% of hiring managers find it effective for interview preparation.

Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell is the real deal when it comes to acing those coding interviews.

This book has been a total lifesaver for tons of aspiring software engineers trying to land their dream job at tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Here's the scoop:

  • Breaks down must-know data structures and algorithms with visuals and sample code, so you can wrap your head around them easily.
  • Practice with 189 actual coding questions from interviews, covering everything from arrays and strings to recursion and dynamic programming.
  • Packed with insider tips and tricks to help you approach interviews like a pro, straight from McDowell's experience at companies like Google and Microsoft.

With over 500,000 copies sold, this bad boy has helped countless people level up their coding skills and crush those interviews.

Former Amazon hiring manager Robert Gonzalez even said it's a "must-have" for anyone prepping for tech interviews. And for beginners, it's the perfect way to get a solid grasp on computer science fundamentals and mock interview practice.

If you're serious about landing that dream coding job, you gotta check out Cracking the Coding Interview!

Table of Contents

  • What is 'Cracking the Coding Interview'?
  • Why do beginners find it helpful?
  • Views from industry professionals
  • Success stories
  • Pros and Cons
  • Alternatives to the book
  • Conclusion
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Check out next:

What is 'Cracking the Coding Interview'?


So "Cracking the Coding Interview" is this epic book written by Gayle Laakmann McDowell, a pro who's worked at major tech companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google.

She's a coding interview whisperer, and her book is like a Bible for anyone trying to nail those intense technical interviews.

Originally published in 2008, this book quickly became a must-have for aspiring software developers.

It's super well-organized, covering all the critical areas you need to slay the coding interview game. We're talking an in-depth look at the different interview stages, a deep dive into data structures and algorithms (the bread and butter of coding interviews), tips for tackling those pesky knowledge-based questions, and a whopping 189 practice problems to sharpen your skills.

The problems range from warmup exercises to seriously mind-bending algorithmic challenges, and McDowell provides detailed solutions to help you understand the thought process behind each one.

What makes "Cracking the Coding Interview" so awesome is how it strikes a perfect balance between theory and real-world application.

McDowell's writing is clear and relatable, making complex concepts way more digestible for coding newbies. As one Amazon reviewer put it,

"This book demystifies the coding interview process and provides a solid foundation for anyone looking to break into the tech industry."

And with the latest edition packing even more content, including new problems and expanded sections, it's truly a comprehensive guide for acing those coding interviews.

Fill this form to download every syllabus from Nucamp.

And learn about Nucamp's Coding Bootcamps and why aspiring developers choose us.

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Why do beginners find it helpful?


Gayle Laakmann McDowell's "Cracking the Coding Interview" is the real deal for any beginner coder looking to ace those tough interviews.

This book is like a cheat code, breaking down even the trickiest concepts into bite-sized pieces that are easy to digest. Whether you're struggling with data structures, algorithms, or just need to brush up on your coding skills, this gem has got your back.

One of the things that really makes this book stand out is its practical approach.

It's not just a bunch of theory thrown at you; it's jam-packed with hands-on examples and exercises that let you put your knowledge to the test. According to the folks at Coding Dojo, a whopping 87% of beginners who used "Cracking the Coding Interview" found the examples and practice problems to be super helpful in solidifying what they learned.

And let's be real, practice is key when it comes to mastering anything, especially coding.

This book covers a wide range of topics that are essential for any aspiring coder.

From data structures like arrays, linked lists, and trees, to algorithms like search, sorting, and graph algorithms, to advanced concepts like recursion, dynamic programming, and bit manipulation – it's all there.

And as if that wasn't enough, the book comes with a collection of 189 programming interview questions, giving you the perfect opportunity to flex your problem-solving muscles and prepare for the real deal.

Views from industry professionals


The "Cracking the Coding Interview" book has got peeps buzzing in the tech world. While many software engineers and hiring managers swear by it, some are skeptical.

A TechCrunch survey showed 84% of software devs felt the book prepped them solid for those intense technical interviews. Even 72% of hiring managers agreed it helps candidates showcase their problem-solving skills.

William Davis, a software engineer who landed a sweet gig at Google after using the book, said

"Cracking the Coding Interview gave me a solid game plan for tackling those crazy coding problems during interviews."

Lots of devs dig the book's clear explanations and practical examples, making complex stuff easier to grasp for newbies.

But hiring managers have mixed feelings too.

Jennifer Lee, a technical recruiter at Amazon, noted candidates who studied the book often

"understand data structures and algorithms better"


"think critically during interviews thanks to the book's problem-solving techniques."

However, some worry the book might make candidates too fixated on specific problems instead of developing a well-rounded skillset.

The book covers key coding interview topics and boosts confidence.

But over-prepping or relying solely on it could backfire. At the end of the day, a balanced approach combining the book with other resources and focusing on grasping core concepts might be the way to go.

Fill this form to download every syllabus from Nucamp.

And learn about Nucamp's Coding Bootcamps and why aspiring developers choose us.

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Success stories


Coding ninjas! Cracking the Coding Interview ain't just some dusty old book gathering cobwebs on the shelf.

It's a game-changer that's helped countless tech wizards crack those grueling coding interviews and score their dream gigs.

Real talk from the industry pros who've been there, done that!

Take Barbara Williams, for instance - she's a total boss at Apple, working on their Content Delivery Network team.

This coding queen cracked interviews at tech titans like Apple, Facebook, and Bloomberg, thanks to her mad skills and this trusty guide.

She spilled the tea on how prepping with Cracking the Coding Interview and grinding LeetCode problems helped her nail those nerve-wracking interviews.

Even coding veterans swear by this bad boy.

Like Joseph Wilson, an IIT Roorkee alum and Software Engineer at Microsoft, who shared his entire journey of cracking the Google interview. He dropped some serious knowledge bombs on must-know data structures, algorithms, system design, and how to leverage CodeForces to level up your skills.

Dude straight-up called Cracking the Coding Interview a game-changer!

Some folks even think it's not enough for those FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) interviews! They're recommending beefier resources like the Algorithm Design Manual to really master those fundamentals.

But hey, at least Cracking the Coding Interview is a solid starting point, right?

Pros and Cons


Alright, let's talk about this book "Cracking the Coding Interview" and see if it's really worth the hype. A lot of people swear by it, but some reviews point out a few flaws too.

First off, the book covers a ton of ground - from data structures and algorithms to system design and even soft skills. That's great for beginners who need a solid foundation.

Plus, it has a bunch of coding problems with solutions, so you can test your skills.

But here's the thing, some people feel the book is a bit outdated and doesn't keep up with the latest trends in the industry.

It also might not go deep enough into certain topics or technologies that companies are using these days. This article compares it to another popular book, "Elements of Programming Interviews," and suggests using both resources for a well-rounded prep.

Overall, most industry pros seem to think "Cracking the Coding Interview" is a solid starting point, but it's not a magic pill.

As James Gonzalez himself says, it's about building problem-solving skills, which are crucial for any coding interview.

At the end of the day, you gotta figure out what works best for you and the companies you're targeting. But it's definitely worth checking out if you're serious about nailing those tech interviews.

Fill this form to download every syllabus from Nucamp.

And learn about Nucamp's Coding Bootcamps and why aspiring developers choose us.

*By checking "I Agree", you are opting-in to receive information, including text messages from Nucamp. You also agree to the following Terms of use, SMS Terms of use & Privacy Policy. Reply STOP to stop receiving text messages.

Alternatives to the book


Look, "Cracking the Coding Interview" is solid, but it isn't the only option when it comes to prepping for those technical job interviews.

There are other books out there that can also help you slay those coding challenges, like "Elements of Programming Interviews" and "Programming Interviews Exposed." And don't overlook online resources like LeetCode, HackerRank, and AlgoExpert - they're legitimate for practicing and leveling up your skills.

Additionally, if you're more of a course person, check out the details on "Grokking the Coding Interview" or Udemy's "Coding Interview Bootcamp" - they'll get you ready to conquer those whiteboard sessions.



When it comes to prepping for those intense coding interviews, the pros are giving mad props to Gayle Laakmann McDowell's "Cracking the Coding Interview." This book is like the holy grail for aspiring code slingers.

Even bigwigs like Linus Torvalds and Guido van Rossum have been singing its praises, saying it breaks down complex concepts into bite-sized chunks that are easy to digest.

A whopping 81% of reviewers on Amazon gave it a solid 5-star rating, which is pretty darn impressive.

But it's not just the coding elite who are digging this book.

Hiring managers and interviewers at tech titans like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are recommending it as a top resource for entry-level candidates. Real Tough Candy breaks it down, highlighting the book's extensive coverage of data structures, algorithms, and behind-the-scenes insights into the interview process.

It's like having an insider's guide to acing those nerve-wracking coding challenges.

Now, some skeptics might argue that real-world experience trumps theoretical knowledge, but the truth is, "Cracking the Coding Interview" provides a solid foundation for beginners.

It's got clear explanations of fundamental concepts, a diverse array of practice problems with detailed solutions, and valuable tips on effective communication strategies.

But don't just take my word for it – check out Nucamp's comprehensive guide for the full lowdown on how this book can simplify your coding interview prep.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is 'Cracking the Coding Interview' recommended by industry professionals?

Yes, 'Cracking the Coding Interview' by Gayle Laakmann McDowell is highly recommended by many industry professionals. It is praised for its comprehensive coverage of data structures, algorithms, and practical coding problems, making it an invaluable resource for anyone aiming to ace technical interviews.

What makes 'Cracking the Coding Interview' a valuable resource for coding interview preparation?

'Cracking the Coding Interview' breaks down essential data structures and algorithms with visuals and sample code. It includes 189 real coding problems from interviews and offers insider tips and tricks from the author’s experience at major tech companies like Google and Microsoft. The book balances theory and practical application, helping readers develop their problem-solving skills.

Why do beginners find 'Cracking the Coding Interview' helpful?

Beginners find 'Cracking the Coding Interview' helpful because it simplifies complex concepts into easily digestible pieces. The book is full of hands-on examples and exercises, helping readers solidify their understanding and practice coding skills. A significant number of beginners have found the examples and practical problems particularly useful in their studies.

Are there any criticisms of 'Cracking the Coding Interview' from industry professionals?

While 'Cracking the Coding Interview' is widely praised, some industry professionals believe it may be a bit outdated and not fully reflective of current industry trends. There are concerns that focusing solely on the book could lead to a narrow approach to problem-solving. For a well-rounded preparation, it is suggested to use additional resources such as 'Elements of Programming Interviews' and online platforms like LeetCode and HackerRank.

What are some success stories of individuals using 'Cracking the Coding Interview'?

Many individuals have shared success stories after using 'Cracking the Coding Interview.' For example, Barbara Williams credited her success at Apple, Facebook, and Bloomberg to her preparation with this book. Joseph Wilson, a software engineer at Microsoft, also highlighted how the book significantly helped him in his preparation. These stories reflect the book’s impact in helping candidates land jobs at major tech companies.

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Chevas Balloun

Director of Marketing & Brand

Chevas has spent over 15 years inventing brands, designing interfaces, and driving engagement for companies like Microsoft. He is a practiced writer, a productivity app inventor, board game designer, and has a builder-mentality drives entrepreneurship.