I actually put together a blog outlining interview strategies: A lot of these questions are very usefull though I think great care should be taken deciding which questions to use, as other have said not all of them will apply. There must be loads of developers for example that may not know or use the term regression testing but they all do it.
So to continue that as a simple example of a test of ability lets take two candidates. Candidate 1 has studied development at university and studied various principles of regression testing and can quote verbatim known articles etc. Candidate 2 is self taught, has learned through experience or otherwise the issues involved in testing and re-testing after software changes and perhaps developed their own methods of handling these issues. But mention the word regression and they may not have a clue what you are talking about. Which is the better candidate?? A good list but to be used with caution.
Thanks Davyplan. These are all very good questions.
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It might not be applicable to people that are not software engineers that do front end web development. When interviewing at any big software company expect questions like this. I have interviewed at lots of very big companies google, microsoft, adobe, etc and all they ask are algorithm questions.
Though, its late, or probably very late; its never too late, does it? Top 10 answers to top 10 Project Management questions that a senior software developer must know http: Nice questions. Helped me prepare for my interview tomorrow. My first real development job since school. I just feel the author was somewhat a bully. Got me intimidated until I went through the questions and found I could have a go at most of them.
Thanks anyway. These questions are overwhelming if asked on the fly. There are always going to be people who remember the rote answer for each from college, though not always are they the the best problem solvers you can find. If you get a problem solver who also answers every question to your liking you may have hit the jackpot but you also may have spent overly long passing over candidates that could have done a more than satisfactory job. Time will tell, worst case I will just brush off my textbooks and prepare for the onslaught of jeopardy questions that most interviews entail….
Thanks a lot! Very interesting questions. However, the question with power of 2 is a bit vague and can be hacked very easily: I have been a Developer web, desktop, middleware and database for 15 years. I think this is a good exercise BUT, some idiots who just know theory with a lot of certs might ace tests like these. If I was asked how to implement a linked list, I think I would walk out of the interview. What relevance has this to implementing robust, well-commented, tested software? STL anybody? I have been a web develoepr for 3 years now and I know most of this stuff to get to the top you gotta quite simple just know.
Nice job. Really good list of interview questions for software engineers. One thing I think can also be added is a set of directions how to prepare for the interview, how to research the company, the position, etc. This resource might be interesting: This presentation explains the basics of interview passing in a software development company. A very good article. As you said, the key point is to start a discussion using your questions. Thank you for sharing.
Anyone who has been in the business for more than a few years has encountered many of these problems in one form or another. These are great questions. I have been a software developer for 2 years now and I understand and can answer most of them. Granted, I work in a very small company so I literally do or have done almost everything on the list at some point.
These are great questions to weed out the people who literally sit and write controllers for 25 years and know nothing else about software dev. I found this list very useful for interviewing candidates. If I was interviewing, I would find this list doubly-useful; they would allow me to brush up on answers that would come up in an interview. Without giving the answers, how do you expect hiring managers to know how an interviewee did?
Hiring smart developers is not easy because senior developers are often great developers with no teaching skills at all and no desire to learn how to teach or mentor. This is because organizational reward systems reward production output but not much of anything else. Consequently little motivation to do anything else. This has been my experience, in any case. Seriously, not even a pat on the back is given to these guys.
If they come up with a bad aft training program for bringing newbs up to speed at Mach 5 they will instead be in deep excrement for not producing code like a maniac during that dev cycle. I think any college student who had his course on algorithms and data structures would easily answer those. People always like to raise questions not the answers somebody try to answer. I bet the people who raise the questions might not know the answer. Hi, Thanks very much for this comment.
It help me to think about my ideals. Tks again and pls keep posting. I found the list useful as a staring point. For each interview I would select some questions from your list depending on the job requirements. If I was looking for a QA expert or a. I would never expect one sole employee to be able to perform all parts of the cycle on their own. Having that said. Thank you for the list.
I have been a database and applications designer and programmer for… less than 25 but more than 15 years. I could answer a bunch of these questions but a lot of them gave me new things to Google, too.
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The worst that happens is the young whippersnappers teach you how to snap whippers. I had some experience in interviewing software engineering using theoretical questions and got really bad results… Some of them were really good … in theory.. I found these questions extremely important in the software architecture and design. It would be great to know the answers from your perspective. How can I get the answers?
Cause the things you studied were 25 years old. Except it takes 50k to hire them and they 10 times more for me. You are a perfect example of a workplace bully. As far as I can tell they seem to be quite dependant on experience. Oh well, if this is what the industry demands, so be it. Time to hit the books! I recently had an interview where the Software Dev Mgr had already decided to hire me, but the lisping technical bully asked an esoteric question and expected me to jump to the board and code it up perfectly… while both he and his cohort corrected every line.
Well, I just found out that I know nothing about requirements and functional design. Need to code myself a personal project with these two topix in mind. Thanks George, erm, Jurgen, for compiling this list. On the other hand, I have five fingers, and also, I was not that bad in answering the other questions. That just made my day. I do agree that the above list is fairly comprehensive, and is certainly useful in ascertaining an individuals overall ability to communicate their level of skill. For the author, and those who agree, I would question your ability to properly lead.
The contempt that you show to those with less knowledge than yourself ultimately is a reflection on your own ignorance with regards to proper leadership. Something to think about before you publicly display your frustrations. A lot of these questions are dangerous to have on the Internet because HR departments will find them and then use them without vetting them with relevancy in mind for their business.
Someone who grew up as a kid around computers and developing software, taught themselves what they know, got berated by their peers at school for being a nerd, but forged ahead and continued developing computer programs anyway knowing that their future lies ahead. This sort of person is rare to come by.
As a result, your questions are going to exclude the best and brightest. Cheers for this!! Really Helpful, has come in handy in the last few days.. I was initially asking similar questions to the article and was getting less than a sentence answer. But asking them questions about themselves and they dont stop talking.. The is the best comment I have seen on this topic. These are computer science homework questions. These are not tidbits of knowledge professionals try and remember after they fade away.
I would not be able to answer most of these questions yet I do know what I am doing. How do you know if a number is a power of 2? This is math trivia. In the exceptionally rare scenario where one did need to check that in code, a 30 second trip to stackoverflow will sort you out. Hope hit the nail on the head, this is dangerous information to have out on the net. It is fundamentally flawed. I would argue that people who who have a very literal mind, that memorise definitions to all terms and like to show it off, probably are very poor at abstract thinking and are weak at implementing these concepts.
Perhaps this stuff would be good for a software manager to know offhand someone who is not doing any development work , so that when someone from management wants to know what is happening and lean on the department, they can be overwhelmed with technical babble, thereby ensuring the engineers get left in peace to get the job done. I have worked on a difficult project without some who probably could have answered all these questions.
He was incompetent when it came to system design and implementation. Yes that means you may go in to the interview without a fully prepared list of questions, you will be on their level of not knowing what to fully expect. It will be a normal human being conversation. Ask questions about their projects, explore and probe deeper. Blank stares are what you get when you ask extremely broad generalised questions or surprisingly unexpected ones given their obscurity or irrelevance. Being a good engineer is all about knowing where to get information quickly, it is an open book job.
Making efficient use of tools and resources is the key. If you need people with specific domain knowledge, then look for people with degrees in that area. And as Hope said, you are most likely going to filter out the best by doing this. This article is very misleading. Questions like those are very dumb if the interviewer does not really get why they are asking this. Those questions are very dangerous in the wrong hands.
I saw the other comments and many of those eastern bums are thanking and probably going to apply them on their interviews, some are even asking the answers! You were targeting software developers right? You know, like what developers do with most of their days…. Nice list, thanks! One thing that might be a neat addition all these years later would be some questions around collaboration. Thank you so much Jugen for these efforts. This would certainly help us. Keep it up! Well very good effort to collect and list so many questions.
But to find a good programmer you gotta ask questions related day to day programming problems.
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Like real life uses of Polymorphism, Inheritance , Encapsulation and design patterns. Fall backs of not using patterns memory management, thread safety etc. The people I know who could make it through this interview are probably not the people you want working for you. They spent their time learning corporate buzzwords. Meanwhile, the people you do want coding for you are spending their time honing their craft.
They can still turn requirements and caffeine into code.
They just do it with human-speak. If someone answers all these questions right, beware. Quite good. But you could have added more sectors, like technical questions. Overall, not bad. People who are looking for a little guideline will get some suggestions here I guess. Hi, If you are looking for a job then you can can get a chance to face the interview and can get a job through peeljobs. Interested in system design and coding puzzles? Follow us on facebook: Get the book! Management 3. What is your advice when a customer wants high performance, high usability and high security? Can you name a number of different techniques for specifying requirements?
What works best in which case? What is requirements tracing? What is backward tracing vs. Which tools do you like to use for keeping track of requirements? How do you treat changing requirements? Are they good or bad? How do you search and find requirements?
What are possible sources? How do you prioritize requirements? Do you know different techniques? Can you name the responsibilities of the user, the customer and the developer in the requirements process? What do you do with requirements that are incomplete or incomprehensible? Functional Design What are metaphors used for in functional design? Can you name some successful examples? Which controls would you use when a user must select multiple items from a big list, in a minimal amount of space? Can you name different measures to guarantee correctness of data entry?
Can you name different techniques for prototyping an application? Can you name examples of how an application can anticipate user behavior? Can you name different ways of designing access to a large and complex list of features? How would you design editing twenty fields for a list of 10 items? And editing 3 fields for a list of items? What is the problem of using different colors when highlighting pieces of a text? Can you name some limitations of a web environment vs. Technical Design What do low coupling and high cohesion mean?
What does the principle of encapsulation mean? How do you manage conflicts in a web application when different people are editing the same data? Do you know about design patterns? Which design patterns have you used, and in what situations? Do you know what a stateless business layer is? Where do long-running transactions fit into that picture?
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What kinds of diagrams have you used in designing parts of an architecture, or a technical design? Can you name the different tiers and responsibilities in an N-tier architecture? Can you name different measures to guarantee correctness and robustness of data in an architecture? Can you name any differences between object-oriented design and component-based design? How would you model user authorization, user profiles and permissions in a database?
How would you model the animal kingdom with species and their behavior as a class system? Construction How do you make sure that your code can handle different kinds of error situations? Can you explain what Test-Driven Development is? Can you name some principles of Extreme Programming? When do you use an abstract class and when do you use an interface?
Apart from the IDE, which other favorite tools do you use that you think are essential to you? How do you make sure that your code is both safe and fast? When do you use polymorphism and when do you use delegates? When would you use a class with static members and when would you use a Singleton class? Can you name examples of anticipating changing requirements in your code?
Can you describe the process you use for writing a piece of code, from requirements to delivery? Algorithms How do you find out if a number is a power of 2? How do you find the middle item in a linked list? How would you change the format of all the phone numbers in 10, static html web pages? Can you name an example of a recursive solution that you created? Which is faster: What is the last thing you learned about algorithms from a book, magazine or web site? How would you write a function to reverse a string? And can you do that without a temporary string? What type of language do you prefer for writing complex algorithms?
In an array with integers between 1 and 1,, one value is in the array twice. How do you determine which one? Do you know about the Traveling Salesman Problem? How would you store the value of a color in a database, as efficiently as possible? What is the difference between a queue and a stack?
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How would you store a vector in N dimensions in a datatable? What type of language do you prefer for writing complex data structures? What is the number 21 in binary format? And in hex? What is the last thing you learned about data structures from a book, magazine or web site? Can you name some different text file formats for storing unicode characters? Testing Do you know what a regression test is? How do you verify that new changes have not broken existing features?
How can you implement unit testing when there are dependencies between a business layer and a data layer? Which tools are essential to you for testing the quality of your code? What types of problems have you encountered most often in your products after deployment? Do you know what code coverage is? What types of code coverage are there? Do you know the difference between functional testing and exploratory testing? How would you test a web site? What is the difference between a test suite, a test case and a test plan?
How would you organize testing? What kind of tests would you include for a smoke test of an ecommerce web site? Can you tell me something that you have learned about testing and quality assurance in the last year? Maintenance What kind of tools are important to you for monitoring a product during maintenance?
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