Getting into an elite coding bootcamp is hard. You take a bunch of coding tests and technical interviews and it’s easy to get stressed out during the process. Top coding schools are also extremely selective. App Academy (where I'm an instructor) has an acceptance rate of 3% - that’s lower than Harvard.
But we want you to get in! We admit every student that jumps over our bar. And we want you to have the legs to make the jump. So if you want to get into the most selective coding schools, here’s what you’ll need to know:
What's a nested loop? A nested loop is a loop inside of a loop. They’re crucial for solving interview problems that make you compare items inside an array. Here are a couple examples:
There's one "until" nested inside of another "until".
Note: the code above doesn't solve a specific problem. It's just an example of nested loops. Any representation of real code, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Think of a clock. Every time the minute hand circles all the way around, the hour hand goes up by one. Same idea.
Here are some example problems that you should be able to solve, without help, using nested loops in a coding bootcamp interview:
If I'm walking through an algorithm I just wrote, I'll write out what the variables are on paper. For the code above, take a look:
You should be able to look at code you wrote and walk through that code from beginning to end, knowing exactly what every variable is at every point in time. If you're watching The Godfather and you pause an hour in, you should know the names of all the characters onscreen.
If you can write everything out for problems like Easter Bunny and Bubble Sort, you're golden.
When I say "be" the computer, you should be able to think through your program step-by-step and know what the variables are. "Being" the computer is not zen. Undercaffeinated Chevy Chase agrees:
If you have no experience and you're willing to put in two hours a day of study, it will take you anywhere from four weeks to three months to get up to speed. You have to be comfortable spending focused chunks of your time on the prep work. Schedule the early mornings or weeknights in your calendar right now.
As easy as it sounds, scheduling time is where most students fail. If you’re struggling with the material or you can’t devote the time on your own, find a tutor or look into other structured learning options.
At App Academy, we developed a 4 week, part-time program called Bootcamp Prep to help students overcome this hurdle. Through Bootcamp Prep, App Academy instructors will train you on web development fundamentals, provide interview prep, and one-on-one application assistance. More importantly, if you don’t get into a bootcamp after graduating, the course is free! You can find out more about the program here.
We put a lot of thought into the right materials to prep our students. Go through all the materials we recommend. If you want more specific advice:
Want something more tangible? (Well, as tangible as code can be.) I wrote a worksheet for you. If you want some deliberate practice with nested loops, download this file. Try all the problems, then look at the solution.
To learn more about App Academy Bootcamp Prep, check out the website here.
To learn more about App Academy, read reviews on Course Report.
If you have interesting questions or opportunities, email Asher at akingabramson [at symbol] appacademy.io. Asher gets a high volume of emails, so he can't promise to respond to every one. He's rooting for you!
Asher is a Software Engineer and Learning Architect at App Academy, the most selective coding bootcamp in San Francisco (3% admission rate). Asher is also the Founder of Learn20, a regular "learnathon" for autodidacts.
Just tell us who you are and what you’re searching for, we’ll handle the rest.