Crunch Time

Matthew Lock
4 min readDec 11, 2020


Feeling a bit of a backlash from the previous from all the stress and confusion generated over my first tech test. While I did manage to relax over the weekend, I still felt a bit mentally exhausted, possibly also due to not sleeping all too well. I have these elaborate plans to sleep in and turn into a proper potato but it just never materialises anymore, must be an age thing…

So the week kicked off with sprint planning for the 2 group projects I am involved in, progress has been steady so far and while I wanted to work a bit more on my Javascript skills this week, I welcomed the social interaction and feeling of being part of something larger than myself. I started applying for a few jobs as I applied to none last week and the guilt was starting to overwhelm me. After making some incremental upgrades to my Javascript armoury I received a call informing me I had passed the tech test sent and would now request my presence for a technical interview. Cue panic and sleepless nights while I scrambled around trying to brush on the most basic of basic coding concepts. I also started filling my head with knowledge of application designs and architecture in a bid to be prepared for whatever they could throw at me. Only time will tell if I have enough stored away in the old noggin.

Coincidentally I received a pleasant email towards the end of week inviting me to another tech test this time in Java… Now Java is something I do want to learn but as of this point I have never used Java so would be a complete beginner. I have a few days to complete this timed tech test in Java so I will have the weekend a of days to get familiar enough with Java to pass the test. Challenge accepted.

A clashing set of Interviews is never ideal and with my final Interview pushed back to a Monday instead of taking place on the Friday as specified left me in an awkward position of having to juggle both responsibilities. My final Interview was obviously my priority but I also had to dedicate time to learning Java and let me tell you it wasn’t easy! Coming from the languages I was familiar with, Java felt a bit like a new ball game, I found Java to be inflexible and also somewhat familiar as it follows OOP principles. Even starting off learning Java required me to start using IntelliJ which is the de facto standard of text editors for Java development or Eclipse too if you’re into that. So learning a totally new language what’s my process, I started off by watching some long ass videos to familiarize myself with basics which I’m really glad I did as theres a number of keywords in Java that are not available to use for variables and classes. Declaring the inputs and outputs explicitly everytime with the semicolons at the end of each statements was starting to cause frustration, mostly because I would keep forgetting. I then started following along with some tutorials for creating basic terminal applications and then thought I would try my hand at some katas in codewars. As variables are immutable once declared this really slowed down my progress as I had no idea of the different classes I could use to make strings mutable such as StringBuilder.

Photo by Guillaume de Germain on Unsplash

The interview on Monday went well I thought, I stumbled on a couple of occasions so hopefully the interviewer won’t look down too unkindly upon me for the bits I didn’t know. I was required to give some background information on myself first and then proceed to run through my tech test where I explained in detail what each line was doing and the modules I had imported to enable my API to run correctly. Afterwards I gave a brief overview of things I would have done differently next time to write cleaner code and improvements I could have made. Finally the question and answer session coincided with me asking very specific questions regarding the role as it was a project based role and I wanted to just out more about the working style and how projects are distributed between the developers.

The Java tech test turned out to just be a 30 minute challenge regarding arithmetic and geometric data which I struggled with due to the different data types I was using and the problem I was having converting. A simple challenge which I feel would have been achievable if in a different language or provided more time to cover over the material but alas no point crying over split milk. Next I had to do a cognitive test which is based on logic and reasoning, this went okay I felt however I obviously ran out of time for this too as I believe they deliberately throw in too many questions for the limited time frame to test how you think under pressure.

The Interview and the tech test knackered me out for the rest of the week and I proceeded to take it slightly easier on myself by applying for a few jobs and just finishing off some basic Java applications to fill my time along with some kata’s. I think I will pursue the Java path for a bit since I have already started and believe knowing and understanding Java well will hugely benefit me in learning new languages for the future.