The software industry is thriving. Technological advancements are continuing to open up new avenues and professional opportunities, and the current pandemic has only accelerated the boom in online business.

More and more students are opting to study software engineering, which is testament to the growing demand for software engineers across a multitude of different sectors. But the next step is even more important: getting a job that you love.

We’ll prepare you for your first software engineering interview by sharing some of the toughest questions you can expect. With some strategic preparation, you’ll be on the path to a long-term web development career.

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Prep for The Interview

The right qualifications will take you far, but you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of solid interview skills when it comes to landing a high-paying job. Interviews are like test-drives—you can advertise yourself however you like, but for the employer it usually boils down to “the right feeling”. If the test-drive doesn’t go well, the interviewer won’t close the deal. So you’ve got to make sure you hone your interview skills in order to land the great software engineering gig you deserve.

Whether you’re a rookie or an experienced professional, facing an interview will always stir up the butterflies in your stomach. But if you do your homework, you can overcome your nervousness on the big day (and pull ahead of your competition).

Sample Software Engineering Interview Questions

We’ve put together a list of some of the most important questions usually asked during interviews for software engineering applicants. Read on and get your interview prep underway to give yourself the best shot at your dream job.

How do you define software engineering?

This is likely to be one of the first questions you’ll face. There are a dozen variations of the definition, but try to keep your response clear and to the point.

For example: It means developing software by implementing scientific principles, methods, and procedures.

Or, to be even more succinct: The objective of software engineering is to provide an efficient and reliable software product.

The short and sweet approach is just fine. No lengthy explanations about agile methodologies or the value of C++ needed.

Why is it important to understand the concepts of software engineering?

Use this question as a chance to demonstrate your knowledge of the entire software development process. You might start off by pointing out that the concepts of software engineering are applied to design and build reliable and high quality software products while creating and improving large software systems. Software engineers ensure that an application is built consistently, correctly, on time and under budget, and that it meets the requirements of users.

What is the SDLC? Can you name some models of the SDLC?

If you’re hoping to join the software engineering team, you can expect some technical questions in your interview. This is a great example of the types of challenges you might get to test your knowledge.

SDLC stands for Software Development Life Cycle.

Different organizations have different software development models, such as:

As your software engineering career progresses, you’ll learn how to work within many of these different models. But for starters, it’s a good idea to at least understand the basics and how they differ.

What is a software project manager and what do they do?

Software project managers work closely with the software engineering department. They’re professionals who undertake the responsibility of driving a project towards its successful completion.

They’re engaged in software management activities, including project planning, monitoring, communication with stakeholders, risk and resource management, smooth execution of development, and the timely delivery of the project, while adhering to cost and quality constraints.

What is software scope?

Once you’re working in a software engineering role, you’ll quickly learn your part in supporting the software scope. For the purposes of the interview, be prepared to talk about what it is, and why it’s important.

What is software project estimation?

This is one of those terms that isn’t directly related to coding, but is nonetheless important for any software engineering team lead to understand.

If you get this question in your software engineering interview, you’ll want to explain that you’ll respect (and plan for) potential budget constraints.

List some different types of software maintenance.

Potential employers may want to ensure that their next software engineering hire is well-versed in the maintenance basics. Get ready to describe the main types of software maintenance:

What is a feasibility study?

In some software engineering positions, you may be involved with feasibility studies.

Economic feasibility: In this study, the cost of training is evaluated by the analysts.

Technical feasibility: In study or research, analysts evaluate whether developing such a system is technically possible. It also involves assessing the compatibility of the machine and the operating system (OS), the knowledge of software development, and the required tools available for the project.

Operational feasibility: In operational feasibility, analysts assess whether the organization would be able to adjust to the changes as per demand, and without hurdles.

Don’t worry about getting into the weeds here: you’ll simply want to show your interviewer that you understand the research and planning phases that often go into an ambitious software engineering project.

Next Steps

Conquering a software engineering interview should be smooth sailing if you review these eight questions and do your homework. The interview is all about engaging with your interviewers and promoting your skillset. Relax and present yourself confidently, and you’ll do fine.

When you need a break from interview prep, keep your head in the game with light reading. Learn more about all things software, coding and programming on our Software Engineering Blog.

And if you’re still on the job hunt? Make sure you’re sending off the perfect software engineering cover letter with those applications.

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