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Top Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions Asked in Tech Interviews

by Interview Kickstart Team in Interview Questions
October 31, 2022
Want to become a Senior Software Engineer? Here's how you can nail the interview

Top Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions Asked in Tech Interviews

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Senior software engineer interview questions at FAANG+ companies essentially test your problem-solving skills. Questions predominantly revolve around core data structures, algorithms, distributed systems, and behavioral psychology. Companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple, among others, are known to pay hefty salaries to senior software developers, with compensations stretching higher than $400,000 per annum.

Most companies hiring for senior software engineering roles expect you to have 5+ years of experience. Top companies hire for senior software engineering roles all through the year. The interviews, however, aren’t easy to crack. It takes a solid prep strategy and practicing a good number of software engineering interview questions to ace interviews at FAANG+ companies.

If you want to understand the type of senior software engineer interview questions asked at FAANG+ companies, this article is tailored just for you.

If you’re a software engineer, coding engineer, software developer, engineering manager, or tech lead preparing for tech interviews, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready! 

Having trained over 9,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the most challenging tech interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have landed lucrative offers from FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies, with an average salary hike of 49%. The highest-ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $933,000!

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Let’s go ahead and look at some common senior software engineer interview questions asked at FAANG+ companies. We’ll look at software engineering interview questions around coding, systems design, and behavioral interviews.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article: 

  • Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions on Data Structures and Algorithms
  • Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions on Distributed Systems Design
  • Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions on Behavioral Psychology
  • FAQs on Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions

Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions on Data Structures and Algorithms

Acing coding interviews is crucial to making it past the on-site interview and landing an offer. Coding interviews mainly involve solving problems in data structures and algorithms. Below is the list of topics to prepare for the eBay coding interview. 

Here are some sample coding interview questions to practice for your senior software engineer interview:

  1. For a given rotated array that is sorted, write a program code to find a particular element in the array. 
  2. Write a program to check if a binary tree is a valid binary search tree. 
  3. Write a program to find if the permutation of a string (given) is a palindrome or not. 
  4. Write an error-free program to check if a given binary tree is balanced or not. 
  5. You are provided with a string in the form of a sentence. Write a program to display the characters of the string in reverse order. 
  6. For an array of integers and unique values, write a program code to decipher if the sum of any two integers in the array is equal to a given value. 
  7. For a given two-dimensional array with integers of unique values, write a program to make the entire column or row of the array zero if any element in the array is zero.
  8. You are given two linked lists. Each of the linked lists has an integer value. Write a program to add the two linked lists and return the value of their sum. 
  9. You’re given the root of a binary tree. Write a code to show the node values at every level. 
  10. For a given binary search tree where two nodes of the tree are swapped, write a program to correct the binary search tree. 
  11. For a given String S, write a program to find non-letter substrings that are palindromes. 
  12. You’re given a list of stock prices with the value of buying and selling for each stock. Write a code to determine at what level of buying and selling maximum profit can be derived. 
  13. For a given unsorted array with positive integers from 1 to n and one missing element, write a program to find the missing element in the unsorted array. 
  14. Write an error-free program to validate a given IP address. 
  15. Write an error-free program to clone a given linked list “L” with the next arbitrary pointer. 

For more practice problems and solutions, visit our Problems Page to access a vast list of coding problems.  

Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions on Distributed Systems Design

Systems design is an important part of senior software engineer interviews. In fact, these interviews carry higher importance than coding interviews for senior developer positions. You can take a look at some tips to crack a system design interview.

Senior software engineer interview questions on distributed systems design are usually around the following concepts in design:

  • Object modeling
  • Database management Systems
  • API modeling
  • Networking
  • Replication
  • Sharding techniques
  • Cache
  • Distributed file systems
  • Scaling distributed applications

Here are some sample systems design interview questions to expect at your technical interview:

  1. How would you design an IP blocking system?
  2. How would you design a file-sharing system like Dropbox?
  3. Design an API rate limiter?
  4. How would you ensure the security of a scalable distributed system?
  5. What are your thoughts on designing an e-commerce platform like eBay or Amazon?
  6. How would you go about designing a voting system where voters cast their votes, and the results are automatically tabulated?
  7. How would you integrate an end-to-end notification service on the eBay e-commerce platform?
  8. How would you go about designing an online food-delivery platform? What are the aspects you’ll have to account for?
  9. How would you go about designing a cab-hailing service?

Take a look at the five must-have Qualities to Become a Senior Software Engineer here.

Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions on Behavioral Psychology

Senior software engineer interview questions on behavioral psychology are mainly asked to evaluate attributes of your personality and your response to work-related situations. Behavioral interview questions are mainly centered around:

  • Your attitude and characteristics of your personality
  • Your response and reactions to workplace-related situations
  • Past experiences and learnings from past projects

Below are some sample behavioral interview questions asked at eBay’s technical interview:

  1. Tell us about the most challenging project you worked on 
  2. Tell us about a time when you had to make a big decision for a crucial client project
  3. Tell us about a time when you disagreed with your superior
  4. Tell us about a conflict you had at your workplace
  5. What, according to you, are important aspects to maintain productivity at the workplace
  6. How would you avoid distractions at work?
  7. What lessons have you learned from the most challenging project you worked on?
  8. Tell us about a time when you had an uncooperative coworker and how you dealt with the situation?
  9. What are your thoughts on taking periodic vacations?
  10. Tell us about a time when a project suffered because of your superior’s inability to make tough decisions.

Check out these Behavioral Interview Questions for Software Engineers and Developers for more insights on behavioral interviews. 

These senior software engineer interview questions will help you get an idea of the type of questions and problems asked at FAANG+ interviews. Practice these questions to stand a good chance at acing tech interviews.

FAQs on Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions

Q1. What type of senior software engineer interview questions are asked at FAANG companies?

Senior software engineer interview questions at FAANG+ companies are primarily around core data structures, algorithms, distributed systems design, and behavioral psychology.

Q2. What is the interview process for senior software engineers at FAANG+ companies?

The interview process for senior software engineers comprises three main rounds - a) The Initial Recruiter Screen - where you’re asked questions about your experience, skills, and compensation expectations b) The Technical Phone Screen - where you’re asked to solve 1-2 DSA problems, and c) The On-site Interview - consisting of coding, systems design, and behavioral rounds.

Q3. What coding concepts should you prepare to answer senior software engineer interview questions at FAANG companies?

Senior software engineer interview coding questions are primarily around arrays, graphs, trees, dynamic programming, greedy algorithms, hash tables, and recursion.

Q4. What is the average salary paid to senior software engineers in the US?

The average salary paid to senior software engineers in the US is approx. $114,784.

Q5. How many years of experience do you need to apply for senior software engineering positions at FAANG companies?

The minimum work experience to apply for senior software engineering positions at FAANG+ companies is usually five years.

Gear Up for Your Next Technical Interview

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Founder, Interview Kickstart
Our tried & tested strategy for cracking interviews
How FAANG hiring process works
The 4 areas you must prepare for
How you can accelerate your learnings
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