Hello Everyone!

I'm Aswin, a final year student from IIIT Allahabad. I've been into web development from the first year of my undergraduate degree when I started participating in open source events at my college. With my college being known for its active competitive coding culture, I started off with it in the first semester. I gave up on competitive coding pretty soon though once I realised I was more inclined towards and was getting better (started winning prizes at college events) at building things.

For campus placements at our college, every company has a similar process. You are required to clear a coding round first, and if shortlisted, you can proceed to the other technical rounds. As I wasn't interested in and barely practiced competitive coding, I could never get past the coding round, even though I had better chances of clearing the technical round due to my development skills. This made placements really tough for me, and the worst part was we had to go through the same steps again and again for each company, which was really frustrating.

It was around this time I learned that Devfolio could get you hired at the best tech startups replacing multiple receptive and troublesome intermediate steps. For the first time ever, I saw a simple, transparent process of verifying your skills at Devfolio to get you excellent job opportunities in your area of specialization without any competitive coding. All you have to do is to be good at what you do. This is beautifully depicted on their homepage.

Traditional process of getting a job offer

The Devfolio way 😲

Messing up the initial Quiz attempts

To verify your skills on Devfolio, one has to clear two rounds: an online coding quiz and an interview with a senior engineer. There are three attempts to clear the quiz, after which the next set of attempts gets unlocked after three months. There are two skills at the moment, that can be selected for the quiz in Devfolio: Frontend and Backend. They plan to add more skill(s) soon. I am basically a backend focused guy with a decent level of experience in frontend as well. As I was stronger at backend development, I decided to give the frontend quiz a shot, just to see how it goes and also to know what type of questions could be expected. The quiz had questions mostly on CSS, Javascript, and conceptual questions based on frontend. I did answer a lot of questions, but unfortunately, I couldn't clear the frontend quiz.

Devfolio Dashboard after I gave my frontend quiz 😒

I realized it didn't go well because my knowledge of frontend was lacking in some areas and also because of the fact that I gave the quiz without preparation. Feeling a bit overconfident about my backend skills, I gave the backend quiz as well. The questions were excellent, which made me dig through the concept to answer them. I was able to answer most of them and was confident that I would clear the quiz. But again, when the quiz ended, the result on the screen showed that I didn't clear the backend quiz as well! I was shocked. I realized that the cut-offs were really high, and I needed to be better than just good to get past the quiz.

Quiz - Take 2: Brushing up my skills and pushing through

If you fail to clear the quiz, Devfolio provides you with the resources that help you to work on the concepts you were weak at. I decided to set some time aside to go through the resources and give the quiz a second. I first went through the backend resources. The resources helped me a lot in learning new stuff and also to touch upon things I already knew. After finishing off the backend resources, I went through the frontend ones as well.

When I felt I was ready, I gave the frontend quiz again and tada! I cleared it to my surprise! This was a massive boost to my confidence, and I attempted the backend quiz. I cleared that as well!

Mail received after completing the Quiz 😍

First shot at Devfolio interview: Frontend

After clearing the quiz, the next step was to select slots for the Devfolio Interviews. I booked a slot for the frontend interview first and then a slot two days later for the backend one to become more familiar with the interview process for the backend interview, which was my main focus.

For the interview, Devfolio provided a guide that gave a brief idea about the interview structure. It was mentioned in it that 'System Design' will be part of the interview, and not knowing much about it, I spent the time I had left checking out the system designs of various apps like Airbnb, Whatsapp, Twitter, Uber, etc.

Reminder for the interview

I was all set for my frontend interview. The first task was to develop a prototype based on styles and functionalities specified in an hour using any language/framework of my choice. The UI I ended up building was nowhere near the one they specified but had the functionalities that they mentioned. This took away some of my confidence, but I hoped that if I could perform better in the upcoming rounds, I had a decent chance of clearing the interview. In the following round, I was asked questions on frontend theory, which unfortunately I couldn't answer well enough. I did make a note of the questions I couldn't answer, though, so that I could fill in gaps in my knowledge later. The final round was the 'System Design' round, in which I was able to answer most of the questions that were asked, though I wasn't sure whether they were the best answers.

Backend interview: hard work pays off!

I was quite sure I didn't crack the frontend interview and was pretty apprehensive about how the backend one scheduled two days later would go. I worked hard on brushing up my backend concepts and tried to figure out some of the questions I could expect. I also did my homework on system design really well. Now that I was familiar with the interview process, I was much more confident while giving the backend interview. I was able to complete the task given in the first round, where I was asked to optimize the code that I wrote. I tried to optimize it as much as possible, but due to the time constraints, we had to move to the second round. I was then asked questions on backend, and I was able to answer most of them. Even though there were questions I didn't know, I tried to answer them to the best of my knowledge. The third round was again 'System Design', which also went well.

After the interview, I had high hopes that I will clear it. But the thoughts of how I failed my first shot at the quiz caught up with me.

But one fine day, to my joy, I received the good news that I had cleared the backend interview and that my backend skill has been verified!!

Devfolio Dashboard after verifying a skill πŸŽ‰

Takeaways

The process has taught me a lot about improving my skills in both backend and frontend. I got to explore things that I wasn't aware of in both the domains. My focus now will be on verifying my frontend skills. I will be giving my frontend quiz again in 3 months, and I hope I can crack it this time!

The best part about Devfolio process is that it reduces the number of interviews that you give and increases the number of offers that you get in a simple and convenient manner while providing essential feedback as well. Devfolio verified skills ensure that you are fast-tracked to an onsite interview at these startups, without any technical screening.

Thanks for reading πŸ˜ƒ