Interviewing a software engineer is not easy if you have little to no experience in programming. Unfortunately, there’s no playbook to go by – sometimes, you should focus on technical aspects of development and prepare challenging software engineering interview questions to see how well the candidate performs.
Other times, a successful interview has little to do with practical software developer interview questions and should be focused more on teamwork and interpersonal skills.
Having a list of both technical and non-technical tech interview questions to ask a software engineer is the best way to prepare for an interview. In this post, we’ll go over the most representative questions for a coder interview.
Top Developer Skills to Test at Job Interviews
When visiting a job interview with a software engineer candidate, a business owner’s or a team manager’s goal is to determine whether or not a person on the other side of the conversation is what the project needs.
That’s why, before coming up with the list of software engineering interview questions to ask a prospective employee, let’s take a look at the skills a software development interview should test.
1. In-depth understanding of the programing language, general programming concepts, and algorithms
When shortlisting software development candidates, determine how well the developer understands the ins and outs of the programming language he uses, its tools, and frameworks. Let’s take a look at three types of skills a developer applies at work – writing, understanding, and interacting with the programming language.
Writing – as for the software engineer technical interview questions, a junior developer knows how to return simple functions with no help from others. Also, he can break a complex function down into smaller bits and pieces. An entry-level professional should have a basic understanding of refactoring, understand the entry and termination points of the code he’s written.
Understanding – assembling software fragments coherently, making bits and pieces into a cohesive product, reusing most popular libraries and APIs. A junior developer can explain the intent behind the code he’s written to mentors and leave comments throughout the file.
Interacting with the code – basic understanding of how to set up a development environment and follow simple workflows, knowing how to differentiate between wrong and right outputs.
Writing – comparing function implementations, estimating the time and space costs of a project. An intermediate developer can skillfully express invariants and use stabs for improve the flexibility of the code. He knows how to create a refactoring strategy, edit the code of his peers, and embed code into large-scale systems.
Understanding – adapting the code to the requirements of libraries and frameworks, recognizing the requirements a code needs to meet to be integrated seamlessly into a chosen software architecture. An intermediate developer should already have a good command of both declarative and imperative writing styles.
Interacting – inferring abstract models from the API/library without having to use documentation, tracking dependencies freely, switch between workflows depending on the programming assignment.
Writing – taking advantage of under specifications and using them to increase software development productivity, creating metaprogramming patterns, and devising DSLs.
Understanding – solid command of most software infrastructures, idiomatic structures of top programming languages, effortless understanding of the code a developer didn’t write on his one.
Interacting – senior software engineer interview questions should show how a developer fuels the productivity of his peers by devising large-scale strategies and helping colleagues set up the IDE.
A developer with good problem-solving skills will be able to take a complex task and break it down into manageable, step-by-step components. When asking common coding interview questions, assess their skills in the following areas of solving problems:
A skilled developer should be able to translate a business problem into technical specifications and break it down into smaller pieces that everyone on the team can understand and turn into actions. Creating a sample infrastructure of the app is one of the ways for developers to brainstorm their actions.
After deciding on the structure of the solution, developers use their skills to turn concepts into complete projects. A skilled programmer needs to understand which tools he needs to solve a problem, define a timeline, and set a budget estimate for every stage of the project. Once the backbone of the project is complete, a software engineer needs to validate the project against business requirements.
3. Teamwork and communication
When interviewing a developer, a business owner, tech team lead, or talent manager needs to assess the candidate’s communication skills. To make sure the candidate understands how to work in a team, pay attention to the following:
- How comfortable he is sharing code with teammates and commenting on their work.
- How he handles confrontations, defending, or redefining his point of view depending on the situation.
- How willing he is to ask questions and collaborate rather than charging into the task head-on on his own.
- Whether or not he gets attached to his code so much as to think that it’s immutable.
4. Attention to detail
An accidental code error can lead to project downtime, tanking your project’s reputation and generated revenue. That’s why a talent manager needs to make hiring a professional with high attention to detail a priority.
The good news is, testing this skill is easy: for example, you can ask a job candidate to tell the number of 7s between 0 and 100. It’s common for unconcentrated developers to make mistakes is such simple tasks.
5. Business savvy
As a business owner, you want to onboard a professional who thinks of projects in a wider scope than a range of programming assignments and technologies. A software developer you hire should be able to translate technical objectives into business requirements.
For example, instead of saying: “this spaghetti code is going to generate a lot of tech debt”, a developer should put his performance concern as “if we do this, the page loading time will increase, we’ll have higher risks of system downtimes, and have higher visitor bounce rates”.
Hiring a developer who has a solid command of both tech and business jargon will help avoid miscommunications and improve work productivity.
50+ Software Development Interview Questions
After understanding the skills that are crucial for a skilled software developer, let’s take a closer look at general programming interview questions that can help gauge out an engineer’s level of expertise. We divided all of these in two modules – technical and non-technical ones. Since both are important for business owners, make sure to evenly balance these in your question sheet.
Technical software development questions
Top Java developer interview questions
Q: What is Java class?
A: In Java, a class is a template developers use to define new objects (different data types are supported). In Java-based systems, classes are the building blocks.
Q: Define JDK, JVM, and JRE.
- JDK – Java Development Kit
- JVM – Java Virtual Machine
- JRE – Java Runtime Environment.
Q: Is there a difference between static and dynamic loading?
A: Static class loading refers to creating instances and objects using new keywords. Dynamic class loading is appropriate if a developer doesn’t know the class name at the time of comple.
Q: Define an anonymous class in Java?
A: A class consisting of no defined name, consisting of only one line of code, defined using a new keyword is called anonymous.
Q: Define Java destructors.
A: This is a tricky question that commonly traps junior developers. Since Java has a garbage collector, there’s no need for developers to define destructors. Irrelevant objects are automatically disposed of using garbage collection.
Q: Briefly describe multithreading.
A: Multithreading is a concept used in Java that allows users to run multiple tasks simultaneously in a concurrent way as a part of a single application.
Q: What is the definition of JSON?
Q: Does Java use pointers?
A: No, Java doesn’t implement pointers. For advanced security, the language relies on references instead.
Q: What is the core feature of Java that differentiates it from other programming languages?
A: Platform independence.
Top C Agile methodology interview questions and answers for developer
Q: Name all the basic data types the language supports.
A: These are the basic data types used for C:
- Int – requesting the integer.
- Double – requesting a float value with double precision
- Char – requesting single characters
- Void – requesting special-purpose types
- Float – requesting a fraction number.
Q: Name the basic characteristics of C:
A: These are the basic characteristics of the programming language:
- Modularity – a possibility to break complex code into manageable chunks.
- Portability – platform-independence.
- Flexibility – a programmer has more control of the language.
- Speed – high compiling speed compared to other high-level technologies.
- Extendable functionality.
Q: Named reserved words in C.
A: Reserved words are the words that are a part of the standard programming language library (return, int, void, and others).
Q: Create an increment and a decrement statement in C.
A: Here’s how you create an increment and a decrement statement in C.
Increment statement uses a (++) operator, whereas a decrement one uses (-).
Q: Give the definition of a prototype function in C?
A: A prototype function is the one that transports the following information to the compiler:
- Function name
- Function return
- The list of function parameters.
Q: Is there any difference between fabs() and abs()? Explain it, please.
A: The functions are similar by scope – both retrieve absolute values. However, they are applied to different value types. Fabs() is used for floating values and abs() for integers.
Other than that, fabs() is used under < math.h >, whereas abs() is used for < stdlib.h >.
Q: Describe the applications of static functions in C.
A: A static function is the one that’s prefixed to a static keyword a developer takes from the same source code.
Q: What are Wild Pointers in C’?
A: Wild Pointers is a concept referring to all uninitialized pointers in C. Since they don’t have a fixed memory location to point to, leaving these unattended often leads to system crashes.
Q: What is the difference between = and == in C?
A: ‘==’ is an operator developers use to compare values on the same side. ‘=’ is used to compare variables on different sides.
Q: How many loop types are there in C? Name them.
A: C has four main types of loops that go as follows:
- For loops
- While loops
- Nested loops
- Do…while loops.
Top Junior and Senior Python interview questions
Q: Why is Python considered an interpreted language?
A: Since Python doesn’t transform the code into machine code before runtime, it’s considered a runtime language.
Q: Describe the memory management process in Python
A: All Python projects are placed inside a private heap. The programmer doesn’t need to access the heap manually – it’s handled by a Python interpreter. Python uses a memory manager to allocate the heap and a garbage collector to destroy redundant objects.
Q: Define PYTHONPATH
A: PYTHONPATH is an environment used for module interpretation. Other than that, it confirms the presence of modules in corresponding directories. PYTHONPATH communicates with the interpreter to determine the order in which modules should be loaded.
Q: Why should a developer follow PEP?
A: PEP is an acronym for Python Enhancement Proposal. Here, the main rules for Python code readability are outlined. Complying with these improves a developer’s operational efficiency.
Q: Is Python a programming or a scripting language?
A: Python has limited scripting capabilities – that’s why it’s typically referred to as a general-purpose programming language. Python use cases in scripting are outlined in the official documentation.
Q: What is the difference between Python local and global variables?
A: In Python, global variables are those declared outside of a function – thus, a developer can use any function within the code to access them.
Local variables, on the other hand, are those attached to a specific function and absent from the global space.
Q: Define and name the most common Python modules.
A: Python modules are pre-built files containing executable programming language code. Modules can contain both classes and variables.
Some of the common Python modules are:
- Data time
Q: Define Python namespace.
A: In Python, a namespace is a set of conventions that helps ensure that all files have unique names and are easily accessible.
Q: Define lambda functions in Python.
A: A lambda function is an anonymous expression. It’s syntax is different from other functions since it only has one statement that can contain an unlimited number of parameters.
Here’s an example of a lambda function:
|a = lambda x,y : x+y|
Q: Outline the difference between class and prototypal inheritance.
Prototypal inheritance, on the other hand, uses factory functions or the Object.create() method to allow the inheritance of instances directly from objects.
A: Attributes give a developer a list of element’s details – be it the value, data type, or id attached to it.
A property, on the other hand is a value assigned to these attributes (e.g. value=’Name’)
Q: How can you integrate JS and HTML?
A: There are several ways to handle this:
Q: Define a Typed language.
A: By definition, a typed language is the one that attaches values to other values, rather than variables. There are two types of typed languages:
- Static – a single data type gets attached to a variable (e.g. Java).
Soft Skills Software Development Interview Questions
Behavioral interview questions software engineer questions
Question #1. Describe your organizational skills.
When you ask a developer to describe his organizational skills, it’s good to hear the following:
- Which strategies a developer uses to prioritize workload.
- Which examples a developer can mention of his organization skills helping improve a project.
- Which practices a developer uses to organize his workweek.
Question #2. How do you approach project failures?
Failure is an important part of project management – you want to find professionals who are skilled in driving insights from shortcomings.
Here’s what you want to hear from a candidate after asking software engineering leadership interview questions:
- A detailed description of a failed project.
- Description of the challenges the team faced and understanding the reasons that led the project to failure.
- Summarizing best practices that would help developers avoid such failures in the future.
Question #3. What are the projects you do and do not want to handle?
Understanding what type of work developers are passionate about will come in handy when organizing your workflow. Here’s what a developer should answer to a junior software engineer interview regarding his most and least favorite projects.
- What type of people a developer prefers to work with.
- What type of tasks a developer enjoys handling most.
- Which projects a professional doesn’t find enjoyable.
Question #4. Which project management software do you use?
Understanding which tools are the most efficient way to organize workflows will come in handy when onboarding a developer and organizing communication. Here’s what you want to find out during the interview.
- Which task managers a developer uses.
- Why a developer prefers these tools over others.
- Which best practices a professional follows when writing documentation.
Question #5. How do you handle arguments within the team?
Conflict management is a crucial part of successful tech teams. That’s why you should look for developers who keep calm during arguments and know how to handle escalated situations.
Here are the best software engineer interview questions regarding conflict handling you should ask developers:
- What do you do if a team member is dragging the project and doesn’t bring it to completion?
- How do you handle insubordination of both senior and junior team members?
- How do you handle rudeness on clients’ behalf?
Although underrated, communication is an important soft skill for software developers. As much as writing readable and functional code is important, matching it to business objectives, describing the intent behind your actions, and building a personal brand are the skills you want your team to have.
Here are the software engineer hr interview questions you can ask developers to test their communication skills:
- How do you handle your personal and professional social media channels?
- How open are you to public speaking opportunities?
- What does constructive and non-constructive criticism mean for you? Name a couple of examples for both.
- Imagine that you have to work with a teammate you don’t get along well with. How would you break the ice between you and bring the project to completion?
- What are the best practices you use for communicating in person, over the phone, email, and chat? Name 3-5 tips you’d give your colleagues for handling each communication channel well.
- What do you do if your manager is wrong and you know it? How do you convince him that you’re right without going overboard?
- What would you choose between being a great listener and a powerful communicator? Why would you choose one and not the other?
Here are top logical questions for software developer interview:
Question #1. Complete the following sequence:
400 200 100? 25
- A) 150
- B) 100
- C) 50
- D) 25
- E) none of the previous answers are correct
Answer: C (the next number in the sequence is the previous one divided by 2).
Question #2. Complete the following sequence:
a c e g ?
- A) b
- B) h
- C) i
- D) p
- E) q
Answer: C) – there’s one letter missing between each element of the sequence.
Question #3. Complete the following sequence:
4 c 12 f 36 i?
- A) m
- B) q
- C) 78
- D) 108
- E) none of the answers are correct
Answer: D – it’s important to see two relationships here – 3x for numbers and x+2 for letters.
Question #4. Find a figure that matches the sequence
Answer: In the case of these problem-solving java interview questions, every next figure has more angles than the previous one. Thus, you need to complete a figure with a heptagon which, in this case, is a D.
Question #5. Answer the question
An architect is making a blueprint of a house at a scale of 1:10. One centimeter of the project is equal to 10 meters of the real building. How much are the 17 meters of one of the walls worth on paper?
- A) 1.5
- B) 1.7
- C) 15
- D) 17
- E) none of the previous answers are correct
Answer: after applying a basic proportion, it quickly becomes apparent that B is the correct answer to the problem.
Manage Remote Developer Interviews and Onboarding Using Bridge Teams
When starting a headquarter abroad, a business owner might feel like he doesn’t have enough control over talent selection and onboarding. If that’s the case, take some time to establish a transparent system of managing candidates remotely.
Bridge.teams, for one, is a one-stop-shop for remote talent selection, hiring, and tracking. Here’s what you get by reaching out to Bridge.teams for building your office.
- Support from legal, hiring, and management professionals in the region. If you are looking for tech talent abroad, chances are you aren’t that well-versed in labor legislation, financial documentation, and top platforms for talent acquisition and monitoring software engineer trainee interview questions. That’s why hiring a team of professionals to hire and support your remote headquarters is sensible. At Bridge.team, we have handfirst experience of working with talent from Argentina, Ukraine, and Mexico. That’s why we are fully equipped to help US- and EU-based businesses connect to talent in these regions.
- A customizable tool that helps track hiring and remote team management anywhere, anytime. We created a product that assists business owners in monitoring new hires, tracking payments, and building an active presence in the team’s day-to-day life.
- Cost savings – hiring a team abroad instead of looking for domestic talent helps business owners spend thousands of dollars less on talent acquisition. Find out how much you can save if you choose to open a tech office in Ukraine, Mexico, or Argentina using our customizable calculator.
Interviewing a software developer is a challenging task since you need to pay close attention to evaluating both a candidate’s soft and hard skills. Although the understanding of whether a prospective developer is a good fit for your team comes with years of experience, using tough programming questions will help you structure the interview.
Other than that, remember to avoid trivia software engineer interview questions (after all, you don’t want to be too picky about details), prioritize attitude and personality over experience, and the number of projects a software engineer has tackled.
Using an operating system for global hiring is an effective way to streamline talent search and management. To hire first-class software engineers abroad, contact Bridge.teams. Give us a call or leave a message!