Web development is a dynamic and challenging field that deals with rapidly changing trends and technology. It’s a rewarding career path if you have the passion and drive to succeed in tech. And while there are great opportunities in the job market—interviews for web development roles can be intimidating if you’re underprepared.
So go in prepared. From technical challenges to trick questions and behavior assessments, we’ve got you covered: here are some common interview questions and how to answer them.
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Communication Skills Matter
As a web developer, you might interact with the design team, content marketing team, and project managers on a daily basis. Lots of cross-departmental communication will take place during projects. There may also be situations where you need to explain the progress of a project to your peers or superiors. And that means you’ll have to explain your reasoning to a crowd who may not know your lingo or understand the limits of Python.
So it makes sense that the role of a web developer extends well beyond tapping out lines of code. You’ll be more likely to excel and earn greater responsibility if you’re able to write clear, succinct emails. A bad email sent out to clients or stakeholders can cause untold damage. That’s why it’s important to remember that technical skills aren’t everything. Soft skills like communication, creative thinking and authenticity are what will get you hired and help you to succeed. So be sure to practise them.
Typical Interview Questions for Web Developers
As far as interviews go, there are tons of possible questions you may face. Besides working on your communication skills, you should prepare for certain questions that are commonly asked in a web developer interview. We’ve curated a mix of general and technical web developer interview questions that will help you in your preparation.
What’s your favorite programming language?
Your interviewer will want to hear your enthusiasm for coding, and more generally for improving your skills as a web developer. Choose the one that you’re an expert at and be ready to answer any questions relating to it. Tell the interviewer why it’s your favorite. Discuss the theory and explain its positives over other languages.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Interviewers often throw this question out to judge your reaction. Many candidates will stumble on this one. The key to answering this question is to establish an appropriate context and then frame your answer in a way that demonstrates your self-awareness and professionalism. Your interviewer will also want to see that you’re self-aware and honest, in addition to being a skilled web developer.
For strengths, mention everything that a business expects. You’re a team player, can handle pressure, will adhere to deadlines, skilled at multitasking and good presentation skills are some of the qualities you might highlight.
As for your weakness, you can offer up a straightforward answer if there’s an area of expertise where you’re less experienced. Frame your response in a way that offers a clear path for improving your web developer skills. Or choose a weakness you can describe that includes a positive note. For example, “A trivial project that doesn’t involve any challenge will hamper my productivity”. This states what your weakness is and, at the same time, conveys your desire to take on challenging projects.
What has been your favorite project?
Challenges you’ve taken on and even enjoyed in the past matter a lot to a recruiter. Cast your mind back to previous work or an internship where you’ve found yourself working on an interesting project. When planning your response, highlight specific aspects of the project that sparked your interest: your employer will no doubt favor a web developer who’s genuinely curious and passionate about what they do.
Aim to create a lively conversation with the recruiter. The work of a web developer is not limited to writing code—you’re often required to explain projects and present to stakeholders and clients. So as you explain your favorite project, remember to speak with conviction and confidence. After all, good communication skills will play a major role in your final selection.
What is SEO? Why is it important?
SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) is increasingly important for engineering teams. As a web developer, you may work closely with the marketing department - and they’re likely to favor anyone who can build a website that appeals to Google’s algorithms and search bots.
It’s important that the website you design ranks on the first page of your preferred search terms. This will allow users to access your website easily. There are a lot of factors to be managed from the developer's end if you want to achieve this successfully. The page should be optimized, keywords should be incorporated in the content, images used should be of proper resolution, and every page should have a meaningful title. Web developers benefit immensely from having hands-on experience in SEO.
What do you do to improve your coding skills?
The interviewer wants to know how far you will go to improve your skills, even once you’re hired as a web developer. Mention freelance projects you’ve sought out, or explain how you helped out a family member when they needed a web developer in a pinch for a site overhaul.
Be authentic and astute, emphasizing how your learning is a lifelong process. Coding and logic are integral to programming, so you can get creative here: if chess and sudoku have made you a stronger web developer, talk about why.
What are the biggest current trends in the web development industry?
The truth is that there is no one particular answer to this question. Keeping up with the latest tech news and reading tech blogs will keep you abreast of the latest developments in the industry. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are two hot topics you could discuss, as they are gaining significant traction in almost every industry.
Why is website optimization important?
Smart phones are now accessible to the masses, allowing instant search capabilities everywhere. This allows a website to alter and customize itself based on the device through which it is accessed. So it’s important for web developers to understand the optimization process thoroughly.
In your answer, be sure to express why optimization is so crucial. Your future employer will look for a web developer who’s committed to creating pages that work seamlessly on every screen.
Is it okay to reference the work of other web developers?
Companies want the real deal. They don’t need someone who could copy someone else’s code and run the website. In fact, this is a serious crime and could attract legal action against the company where the web developer is employed.
While copying is certainly frowned upon, taking reference points is not. It’s always good to take a look at other developers’ work and draw inspiration. It may even set a creative benchmark. So be sure to mention that taking reference is not a negative thing at all.
On the Spot Coding Questions
In some interviews, recruiters might test your coding skills and your knowledge in a programming language that you are comfortable with. For instance, you may be asked to spot errors in a few lines of code. Practice some of the common questions that might be asked from each programming language. Most often the questions that recruiters ask will have similar patterns.
Practice Your Responses in Advance
While it’s exciting to get that invite to interview for your ideal web developer job, it can also be daunting - especially if it’s your first one. So here’s one simple mantra to ensure everything goes according to plan: practice, practice, practice! Hopefully the questions in this guide have helped you prepare so you can breeze through your interview on the Big Day.
Becoming a Web Developer
With the wealth of learning resources now online, becoming a web developer is more accessible than ever. Don’t forget to check out Thinkful’s web development bootcamp, which has been designed and curated by industry experts. You can also read our student reviews and get inspired.
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