MockQuestions

Software Engineer Interview Questions

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

Software Engineer was written by and updated on October 25th, 2021. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 30

Can you describe how you would implement linear search in JavaScript?

How to Answer

This question asks you to detail the process you use to perform a specific operation within a software programming language. During an interview, you should listen carefully to each question the interviewer asks. Always make sure that the interviewer completes the question before you begin to formulate your answer. This will ensure that you respond to the right question and provide the interviewer with the information they are seeking.

Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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30 Software Engineer Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1. Can you describe how you would implement linear search in JavaScript?

      How to Answer

      This question asks you to detail the process you use to perform a specific operation within a software programming language. During an interview, you should listen carefully to each question the interviewer asks. Always make sure that the interviewer completes the question before you begin to formulate your answer. This will ensure that you respond to the right question and provide the interviewer with the information they are seeking.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "The easiest way to implement a linear search within JavaScript is to create an algorithm that examines each element in the list and determines whether it matches the value I have defined. Once I've created the algorithm, I can repurpose it by simply redefining the value and/or the list I am using."

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

  • 2. What methodologies do you use to ensure that your program will scale?

      How to Answer

      Creating programs that scale is a critical skill in today's fast-changing business environment. Businesses need appropriate applications for their current size and activity level but can grow as the business grows. Developing scalable programs saves the business money during the initial development cycle. Also, it prevents them from reprograming the applications or adopting new ones when the business activity increases beyond the capability of the current program. Your answer to this question should discuss the specific techniques and methodologies you use to accomplish this objective.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "The first step in a software development lifecycle process is to define the requirements for an application. During this phase, I inquire about the possibility of the operation related to the program expanding or growing and the need for the program to scale. Once I confirm this need, I'd then go about developing a program with scalable features. The methodologies I use to accomplish this include using microservices instead of a monolithic architecture, assigning the appropriate caching, queues, databases, and selecting the appropriate development language and deployment platform. Languages I prefer for scalable programs include Ruby and Django if it is a web application. I'm also more inclined to develop the application to run on a cloud platform which provides the greatest flexibility and scaling."

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

  • 3. Can you describe what you know about object-oriented programming?

      How to Answer

      This is a technical question asking you about one of the types of programming disciplines. The other is Functional Programming. Knowing the differences between these two approaches and their benefits is critical for an experienced software developer. This is a technical question meant to probe your knowledge, experience, and qualifications for this position. Technical questions are easily answered by first 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 October 25th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "I use Object-Oriented Programming, also known as OOP, quite a bit. My definition of this is that it is the type of programming in which you define the data structure and also define the types of operations that can be applied to the data. The benefit of this approach is that it helps you logically organize code around a specific parameter. It also makes code easier to be maintained and documented. Another advantage is that objects can be inherited and extended, thereby facilitating the software development life cycle."

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

  • 4. Which design patterns do you use, and in what situations do you use them?

      How to Answer

      This is an operational question. Interviewers ask operational questions to determine how you go about completing the tasks required by this role. Operational questions are best responded to succinctly and directly, with little embellishment. Additionally, you should always expect follow-up questions when an interviewer is asking about a specific task.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 5. In your opinion, what is the difference between computer software and a computer program?

      How to Answer

      An interviewer will ask this type of question to explore your knowledge, skills, experience, and qualifications for this job. Knowing the distinction between these two standard terms is not that difficult but will indicate that you are a viable candidate and convince the interviewer to proceed with the interview.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 6. How would you go about explaining cloud computing to someone that doesn't have a technical background?

      How to Answer

      The purpose of this question is to gain an understanding of your communication skills. Throughout the interview, the hiring manager will seek to understand some of the soft skills you have pertaining to this job. These include communication, teamwork, conflict resolution, and others. Every time you answer a question, you are being evaluated for both your experience and skills, as well as your ability to communicate. This question relates directly to this objective.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 7. What personal software development projects have you worked on outside of work?

      How to Answer

      In addition to seeking candidates who have the skills and experience necessary to perform the job, hiring managers want to make sure the individual will fit into their organization. This is why they are likely to ask you about activities outside of the workspace and personal interests you may have. Your ability to contribute to the corporate culture is equally as important as your ability to do the job. You should have some stories about your personal life prepared just in case the interviewer asks about this.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 8. Can you describe a tough software development problem you encountered in your last job and discuss how you solved it?

      How to Answer

      This is an experience-based question. Experience-based questions ask about a specific situation and seek to understand how you resolved it. This provides the interviewer with information about your background and your ability to do the job. When responding to this type of question, keep your answer simple using plain language the interviewer will likely understand.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 9. Which do you prefer - a micro-service approach or a monolithic app?

      How to Answer

      When asking about a preference, the interviewer is seeking to understand how you approach your work. Your response to this question is based on two factors. One is your experience and skill set in this job. The second is the research you have done on the organization and your understanding of their preferences for the type of operations they perform. Your answer can either align with their processes or conflict with them. If you choose to conflict with them, you should rationalize your answer based on your experience.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 10. How would you accelerate the response time of a website you created?

      How to Answer

      When conducting an interview, hiring managers are interested in one of three things - how you can help their organization make money, save money, or save time. The questions they asked will be specific to these objectives. You can prepare for the interview by understanding the organization's mission, the role of the job you are interviewing for, and how you can help them achieve one of these three objectives. In this case, the interviewer is seeking to understand how you can save time.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 11. Can you define black box testing and white box testing and discuss the differences between them?

      How to Answer

      During an interview, you are often asked to define two terms used in the job and contrast them. This is an example of that type of question. When practicing interview questions, you'll note that your response is typically structured in a specific way. This makes responding to questions during the interview easier because you don't have to think about how to structure your answer. In this case, you want first to define each term and then describe the differences between them. You may also want to provide an example of how the concepts are used and your work.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 12. Walk me through the steps to build a single page application with multiple sections using the programming framework in which you typically work.

      How to Answer

      You can often identify the type of question you're being asked by how the interviewer asks it. When you hear a phrase such as 'walk me through the steps...,' you know that this is an operational question. The best way to respond to this sort of question is to break down the process into individual steps and briefly describe each one. The interviewer will likely ask you a follow-up question so they can better understand your methodology, so come prepared with a few examples.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 13. How do you go about organizing CSS files, and why do you prefer this approach?

      How to Answer

      This is an example of an operational question that has technical aspects to it. The interviewer is interested in learning more about how you go about doing your job related to this specific topic. No two interviewers are the same, so the questions you will be asked may vary from interview to interview. The best way to prepare for this is to research the company, review your resume, and spend some time reviewing the operations you perform and the technologies with which you work.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 14. What are the functions of web workers in HTML5?

      How to Answer

      When interviewing for a software engineering position, the interviewer will ask various types of technical questions. These can range from very simple to very complex. Typically, the interviewer will start with simpler questions and progress to more complex ones. This indicates that they are gaining confidence in your ability to do the job and are willing to explore your background in more detail. Regardless of their complexity, technical questions should always be answered briefly and to the point. You should anticipate follow-up questions any time you provide an answer to the interviewer.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 15. What are the differences between blocking and non-blocking calls in the context of Node.js?

      How to Answer

      During an interview as a software engineer, you can anticipate that most questions will be technical or operational. The best way to prepare for this type of interview is to research the company to understand the type of programming they do and the products they produce. Next, you should carefully review the processes you use as a software engineer to develop programs. Having a clear understanding of these will help you respond to any question the interviewer may ask.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 16. What are some of the programming languages you are familiar with, and which ones do you prefer?

      How to Answer

      This is a general question which an interviewer will ask to determine your proficiency in programming. During an interview, you will be asked a mix of general, operational, technical, and behavioral questions. Interviewers will ask these in random order, so you need to be prepared for each type of question.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 17. How would you implement Dijkstra's Shortest Path using a programming language with which you are familiar?

      How to Answer

      When asked about how you would implement a procedure or perform an operation, the interviewer hopes to learn more about how you go about doing the job for which you are interviewing. This is known as an operational question. When answering an operational question, you should step the interviewer through the process briefly and directly. It may help break the process down into smaller steps to help the interviewer better understand your methodology. You should be prepared for follow-up questions any time you answer an operational question.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 18. What are the differences between an array and a stack?

      How to Answer

      This technical question is asking you to compare two concepts used in the role of a software engineer. When comparing two concepts, you should first define each of them and then discuss how they differ. It may be helpful to provide examples of how the concepts are used and the work you do to demonstrate your understanding of the subject matter.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 19. Please describe a stack and the two operations it performs.

      How to Answer

      When an interviewer asks you to describe something, you should immediately identify the question as being technical. When responding to a technical question, you first define the term or concept and then describe how it is used in the work you are performing. If the interviewer asks you follow-up questions, they are expressing a strong interest in this topic and indicating that it is important to their operations. This signals you to expand on your answer and give them more details than you normally would.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 20. What process do you use to test and find bugs in an application you've developed?

      How to Answer

      Your interviewer will likely ask a series of questions regarding your process because they seek to understand the steps you generally take in scenarios such as this one. As an experienced software engineer, you should easily describe the procedures you use to test and debug the application you develop. Since this is an operational question, your answer should be direct and to the point. You should anticipate additional follow-up questions.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 21. Please describe responsive design and the difference between fixed and fluid layouts.

      How to Answer

      You should immediately recognize this is a technical question. Technical questions ask you to define a term or concept and then discuss how it is used in your work. When responding to this question, you should be brief and to the point. The interviewer will request additional information if they need it. You should also provide an example if possible to further demonstrate your knowledge of the subject.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 22. How experienced are you with the Agile software development process?

      How to Answer

      This question is asking about your familiarity with a specific process used in software development. It may be a follow-up question to a previous answer you provided the interviewer. When asked this type of question, you should first define the concept or topic and then explain how it is used in your job. This will demonstrate your knowledge of the subject and your experience employing it in the work you do.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 23. Can you describe the complete software development life cycle?

      How to Answer

      This is an example of a hybrid operational and technical question. It asks you to define a concept relative to this profession and describe how you do this job. When answering these types of questions, you should be direct and to the point. The interviewer is likely to ask several follow-up questions to explore this topic in more detail. Your answer should also be aligned with the requirements for this job, as defined in the job posting.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 24. How do you go about addressing errors in your code?

      How to Answer

      Nobody is perfect, and every software engineer has errors in the code they create. Denying this will be a red flag, which will make the interviewer skeptical of your qualifications. A better approach to answering this question is to acknowledge that you make errors and have a process you use to identify and correct them.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 25. Describe the process you use to create a program, from requirements definition to delivery.

      How to Answer

      When the interviewer asks you to describe a process, they are seeking to understand how you go about doing your job. When preparing for these types of questions, you should review the job description to fully understand the position's requirements and how the organization will expect you to do your job. You should also review the current processes to ensure that they align with this role's requirements. Your answer should describe each step of the process in a sequential manner. Make sure to keep your response simple and to the point.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 26. Walk me through your process for designing scalable applications.

      How to Answer

      An interviewer will ask this type of question to understand how you go about doing your job. When asked to walk somebody through the process you use, you should divide it into several distinct steps and briefly describe each one. Be careful not to talk too much or overcomplicate your answer. If the interviewer needs more details, they will request them.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 27. What do you feel are the critical principles of good software engineering?

      How to Answer

      This is a general question that asks you to characterize what makes a software program efficient and effective. Your ability to do this will help the interviewer understand your qualifications for the position. Your answer should incorporate both the requirements for the job - as stated in the job description - and your previous experience writing code. You should limit your answer to 2 to 3 important principles and anticipate a follow-up question from the interviewer.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 28. What do you look for or check when reviewing another team member's code?

      How to Answer

      This is a hybrid question, which has elements of both operational and technical questions. Since both operational and technical questions are responded to directly and succinctly, your answer will be the same. This question's broad nature also indicates that the interviewer will likely ask a follow-up question regardless of how you respond to their original question.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 29. In your opinion, what distinguishes a great software engineer from an average one?

      How to Answer

      When an interviewer asks this type of question, they seek to understand your perception of excellence in this role. When answering the question, you should align your response with the job requirements, as defined in the job posting. You can also incorporate your past performance to demonstrate that you are aware of what excellence is and strive to achieve it.

      Written by William Swansen on October 25th, 2021

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  • 30. What portion of your day involves coding, and what are the other activities you perform when not coding?

      How to Answer

      This operational question is seeking to understand how you go about doing your job on a day-to-day basis. Operational questions will ask you about the processes you use to accomplish the tasks required by this position. The best way to answer operational questions is directly and briefly. The interviewer will ask you a follow-up question if they need more information or want to explore the topic in more detail.

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