So you want to become a software engineer? Named one of the 50 Best Careers by US News and World Report, software developers earn an average yearly salary of $97,000. As nice as that sounds, finding a job to become one is not always easy. Perfectly qualified software engineers sometimes end up failing the interview portion mainly because they were not fully prepared for it. And the best way to prepare for your interview is to know what to expect when the time comes. The type of software engineer interview questions can vary from company to company, but we will explain the three main types that are typically being asked today.
If you have little or no experience with job interviews, we highly recommend you take our Interviewing Skills Level 101 course. Here, you will learn how to present yourself and what to expect at your next interview. You will also be taught how to answer certain non-technical questions, such as “What are your weaknesses?” and “Why do you want to work for our company?”. It might sound easy at first to answer them, but there is a certain way you are supposed to respond to those types of questions to come off as confident and qualified as you can.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of software developers is expected to increase by 30% in the next 6 years. The demand for software engineers is increasing, simply because of the expansion of the internet and technology. However, landing a job can be very difficult and competitive because companies are picky with whom they hire. They will ask challenging questions so they can filter out the smart engineers from the not so bright ones.
During the interview process, there are typically 3 types of questions you will be asked. The first type are general questions about yourself which are usually asked by the HR department. The second type of questions deal with your job description and are very technical. The last set of questions are problem solving questions that test your logic and make you think more outside the box.
Since technology is changing at such a fast rate, the types of questions that are being asked also change as time goes on. The type of software engineer interview questions being asked ten years ago are most likely outdated to today’s standards. Tablets and smartphones are becoming more and more popular now and the job market for designing apps is booming.
These are the questions that are asked at all interviews, regardless of the type of job you are applying for. The reason these are asked is so the company can get a better understanding of who you are. A lot of times they will have questions about your resume and your experience at your previous job. It is always important to be honest when answering these questions because if you get caught or if they think you are lying, you are pretty much out of the picture.
Here is a list of some general questions you might be asked:
- Why did you leave your last job?
- What are your career goals?
- Why did you want to be a software engineer?
- What are some key projects you worked on?
- Are you a team player?
- Why should we hire you over the other job applicants?
- How well do you deal with stress?
Since you are applying as a software engineer, the bulk of your questions will be technical. When it comes down to it, companies want an engineer who is smart and knows how to get it done. And for them to hire the best candidate possible, they will need to ask challenging questions. Sometimes you will be asked questions that do not entirely fit your job description, meaning it is wise that you learn about other languages and concepts you are not too familiar with.
It is also important to note that the technical questions being asked will vary from algorithms, to construction, to implementation and design. And a lot of times there is not a right or wrong answer, meaning it is entirely up to you to explain why you answered them the way you did. The goal of this is for the company to get a better understanding of how you interpret concepts and ideas and how well you can explain them.
Below is a list of some basic technical questions that you might see at your next job interview:
- Which tools do you use for keeping track of requirements?
- How do you design scalable applications?
- What are metaphors used for in functional design?
- What language to you prefer for writing complex algorithms?
- Which tools are needed for testing the quality of your code?
- What is SOLID?
- How do the MVP, MVC and MVVM patterns relate?
Problem Solving Questions
The problem solving questions can be quite tricky, and mostly out of scope. Most companies do not make these questions the point of emphasis for hiring a candidate for the job, but they do show how well you can handle certain situations. A lot of times the question may not have any correlation to your job or anything you encounter on a daily basis. Therefore, you should not be too disappointed if you do not answer these questions perfectly.
Some of these questions can be similar to a “Google interview”, in that you will be given a well-defined problem and you have to find the correct solution. Usually there are a few good answers, but there is one specific answer the company is looking for from you.
Here are some problem solving questions that might be asked for you to solve:
You have a stream of infinite queries. How would you go about finding a good estimate of 2000 samples from this set of data and then write code for it?
- A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his entire fortune. How did that come about?
- How many golf balls can you fit in a school bus?
- What sort would you use if you had a large data set on disk and a small amount of ram to work with?
- How would you store 1 million phone numbers?
- What method would you use to look up a word in the dictionary?
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If you already got that phone call for an interview, well then congratulations! Hopefully this will assist you in landing that job. As a software engineer, it is vital that you area always learning and improving your skills, whether it’s learning C the hard way, improving your knowledge in Java, or understanding HTML 5 game development. Always be motivated expand your skills so you can be a better asset for a company and stand out from your competitors. Feel free to browse through all the courses we offer as we are more than happy to guide you towards the career path you have always dreamed of!