So you’re a junior software developer, getting ready for a job interview? If you’re panicking, nerves and all, don’t worry because we’ve got your back. You may never fully know what to expect in a job interview, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t think about answers to common questions beforehand. This will certainly make you seem more prepared as a candidate.
And so, here is a list of eight interview questions that junior software developers often get, together with ways you can best answer them.
1. What programming languages are you familiar with?
What they want to know: How competent are you?
Do you know Ruby? Are you proficient in Java? This is where you flaunt your skills. If you’ve spent days and nights trying to master programming languages, don’t be afraid to let them know. Is there a language that you’re still in the process of learning? Let them know it too. You may be a junior software developer, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t have the skills to boot!
2. What tech resources do you read as a junior software developer? What do you find interesting in current tech trends?
What they want to know: How do you learn and what interests you?
As an industry that is ever-changing, where you get resources from and how up-to-date you are will be important to your employers. This is definitely one question that you can prepare for, and if you’re able to strike up a conversation about Blockchain, Tesla and deep learning, your interviewer will certainly be more than impressed by you. Make sure you do your homework beforehand! Looking up the company’s LinkedIn profile for their latest updates and mentioning those may also be a smart move.
Tip: Don’t overcompensate and end up rattling a whole list of websites and magazines! Keep it concise and share your go-to resources. You wouldn’t want to bore them.
3. What are some steps that junior software developers should take to troubleshoot their code?
What they want to know: How do you prevent mishaps and mistakes?
Everyone knows just how problematic the coding process can sometimes be. And for your interviewer, they would want to hire a junior software developer who is meticulous and takes clear steps to make sure their code is in as flawless a condition as possible. So show them that you have an eye for detail! Show off your debugging skills and how you would solve a coding crisis.
4. Tell me about a time you received negative feedback. How did you go about dealing with it?
What they want to know: How do you overcome negative feedback and move on?
Depending on the interviewer, this could be a general or skill-specific question. Regardless, they would value an employee who is not afraid to own up to mistakes and learn from them. Companies typically have code review processes in place, whereby senior developers would check on junior software developers. Your interviewer wants to know if you will be able to handle negative feedback and keep things professional. Perhaps you once had a co-worker told you that your code was not functional or readable enough. How did you use those comments to your advantage?
Tip: Don’t be afraid to admit your shortfalls. This isn’t an interrogation!
5. As a junior software developer, have you worked on any projects in the past? If so, what?
What they want to know: How much experience do you have?
As a junior software developer, you may feel pressured if you feel that your resume isn’t stellar enough. But everyone has to start from somewhere! Even if it is a small-scale school project that you might have worked on, you shouldn’t hesitate to share what you learned from it.
Some key steps you might want to mention include:
Continuous integration system: What continuous integration system did you use for your project? How did your team arrive at that consensus?
Tools and applications: Did you use more than one tool in your project? Did you use Scrum or Kanban to better manage the projects?
Version control system: How did you use a version control system to streamline the workflow? Was it effective?
Environments: Were there different environments for different stakeholders? Was it difficult to juggle them all?
Codebase: Did you try to make your codebase as intuitive as possible? What were the major considerations?
Tip: This question is a great chance for you to show how you can extract learnings from all sorts of projects. Whether they were for a school module or a previous job, it isn’t so much what you did, but what you learned from it.
6. If I were to task you with building a <product>, how would you go about doing it?
What they want to know: How quick can you think on your feet?
Is this not the most dreaded question ever? However, it’s also a great opportunity for you to turn things around and show them how you can work under pressure. Show them how you can build a scalable project that is simple yet functional.
Tip: If you mess up or blunder, don’t panic. Your interviewers aren’t expecting a perfect response!
7. What are some fundamental principles you think all developers should follow?
What they want to know: What is your work ethic like?
What are your personal ethos when it comes to the job? As a junior software developer, you may see the world very differently. Make that known to your interviewers. Whether you think your code should be clean and simple, or that design concerns should come first, don’t shy away from sharing your philosophy.
8. What are some personal goals you hope to achieve as a junior software developer?
What they want to know: Are you a holistic worker?
Not all the questions you get are going to be about “how well can you do this” or “would you do that”. Your interviewers want to make sure that you benefit from the job just as much as they benefit from hiring you.
Tip: Remember that this doesn’t have to be centered around hard skills! Non-technical goals would certainly show that you are a holistic worker who cares about personal development.
Show them what you’re made of
Think about your responses to these questions, but make sure you don’t memorise them! Go into the room and be your most authentic self. That is, after all, the version of you that your employers will eventually hire.