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Portware Interview
Questions

28 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brunner
Published January 8th, 2020 | 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 unique values can you bring to Portware in your user experience design skills?

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Interview Questions

1.

What unique values can you bring to Portware in your user experience design skills?

While your interviewer has shown confidence in your technical abilities to succeed at Portware as a UX designer, this question is helping them gain insight into your ability to see the big picture in the work that you do. As you think about the unique personal values that you would bring to the role, try and paint a picture of your work tying to the end user and how you can help make it more productive, enjoyable and satisfying for them.

Ryan's Answer #1

"I have really taken pride in my ability to add value to the business needs of the customers that I work with. During any design project, I take the time to work with end users to find their wants and needs out of the program. Then, as I create the UX design, I keep their needs at the forefront and do anything possible to exceed their expectations."

Ryan's Answer #2

"As you can see from my resume, I have formal training and experience in user experience research and I know that this would benefit the work that I would be doing here at Portware if hired for this position. I pursued this additional training in my career because of my passion for the customer journey in the programs that I design."

2.

What programming languages would you consider yourself fluent in?

While this question gives your interviewer insight into the diversity of your programming language experience, they most importantly want to know that you are adaptable and able to learn on the fly if needed. Talk about the different languages that you consider yourself fluent in and, if possible, do as much research into Portware as you can prior to your interview and try to speak to the specific languages that they work with.

Ryan's Answer #1

"From the start of college, where software engineering grew into a passion for me, I've become very fluent in Java, JavaScript and C++. My current role has me working primarily with C++, but I pride myself on my ability and passion to learn new programming languages and would be able to do so if hired for this role with Portware."

Ryan's Answer #2

"During my training to be an engineer and then in my current role since graduating, a majority of my experience falls within Python. My current role delves deeply into artificial intelligence and Python is awesome with this advanced technology. As I understand it from talking to another engineer here at Portware, a requirement would be for me to learn Scala. Though I haven't worked directly with Scala, I believe my experience and willingness to learn would have me up and running in no time if hired for this role."

3.

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 Portware 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 Portware."

4.

If hired here at Portware to develop iOS and Android software, when would you use a fragment rather than an activity?

In the development of apps for both iOS and Android, using code to create an activity versus a fragment is a highly debated topic to this day. For this question, your interviewer is looking to hear that you understand what the differences between the two are and when you feel that using a fragment is the proper direction to go. Make sure to speak to the high level overview of what an activity does to an app versus fragments.

Ryan's Answer #1

"As a best practice in my development of Android apps in the past, activities are really the complete screen that a user experiences as part of the app. Fragments are really small sub activities that take place within the activity. Because fragments within an app have their own life cycle and receive their own input events within the app, there are specific times where fragments make the most sense to use in development. In my experience, I always use fragments when the app is working with UI components that are going to be uses across multiple activities within the app. As well, fragments have also served very well when using swipe views within the app."

Ryan's Answer #2

"In the past year, I honestly don't recall designing a new app that ran solely on an activity alone. The fragments are almost necessary today to bring life to an app. I use retained fragments to persist across activity restarts within the app and this helps make a user friendly experience for our end users."

5.

In your current work, what are the important steps you take in the data validation process?

Depending on your training and your past roles prior to interviewing at Portware, you may be familiar with one or two of the many trains of though regarding the steps of a data validation. Whatever formal process you are familiar with, be sure to check the boxes of discussing data screening and data verification as part of your process. Your interviewer will be looking to hear that you check those boxes as they are imperative in the software field.

Ryan's Answer #1

"As I embark on a data validation process in my current role, my first step is to roadmap a detailed plan to keep on task. I utilize benchmarks and the expectations of key stakeholders as my guide. Once underway, I validate the database and the data formatting to ensure that data is properly screened for its overall health. Then, by finishing with sampling, tests are performed to hopefully show that the data is useful within the system."

Ryan's Answer #2

"The most important steps in a data validation process are determining the data to sample, scouring the existing database and validating the final data format. My first step is to use my best judgment to determine if I will validate a sample or the entire data set. This determination is based on overall size of the set and the timeframe that I have to work on the project. Then, I take the time to screen data in the existing database to calculate the number of unique ID's and records to come into the system. Last, I have to verify that the source data matches the schema within the targe"

6.

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 Portware?

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 Portware 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 Portware."

7.

Talk about a time when things didn't go as planned on the job. What was the situation and what allowed your to persevere in that situation?

As a professional in the tech industry, you have likely had a project that failed, a promotion that passed you over or a meltdown occur at some point in time. Realizing that your interviewer fully understands and expects that failure happens, talk openly and honestly about a situation where you experienced failure or failed plans. Most importantly in your answer, focus on how you overcame the particular situation and discuss lessons that you learned moving forward that you can bring to this role at Portware.

Ryan's Answer #1

"A couple of years ago in my first role as a UI designer out of college, my team was tasked with coming up with a very short notice proposal for a potential high end customer. With a week turnaround time, I set right to spending my time gathering information on the company to build a mock design. When the proposal was submitted, I found out that the potential customer scoffed at my idea and the customer went with another organization's proposal for their use. The biggest piece of feedback that I got was that the UI design just wasn't conducive to the type of customers they were expecting. From that point forward, whether it has been with short notice or long-term products, I take the time to communicate with key decision makers from clients to gather information for making my design as user friendly as possible."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Last year, I was working on a large scale project that put me face to face with a key customer. After traveling onsite with the customer to spend time with them, I exchanged contact information with two of the key decision makers. In the weeks following, I was sending them follow up emails with our business proposals and was getting frustrated at the lack of response from the clients. After my manager had questioned the viability of the potential customer, I picked up the phone and called them directly. It turns out that their responses back to me were being sent to a junk email folder that I neglected to consider. I apologized for the mistake, took action quickly and we came to a great agreement on future business together. After having a laugh about it with my boss, I now incorporate diligent communication follow ups both by phone and email with customers while also regularly checking all email inboxes."

8.

How do you ensure that you have a healthy work-life balance in your career?

In the fast paced world in software and technology development, heavy work loads and potential on-call duties have created a lot of burnout in professionals. Your interviewer is looking to hear that you are cognizant of the risks of burnout and that you do what is necessary to maintain your own personal health and well being and that of your family as well. While you can use this time to talk about personal interests or hobbies outside of work, try to focus on how these items help keep you refreshed for the work that you'll be doing for Portware.

Ryan's Answer #1

"As I am passionate about my career as a UX designer, I am also passionate about my family. Any moments outside of work are spent coaching my kids traveling baseball teams in the summer months and then spending as many weekends as possible on the ski slopes. These activities help keep me active, physically fit and keep my mind centered on what it truly important in my life when work weeks get stressful."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Having watched many of my senior colleagues over time suffer from work burnout that has caused marital issues and health issues, I make it a priority to maintain a healthy balance between my work and my home life. My free time is spent in the outdoors with my wife, whether that be on the lakes and rivers fishing or biking around town. I consider myself fortunate to be considered for a position here at Portware because I know that you put a focus on your employees maintaining this healthy balance because the organization realizes how important this is to be productive."

9.

What publication tools do you have experience working on during your time as a technical writer?

On top of the basic word processing tools, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you have familiarity with some of the various diagramming tools, online content management tools and other digital publishing tools. Be open and honest with what you are experienced with and don't hesitate to point out where you may be inexperienced, as long as you can point out that you are willing and able to learn new tools of the trade.

Ryan's Answer #1

"For document processing, I would consider myself on expert on both Microsoft Word and Adobe FrameMaker. I have received extensive training on both programs. I also would consider myself very fluent in Microsoft Visio for creating robust diagrams within my projects. A newer system that I have been learning over the past two years is Calameo. My current organization utilizes the site to share my departments online through interactive publications."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Having been in the technical writing trade for almost 20 years now, I sure have seen an array of great advancements in technology that has bettered my work over time. Other than the basic processing tools, one of the unique tools that I have mastered is Sublime Text. This HTML editor is used to write the basis of our website and technical documents online and I have received a lot of training on utilizing the system. With my experience on this system, I feel like I could flawlessly learn and master other HTML editors here at Portware."

10.

In Java, why shouldn't you use strings to store a password?

While this may seem like a rudimentary question regarding your knowledge of Java, your interviewer is looking to ideally hear that you understand the principle differences between string and character arrays. Asking about the storage of passwords within a system gives you the opportunity here to point out the differences between the two. In the end, while explaining the differences, be sure to tie it back to the original question on why strings shouldn't be used to store passwords.

Ryan's Answer #1

"To store a password, character array is the obvious best choice because character arrays are mutable. If a string was utilized to store passwords, a definite security risk would be present to anyone that would have access to the memory dump from the system."

Ryan's Answer #2

"This question simply boils down to a string being immutable. Because strings are a sequence of characters represented as a single data type, the system requires garbage creation to fully get rid of it out of memory. In my time designing software, I have used Char array and its mutable features to store passwords for the security of our end users "

11.

Do you consider yourself stronger in C++, C#, Java, or Python?

Before your interview, do some research to understand what tech stack Portware uses so you can best prepare and highlight your expertise. If you aren't as strong in one of the skills you feel is necessary, be sure to explain how you've used it and how you are growing your knowledge to become better. Be sure to be honest in your answer, as the company will likely test your strengths.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In my last company, we had a bit of an outdated tech stack and used C# and .NET. I found myself fully immersed in those technologies, but had a strong desire to learn more and become more familiar with modern technologies and how I can apply that in my career. That's what has me so interested in this role. Over the last year, I've taken courses in Java and C++, which I noticed you prefer. I've become proficient in the skills and in side projects, applied my increasingly strong knowledge. I'm probably strongest professionally in C# as that has been where my experience lies, but my passion and dedication is on the Java and C++ side, as I feel that's the more modern alternative. I'm excited about the possibility of applying that knowledge in a role at Portware."

Ryan's Answer #2

"I am motivated and excited about this new opportunity because it will challenge me to grow in my (X) skills. I love soccer and enjoy spending time with my teammates. I am interested in continuing my education by studying (Y) to further my career."

12.

If hired for this position here at Portware, 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 Portware. 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 Portware. 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 Portware 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 Portware. 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."

13.

Here at Portware, 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 Portware 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, Portware 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 Portware, I'd be very intrigued at learning and working with continuous deployment practices as well."

14.

What software analysis and design tools do you have familiarity working with?

As a software engineer for Portware, your interviewer wants to hear that you have experience in utilizing tools that you make you more proficient in your work. Dig back on your past experiences and talk openly about your experiences with the different analysis and design tools that are available to help you be better in the work that you do. In the end, make sure that your interviewer understands that you are proficient in the use of these tools and open to learning and using new tools as well.

Ryan's Answer #1

"As my career and experience in software engineering has grown over the years, I've come to really appreciate and utilize these tools that are available. A great example of this would be my recent education and use of Structured English for designing insurance claim software for a large auto insurer. The simplicity of the structured decisions in the program were a perfect example of a program that could utilize the tool and the end product ended up very functional for our customer."

Ryan's Answer #2

"I have great working knowledge in creating and reading data flow diagrams. To help with both our own sales staff and with customers, DFD's have been super helpful and I consider myself very proficient in creating them. I've also recently been introduced to decision tables to aid in product testing. I was working on a new system that involved some very complicated business rules and the decision table helped outline everything perfectly for our testing."

15.

If you were asked to review a colleague's code that they had written, what key things would you look for?

For this question, your interviewer will obviously be looking to hear that you have adequate knowledge when it comes to coding processes. But most importantly, your interviewer will be looking to gauge your ability to be a team player and focus on the bigger picture when working on a project. In your answer, focus on your attention to detail and your ability to help others when needed.

Ryan's Answer #1

"As an experienced software engineer, I fully expect my colleagues to reach out to me for my insight and I never hesitate to provide open and honest feedback. When asked to do this, my main focus is ensuring that the code is readable and functional. If there are lines of code that need to be removed, I don't hesitate to let my colleague know that while also giving them feedback on why I feel it is unnecessary."

Ryan's Answer #2

"When I'm asked to do this in my current position, my main focus is on regulatory requirements that were put in place for the project and security issues. I work with a team of great engineers that are very efficient coders and these two areas are most often overlooked."

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