Gayle Laakmann McDowell

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Gayle Laakmann McDowell
Gayle Laakmann McDowell in 2014
Gayle Laakmann

1982 (age 41–42)[1]
EducationEpiscopal Academy[2]
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania (BSE, MSE)
Wharton School (MBA)
Known forCracking the Coding Interview
Scientific career
Coding interviews
Computer science
Career development
Software engineering
CareerCup Edit this at Wikidata

Gayle Laakmann McDowell (born 1982)[1] is a founder, software engineer, and author.[3] She is known for a career development book, Cracking the Coding Interview.[4]


McDowell was educated at the Episcopal Academy[2] and the University of Pennsylvania where she was awarded Bachelor of Engineering (BSE) and Master of Engineering (MSE) degrees in Computer Science in 2005.


Cracking the Coding Interview cover

After working as a software engineer for Google she joined a small venture capital-funded startup company as the Vice President (VP) of engineering before being awarded a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.[3] McDowell subsequently founded her own business,, which helps people prepare for interviews at tech companies.[3]

First published in 2008, her book Cracking the Coding Interview provides guidance on technical job interviews, and includes solutions to example coding interview questions.[5] First published in 2008, it has been translated into seven languages: Russian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Spanish, and Korean. It describes solutions to common problems set in coding interviews.[5][6] The sixth edition of the textbook was published in 2015.

McDowell has also published books on Cracking the PM Interview (for product managers: PMs),[7] Cracking the PM career[8] and Cracking the Tech Career.[9] Her work has been covered widely in the press including coverage in The New York Times,[10] The Guardian,[11] The Wall Street Journal,[12] USA Today,[13] U.S. News & World Report,[14] and Fast Company.[15]

Awards and honors[edit]

McDowell gave the graduation speech at the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science Masters Commencement in 2016.[16][17][18]


  1. ^ a b Gayle Laakmann McDowell at Library of Congress
  2. ^ a b Laakmann McDowell, Gayle (2012). "Technology — Past, Present, Future". YouTube.
  3. ^ a b c Hess, Ken (2012). "Women in Tech: Gayle Laakmann McDowell excels beyond the stereotypes". ZDNet. Archived from the original on 2019-12-31.
  4. ^ McDowell, Gayle Laakmann (2015). Cracking the coding interview : 189 programming questions and solutions (6th ed.). Palo Alto, CA. ISBN 978-0-9847828-5-7. OCLC 913477191.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  5. ^ a b Ravisankar, Vivek (2018). "Gayle Laakmann McDowell Deconstructs the Engineering Interview Process". HackerRank. Archived from the original on 2019-12-31.
  6. ^ Tay, Yangshun (2022). "How to Rock the Coding Interview – Tips That Helped Me Land Job Offers from Google, Airbnb, and Dropbox". freeCodeCamp.
  7. ^ McDowell, Gayle Laakmann; Bavaro, Jackie (2013). Cracking the PM interview : how to land a product manager job in technology. Palo Alto, CA. ISBN 978-0-9847828-1-9. OCLC 866799668.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  8. ^ Bavaro, Jackie; McDowell, Gayle Laakmann (2021). Cracking the PM career. Palo Alto, CA. ISBN 978-0984782895. OCLC 1239322919.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  9. ^ Laakmann McDowell, Gayle (2014). Cracking the Tech Career : Insider Advice on Landing a Job at Google, Microsoft, Apple, or any Top Tech Company. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley. ISBN 978-1-118-96809-3. OCLC 890441660.
  10. ^ Lu, Yiren (2014). "Silicon Valley's Youth Problem". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Holpuch, Amanda (October 3, 2012). "How to pass a Google interview: busting the brain teaser myth". The Guardian. London.
  12. ^ Gellman, Lindsay (July 14, 2015). "The Workers Who Say 'Thanks, but No Thanks' to Jobs". New York: The Wall Street Journal.
  13. ^ Swartz, Jon (2011). "Tech jobs boom like it's 1999". USA Today.
  14. ^ Smith-Barrow, Delece (2013). "Start a Business in B School". U.S. News & World Report.
  15. ^ Porter, Jane (February 5, 2016). "Former Employee Of Google, Apple, And Microsoft On How To Master The Tech Interview".
  16. ^ Gao, Laura (2017). "Gayle McDowell on Writing Code to Writing Books". Archived from the original on 2018-03-18.
  17. ^ Berger, Michele W. (2017). "Unique, dynamic speakers take part in Penn's 2016 graduation ceremonies: Penn Today". University of Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on 2020-01-12.
  18. ^ Anon (2016). "Penn Engineering Masters 2016 Commencement Address: #SayYes". YouTube.