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Top 100 Software Engineering Interview Questions and Answers

What are the common software engineering questions?

Interviews for job seekers or applicants are inevitable stages conducted by recruiting firms and agencies to get the right talent, most qualified individual/individuals among the various talent pools they have in the course of their recruitment process.

Every job seeker or applicant after applying for a certain or particular job looks forward to being called for an interview session. Other receives this news with confidence, while some with an air of uncertainty.

The basic truth here is that you cannot avoid it as all job seekers must pass through the recruitment process. However handling interviews or answering interview questions should not pose a great challenge for you, this is why you must have equipped yourself with the right knowledge on how to answer interview questions.

Adding to this, you must also understand how to handle interview pressures, this is because during this stage, the recruiting team or the interview team will look for ways to get at you, they will put to test your mental capacity and strength, in some cases they go the extra mile in putting the interviewees or applicant in tight spot, and this can have serious toil on you which is why you must be prepared for this crucial stage for.

Job opportunities in Nigeria are limited and when you get the chance to see one and you are being called for an interview, make the best of it as there are many graduates out there searching for jobs in Nigeria.

The discipline of the software engineering belongs to one of the high paying jobs in Nigeria and with the wake of the rising and ever growing digital age; the demand for software engineers is on the high side too.

This is a discipline that many young people are venturing into, hoping to get the right qualifications in their respective quest to becoming an expert or a professional.

In recent times, the question how to become a software engineer has become a commonly asked question on the various internet search engines and in the same light, the question, top software interview questions has become a regularly asked questions on the internet search engines.

For the sake of those who are not tech savvy, software engineering is a process of analyzing user requirement and designing, building and testing software application which will satisfy those requirements.

In order words, they are experts or professionals who use computer principles to develop software solutions that will satisfy the wants and needs of businesses and consumers. They create many types of solutions such as desktop and web applications, mobile apps, games etc.

When applying for roles or a position that falls under the job description of a software engineer, below are the top likely questions which you will come across.

A well and that matters is you being confident about what you know proper knowledge of what to expect or of these various questions will go a long way in helping you in the course of the interview. Acing interview questions are no herculean task, all that matters is you being confident about what you know

Most Common Software Interview Questions

  1. Why did you want to be a Software Engineer?

There might be certain reasons why an individual might want to be a software engineer, but the most common answer would be, “because I love coding”. A real software engineer would be passionate about his work

  1. Why should we hire you and not the other applicants?

This is one of the most common questions which are not only asked to software developers but to applicants in other job industries too. So you would better understand what kind of answer the developer should give in order to impress the interviewers.

  1. Describe the software development process:

The software development process is like a life cycle of particular software. If the developer can answer and describe the process accurately, that means he be well acquainted with the cycle. The process is composed of the following activities: Requirement analysis > Specification > Software architecture > Implementation > Testing > Documentation > Training and support > Maintenance.

  1. What projects are you working on personally?

There might be some projects on which the developer is personally working on from home. If he is a passionate software developer then he would definitely strive hard to make a project successful. Therefore, you should learn about his ongoing projects which he is personally or professionally working on.

  1. What projects have you completed till now?

He might have a list of fulfilled projects on which he contributed his skills. Looking at those projects would give you a better knowledge about the practical skills of the developer. You will learn about his experience and the quality of his coding. If he is a bad coder then it will be revealed from those projects.

  1. What is the biggest problem you have faced in your projects and how did you solve it?

Every developer has supposedly faced problems while working on a project. If he is a genuine coder then he will definitely state the problems he has faced. Also, the developer will explain how he sorted it out and what the biggest challenges while working on the solutions were. Learning about the challenges will help you judge the developer better.

  1. Why did this project fail?

If a project fails, there must be a certain reason for its failure. If the developer is genuine then he’ll accept the responsibility of the failed project, if it really didn’t work because of the errors he made. This also provides a better experience next time when he works on similar projects.

  1. Which tools do you use to keep a track of requirements?

There are several ways to keep track of requirements. Although this is a technical question, the developer won’t hesitate to answer it. It can be an excel sheet or any other software he could use.

  1. Which design patterns have you used and in what situations?

A good developer would state about the design patterns which he has practically used. For example, if in a particular project he has used Singleton, MVC, Template pattern and Iterator, then he would tell only about these. And if a developer is just pretending to be an all-rounder in software development, he would say that he used all design patterns, which is wrong.

  1. Ask about his programming patterns:

Programming patterns include a number of variables like source control, testing, variable/file/class and application architecture decisions. If the developer straight away refuses of using any variable then it might be an awful answer. Instead, he’d supposed to say like his current employer does not use source control, but he has used it with his previous employers or for his personal projects at home.

  1. What is the difference between computer software and computer program?

A computer program is a portion of programming code which executes a well-defined task and software includes programming code, its documentation and user guide.

  1. What are the 3 principles to simplify your life?

This might sound something spiritual and related to life, but this is related to what you’re thinking right now. A developer’s life gets complex with extreme coding and so the 3 principles- KISS, YAGNI and DRY help him in overcoming it.

KISS is ‘Keep it Simple Stupid’

YAGNI stands for ‘You Aren’t Gonna Need It’

DRY indicates ‘Don’t Repeat Yourself’.

This question generally stands out for experienced and senior developers, but still, you can let the interviewee learn about this to simplify his life.

  1. Ask the full forms of abbreviations:

You can ask the full form of abbreviations related to the software development industry. Few known abbreviations include MVP, MVC, MVVM, SRS, SDLC, DFD, HIPO, ER, CASE, etc. A quick response is likely to impress the interviewer. You can also ask about their functions and how are they programmed.

  1. What language do you prefer while writing complex algorithms?

Every developer would have a different viewpoint when it comes to the technical questions. Like the preferred language for complex algorithms, the choice might vary. For example, if a developer prefers extremely super high-level languages those are dynamic, and then he won’t need to worry about the low-level details.

  1. Which are the important tools to test the quality of your codes?

The developer will state about the tools that he uses for quality assurance of his codes. A good developer will also explain how those tools help them in quality checking and unit testing of the codes.

  1. How to create technical documentation of your product?

Good documentation of the product leads to profit. If the developer is a good one then he’ll explain a product documentation strategy which is focused on profit rather than the cost. In terms of marketing, technical documentation can bring you prospects.

  1. Analyze CV:

Not to forget, you should give a deep reading to the developer’s CV. Check out the list of skills and experiences he has listed, and question him on that basis. Emphasize on those particular skills and see if he is really proficient with those. A good developer would not showcase any other skills that he doesn’t have and focus on the one that is listed.

  1. Ask tricky questions:

Tricky questions refer to problem-solving questions which might not be related to the job. Such questions are fired to check the developer’s capability to find the correct solution within a short time. Brain racking questions tests the developers thinking skills and how smartly he can solve a problem. Similar questions are, “How would you store 1 million contact numbers?” or “How would you find a good estimate of 2000 samples from this set of data and write a code for it?”

  1. Take a short coding test:

If you are still not convinced with the answers then you can take a practice test to judge the developer’s skills. This is even a better option rather firing a bundle of questions. Taking a practical examination will determine the capability and quality of the developer. You can take possible tests like Fizzbuzz during the interview which is a small test. Or maybe you can ask him to create a high-level design for a small system.

  1. Question simply for a reason; he’s been referred:

Referrals have great powers than your skills. When the developer is sent by a referral or company person, you’ll interview him just because you need to. The developer has made strong contacts within the network and now he is capable of getting inside the company with the aid of that particular person. And since a company person or the manager referred him, you don’t have the chance to throw him away.

Junior Level Software Interview Questions

Questions are given below:

  1. What is Software Development?

Answer:

Software development is the process of conceiving, specifying, designing, programming, documenting, testing, and bug fixing involved in creating and maintaining applications, frameworks, or other software components.

  1. What is SDLC OR Software Development Life Cycle?

Answer:

SDLC defines a set of guidelines to develop a software product. SDLC has different phases namely: Gathering Requirements, Analysis, Planning, Development, Testing, Implementation, Maintenance, and Documentation.

  1. What are the different types of models available in SDLC?

Answer:

Many models have been proposed, to carry out the software implementation efficiently. Some of them include the Waterfall Model, Agile Model, Spiral Model, Iterative Model, V-Model etc.

  1. Explain the role of a Software Project Manager?

Answer:

Project Manager is responsible for driving the software project in a systematic approach. Some of the key roles & responsibilities of a software project manager include project planning, tracking the progress of the project, risk management, resource management, execution of development activities, delivering the project under cost, time and quality constraints.

  1. What is Software Configuration Management?

Answer:

Software Configuration Management helps users to track the overall changes made in a software product delivery. Updates or changes made to the software are tracked in terms of development and requirements gathering.

  1. Mention few project management tools?

Answer:

Many project management tools are utilized as per the enterprise standards some of them include: PERT Charts, Milestone Checklists, Histograms, MS project, Status reports etc.

  1. Mention a few software analysis & Design tools?

Answer:

Some of the key software analysis & design tools are Data flow Diagrams (DFD), Structured Charts, Data Dictionary, UML (Unified Modeling Languages) diagrams, ER (Entity Relationship) Diagrams etc.

  1. What is a Software requirement?

Answer:

Software requirements help the developers and other support teams associated with project delivery, to understand the proposed target system and their expectations on it.

  1. What are functional and non- functional requirements?

Answer:

Functional requirements are utilized to specify the functional features as per the business requirements. For Example, adding a payment option to buy content from a website. Whereas Non- functional requirements provide insights into security, performance, user interface, interoperability costs etc.

  1. Why did you want to work in software development?

Answer:

Reveal the candidate’s character and their passion for the industry.

  1. What skills do you think are important for a Junior Software Developer?

Answer:

Demonstrate the candidates’ understanding of the role and their function.

  1. What programming languages are you most familiar with?

Answer:

Highlights the candidate’s skill set and reveals areas that would require improvement.

  1. How would you troubleshoot software bugs?

Answer:

Reveal knowledge of coding practices and problem-solving skills.

  1. What part of software development do you think is the most difficult?

Answer:

Highlight areas of expertise and possible gaps in knowledge.

  1. What programming languages have you used in the past? What are your top two programming languages?

Answer:

I’m proficient in Java, C++, Ruby, C and Python. I have a passing knowledge of SQL and Perl. My two best programming languages are Java and C++

  1. How much are you coding on a daily basis? If you do not code on a daily basis, what is typical in your role?

Answer:

I code at least 30 hours a week. The rest of my time at work is spent working on design reviews, scrums, meetings and other tasks to keep projects moving forward

  1. How comfortable are you in a startup environment, or do you prefer working in a more established company?

Answer:

I must say I really enjoy the unpredictability and excitement of working at a startup. Yes, the hours are long and everything moves at a breakneck pace, but there’s nothing quite like building something from scratch and seeing where it goes.

  1. What’s the most important thing to look for or check when reviewing another team member’s code?

Answer:

Some things you want to look for when reviewing a team member’s code is its functionality and how readable it is. Is it secure, or are there obvious flaws that would cause security problems and make it easy to hack?! Is the code simple, or are there a lot of unnecessary line of code that needs to be removed or rewritten?

  1. What are the various types of software maintenance?

Answer:

Maintenance types are corrective, adaptive, perfective and preventive.

Corrective: This type of maintenance is used to remove the errors spotted by business users.

Adaptive: This maintenance activity is performed to check the changes made in the hardware and software environment.

Perfective: This type of maintenance is used to implement changes in existing or new user requirements

Preventive: This maintenance activity is performed to avoid any issues in future implementations.

  1. If needed, how would you go about designing scalable applications? Walk us through your process.

Answer:

You design scalable projects by writing as little code as possible. You also want to reuse as much code as you can while not over or under doing your design. Then break things down into modular sections that can run on multiple or separate systems.

Entry Level Software Interview Questions and Answers

  1. What is SDLC?

Answer: SDLC stands for Software Development Life Cycle. It defines the step by step approach for the development of software. SDLC involves the following phases i.e. Requirement Gathering, System Analysis, Design, Coding, Testing, Maintenance, and Documentation.

  1. What are the various models available in SDLC?

Answer: There are several models available in SDLC for efficiently carrying out software development. Some of the models include the Waterfall model, V-Model, Agile model, etc.

  1. Explain the term Baseline.

Answer: A baseline is a milestone on the project which is usually defined by the project manager. Baselines are used to track the progress of the project from time to time to assess the overall health of the project.

  1. What are the responsibilities of a Software Project Manager?

Answer: A Software Project Manager is responsible for driving the project towards successful completion. It is the responsibility of the Software Project Manager to make sure the entire team follows a systematic and well-defined approach towards the development of software.

A software project manager is also responsible for the following tasks:

  • Project planning
  • Project status tracking
  • Resource management
  • Risk management
  • Project delivery within time and budget.
  1. What is Cohesion?

Answer: Cohesion is the degree to which the elements of a module are inter-related to one another. It is like an internal glue that binds the elements of a module together. Good software has high levels of cohesion.

  1. What is Coupling?

Answer: Coupling is the degree of interdependence between the modules. Good software has low levels of coupling.

  1. Explain the concept of Modularization.

Answer: Modularization is used to divide software into multiple components or modules. Each module is worked upon by an independent development and testing team. The final result would be to combine multiple modules into a single working component.

  1. What is Software Configuration Management?

Answer: Software configuration management is the process of tracking and controlling the changes that occur during the software development lifecycle. Any change made during software development has to be tracked through a well-defined and controlled process.

Configuration management ensures that any changes made during software development are being controlled through a well-defined process.

  1. What are the various phases of SDLC?

Answer: The following are the most common phases of SDLC.

  • Requirement Analysis
  • Design
  • Coding
  • Testing
  • Maintenance
  1. Provide examples of Project Management tools.

Answer: Given below are some of the most commonly used project management tools that are available in the industry today.

  • Gantt Chart
  • Checklists
  • Status Reports
  • Histograms
  • Microsoft Project
  1. What is Black box testing?

Answer: Black box testing involves testing the application without the knowledge of the internal structure or code implementation. Testers would only bother about the functionality of the software in black box testing rather than data flow and code execution in the back end.

  1. What is White box testing?

Answer: White box testing is testing the application with the knowledge of the internal structure and code implementation. This testing is generally performed by the developer who has written the code in the form of unit tests.

  1. What is a Feasibility Study?

Answer: A feasibility study is conducted on a software product to assess how practical and beneficial is the development of the software product to the organization. Software is analyzed thoroughly to understand the economic and technical aspects of a software product to be developed.

  1. How can you measure Project execution?

Answer: Project execution status can be monitored using the following techniques.

  • Status Reports
  • Milestone checklists
  • Activity Monitoring
  1. What are the Functional Requirements?

Answer: Functional requirements are the features that a developed software product is expected to perform. For example, adding a payment option at an e-Commerce website will be a functional requirement.

  1. What are Non-Functional Requirements?

Answer: Non-functional requirements measure the usability of the application such as User Interface look and feel, Security, Performance, Interoperability, Reliability, etc.

  1. What is the difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Control?

Answer: Quality Assurance is ensuring that the delivered software has the least number of defects possible. Quality Control is the process of ensuring that the quality of the product is maintained in the long run.

Quality Assurance is done by the testing team of the project while Quality Control is usually done by a dedicated support team, who is responsible for the quality of the product even if the product is under the maintenance phase of software engineering.

  1. What is the difference between Verification and Validation?

Answer: Verification is the process of ensuring that the product is built right, from a process and standards perspective.

Validation is the process of ensuring that we build the right product, from a customer perspective. Verification is a static testing methodology wherein the product is tested without executing the code, while validation is a dynamic testing methodology.

  1. Which SDLC model is the best to choose for a Software Product?

Answer: There are no rules as such stating which specific SDLC model has to be used for a software product. It depends on the type of software project being built and the organization’s policies & procedures.

  1. What do you mean by Software Scope?

Answer: Software scope is the list of features provided by the developed software. Based on the scope of the software, estimations such as time allocation, budget and resource allocation can be done.

There you have it. A list of the common interview questions you should expect if you are applying for a software engineering role.

Marcus Amudipe

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