Common Software Engineer Interview Questions

Common Software Engineer Interview Questions

Software is the building block of all technology and software engineers, the masters who fit them. IT companies are often extremely selective when selecting a new software engineer because the wrong person could cause the whole team to fail. To answer interview questions as a software engineer, you need to really brush up on your skills and this guide will help you do so. 

What programming languages do you know?

The basis of any software is the code and knowledge of programming languages is a must for every software engineer. You need to be completely knowledgeable in at least three programming languages or more. It’s a plus to companies if you specifically mention a language that was stated in the job description. 

Possible Answer

I have studied all the programming languages, but I am most familiar with Javascript and C+.  At my current workplace we use Java the most but on occasion have used C+ when we felt that Java would not be suitable for a project.  

Tell me about the last project that you worked on.

There is no question more common or more important than this for a software engineer. Describing your most recent project gives recruiters an understanding of what kind of person you are and how you work. Using the S.T.A.R. method is important when you answer this question. This ensures that you don’t give a long, boring, irrelevant answer but manage to get the key facts out. 

Possible Answer

My last project was to create a gaming app. My role within the team was the writing of the code for the avatars. I oversaw the whole section of the code within the team, and I had several members working with me.  

What was a mistake that you learned from?

Everyone makes mistakes, especially when you start out. Companies like to know that you can learn from your mistakes and accept criticism, which is why they ask this question.

Possible Answer

In my first job, I was given a task to code the login data. Though the code was correct, I had failed to make allowances for multiple accounts on a single device and the code failed during the testing phase. Since then, I have always ensured that I paid attention to all the needs of a user. 

What is your method to test and find bugs?

An important part of software development is testing your program, and there are many ways in which it can be done. Knowing your method of testing and finding bugs can help a company to determine if you are a good fit for their team.  

Possible Answer

I have two methods of testing my software. I section the code and test each section after the initial code writing. Once that is complete, I combine the codes and do a risk assessment. I identify likely problematic sections and test the software. There are also several tests done for the overall code to ensure that a bug doesn’t slip through the gaps.  

What tools do you use to keep track of software requirements?

As a software engineer, you need to know exactly what to do next and what areas need to be reworked. Familiarity with project management tools will help you impress the recruiter. 

Possible Answer

I am very familiar with Jira as I have used the system at my last two workplaces. I find that it is the best tool for me as it helps me with bug tracking especially when I am working on multiple sectors at the same time. 

What does a software project manager do?

Even if you are not interviewing for the role of software project manager, you should still be aware of the role of the manager as it will help you to do your job more effectively. Your answer to this question will also help the company to decide whether you will need a lot of training or are experienced in working with a project team. 

Possible Answer

The software project manager is responsible for the success of a product as they manage all the team members and the resources of the project. They also create a roadmap and a plan that the rest of the team follows in order to meet stakeholder expectations. 

Tell me about a time you solved a software development problem.

The best way to answer this question is to utilize the S.T.A.R. method. Remember that sometimes the interviewer might prefer a generalized answer to a technical answer as that gives a clearer picture of your role.  

Possible Answer

There was an incident where a bug was missed during the beta-testing phase, but it was discovered later by another employee. We had to fix the bug very quickly. My role was to identify the initial problem area of the bug and I had only a few hours in which to do. Through my extensive knowledge of C+, I was able to successfully debug the product.  

Why do you want to work at our company?

This is your chance to show off all the research you did, prior to the interview. You can talk about why the company is a good fit for you and why you are the best person for the job with this question. 

Possible Answer

I have been using your company’s map app for quite some time and I have found it very easy to use. I saw the opportunity for a chance to create the next generation of the app and jumped at the chance. In addition, I saw on your website that the company has strict discriminatory policies that I believe very strongly in. 

What do you see as the best approach when checking a member’s code?

Teamwork is an important component of software engineering, but you have to be careful not to step on anyone’s toes. Companies like to ask questions about your ability to work with other people such as this one to make sure you can handle working with a team.

Possible Answer

One of the most important things for me is the security of the code. Therefore, when checking a team member’s code, one of the first things I check is the security. I also prefer to check the simplicity of the code during this process because I believe that it is important for future updates.  

Which SLDC model do you think is best?

This is another complex, technical question that is often asked. There is no right answer here however, and the company is testing your knowledge through such questions. 

Possible Answer

SLDC models are adopted according to development needs, therefore there is no reason to consider one model better than the others.  

What do you consider indicative of a successful project?

This is an answer that is based on your personal preference and can be anything you desire. But remember, you need to give an answer that shows you in the best possible light. 

Possible Answer

I consider a project successful by taking the 5 KPI’s that stakeholders are most desirous of impacting and telling the team that these are the key areas to focus on. Then at the end of a selected period, if there has been even a minor increase in our impact in the 5 KPIs, I consider the project to be on track to success. 

When do you believe a project is finished?

A good software engineer knows that a project is never finished. There will always be new updates and bug fixtures that need to be done. Your answer should reflect this idea but still give a proper answer. 

Possible Answer

Ideally a project should be finished when the product is launched but that is never the case. The lifecycle of software development is never-ending. But I also believe it is important to celebrate the milestones that the project goes through such as the launch, updates etc.  

You know all the questions that can be asked from a software engineer, but do you know the questions that are asked in all interviews? Use our handy guide to the most common interview questions. And make sure you are completely prepared with our interview tips and tricks.

For more interview help, check out our interview tips article page or check the Cresuma career guides blog.