11 best coding interview books in 2021 pass the coding interview

11 Best Coding Interview Books in 2021 [Pass the Coding Interview]

Coding interview books are important now more than ever.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for a computer programmer is $86,550 per year.

So if you want a piece of that pie, you need to come correct, ready and prepared for your coding interview.

In addition books, we’re also recommending a couple coding interview courses to help you prepare.

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TLDR: 11 Best Coding Interview Books in 2021

We picked out the best coding interview books based on these three criteria:

🔥 Best Overall 🔥
Cracking the Coding Interview

💥 Best for Newbies 💥
Programming Interviews Exposed

💸 Best Value 💸
Elements of Programming Interviews in Java

1. Cracking the Coding Interview

Cracking the Coding Interview book laying on dry cracked earth

Cracking the Coding Interview is considered the Holy Grail of coding interview books.

And for good reason.

Created by software engineer and former interviewer Gayle Laakmann McDowell, this book has just about everything you’ll need to pass the coding interview.

The first part of the book examines the soft skills needed to charm and influence interviewers.

Then you’ll dive into 189 coding interview questions that are asked at actual interviews.

There are solution walkthroughs for each question. In addition, you’ll learn about 5 strategies to tackle algorithm questions.

The core topics covered include:

Most answers are presented in the Java programming language. So if you’re not familiar with Java, this book probably won’t be of much use.

📖 🔎 Read our full review of Cracking the Coding Interview.

excerpt of coding problem from Cracking the Coding Interview
Minimum distance lesson in Cracking the Coding Interview

2. Programming Interviews Exposed

Programming Interviews Exposed cover with overhead of runners crossing finish line

Programming Interviews Exposed, by John Mongan, Noah Kindler and Eric Giguere, is one of the best coding interview books out there.

In addition to coding problems and solutions, you’ll get a thorough walkthrough of each solution.

This way you’ll learn the techniques on how to solve these problems yourself.

You’ll work on classic coding interview questions based on data structures and algorithms. However, you’ll also work on newer topics covering:

  • probability
  • data science
  • statistics
  • machine learning

In addition, you’ll learn about how to speak to interviewers to advance to the next level.

Plus you’ll get tips on how to handle pre-interview phone screens.


3. The Complete Coding Interview Guide in Java

The Complete Coding Interview Guide in Java cover with tropical leaves

Complete Coding Interview Guide in Java by Anghel Leonard is separated into 2 sections.

First you’ll work through the non-technical interview questions. Then you’ll work on over 200 coding problems and solutions.

The Complete Coding Interview Guide in Java covers:

  • arrays
  • strings
  • maps
  • linked lists
  • sorting

And more.

In addition, you’ll learn how to avoid common mistakes made during the coding interview. You’ll also become comfortable navigating difficult algorithms.

So not only will you learn how to efficiently solve Java coding problems. But you’ll also learn what employers expect during the coding interview.


4. Coding Interviews: Questions, Analysis & Solutions

With 9 chapters in Coding Interviews: Questions, Analysis & Solutions by Harry He, you’ll learn about 5 key components of coding interviews.

First you’ll learn about programming languages, data structures and algorithms basics.

Then you’ll tackle methods of approaching and writing code.

After that, you’ll get tips on how to solve challenging coding problems.

You’ll also learn some top code optimization methods.

Finally, you’ll work on the soft skills needed to pass the coding interview.

Coding Interviews: Questions, Analysis & Solutions also contains examples to help you creatively solve problems.

🍷 Looking for more coding interview questions? This book pairs well with the course Grokking the Coding Interview on Educative.io.


5. Elements of Programming Interviews in C++

Elements of Programming Interviews in C++ by Adnan Aziz, Tsung-Hsien Lee and Amit Prakash is one of the best coding interview books out there. There are over 250 problems and solutions in this 450+ page book.

And that’s just for starters.

These problems are illustrated with over 200 figures. In addition, there are 300 tested programs and 150 variants.

But first, you’ll explore some non-technical elements of coding interviews like:

  • interview strategies
  • interviewer perspective
  • negotiation tips

And more.

You’ll also be presented with a summary of data structures, algorithms and patterns.

The coding problems presented in this book cover basic and advanced data structures. In addition, you’ll work on problems based on searching, algorithm design principles and concurrency.


6. Elements of Programming Interviews in Python

Elements of Programming Interviews in Python with Python logo

Maybe C++ isn’t your thing? In that case, there’s Elements of Programming Interviews in Python.

Similar to the other books in the Elements of Programming Interviews series, this covers over 250 problems and solutions. But in Python.

You’ll start by learning tips about the coding interview such as:

  • getting ready
  • strategies for a great interview
  • conducting in an interview

Then you’ll move on to working on problems related to data structures and algorithms:

  • primitive types
  • arrays
  • strings
  • linked lists
  • stacks and queues

And much, MUCH more.

Within the problems you’ll find over 200 figures.

Each chapter in the book contains a case study, coding interview tips and a review of library methods.


7. Elements of Programming Interviews in Java

Is Java your preferred language for coding interviews?

The third and final book in the Elements of Programming Interviews series presents all answers in Java.

The content is identical to the other books, the only difference being the programming language. You’ll still find the same 250 coding interview problems and solutions.

In addition, there are 200 figures to accompany these problems.

First you’ll learn about the non-technical aspects of interviewing such as coding interview prep and strategies of a successful interview.

Then with over 400 pages, you’ll move onto practicing problems with basic and advanced data structures.

In addition, you’ll work with:

  • searching
  • sorting
  • algorithmic design principles
  • concurrency

And more.

Each chapter contains a case study and tips for your coding interview.


8. Coding Interview Questions

FANG interview prep book Coding Interview Questions with crow

Coding Interview Questions by Narasimha Karumanchi is intended to present coding interview problems in a clear, straightforward way.

It covers interview questions on:

  • data structures
  • algorithms
  • design interview

And beyond.

Each problem contains detailed explanations. There’s also a multitude of solutions presented.

Coding Interview Questions contains basic coding interview questions. So if you’re looking for more advanced coding interview questions, this may not be the best book for you.

Want to work on some more data structures and algorithms problems in C/C++? Check out Narasimha Kurumanchi’s Data Structures and Algorithms Made Easy.

Programming techniques in Coding Interview Questions

9. The Big Book of Coding Interviews in Python

We recommend The Big Book of Coding Interviews in Python by Interview Druid because it contains over 300 coding interview questions.

The questions that have been selected represent some of the most frequently asked coding interview questions at FAANG interviews.

Each question comes with detailed solutions. In addition, there are comments in the code for clarification.

Some topics covered include:

  • data structures
  • sorting and searching
  • algorithms
  • math
  • design
  • Python

And beyond.

Also, there’s a section on different types of puzzles such as algorithmic, probability and lateral thinking.

🍷 If you’re a problem-solving enthusiast, we recommend checking out AlgoExpert. With over 140 algorithms questions, you can prepare for your FAANG-level interview.

🔥 Geena’s Hot Take

Now this is not the best coding interview book on this list. However, it is great for programmers who like quantity.

Also, there aren’t a lot of explanations of how to get from problem to solution. So it’s better for programmers who are already pretty comfortable solving coding problems.

1. Don’t get this book if you’re a newbie
2. Don’t get this book if you’re looking for thorough explanations


10. Daily Coding Problem

Daily Coding Problem in white with seafoam background

Daily Coding Problem by Alex Miller and Lawrence Wu is just that… a book which provides you with a daily coding problem.

The idea is that by solving one coding problem a day, you’ll be more prepared for your coding interview. There are almost 300 pages of coding problems.

Some topics covered include:

  • linked lists
  • arrays
  • heaps
  • trees
  • graphs
  • randomized algorithms
  • dynamic programming
  • system design

And more.

Each chapter starts with a crash course on the topic ahead.

First you’ll learn about data structures. Then you’ll move onto algorithms.

After that, you’ll work on more advanced problems that incorporate previous data structures and algorithms. Finally, there are a series of design questions.

Daily Coding Problem contains a curated list of questions asked at actual coding interviews.

Solutions are presented in Python.


11. Surviving the Whiteboard Interview

Surviving the Whiteboard Interview cover with cartoon computer and accessories

Surviving the Whiteboard Interview by William Gant addresses many of the fears we have about coding interviews such as public speaking and coding interview questions.

But it aims to quell those fears by getting you prepared to the maximum for your coding interview.

First you’ll learn about psychological roadblocks at whiteboard interviews. Then you’ll learn how to overcome those roadblocks.

In addition, you’ll learn about some soft skills you’ll need to entice the interviewers. Plus you’ll learn how to spruce up your resume.

But most importantly, you’ll learn how to get through – and pass – your whiteboard interview.


Best Coding Interview Books: Conclusion

Today we looked at 11 of the best coding interview books we could find.

And from there, we picked our three favorites:

Best Overall
Cracking the Coding Interview

Best for Newbies
Programming Interviews Exposed

Best Value
Elements of Programming Interviews in Java

So whether you’re looking for a coding interview book based on budget, XP or best quality, we think there’s a coding interview book for everyone.


Up next:

  1. What are the best coding interview books?

    We picked three of the best coding interview books based on the following criteria. For the best overall, we recommend Cracking the Coding Interview. For newbies, we recommend Programming Interviews Exposed. And for the best value, we think Elements of Programming Interviews in Java is the way to go.

  2. Is the Programming Interviews Exposed worth it?

    We think Programming Interviews Exposed is worth it. In addition to coding problems and solutions, you'll get a thorough walkthrough of each solution. This way you'll learn the techniques on how to solve these problems yourself. You'll work on classic coding interview questions based on data structures and algorithms. However, you'll also work on newer topics covering probability, data science and statistics.

  3. Is Surviving the Whiteboard Interview worth it?

    Yes, we think Surviving the Whiteboard Interview is worth it. It addresses many of the fears we have about coding interviews such as public speaking and coding interview questions. But it aims to quell those fears by getting your prepared to the maximum for your coding interview. First you'll learn about psychological roadblocks to whiteboard interviews. Then you'll learn how to overcome those roadblocks and move onto the first steps of getting ready. In addition, you'll learn about some soft skills you'll need to entice the interviewers. Plus you'll learn how to spruce up your resume. But most importantly, you'll learn how to get through – and pass – your whiteboard interview.