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Experts Reveal Their Best
Software Engineer Interview Tips

Eric Ciechanowski
By Eric Ciechanowski
Last Updated: September 09, 2020
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You know you’ve got the skills to tackle any software development task they throw at you. You have enough ideas to shake up the technology industry, and the drive to take on Silicon Valley. But before any of that can happen, you have to have a successful software engineer job interview.

We asked some experts for their tips and advice how to do well in a job interview for a software developer position, and what some software developer interview questions are. Here’s what they told us.

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Admit what you don't know

There are too many languages, frameworks, and libraries to know the answers to everything,” says Ian Brennan, Head of Technology at FathomLondon. “Be open and honest about knowledge gaps, but always give a solution for filling that gap.” Your adaptability and willingness to learn are just as important as your knowledge base.

Explain your process

If you want to get the attention of your interviewer and impress them, explain your methodology for solving problems.

“Anytime I talk to a developer about how they solve problems and they highlight that there is a standard set of operating procedures they go through with every problem, I’m very encouraged,” shares John Chapin of Capital Technology Services. “There are a lot of developers who have great knowledge of the language we might be focusing on, or of programming in general, but the people who are productive embrace process.” He suggests using the six sigma DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, implement, and control) approach to solving problems.

Show off your people skills

As you aim to impress with your technical prowess, don’t forget to also show your communication and teamwork abilities.

“Having good people skills like being able to effectively listen, communicate, and understand others is fundamental in getting things done in the most efficient way possible,” says Debbie Chew, Head of Operations at Codementor.

Know the concepts and best practices

Before going into the interview, brush up on fundamental software engineering concepts such as inheritance, data encapsulation and polymorphism.

“Deep understanding of these concepts with the ability to provide some examples is important,” advises Joe Delbridge, CEO of GeekSmash. He adds, “Understanding of industry best practices and agile development methodology that forms the cornerstone of any software development project are critical to making an impression with the interviewer.” Brush up on industry best practices for the various tasks of a software developer, like reusable coding, code review, code refactoring, code comments and version control system.

Be up-to-date on the latest trends

Software Development is a fast-paced industry, with new tools released all of the time.

“Interest in keeping up-to-date on latest tools and technologies is a trait that all employers look for in a software developer,” says Delbridge. Catch up on the latest software news before the interview, and if you can, work in how some new development might be beneficial to the company.

Be ready for Logical Thinking Questions

“Software development is nothing but solving business problems through logical coding,” says Delbridge, so interviewers will want to know your algorithm skills and how you can apply them to a business problem. Expect questions that have you think through a situation logically.

Prepare for Different Types of Questions

Remember to prepare for both technical and non-technical questions before the interview. The hiring manager doesn’t just want to know what your skills are; they also want to see what kind of employee you will be. Some of their favorite software engineer interview questions include “What is your ideal job?” and, “What is a cool project you completed recently?”

Know the technical environment

“Make sure you know the technical environment of the prospective employer before you interview,” suggests Lasek.

Relate your technical skills and career history to the job description. Hiring managers will also want to gauge if you have a sense for how the software being developed is going to be used.

“The person that can both code and have a vision for utilization is the employee that will advance to leadership roles in software development careers,” shares Mickey Swortzel, CEO of New Eagle.

Software engineering and software development jobs are highly sought after and can be quite competitive. Give yourself an edge over other developers by demonstrating both your technical and your professional skills during your software engineer interview.

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