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Terracotta Interview
Questions

28 Questions and Answers by
| Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.

Question 1 of 28

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

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Terracotta Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    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 Terracotta.

      Ryan's Answer

      "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

      "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 Terracotta 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."

  2. 2.

    What methods do you use to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in tech?

      With technology constantly changing, employers want to know that they are hiring people who are committed to learning and growing. Be sure to explain to your prospective employer how you stay up-to-date and how you're committed to growing your knowledge as your industry grows. They want to know that they're investing in someone who is also investing in themselves.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I have leveraged a number of sources to stay up-to-date on my knowledge, including LinkedIn Learning and industry sites such as TechCrunch. I'm also active on Github where I'm able to work on projects to grow my knowledge. Quora is a place where I lend my knowledge to others and also read about topics I may not be fully versed in, or want to learn more about. Technology has really benefited me in learning more about technology and that excites me about what the future holds for further learning and development."

      Ryan's Answer

      "I am newer to my financial services career and have worked very hard to develop a strong portfolio this past year. Currently my portfolio is worth $$. What size of portfolio would I be responsible for at Terracotta?"

  3. 3.

    Do you have experience working with data in a cloud computing environment?

      Over recent years, more and more companies are converting to cloud based computing services because the conversion allows them to save money and have better auditing trails. As a prospective data engineer with Terracotta, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you are at least familiar with the concepts of working with cloud based data. Talk in details about the experiences you have while keeping your mind open to working with more in the future if hired with Terracotta.

      Ryan's Answer

      "My current organization has been using Apprenda, a PaaS, that allows us to develop, test and maintain our software projects. I also have experience mining and converting data off of public, community and private cloud networks. If hired here at Terracotta, I think I would bring a wealth of cloud based experience to the data engineering team."

  4. 4.

    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 Terracotta, it will be very important for you to research as much as you can on the work environment at Terracotta so you can match your priorities to that environment. If you have the opportunity to speak with an employee at Terracotta 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

      "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 Terracotta from speaking with others, you sound like a perfect match for what I am looking for in a career."

      Ryan's Answer

      "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 Terracotta was hiring because I believe our styles will fit perfectly together."

  5. 5.

    Do you have experience in developing white papers as part of your technical writing experience?

      In the software industry, Terracotta uses white papers to explain complex terms in more simpler terms for their end users. If you do have experience creating white papers, discuss your experience in detail and explain what types of products you wrote them for. If you don't have direct experience, make sure that you can explain the basic premise of a white paper and talk about the skills that you have that give you the ability to write them effectively.

      Ryan's Answer

      "In my current role in the medical device industry, I have a lot of experience writing white papers for prospective and current customers. In this role, our white papers were what I would call a blend between a technical document and a marketing document as they really outlined how new products would help solve a problem for our customers. The process of my writing required a great amount of technical knowledge and the ability to convey that knowledge in layman's terms."

      Ryan's Answer

      "As a newer technical writer, I don't have direct experience writing white papers but I think my skills would be great for producing great ones here at Terracotta. From what I know about white papers, they are very concise and to the point. They are reaching to a specific audience to explain a product and convey the benefits that customers can get from the product. In the software industry, I think my excellent technical writing skills will be very beneficial in the creation of white papers for your clients here at Terracotta."

  6. 6.

    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 Terracotta to test their products.

      Ryan's Answer

      "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

      "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."

  7. 7.

    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 Terracotta, 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 Terracotta 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

      "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

      "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 Terracotta, 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."

  8. 8.

    What experience do you have in the different types of software maintenance?

      As a reputable company, Terracotta takes their software maintenance processes seriously and your interviewer is looking to hear that you are familiar with the four different types of software maintenance. Talk to your interviewer about any work you have done in the past with corrective, adaptive, perfective and/or preventative software maintenance. Use specific examples and make sure that your interviewer walks away from your conversation knowing that you understand the importance of proper system maintenance.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Being familiar with all four types of software maintenance, my most used method of maintenance in my current role is corrective. Based on bug reports from end users, I work through coding and logic issues to resolve issues in a timely and effective manner. In the maintenance I perform, I never hesitate to pick up the phone and contact customers to hear first hand about what they are experiencing. By doing this, they feel like they are an important part of the process and it reflects well on me and my organization."

      Ryan's Answer

      "In my current role, I'd definitely say that a majority of the maintenance work that I do is adaptive maintenance. Working in banking software that is used around the globe, I help perform system maintenance for changes in currency on a pretty regular basis. This work requires research and talking with end users to help adapt the programs for their use. If hired here at Terracotta, I also have experience performing perfective, preventative and corrective maintenance on software as well."

  9. 9.

    What do you feel are the primary features and benefits of the Java programming language?

      As a company that utilizes Java, Terracotta and your interviewer want to make sure that you have an understanding of the Java programming language and they do so by asking this question. Obviously a language packed with unique features, talk about the features that you can speak the most knowledgeably about and tie your direct experience to.

      Ryan's Answer

      "When I started working with Java three years ago, the first huge benefit was the fact that the Java syntax was based on C++. At that time, I had a great working knowledge of C++ and my transition to Java was absolutely seamless. The other amazing feature that I've come to appreciate with Java is how robust the memory management is in exception handling and automatic garbage collection."

  10. 10.

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

      Before your interview, do some research to understand what tech stack Terracotta 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

      "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 Terracotta."

      Ryan's Answer

      "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."

  11. 11.

    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 Terracotta?

      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 Terracotta 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 Terracotta."

  12. 12.

    The next cloud engineer that we hire here at Terracotta needs to be able build a system that can handle a high amount of traffic. How would you test our system's ability to handle large amounts of traffic?

      This question allows your interviewer to gain insight into your thought process and ability surrounding building a cloud network that has an architecture that can handle large amounts of traffic without failure. Some key points to focus on your answer are your ability to match capacity to system demand and use horizontal scaling in the design of the system.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Cloud computing has certainly revolutionized the storage of high amounts of data and a key piece that cloud based systems bring to the table are their elasticity for handling large amounts of traffic. I see my job as building a cloud based system to scale horizontally to be able to handle the most data and traffic possible. To test systems, I've used a few different tools that were all very accurate prior to go-live."

      Ryan's Answer

      "In my current position as a cloud engineer, I have utilized internet scale services like Amazon S3 and Elastic Load Balancing to ensure that our cloud systems could handle large volume that fluctuate seasonally. Because of the great functionality of the internet scale services, internal testing wasn't necessary as we knew we were in good hands through those services."

  13. 13.

    Terracotta embraces an Agile environment. Explain your experience in Agile methodologies and why you think it is important.

      The interviewer would like to understand the depth of your knowledge in Agile. The interviewer would also like to know if you work well with team collaboration, are responsive to stakeholder needs, and can work well with team defined milestones. Give a specific example of your experience.

      Ryan's Answer

      "The majority of my experience has been in an Agile environment. For ten years I have been personally responsible for leading agile teams, and I have helped define team goals and milestones. This approach is important to me as I see how Agile methodology helps employees deliver better products in less time. In my current role, team productivity increased by 34% once we introduced an Agile environment, and our on-time project rate skyrocketed another 18%."

      Ryan's Answer

      "I especially want to work for Terracotta because I have friends who have worked here before with really positive feedback on their experiences. I am looking for a positive work environment where I can stay for a long time to come."

  14. 14.

    What do you consider to be a good litmus test for when you would automate a test process for a new system versus testing manually?

      As your role with Terracotta will look to help further their automate testing processes for new systems, you will need to have a good sense for when automation makes sense and when it does not. Reiterate your sense for this to your interviewer by sticking to the high level response that repetitive tasks, as are common with large software companies, are prime candidates for automation whereas one time test cases are not.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Having been in automation in both manufacturing for many years and now software for the last three years, a common misconception among people is that automation can help improve any situation and that couldn't be further from the truth. The amount of time, effort and resources that goes into an automation process makes it ideal for repetitive tasks and tests that have multiple data sets. If a testing process calls for unique and one time process, it would make the most sense to run that process manually."

      Ryan's Answer

      "I"n my current position, most of the automation testing that I design is in program sanity testing. These automated tests work great because they run on similar systems following changes in code to ensure that no bugs remain in the system. If our group of engineers are working on unique, one off type projects, my automation processes are not utilized."

  15. 15.

    In your experience in software testing, would you consider yourself proficient in both testing and debugging processes?

      As a reputable provider of software, Terracotta relies on their software testing engineers to both test and debug their products when necessary. Make your interviewer aware that you are knowledgeable on both processes by briefly explaining each process as you've worked on them in the past. Then, talk about your openness to working both testing and debugging processes if hired for this position.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Yes, I definitely would consider myself proficient in both testing and debugging software. My current role that I've held for four years since graduating from college has exposed me to both processes. In testing, I use known conditions and predefined methods to test for expected outcomes to find errors within the system. I utilize testing prior to new software rollouts. The debugging process happens to already released software that has had issues and comes with unknown conditions and unpredictable outcomes. In this process, my goal is to find the cause of the error to fix it efficiently and effectively to roll an updated program back out to end users."

      Ryan's Answer

      "While a majority of my career has been focused on software testing, I am very familiar with debugging processes as well. If hired for this position, I would take the time to focus on debugging processes to bring myself up to speed while being able to hit the ground running on testing processes."

  16. 16.

    What is one thing that really tests your patience when dealing with your coworkers?

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  17. 17.

    What SDLC models are you familiar in working with?

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  18. 18.

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

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  19. 19.

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

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  20. 20.

    Our cloud computing at Terracotta requires our experts to take proper security measures in their work. What security measures are you familiar with utilizing in a cloud platform?

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  21. 21.

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

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  22. 22.

    Culture fit is important to us at Terracotta. How would you describe your personality?

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  23. 23.

    If hired for this position at Terracotta, what leadership skills would you bring to our team?

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  24. 24.

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

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  25. 25.

    What skills do you use to cope with the day to day stress and pressure on the job?

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  26. 26.

    Tell me about a time that there was a delay in the project and how did you handle that delay?

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  27. 27.

    How have you handled obstacles that you've faced during information gathering processes in your time as a technical writer?

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  28. 28.

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

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