20 Software Engineer Job Interview Questions and Answers – CV Nation

20 Software Engineer Job Interview Questions and Answers

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The complete guide to job interviews for software engineers, with 20 of the most common software engineering job interview questions and example answers.

If you’re planning on pursuing jobs as a software engineer, you’ll need to get yourself prepared for job interviews. To give yourself the best chance of succeeding in software engineering job interviews, you would be wise to prepare your answers in advance.

This guide includes 20 of the most common job interview questions for software developers and engineers, along with example answers and job interview tips to help you ace your interview. Use our tips and example answers to prepare your own answers and give yourself a better chance of succeeding in your interview.

1. Tell Me About Yourself

Interviewers as this question to break the ice and learn a bit about your background as a software engineer. It’s basically a chance to introduce yourself.

When answering this question, try to focus on your career as a software engineer, rather than your personal life. Frame your answer in a way that demonstrates yourself a suitable candidate for the job. You may want touch on your career experiences, your software engineering skills, your achievements or your passion for software engineering.

Here is an example answer to this question:

‘I’ve been employed in software engineering for six years. During this time, I have managed numerous complex software engineering projects. Most recently, I developed a software solution for a major holiday company. This solution allowed for the efficient management of customers’ bookings, saving people hours and wages.

I’ve been passionate about software development since I was a teenager. When I was at high school, I used to develop my own video games and share them with my friends. After leaving school, I undertook a software engineering degree and haven’t looked back since.’

2. Why Do You Want to Work for Us?

Many people find this a daunting question. But its really just about finding out if you’re aligned with the company’s values. It also helps interviewers determine if you’ve actually targeted their company.

To give yourself the best chance of making a positive impression on interviewers when answering this question, conduct research into the company. This will enable you to tailor your answer.

Here is an example answer to this question:

‘I want to work for this company because of the opportunities for professional growth and promotion. As someone who is passionate about professional development and improving my capabilities, I would love to work for a company that rewards this.

Also, I recently learned that this company takes steps to involve itself in the local community. I am also passionate about volunteering, and I regularly volunteer at a local soup kitchen in my area. I feel that our values are aligned on this issue.’

3. Which Programming Languages Are You Familiar With?

When recruiting software engineers, company’s will have deemed certain programming languages as essential skills. Interviewers want to know about your your level of proficiency with these programming languages.

Examine the job description to find out which programming languages the company is looking for. Then, assuming you’re proficient with those languages, prepare your answer in line with your research.

Here is an example answer to this question:

‘I possess advanced skills with C, C++, PHP and Java. My current role mostly involves working with C and C++, but I have also made use of PHP and Java quite a lot in recent years.

When I developed a new booking system for Example Company, I used C++. In my spare time, I am passionate about game development. For this I use Java.’

4. Tell Me About a Project You Managed

This question gives interviewers insight to your project management skills. They want to know if you have the skills required to deliver software engineering projects.

Consider using the STAR method when answering this question. STAR, which stands for situation, task, action and result, is a technique used to answer job interview questions. When using this method, you start by describing the situation, followed by the task, the action you took and the end result.

Here is an example answer to this question:

‘In my last job, I was tasked with managing a project to develop a new booking system for a holiday company. I began this project by gathering requirements and developing a robust project plan. Using the eXtreme Programming (XP) methodology, I utilised short development cycles, which improved project efficiency and enabled the incorporation of new requirements with ease.

After delivering the solution, I developed and implemented a training programme for the client’s staff members. As a result of the project’s success and the quality of the software solution, I received written commendation from the client.’

5. How Do You Communicate Technical Information to Non-Technically Minded People?

As a software engineer, you will have to communicate complex technical information to people who are unfamiliar with software engineering. To ensure projects run smoothly, it’s important that you can do this effectively.

If you can show interviewers that you are adept at communicating technical information to people from all backgrounds and professions, you will make a positive impression.

Here is an example answer to this question:

'I communicate clearly and concisely with non-technical audiences, often using diagrams and visual aids to improve their understanding of technical information. In the past, I have also utilised storytelling to communicate effectively with such audiences.'

6. How Do You Ensure Quality When Managing Software Development Projects?

Interviewers ask this question to learn about your knowledge of quality control and your ability to ensure projects go through quality processes.

Here is an example answer to this question:

‘I ensure quality in software by using methodologies that are responsive to change and involve regular development cycles. Regular testing cycles is also fundamental to my quality control process. This enables me to easily rectify any bugs, glitches and problems.

When I managed a project to develop a booking system for Example Company, I encountered bugs in the software. As I was using a project management methodology that allowed for regular changes to projects – eXtreme Programming – and regular development cycles, I was able to resolve these bugs by editing the code and executing changes.’

7. How Do You Maintain Your Professional Development?

Professional development is something that should be ongoing. For software engineers, there are always new technical skills to learn, such as new programming languages and techniques.

Interviewers ask this question because they want to know if you have the drive to improve your skill set and adapt to changing requirements.

Here is an example answer to this question:

‘I regularly undertake courses and training programmes to improve my skill set and become a better software engineer. I am currently in the process of learning to use the Python programming language. After I have mastered this language, I intend to become proficient with C#.

I also maintain a knowledge of developments in software engineering by attending national conferences and reading news related to software engineering.’

8. What Are Your Weakness?

Questions about weaknesses are the ones that many interviewees worry about most. How can you discuss your flaws without conveying to recruiters that you’re not a good candidate for the job?

The key to answering this question is to turn a negative into a positive. By showing how you don’t let your flaws impact your job and the touching on the steps you take to improve on your weaknesses, you’ll make a positive impression on recruiters.

Avoid focusing on weaknesses that would prevent you from performing your job. For example, as an administrative assistant you wouldn’t want to say your weakness is organisation. On the other hand, you should avoid answers like ‘I don’t have any weaknesses’. Answers such as this one my lead interviewers to believe that you don’t have the self-awareness to identify and work on your shortcomings.

Here is an example answer to this question:

‘One of my biggest weaknesses is saying no to people. When working on software development projects, I tend to receive many requests to help with technical issues from multiple departments. While I feel it’s good to help others, this can impact me meeting my own deadlines.

In order to combat this weakness, I have recently started using a new piece of software that helps me organise my schedule and learn if I am on track to meet my deadlines. This has helped me determine if I can help my colleagues or if I should say no.’

9. What Are Your Key Strengths?

Interviewers ask this question to learn about your key skills and find out if they match the ones they are seeking in candidates.

Conduct some research to identify essential skills for the job and use them to tailor your answer, assuming you do in fact possess the skills.

Here is an example answer to this question:

‘One of my key strengths is problem-solving. I am adept at identifying the cause of problems and generating the most beneficial solutions, before implementing corrective actions. Having executed and delivered over 250 software development projects, I have encountered a large number of problems with software solution. I have developed a track record of resolving these problems in a timely manner.’

10. What Do You Like Most About Being a Software Engineer?

Interviewers ask this question to learn about what motivates you and discover more about your positive experiences in software engineering.

Here is an example answer to this question:

‘Being able to play a key role in business’s success is what I enjoy most about being a software engineer. I really enjoy developing new software solutions that add tangible benefits to clients' businesses. In my last job, I developed a booking system for a client that massively improved the customer experience. It also saved the company over four-hundred-thousand pounds per year in wages.’

11. What Are Your Salary Expectations?

This question is asked to determine if your own salary expectations match those of the company you are interviewing to work for.

Consider giving a range, rather than a specific number. For example, you could say your salary expectations are between forty-thousand pounds and fifty-thousand pounds. If you feel you need to negotiate, this will give you room to do so later on.

12. Do You Have Any Questions for Us?

At the end of job interviews, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. Always respond to this by asking at least one question. By saying no, you would indicate that have little interest in the job.

Questions that you could ask the interviewer include:

- What do people enjoy most about working at your company?

- Could you tell me about the opportunities for professional growth at your company?

- What career paths do you see for people who are employed in this role?

More Software Engineering Job Interview Questions
13. Describe a Time When You Experienced Conflict with a Colleague
14. What Do You Think About Agile Software Development?
15. How Do You Balance Multiple Priorities?
16. What Do You Consider Your Best Achievement?
17. What Kind of Environment Do You Like Working In?
18. How Do You Ensure You Meet Your Targets?
19. Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?
20. Why Do You Want to Work in Software Engineering?

We hope you have found this guide to software engineering interview questions helpful. For further help with your search for software development jobs, view our ultimate guide to preparing a software development CV.

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