MockQuestions

Software Developer Mock Interview

To help you prepare for your Software Developer interview, here are 30 interview questions and answer examples.

Software Developer was written by and updated on August 31st, 2021. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 30

Can you describe a challenging software development project you recently completed and the results?

How to Answer

Ideally, you have encountered some of the same challenges that the organization has during your software developer experience. The interviewer hopes to confirm this. It demonstrates that you will address the challenges and problems they encounter and help them resolve them quickly. Organizations hire people to either fill a vacant role or expand their team. In either case, they expect the candidate to bring a fresh perspective to the organization and skills, experience, and knowledge they currently don't have on their team. Your answer to this and all the questions they ask should affirm this.

Written by William Swansen on August 20th, 2021

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List of 30 Software Developer Interview Questions & Answers

  • General

    1.

    Can you describe a challenging software development project you recently completed and the results?

      How to Answer

      Ideally, you have encountered some of the same challenges that the organization has during your software developer experience. The interviewer hopes to confirm this. It demonstrates that you will address the challenges and problems they encounter and help them resolve them quickly. Organizations hire people to either fill a vacant role or expand their team. In either case, they expect the candidate to bring a fresh perspective to the organization and skills, experience, and knowledge they currently don't have on their team. Your answer to this and all the questions they ask should affirm this.

      Written by William Swansen on August 20th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "The most challenging software project I've worked on recently involved an application to allow the company's personnel to self-manage their HR benefits. The challenge was that end-users had to have secure access to their own information without the HR staff intervening. This required me to implement several security features, including user authentication, password protection, and the ability for users to access the company's database behind its firewall via VPNs. Recognizing that I did not have recent experience in these technologies, I refreshed my skills by taking a short online course and collaborated with some of the other developers on our team on the project. Together we developed the software on schedule and under budget. I learned to recognize my shortcomings and bring in additional resources when needed."

      Written by William Swansen on August 20th, 2021

  • General

    2.

    What are some of the types of development projects you have worked on in your past positions?

      How to Answer

      Organizations prefer to hire candidates who have direct experience with the type of work they do. An interviewer will ask this question to determine if you've recently done the type of work they want to hire you for. During an interview, all your answers should address the needs of the employer. It would be best to discover these during your pre-interview research about the company, its products, and practices. You can find the information you need in the job posting and on the company's website.

      Written by William Swansen on August 20th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "In my last two roles, I was focused on improving applications which manage transactions and interact with relational database systems. My role in the application development was developing all the code to control data queries, lookups, and indexing of the data. I worked with other programmers to design the interface, manage the backend database, and develop other application features. The companies I worked for were focused on e-commerce, conducting sales and other transactions via their websites."

      Written by William Swansen on August 20th, 2021

  • General

    3.

    I've heard applications referred to as both software and programs. Which terminology do you use, and how do these differ?

      How to Answer

      During a software developer interview, you will be asked to discuss terms, processes, and other aspects of your job. An interviewer will ask these questions to explore your knowledge, skills, experience, and qualifications for this job. When presented with two similar but different terms, you should be prepared to compare and contrast them. Start by defining each term and then discussing their differences.

      Written by William Swansen on August 20th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "It is common for people to confuse these terms. While they are similar, there are subtle differences between them. My definition of these terms is that a computer program is a set of code that executes specific tasks. This typically takes the form of an application. Computer software is any code that performs a function on a computing device. These can include the operating system, drivers, system software, APIs, applications, and other code. Computer software includes computer programs, but computer programs don't always include all the software. Computer Software is more machine-centric, while computer programs are more user-centric."

      Written by William Swansen on August 20th, 2021

  • Operational

    4.

    How would you define software configuration management?

      How to Answer

      In simple terms, software configuration management systematically manages, tracks, and controls changes that happen in the software development lifecycle. This includes changes in the code, documentation, and process. Change control, however unpopular, is a function that ensures all changes made to the software system are consistent with development practices and internal methodologies. The ultimate goal is to see productivity improvement with a minimal amount of mistakes throughout the development lifecycle. Here the interviewer is looking for how you prioritize configuration management duties and responsibilities and your experience controlling something even if you don't know what it is. This can be tricky, so let me explain. Configuration management is used if multiple team members are working on software or revision running on multiple machines or needs constant updating. Another reason is if a company has multiple locations or divisions that need to distribute work concurrently.

      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Operational

    5.

    What is software scope, and what does the process involve?

      How to Answer

      Software scope is a set of activities and actions to be performed as part of the delivery of a software product. Software scope should be well defined with phase-by-phase milestones, functionalities, and deliverable components. A question like this will be asked regardless of what experience level you are at in software development. This is a fundamental question that all software developers should know and should know well. Let me give you some clarifying pointers that you can use for a better explanation and response. Software scope identifies a few different but important elements, including what the product will do, what is outside the scope of the project (what is not to be done), what is the timeline for completion of the project, who is documenting the list of deliverables, goals, tasks, and what the estimated cost of the project will be. One more part should be covered because it comes up more times than not in an interview. Project Scope creep is when the project experiences changes or uncontrolled growth during the project. This is because the project was not well defined, documented, or controlled early in the project specification phase.

      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Operational

    6.

    Do you have a preferred language that you like to write programming algorithms?

      How to Answer

      No matter what level of expertise, every developer has their views and opinions when it comes to programming language choices. It's much like a toolbox; you use them based on the specific need to solve a problem or fix something. One of the reasons an interviewer will ask this question is to see what range of tools you have used and which you prefer using. It always helps to start by stating that you have used several languages and have a high confidence level with all of them, but if you had to pick, give them a range and narrow to one of your favorites. Don't be surprised if an interviewer asks why you like that language and what benefit it gives you. If the interview is going well, it wouldn't be a bad idea to talk about some of the strengths and weaknesses of a few that you have used.
      As a reference, the top languages likely be Python, Java, JavaScript, C, C#, Ruby, PHP, Swift, and SQL.

      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Operational

    7.

    What is your opinion on a feasibility study, and when should it be done?

      How to Answer

      As a Software Developer, you need to look at things from a broader perspective to gain a bigger picture of what your internal customer (department) or external customer (client) really wants. In the early stages of the software development cycle, you may find that a feasibility study might be required. There are two important factors to consider before determining whether or not a feasibility study is required. A feasibility study is really broken down into two important categories. The first is Technical in nature, and the second is an Operational view. An interviewer wants to know if you follow protocol by offering a feasibility study to the client or go through the motions of your job. It's important to mention this in your interview because it helps crystallize in the interviewer's mind that you go above and beyond the norm to get the job done right. Again, the interviewer is asking for your opinion, so it's important to express your opinion to explain why you think it should or shouldn't be performed.

      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Operational

    8.

    As part of software development, were you involved with working on functional and non-functional requirements?

      How to Answer

      In short, functional requirements are functional features that users expect from a proposed software product. Non-functional requirements, on the other hand, are more related to security, performance, and the look and feel of the user interface, a.k.a. (UI). For a project to be successful, it is critically essential that both the customer and the project delivery teams have a clear definition and agreement on what the project scope and detailed requirements are going to be.

      There are three types of requirements: conscious, unconscious, and unidentified or TBD requirements.
      When a hiring manager asks this question, they want to know if part of your job requires gathering and analyzing functional or non-functional requirements. For functional requirements gathering, they will want to hear how the system behaves under certain conditions within its environment, how it responds to inputs, and what outputs it generates. As far as non-functional requirements, they will want to also hear things like constraints on the system, quality attributes, security, performance, and availability.

      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Operational

    9.

    Making a comparison, how would you differentiate between Quality Assurance and Quality Control?

      How to Answer

      Anyone in the quality field, be it Software (IT), Engineering, Production, etc., should be able to differentiate between the two. Depending on what specific role you have with a quality task, it will be wide-ranging. To help you understand the difference between the two, let me give you a better idea of what they actually are and what they do. In short, Quality Assurance checks if proper processes are being followed, while Quality Control deals with maintaining the quality of a software product. If the hiring manager you are meeting with has any responsibility for QA or QC in their department, they will likely ask you to differentiate the two. Things that they might want to hear are things like.....

      Quality Assurance - Assures that the approach and/or method used to produce a part are designed and implemented correctly.

      Quality Control - A process used to test, verify and identify a defect. It also ensures that the approaches, techniques, and methods are designed and followed correctly.

      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Operational

    10.

    What software development process do you prefer to use?

      How to Answer

      This is an opening or general question an interviewer will ask to begin a conversation, get you talking, find out a little more about you, and collect information they can use for subsequent questions. They are also interested in learning whether the processes you use align with those of their organization. The best way to prepare for this type of question is to research the organization, its software development processes, and the tools it uses. You can learn this from their website, the job description, or by speaking with former and current software development team members.

      Written by William Swansen on August 20th, 2021

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  • Operational

    11.

    What are some of the software design patterns that you use, and in what situations do you use them?

      How to Answer

      Interviewers ask you operational questions during an interview for a software developer's position to determine how you complete the tasks required by this role. They also want to learn that your techniques are similar to those of their current development team. Operational questions are best responded to succinctly and directly. You should always expect follow-up questions when an interviewer is asking about a specific task. This indicates that they have a special interest in the topic they are questioning you about.

      Written by William Swansen on August 20th, 2021

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  • Operational

    12.

    Are you familiar with Agile and Waterfall? Which of these software development methodologies do you prefer?

      How to Answer

      An interviewer will ask this question to determine if you are a good fit for their organization. There are a lot of different methodologies software developers can choose from. Regardless of which one you prefer, you'll need to adapt to the software development methodology used by the organization with whom you are interviewing. You can learn about the methodology the company's software development team uses should through your pre-interview research. The methodology you state a preference for should align with the one the company currently uses.

      Written by William Swansen on August 20th, 2021

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  • Operational

    13.

    What are some of the QA processes you are familiar with and have worked with in the past?

      How to Answer

      While a software developer may not be directly involved with the testing and quality assurance of the code they develop, who should be familiar with the processes. This will help them code for the requirements of the organization. The interviewer uses this operational question to determine the type of quality control systems you have worked with and confirm that your processes are similar to the ones they use. Even if your experience isn't an exact match to theirs, you should be able to describe how you would quickly transition to their processes.

      Written by William Swansen on August 20th, 2021

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  • Operational

    14.

    What are some of the testing and debugging processes you use in your software development?

      How to Answer

      This is either a standalone question or a follow-up to a previous question. If you previously told the interviewer about the QA processes you use, you should now discuss your testing and debugging processes. During an interview, you should always anticipate follow-up questions whenever you answer an interviewer's question. This is why you keep your answers short and direct. It creates an opportunity for the interviewer to dive deeper into the topic if they have a specific interest in it or move on to a new line of questioning.

      Written by William Swansen on August 20th, 2021

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  • Technical

    15.

    Talk about the differences between structured English and Pseudo Code?

      How to Answer

      Let's begin with what structured English and Pseudo Code are. Structured English is the native English language. Its primary purpose is to write the structure of a program module. It uses programming language keywords to achieve this. On the other hand, Pseudo Code is like a programming language without the syntax of any specific language. This question can come in different forms, and each hiring manager will ask it differently, but essentially they are asking the same question. Pseudocode is a kind of structured English used for describing algorithms. It describes the entire logic of an algorithm so that when implementation happens, it is translated line by line into source code. Basically, this is an algorithm question that the hiring manager asks to see if you're old school and if you've written code in Lisp, FORTRAN, or C programming language. This tells the manager how you approach a project, whether it's task structured or methodology driven. Either is not a wrong answer, but you want to ask the interviewer what type of development organization they run early in the interview to answer accordingly.

      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Technical

    16.

    Explain how duplicates are removed from an array without using a library?

      How to Answer

      If we look at the core of this question, it has to do with an array not finding duplicates. The goal here is to remove duplicates from an integer array without using any collection API class libraries. Several levels of interview questions will come up to test your knowledge of basic to complex problem-solving solutions. This one sits somewhere in the middle of the pack. When an interviewer asks whether or not you need a loop or recursion (depending on your skill level), they are asking the order in which elements are inserted in a Set. Answering with something like 'An array is a static, fixed-length structure that cannot change its length' is probably something that will tell the interviewer that you have a solid understanding of how deleting an array works.

      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Technical

    17.

    How much do you know about object-oriented programming?

      How to Answer

      There are two different types of programming. These include Object-Oriented Programming and Functional Programming. Knowing the differences between these two approaches and their benefits is critical for an experienced software developer. Interview questions are meant to probe your knowledge, experience, and qualifications for this position. Interviewers use a wide range of technical questions to help them accomplish this. This is an example of this. Technical questions are easily answered by defining the term you are being asked about and then discussing its features and benefits. You can also provide an example of how it is used to illustrate your answer.

      Written by William Swansen on August 20th, 2021

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  • Technical

    18.

    As a software developer, explain the meaning of debugging, and why it's used?

      How to Answer

      In the software debugging world, the process starts as soon as code is written and continues in successive stages of the development process and is then combined with other units of programming to form a software product. Since debugging is a multistep process that involves identifying a problem, isolating the source of the problem, and then correcting the problem. Please remember this since a technical manager that knows development and debugging well will quiz you on multiple facets of this area. It's essential to note that hiring managers will want to find out how good the quality of your code is. The reason is they will know how much time you will be spending on the debugging process. If you maintain a high-quality level of code, you'll be doing less debugging. If your code is average or not great, you'll spend a lot more time debugging, which managers might see as a weakness. Please be aware of this.

      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Technical

    19.

    What is verification and validation, and why it is important?

      How to Answer

      Verification and validation are essential in the software development process. If you can't verify or validate a set of activities to ensure that the software is not implemented correctly, hasn't been built to specification, or is functioning properly, you will surely have problems with your production environment. Interviewers know how important this is and will ask questions about it to ensure that you practice doing your due diligence to ensure the highest quality software development. When questions come up about verification and validation, it might score an extra point in the interview if you give the interview history of how V&V was formed. It is actually an application of Six Sigma and its principles. It was used to design products in the manufacturing and support process areas. It's important to remember if asked that there are two important aspects of software quality management. Verification answers whether the software is being developed correctly, and validation provides the answer to whether the right software is being produced.

      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Technical

    20.

    Describe at a high level what the software development life cycle process is.

      How to Answer

      SDLC or Software Development Life Cycle is a software development process that produces software in the most efficient way possible. SDLC includes a detailed plan for how a software application can be developed, altered, maintained, or even replaced. SDLC involves several distinct stages, which include planning, design, building, testing, and deployment. Depending on the hiring manager level you are interviewing with, you'll need to answer questions related to the SDLC life cycle. If the manager is hands-on, has a history of writing code, and knows the SDLC, you might want to mention what types of methodologies you have used. Some of the most popular ones are Waterfall, Agile, and Spiral Model. If you're interviewing with a senior-level manager that hasn't done much coding but understands the SDLC, then your answer might be a higher level (strategic response). Either way, it's good to have a solid foundation of how SDLC works. The whole purpose of creating the SDLC foundational architecture is to lower the cost of software development while improving quality and shortening production time.


      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Technical

    21.

    Can you list for me the important categories of software development?

      How to Answer

      Believe it or not, the world of software development is an important part of our daily lives. Without it, we wouldn't have all the wonderful apps and mobile technologies that we use daily. Not only is software development important in our lives, but it is a highly sought-after skill for companies that can't find enough of this type of talent. Speaking of in-demand occupations, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 30% employment growth in the software development field by 2026. Let's talk about some questions that may come in the course of an interview. Many hiring managers like to test software developers by asking what type or category of software development they have worked on. Software developers will tend to work in special development areas where they have a comfort level. Most software developers should know the 9 basic types of software development even if they haven't worked directly in that category. For reference purposes and preparation, here are 9 different types of software development:

      1. Mobile Development
      2. Web Development
      3. Back-End Development
      4. Application Development
      5. Data Science Development (Data Analytics)
      6. API Development
      7. Security Software Development
      8. Embedded Systems Development
      9. Cloud Computing Development


      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Technical

    22.

    Tell me the difference between a Comparison and Non-Comparison Sorting Algorithm?

      How to Answer

      This is actually a common interview question asked of software developers. It probes which sorting algorithm is fastest. This question doesn't have an easy or unambiguous answer. On the one hand, the speed of sorting can depend on the environment in which the sorting is done, and on the other hand, it can depend on the type of items that are sorted and the distribution of these particular items. For example, if you are sorting a large database that cannot fit into memory all at once, this would be quite different from sorting an array of 100 integers. Adding to that, not only will the implementation of an algorithm be quite different, but it may even be the same algorithm. It might also help to know the five Sorts that will likely be brought up in an interview. They are: Quick Sort, Insertion Sort, Shell Sort, Heap Sort, and Merge Sort. Study them and research examples of how they are used and the differences between them. I will give examples that you can use here as well.

      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Technical

    23.

    Describe how do you implement an insertion sort algorithm, and what's the easiest way to do it?

      How to Answer

      If an interviewer asks ten software developers to describe how to implement a sort algorithm, you'll probably get 10 slightly different but related answers. Every software developer has a method and a work style that works for them and makes them efficient at their job. An interviewer, in this case, wants to hear about the method you use and if you take any shortcuts to arrive at the final product. They want to know if you take shortcuts that could compromise the quality of work you are doing. They would like to hear about your development methodology and how you implement an insertion sort algorithm while doing your due diligence and quality checks along the way. In simple terms, the way an insertion sort works is that it starts from index 1(not 0), and each index starting from index 1 is like a new card that you have to place at the right position in a sorted sub-array left side.


      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Technical

    24.

    Can you walk me through the meaning behind a Depth First Search Algorithm for a binary tree?

      How to Answer

      When looking at a question of this magnitude, there are several different factors to consider. You will want to get clarification from the interviewer on whether they want to hear the meaning for tree structure data, time complexity, extra space, or a node stack. Let's examine what some of these mean and how they might come up in the course of an interview. Time Complexity - has four transversals O(n) as they visit every node exactly once. Extra Space - requires O(w) Level Order Transversal where w is the maximum width of a Binary Tree which stores nodes of different levels. Interview-related questions might look something like typical binary tree numbers. 1, 3, 7, 15, or, in a worst-case scenario, a value of 2h is Ceil(n/2) will usually come up as good answers to this question. A couple more that might come are when is extra space required for Level Order Transversal and Depth First Transversal. Two good responses can be a more balanced position for Level Order Transversal and a less balanced position for Depth First Transversal.

      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Technical

    25.

    What is your experience with implementing a Binary Search Algorithm without recursion?

      How to Answer

      This is the type of question an interviewer will ask if he starts to doubt your ability to perform certain duties revolving around algorithm-based development. Since software development at some level relies on algorithms and data structures, this will be an important question that you must understand and answer properly. If we look at how the binary search structure is broken down, it contains a binary search or half-interval search, a divide and conquers algorithm that seeks a position of an item in a sorted array. When a hiring manager asks about comparing inputs and output to the middle element of an array, they ask if a search returns the position of an element. It's important to know and understand this concept. Another question that may be asked is whether or not an input is less than or greater than an element. If you have a sound understanding of these concepts, ask the interviewer what level of detail you would like to answer their question. Some interviewers only want to hear a high-level answer, and others want a detailed explanation.

      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Technical

    26.

    How do you approach implementing an LRU Cache in your favorite programming language?

      How to Answer

      Having a favorite programming language tells a lot about the experience and expertise level of a software developer. There are numerous languages to pick from, and depending on what applications you are working on and what you intend to achieve, some might work better than others. A hiring manager might start with a question about your favorite language and then move to your approach and possibly your methodology or reasoning for favoring that language. Let me give an example of how this question might be answered. If we intend to use Java for this example, we would look at the LRU cache and recently used entries, then remove the element from the bottom and add an element to the start of a LinkedList. Wherever any entry is accessed, it is moved to the top so that recently used entries will reside at the top, and the least used entries will reside on the bottom.

      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Technical

    27.

    Based on your experience, what's the best way to find a node that begins with two single link lists?

      How to Answer

      You will find that interviewers like to ask candidates about the various methods to find nodes and link lists. Don't be surprised if this question comes up a couple of times in an interview but is asked differently. To get a broader understanding of linked lists, here's an overview: A linked list is easiest explained as a linear data structure with the collection of multiple nodes, where each element stores its own data and a pointer to the location of the next element. The last link is essentially a linked list that points to null, which indicates it's at the end of a chain. An element, on the other hand, in a linked list is called a node. The first of the nodes is called the head, and the last of the nodes is called the tail. An interviewer will likely dig into questions about linear data structure and which nodes contain a value and pointer.

      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Technical

    28.

    How do you find the starting node of a cycle if a link contains a cycle?

      How to Answer

      Let's say for argument's sake that two cyclists (no pun intended) are pointed at the beginning of the starting line with their cycles. For clarification purposes, the two cyclists are the pointers. In this example, if we move cyclist 1 a step at a time and the second cyclist 2 steps at a time, they would eventually meet at a single point. An interviewer wants to know whether you can explain how you arrive at an answer and the reasoning behind your findings. This is important because when you explain if a link contains a cycle, you need to back that up with a verbal or written (whiteboard) example. A common response might be to mention that a meeting point is 'P' steps away from the beginning of the cycle, and the 'cyclists' meet when cyclist 1 has taken a '7' total steps toward the point.


      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Technical

    29.

    Tell me how you find duplicate numbers in an array in Java containing multiple duplicates?

      How to Answer

      You will find that Java is used with many applications, on many different platforms, and a multitude of languages as well. If you're in software development and haven't learned to program in Java, I suggest you learn it as soon as possible. It is becoming a core technology for web development and development in general. It has many capabilities that other programming tools don't have, and that's why it's been a favorite for many developers. Everyone in IT has their own way of approaching a difficult problem and finding a solution. In this case, we're talking about finding duplicate numbers in an array in Java. Luckily Java is a go-to for most developers trying to solve this problem. An interviewer might phrase this question differently, but this is the easiest to understand. When you hear the words Sorted or Binary search, this means that they are looking for you to explain what inner and outer loops mean or parsing items inside an array. Be prepared for those questions as well.


      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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  • Technical

    30.

    What method do you use to find the missing number in an integer array of 1 to 100?

      How to Answer

      When it comes to interview questions about finding missing numbers in an integer, that tells me that the interviewer has a specific type of role in mind for a candidate. More than likely, they are looking for an analytical thinker who can solve problems relatively easily. Let me demonstrate. Let's say I have an array number from 1 to 100. These are just random numbers for now. In a sorted array, you can compare whether a number is equal to the expected next number or not. Alternatively, you can also use the BitSet method in Java to solve this problem as well. A BitSet solution is more general, as you can use it to find more than one missing value on an integer array. Take your time to think about how you will respond to these types of questions because the interviewer is testing your ability to process and come up with an answer.

      Written by Tom Dushaj on August 31st, 2021

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