Jan 16, 2019

Questions to Expect During a Software Engineer Interview

You've finished your job training, built a portfolio, and boosted your skill set with a Udacity Nanodegree program, and now you're ready to take your career to the next level. Getting through the interview process is an essential part of landing your dream job as a software engineer. Although this key step may seem stressful, a bit of preparation and know-how goes a long way. These common questions often pop up during software engineer job interviews, and knowing how to answer them can help you stand out from the competition.

What Languages and Systems Are You Familiar With and Which Ones Do You Commonly Use?

Often, interviewers will start with questions about your experience and skill set. This has a practical purpose, as different organizations use different kinds of systems and apply different languages to work with those systems. But they also want to get a feel for your skill levels. To make yourself stand out through this fairly routine question, use examples as you describe your knowledge. Be up front about which skills could use some more development, and stress your willingness to learn. If you're working on a Nanodegree course to help you specialize as a robotics software engineer or machine learning engineer, this is a good time to bring that up.

How Do You Organize Your Time?

Writing code is one of the main tasks of a software engineer, but it isn't the only one. Interviewers want to know that you have a solid grasp on programming, but they also want to know that you can manage the entire process. Break down how much time you expect to actually spend writing code, and outline how you'll also spend time meeting with your team, mentoring other programmers, and planning.

Why Do You Think You'd Make a Great Software Engineer? What Are Some Things You Think You Could Work On?

When this question pops up, don't be afraid to be honest. You don't need to show that you're perfect. Instead, it can be helpful to demonstrate that you can keep moving forward in the face of deadlines. A little humility can be handy when answering the second part of this question. Being up front about your flaws and explaining how you work with them or are willing to move past them shows that you're willing to grow as you work with your team.

How Do You Find Bugs in Another Programmer's Code and How Do You Fix Them?

Testing your own code is a big part of the development process, but as a software engineer, you're often responsible for the code that other people write. Show that you can put yourself in another programmer's shoes and follow their line of thinking, and that you know the ins and outs of what makes good code. Your answer should not only demonstrate that you're familiar with the debugging process and that you can fix errors quickly and efficiently, but also show that you can work with other members of your team to do so. After all, helping other programmers find and fix errors in their work keeps them from making the same mistakes over and over again.