I’ve just passed the Google Foobar challenge and wanted to share my experience and some useful tips. If you don’t know what it is, there are a couple of articles online that describe it in detail, but I wanted to avoid repeating the obvious things and concentrate on my own experience.
What is Google Foobar Challenge?
This is an online challenge by Google in which you have to solve several problems of increasing complexity. Successfully solving the problems could get you to an interview at Google. To participate in this challenge, you have to:
- either get a referral link from someone who’s already participated and successfully solved at least some of the problems,
- or get a random invitation from Google while using Google search to look up some programming-related topics.
I’ve been coding for 16 years, and I search for programming-related information on Google multiple times every day. I’ve only gotten the invitation just a week ago while searching for something as simple as “python try except”. The logic they use to determine if you’re worthy to take a challenge is not clear. But you’ll know it when you see it.
The challenge consists of 5 levels and 9 problems distributed among them (1, 2, 3, 2, and 1 respectively). If you make it to level 4, you’ll be asked to provide your name, email and phone number, so that a Google recruiter might contact you in case they have a position to match your skills. I can’t say whether your chances are higher or not if you solve all challenges, but I would hope so.
I also don’t know whether your interview process will differ in any way from the one initiated by a regular self-application. After all, you’ve already invested quite a lot of time into solving their programming challenges, do you really need to go through it all over again on excruciating face-to-face interviews, solving the same problems under significantly heavier time pressure? (Actually, my bet is you do, but I don’t know for sure.)
What kind of problems should you expect?
Looking at the other reports of people solving Google Foobar, the problems seem to differ, but they are all tied into a story about…