“WHAT ON EARTH are they going to ask me?”
Being able to read minds would definitely be the best thing since sliced bread. Imagine the superpower of knowing exactly what the hiring managers are going to ask even before they have thought about it.
Here’s a compilation of common software developer interview questions for you to prepare on your way to success. Read on to find out more.
If you are looking to one-up your technical skills, you can enroll in software engineer interview prep courses, where you can revise the basic concepts and learn some excellent methods to solve questions quickly.
Here’s something that might drop on you like a Fat Boy. Experienced hiring managers rarely prepare interview questions. Yes, we realize this might come as a shocker to you.
When it comes to job searches and interviews, a lot of things are shrouded in mystery. Interviewers often ask questions on a whim; the primary objective being checking your soft skills.
Wait; so, there’s no point preparing?
Hold your horses! Listen us out!
An interview is as much about your soft skills as it is about software developing proficiency.
During the interview, the interviewers will ask you software interview questions to not only test what you answer, but how you answer a question. So, the deciding factor between applicants often comes down to methodology and soft skills such as confidence, communication, etc.
Start your software interview prep by researching the company. Even if you are applying to one of the FAANG companies, do not assume that you know the product. Go to the company’s About Us section and get acquainted with the company’s mission, goals, and future aspirations.
So, for example, if you are applying at Facebook, start by visiting the company page and learn about its history, values, and future missions. Visit their Careers > Facebook page to understand the working culture and read testimonials from previous and current employees. Learn as much as you can, as if you were to live forever.
Next, prepare software engineer interview questions for both the technical and behavioral rounds. The behavioral round is equally essential, as skills such as teamwork and leadership are always appreciated in the workplace.
While most of the questions will revolve around your technical skills such as programming languages and DSA, employers will also take a look at your analytical and problem-solving skills, to know if you will fit within the company culture.
Software engineers, especially for FAANG companies, have to go through a grueling selection regime, which consists of several rounds of interviews. The complete software engineering interview process usually takes more than eight weeks and follows the given timeline-
During this time, you will possibly face challenging questions in the following rounds:
During coding interviews, you will have to answer questions surrounding data structure and algorithms, and a few system-designs questions as well. The difficulty of these questions depends on the role you are applying for. It is pretty natural that higher ranked senior engineers will have to face more challenging questions. Naturally, you are expected to do well in these rounds.
Usually, next is the whiteboard round, where you will have to write a piece of code on a whiteboard. However, recently, companies have started providing Chromebooks or laptops for software engineer interview questions, with the necessary applications pre-installed.
Additionally, for management positions, you will also have to face behavioral and situational rounds, wherein you will be asked questions regarding leadership, project management, work ethics, etc.
Meanwhile, the following happen behind the scenes:
With a brief idea about the hiring process and the questions mentioned below, you can ask a friend or family member for help and practice mock software interviews to test your preparation.
General Cognitive Ability (GCA)
GCA is an essential round of software engineer interview, especially at companies like Google and Amazon. This round is primarily designed to challenge the intellect of an individual, as the questions will be mostly hypothetical with no pre-determined solutions.
Answering tip: Make sure that you understand the question and answer the intent behind the question. Most candidates provide excellent answers but fail to satisfy the intent. If you do not understand, ask and clarify.
Secondly, think outside the box and dissect the question. Stay away from assumptions and bias. Ask questions if you are stuck, like “Is it safe to assume?”
“It” is a demonstrative pronoun.
3 Key tips to be a master coder
Role-related knowledge and experience
Questions here will be like the rapid-fire round in a quiz, requiring you to offer a clear answer ASAP. These software test engineer interview questions surround the fundamental aspects of software engineering, and you are expected to understand the concepts thoroughly.
Answering tip: Make sure that you are familiar with the basics of software engineering since most questions here will test your experience. You can use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to bolster your answer.
Here are some of the most common questions in this regard.
Management interviews test your skills to support and grow your team and how you will lead your team in projects effectively. Management software interview questions will be a series of situational and behavioral questions, essentially asking how you previously handled a said situation or task.
Answering tip: Leadership is a lot more than disciplining employees and meeting deadlines. You need to show that you are proficient in preparing daily objectives, pull your team ahead, and build staff capacity as well.
For example, in your answer to question 5 above, you can mention how you prioritize tasks based on requirements, delegate the said tasks to your employees, collect regular feedback through communication channels, and submit timely reports to your seniors.
These software engineer interview questions are designed to test if a candidate is a right fit for the company culture alongside the job role. You will most likely face questions surrounding your previous work environment, expectations, what environment you like, and if you will be able to fit the company umbrella comfortably.
Research tip: Visit the company’s website and study the mission statement and values. You will also find strategy teardowns done by news sources like CBS, etc.
Answering tip: Be honest! If you lie while answering these questions, either the recruiter will see through your façade and deem you a liar, or you will end up joining a company where you will be frustrated by the work culture.
Additionally, emphasize your skills to show YOUR abilities, even if you do not end up getting the job.
For example, in answer to question 1, you can say that “A program is a chunk of programming code that performs a pre-determined task. Software, on the other hand, comprises the code, documentation, and the user guide in a bundle.”
For example, in your answer to question 1, first list out all the languages and database algorithms in which you are proficient. If you are a full-stack web developer, mention all the languages you can code, including HTML, CSS, Java, Ruby, etc., and then, mention your favorite one out of those.
For bigshots like FAANG companies, software developer interview questions are usually from the following fields:
E.g. Given n non-empty linked lists representing n non-negative integers, the digits in reverse order and each corresponding node contain a single digit. Add n numbers and return as a linked list.
Solution tip: Make sure to study the number of nodes, node value, and that the list representing a number does not have leading zeroes.
E.g. Provided a matrix and target, return the total number of non-empty submatrices summing up to target.
Solution tip: Calculate the sum of a subarray using SUM[0-i]-SUM [0, j-n. If this equals target (subarray ends at i), find the number of occurrences of runningSum-target. Move from element to element and keep adding to runningSum. Finally, query the hashmap to find how many occurrences of running sum end at i.
Arrays or Strings
E.g. Implement a SnapshotArray which supports preset interfaces.
Solution tip: Study the provided interface thoroughly before you start preparing the code.
E.g. Find the length of the longest path such that every single node in this path assumes the same value in a binary tree. The number of edges between them also represents the length of the path between two nodes.
Solution tip: Make sure to study the number of nodes, constraints, and maximum depth in the range of a given tree while finding the longest UniValue path.
Graphs or Trees
E.g. Considering a path starts and ends at any node in a binary tree, find its maximum path sum.
Solution tip: Keep track of each path in the given binary tree (node, left child, right child, etc.) and pick the maximum one in the end, such that the root of each subtree should return maximum path sum that at most, one child of root is involved.
Usually, interviewers will be overly eager to test your tech skills in the relevant field. So, a smart move will be to read the technical requirements mentioned in the job description. Make sure that you are well acquainted with the technical skills necessary for this role.
Additionally, you should also solve truckloads of software engineer technical interview questions surrounding various topics such as cognitive ability and logical reasoning, role-related questions, leadership and management, and culture fit questions.
“Experience tells you what to do; confidence allows you to do it.” – Stan Smith
For freshers and experienced coders alike, you must have come across some software interview questions in your career one time or another. One of the main reasons why applicants fail is because they lack confidence in their answers. Interviews need a display of confidence in your skills; only then will a recruiter believe that you are indeed a good fit for the company.
Before you go for the interview, research about the projects handled by the company. This study will give you a head start, as you will have some idea about what to expect in the interview. Once you have entered the building, start observing how the company functions, the power dynamics, inclusivity, diversity, etc.
It is highly unlikely that you will know the answers to each and every question. When you come across such a hurdle, do not lose hope; ask questions instead. Show your eagerness to learn new concepts and rectify your mistakes. Show positivity.
Finally, take deep breaths. With ample preparation using the computer engineer interview questions, you will blaze through the interview, showing your savvy analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills.
Channel your inner Matt Rhule and shout to yourself, “Go, win it all!”