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NCS Pte. Interview
Questions

28 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brunner
Published December 17th, 2019 | Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.
Job Interviews     Companies     Technology     Software And Technology    

Question 1 of 28

What SDLC models are you familiar in working with?

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Interview Questions

1.

What SDLC models are you familiar in working with?

As a software engineer, you are very familiar with the software development life cycle. For this question, your interviewer is looking to hear what models you have worked on in the past. While there isn't necessarily a right or wrong answer to this question, try to show your flexibility to working with different SDLC models by bringing up your past experiences. Then, show you have knowledge of different models like the waterfall model or agile model. It is also a good idea to use this question as an opportunity for you to learn more about NCS Pte. by asking your interviewer which model they work off of.

Ryan's Answer #1

"During my training in software engineering and in my early career, the waterfall model was the standard. In this model, each phase of the development process happens in a set order and projects using this model are easily managed. But over time, as the development projects that I have led have become more complicated and intricate, I have implemented the spiral model. This model has allowed the ability of end users to give feedback early on and often during development and helps to build a more customized product to our customers."

Ryan's Answer #2

"In my current position with XYZ Company, my department utilizes the agile model in development life cycle. Since our products are so tailored to the needs of our customers, we get a working product very early on in the process and then I work hand in hand with customers to fine tune the software moving forward. It is a very effective model that has built a great reputation for our software among customers. I also have familiarity working with the iterative model and it has similar advantages to the agile model. If I were hired here at NCS Pte., can you expand on what models you use here in your software development life cycle?"

2.

If you were confronted with a time where you wouldn't be able to meet a deadline here at NCS Pte., what steps would you take when you made that realization?

At some point in any person's career, the inevitable happens and an important deadline needs to be missed. With your interviewer fully understanding this fact, they are solely interested in how you react to this situation and what you do to make the situation right. In your answer, focus on the refocused planning and communication needed while also avoiding blaming others for the situation. Your interviewer holds accountability as a desirable virtue, so be sure to take accountability for actions in your response.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In my current position, I am very used to handling multiple tasks and projects on a day to day basis. Last year, my team was tasked with what started as a low priority project. After assembling a team to initially discuss the details and set a deadline for completion with our management, the project unfortunately fell off the radar of everyone on the team with many more high priority projects coming up each week. As the initial project's deadline was within a week of being due, our CEO reached out to me for a progress report. I immediately took full responsibility for letting this fall off the radar and I ensured our CEO that we would have an updated timeline set by the end of the week. In doing this and completing the project to his satisfaction, this was really the tipping point in our department moving forward utilizing a detailed project management tracking system. To this day, I can't say enough about how appreciative I am about utilizing this awesome system. Moving forward, you can rest assured knowing that I take full accountability for my actions and do what is necessary to communicate new expectations and meet them fully."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Having been in this situation before, I would first sit down to gather all the facts possible in the situation. What was the deadline, why wasn't it met and what can be done are all important questions moving forward. From there, communicating to all key parties is extremely important and doing so in a timely manner is critical. In this communication, taking accountability and setting new expectations for delivery in a concise and tactful manner will most often put stakeholders at ease and allow for successful completion."

3.

In SQL, how do you explain the differences between clustered and non-clustered indexes? Can you name a time that you used each?

NCS Pte. uses indexes to improve query performances within their software and for this question, your interviewer is looking to hear that you have a basic understanding of both clustered and non-clustered indexes. Explain the differences between the two types of indexes and be sure you can either speak to relevant times that you've used each or when would be the appropriate application to use each.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In the simplest of terms, a clustered index order records in a table the way that they are physically stored. There can only be one clustered index per table. Non-clustered indexes do not store data to match the physical order that it is stored. Rather, it can hold up to 249 indexes per table. Both types come with their own benefits over the other. In my experience, clustered indexes are suited best for programs that use primary key as an identity integer column. On the other hand, non-clustered make the most sense for programs that need JOIN and WHERE clauses within them."

Ryan's Answer #2

"In my experience, clustered indexes are faster to read but very slow when it comes to update data within. Non-clustered indexes are just the opposite in that they are slower to read but much fast to insert new data into them. In my current role, I mostly use clustered indexes when large numbers of rows need to be retreived and when insert operations are important. Most other times, I will use non-clustered as the standard."

4.

If hired for this position here at NCS Pte., would you be comfortable handling overall project manager responsibilities for new software development?

As a skilled software engineer, you have all of the necessary tools in your bag to be a successful engineer at NCS Pte.. This question is allowing your interviewer to get a better sense of your project management skills and people skills if you were to join the team at NCS Pte.. In your answer, talk about your ability to estimate the time and cost of a project, the staffing needed and the overall scope of planning for a particular project. If you have direct experience in being the lead on a large development project, be sure to discuss that experience with your interviewer.

Ryan's Answer #1

"Looking to join the team here at NCS Pte. directly out of college, I feel very confident in my abilities to manage the entire scope of a new development project. I have leadership experience as my campus' president of the software engineering club. In that role, I developed skills that would help me utilize staff and resources in the best way possible. During my internship, I was exposed to the planning stages of new projects and I have a very good feel of estimating the budget and length of time needed to have a fully functional system."

Ryan's Answer #2

"I would absolutely be comfortable if tasked with project manager duties here at NCS Pte.. In my last two roles, I have led successful projects that started with great planning and budgeting process and went through to completion with great people and processes in place under my leadership. While it's not a regular duty for me in my current role, I always welcome leadership duties."

5.

Give an example of a time that you used a universal design practice in your work as a UI or UX designer. Why was it important to do this?

In the technology, software and mobile app fields today, accessibility is a huge topic. As a designer with NCS Pte., you will be expected to help create products that are as accessible as possible to as many end users as possible. In this two part question, talk about why you feel that universal design is important in the work that you will be doing with NCS Pte. and then really sell your ability to do this by giving an example of a time you used a universal design in your previous work.

Ryan's Answer #1

"From a very high level, the business success of a program really relies on being universally designed. If we pigeon hole ourselves, a product will only reach a very limited group of end users. But taking that a step further, universal design is the morally right thing to do to help reach people that may not have access to the average program design. Last year, I was part of a project that utilized a voice user interface for users that were deaf or hard of hearing. This simple yet effective design was a huge win for our current customers and in helping drive new business with our groundbreaking software."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Early in my career, the best piece of advice that I receive was from an experience designer and she said that when UX doesn't consider all potential users, we are no longer working on the user experience. We live in a very diverse world and the programs that I've designed for in the past have certainly had the goal to reach a wide audience. With your financial products here at NCS Pte., this same philosophy applies. Last year, based on some feedback from current customers, we switched our design to include a strong color contract to make the system much more user friendly to color blind users. This was both a simple and very effective change to enhance the look of the program."

6.

At NCS Pte., we rely on a full team effort to deliver top quality products to our customers. Tell me about a time that you worked well as part of a team. Are you comfortable in a similar role here?

While this potential role with NCS Pte. will require your to be an independent worker that can think on your feet, you will also need to work as part of a larger team that is working toward one common goal. Because of this fact, your interviewer will want to hear that you thrive in an environment where you work with team members from other disciplines than you are trained in. In your example, stress to your interviewer that you have excellent communication skills and that you fully understand that every person on a team plays a vital role in the organization's success.

Ryan's Answer #1

"Throughout my career, I've always enjoyed working as part of a larger team on the job and this personal enjoyment started with my love of and participation in team sports like baseball and basketball. Growing up playing sports, I learned that each team member brought a unique skill set that could help us achieve our goals. Through a great coaching staff that knew how to make these individual skills shine, this same philosophy holds true for a team that is looking to design a new software system. I know that my skills as an engineer are just part of the final product and I work very well with designers, architects, analysts and sales to help build the greatest system possible."

Ryan's Answer #2

"I am a people person by nature and my current role has me working very closely with our engineering and design staff on writing technical manuals for our products. While I certainly can handle long days at my computer in solitude, my desire to work hand in hand with others really sets me apart from my peers in this field. I have excellent verbal, listening and written communication skills that, if hired here at NCS Pte., your entire team would appreciate from my first day on the job."

7.

Do you have experience working with different CASE tools? If so, what do you have experience with?

The world of software engineering has greatly benefited from advancements in computer aided software engineering tools. Because NCS Pte. is at the forefront of the industry, your interviewer will be looking to hear which tools you have experience with. Make sure not to concern yourself with providing a correct answer here, but rather focus on your flexibility to learn new aides when needed while explaining what you have experience with.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In my current role, I regularly utilize both diagramming and web development tools. The diagram tools assist our software projects by outlining the system data and components in a graphical form for us and this saves us a great amount of time while also being very reliable. The web development tools greatly help me visualize site changes that I am making because I don't have a deep background in web development. If hired for this position, I'd look forward to learning other CASE tools for prototyping, quality assurance and maintenance."

Ryan's Answer #2

"During my career and in my experience with CASE tools, most of my experience is in the lower CASE elements that focus on coding and testing the software after initial development. CASE tools have certainly made life as a software engineer more efficient and effective and I'd look forward to learn any new CASE tools if hired for this position here at NCS Pte.."

8.

What data cleaning methods are you familiar with and comfortable using if hired for this role at NCS Pte.?

To improve data quality and increase overall productivity of a system, NCS Pte. relies on their data analysts to use data cleansing methods to ensure quality data exists in their software. Be open and honest with the ways that you've helped ensure quality and accurate data in the systems that you've worked with while also showing that you have an open mind to learning and utilizing more methods if hired for this position.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In my current work, I use a very methodical fashion in cleaning data for finished systems. My first step is to remove duplicate and irrelevant observations within the data. Then I scan the data to remove extra spaces, convert numbers stored as text into numbers and remove duplicate data. These steps help ensure clean and accurate data and I never overlook them. If hired for this position, what methods does the current data analyst team her at NCS Pte. utilize?"

Ryan's Answer #2

"I am familiar with many methods used in the cleansing of data. The initial monitoring of errors within a system is very important to identifying where errors occur and give insight into how to fix corrupt data. I have utilized the tools within Domo software to validate data accuracy and scrub for duplicate data in my processes as well. Being very proficient in data analysis, I'm very open to learning new methods as well if hired for this position."

9.

Do you have any unique skills or past work experiences that we can't see on your resume that would benefit the team here at NCS Pte.?

This question is providing you the opportunity to potentially set yourself apart from your competition for this position. To do just that, it will be important for you to make sure that the unique skill or experience that you discuss matches with a critical need for NCS Pte. and the position that you are interviewing for. Whether you talk about a unique skill or experience, your research on this job will prove vital in your ability to make sure that it impresses your interviewer.

Ryan's Answer

"In my current role as a data engineer, I have gotten the opportunity over the last five years to work with clients in many industries. One of the industries that I've worked most closely with has been the private insurance industry. This experience and my gaining of insider knowledge in the insurance industry would benefit me greatly if brought aboard the team here at NCS Pte.."

10.

As you reflect back on your career to this point in your search for a new position, what would you say is your ideal work environment or culture?

While using this question as a key indicator on how you'll fit with the team and the organization at NCS Pte., it will be very important for you to research as much as you can on the work environment at NCS Pte. so you can match your priorities to that environment. If you have the opportunity to speak with an employee at NCS Pte. prior to your interview, that can shed valuable information. In the end, the culture and value of an organization are often a key indicator of long-term success in a job, so make sure that you reflect your values into what the company values.

Ryan's Answer #1

"As I begin this job search now 15 years out of college, I'm looking for an employer that promotes and encourages innovation, new ideas and collaboration among all members of the team. From what I know about NCS Pte. from speaking with others, you sound like a perfect match for what I am looking for in a career."

Ryan's Answer #2

"With all of the companies that I have both worked for and consulted with in the past, I realize that a company culture is basically the personality of the company and I am looking for a new organization that really meshes well with my personality. I am a casual person that believes in hard work, teamwork and having fun on the job. As I embarked on a job search, I was so happy to see that NCS Pte. was hiring because I believe our styles will fit perfectly together."

11.

Here at NCS Pte., we strive for continuous delivery and continuous deployment with our software. Are you familiar with these processes in your current work?

In the industries that NCS Pte. works in, updates to software are vital to end users for them to stay at the forefront of their business. To ensure that updates happen as quick and smoothly as possible, NCS Pte. utilizes continuous delivery and continuous deployment for their customers. For this question, talk about what you know about these processes as a software architect, why they are important and what experience you have with them.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In my current role, we utilize a 100% continuous deployment process with our end users when we role out new changes to existing software. We use automated testing in our process to validate that code changes are correct and able to be deployed without issue. Once validated, changes are automatically rolled out to our end users. Having once utilized a continuous delivery system, I am very appreciative of working in an environment utilizing continuous deployment as it negates any need for human intervention in the roll out."

Ryan's Answer #2

"In my current position, we've slowly grown from a continuous integration process to a continuous delivery process. I love the automated testing process when we are looking at rolling out new changes to existing software and my role as the architect for our projects puts me in the drivers seat for sending out these changes. If hired for this role here at NCS Pte., I'd be very intrigued at learning and working with continuous deployment practices as well."

12.

Here at NCS Pte., we subscribe to the domain-driven design approach for our customers. If hired for this role, what will you do in your first 90 days on the job to ensure you can sustain in this job with that approach?

Simply put, domain-driven design is the concept of utilizing the business needs of the end user in designing and creating software for them. To do this, the software architects at NCS Pte. need to have a firm understanding of the problems that their customers face and how the software they develop will help tackle those problems. For this question, be sure to do your research on NCS Pte. and the products they put to market and discuss how you will take the time to learn about the industries necessary to implement the domain-driven design approach.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In my current role, I've worked with large plastics and metals manufacturers in a domain-driven design approach and this required me to step outside of my comfort zone to learn manufacturing processes along the way in designing great products for that industry. If hired here at NCS Pte., the financial industry would become my new passion in life to learn and understand. I know that my role as a software architect would require that I have a great working knowledge of the industry and I am willing to do what is necessary to get there."

Ryan's Answer #2

"If I were lucky enough to be offered this position, my work would be dedicated to learning the property and casualty insurance industries inside and out. I would do this through talking with colleagues and customers to learn how our products help our end users succeed. If needed, I would also take the time to read more on the industry as well."

13.

What would you say is your top non-technical skill that will help you succeed in this role here at NCS Pte.?

As a software architect at NCS Pte., you will be relied upon to be the bridge to between the business and technical side of the organization. Your work my be relied upon to work within many silos of the organization. Because of this need, your interviewer is asking you to dig deep inside of yourself and talk about what you feel is your greatest skill to help you do this that is outside of your technical ability. As you prepare for this question, there are many ways that you can answer. No matter how you answer, be sure that your answer relates to your ability to work with other people in some way, shape or form.

Ryan's Answer #1

"As I grew in the software development field over my career, I was best suited to be a architect because of my ability to be a great project manager. If hired for this role here at NCS Pte., you'll quickly find that I have the ability to lead others, negotiate, budget and oversee a project from idea to final delivery."

Ryan's Answer #2

"From a self introspection point of view, I think that my ability to be empathetic towards others that I work with has led to a huge amount of my success in the software architecture field. While I do have the technical skills to do great things here at NCS Pte., my ability to learn from others, see their point of view and become a great teach to them when needed will really set me apart from others that you are interviewing for this position. If given the opportunity to work here, this skills will greatly improve the team atmosphere."

14.

What do you feel is one of the top issues that is faced by data engineers today?

Being in the midst of the greatest technological revolution in the history of man, data engineers face many difficult issues in the work that they perform on a daily basis. While there are many directions that you can go with this question, be sure to focus your answer on something that you can speak passionately about. If you can research a common issue in the industry that NCS Pte. works in, you may likely score some bonus points with your interviewer.

Ryan's Answer #1

"Over the past couple of years, I've come to realize that one of the largest issues we face as data engineers is the large amounts of data that are needed to store and then draw information from. Here at NCS Pte., I can only imagine how big of an issue that is in the healthcare industry. I have a lot of experience with cloud based data storage and also server based storage."

Ryan's Answer #2

"In my recent experiences, continuous, real-time integration is an issue that we will face each and every day moving forward. The need for fast paced information is certainly to blame for this. To stay on top of the continuous integration landscape, I am happy to hear that new and improved systems are being created to stay more real-time and up to the minute. Here at NCS Pte. and working in the financial industry, how have you seen this need for real-time data impact your products?"

15.

In your mind, when is monkey testing the most effective in testing new software?

By utilizing random inputs to check the behavior of a program, monkey testing has its time and place in the software testing process. For this question, your interviewer is looking to hear that you have an understanding of the theory behind monkey testing and how you would look to put it to work at NCS Pte. to test their products.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In my experience, monkey testing has been very effective in load testing and stress testing new software as standard testing methods couldn't do this without a lot of extra work. Because of the adhoc approach to the testing, load and stress on the software was most highly gauged through monkey testing."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Because monkey testing is able to find unique bugs that standard testing won't find, I've found it to be very effective for testing new pilot software programs that are reaching new bounds. At my current job, I helped design a brilliant monkey testing process that utilized user behavior to look for certain probabilities of bugs within our systems that we were designing."

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