Common Technical Interview Questions for Software Engineers

Most interviews for roles that involve working with software consist of similar questions that assess a candidate’s overall qualifications and knowledge of specific coding programs. We call this “scratching the surface.”

When it comes to more advanced positions, additional questions are needed to dig deeper into the technical aspects of specialized fields. Rather than making sure candidates are familiar with entry-level software, interviews for higher-level positions should assess whether someone fully understands why certain software programs work; how to solve complex problems; and how to function professionally as a leader within the field.

If you’re a new engineering leader looking to hire, we’ve got you covered. Here are the most asked software engineering interview questions that will help you put the right person in the right seat.

Entry level software engineer interview questions

In general, entry level software developer interview questions focus on the basics.

Employers at this stage need to know that candidates have a solid grasp of coding and other software development techniques that give them the background they need to succeed in the software industry.

Candidates will develop more specific skills later in their careers, but their computer skills need to be adequate enough to allow them to perform well (with minimal assistance) from the beginning.

Some of the most common entry level software engineer interview questions include:

  • Why do you want to work in the software industry?
  • Why do you want to be a software developer? Please explain in no more than 100 words why you are interested in a career as a software developer?

Luckily, the answers interviewers are looking for are relatively easy to find online. Candidates can search “why do you want to be a software developer” interview answers and “what are your strengths and weaknesses for freshers.” You’ll also find strengths and weaknesses examples in this entry level software engineer interview questions Reddit thread.

Senior software engineer interview questions 

Senior software engineer interview questions focus less on the basics, as it is assumed that applicants are proficient in coding and related skills at this stage in their career. Instead, prompts (like the ones in this senior developer interview questions Reddit thread) often address their views of the industry and how they can help it develop.

  • Why are you interested in working at this company? (The answer to this question should incorporate specific information that shows the candidate has researched your company and has thought about how they can help your team advance in a senior position.)
  • What do you consider to be a strong software development team?
  • What do you consider to be important qualities of leaders in the software industry?

At this level, applicants might also be expected to complete a coding challenge that showcases their advanced skills. FAANG and other Big Tech companies like to keep their exercises a secret; for example, engineers who answered senior software engineer questions at Github had to sign a nondisclosure agreement prior to their interview.

Software developer technical interview questions

We’ve established that senior developers need to be able to demonstrate more in-depth skills than entry level software engineers.

Although they will still need to do some coding, their position includes more complex technical skills, and the interview questions should demonstrate competency in Java, C#, and more. There are plenty of examples of senior developer questions C# and senior developer interview questions Java online for reference.

Software developer technical interview questions tend to be more analytical and require applicants to understand why software programs work as they do, rather than simply knowing how to solve problems.

Some examples of analytical interview questions for software engineers:

  • What are your current career responsibilities and how do you expect them to transfer to a more technical career as a software developer?
  • What software development problems have you encountered in your current career and how did you solve them?
  • What development methodologies are you familiar with?
  • How do you go about locating and fixing bugs in your applications?
  • What are your overall career aspirations? Do you anticipate sticking with software development or using the skills you learn in this position to shift to a more advanced career?

Software engineer behavioral interview questions and answers

Succeeding as a software engineer involves much more than knowing how to work with a computer – especially as your employees progress into more advanced positions. They also need to be able to work as part of a team.

Being able to handle their responsibilities independently and understand/appreciate how they fit into the larger operation are crucial aspects of creating and improving quality software. Non technical interview questions and answers for software developers are intended to assess whether a candidate can achieve your company’s goals and is a good fit for your team.

Here are a few examples of senior developer behavioral interview questions:

  • How do you handle conflicts in the workplace?
  • How do you generally respond to feedback?
  • What are you most excited about at work software engineer?
  • How do you go about setting goals for yourself (both personally and in the workplace)?
  • How well do you adapt to new situations?
  • What qualities do you think are important for software engineers to have?

Challenges faced by software developer interview questions

The software development field is both complex and exciting, and choosing the right person for your team is crucial. Software engineer technical interview questions allow you to build a group that works well together to meet common goals.

New engineering leaders can spend hours looking through the software engineer interview process Reddit thread. But at the end of the day, asking the right questions will create an effective triage system to help you quickly determine which candidates should move forward.

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