42 Associate Software Engineer Interview Questions

Updated 18 March 2023

Associate software engineers analyse, design, develop code and test business software applications. When employers interview candidates for associate software engineer roles, they are likely to evaluate your skills and ask relevant interview questions. If you have an interview for an associate software engineer position, reviewing some common questions and preparing answers for them might be helpful. In this article, we discuss 42 associate software engineer interview questions with several example answers that can help you prepare in advance and impress potential employers.

Related: 36 Entry-Level Software Engineer Interview Questions

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

General Associate Software Engineer Interview Questions

Reviewing some general associate software engineer interview questions can be beneficial when preparing for your upcoming interview. Your responses to these questions can give hiring managers a better idea of your personality. Here are some questions hiring managers may ask you in your interview:

  1. What motivated you to become an associate software engineer?

  2. Where do you see yourself in five years?

  3. What are some of your interests outside of software development?

  4. What do you know about the software this company develops and the clients it serves?

  5. Tell us about a time when your development project failed. How did you handle it?

  6. What are your strengths and areas for improvement?

  7. What aspects of software engineering excite you the most?

  8. What expectations have you set for this role?

  9. What motivates you to develop software programs?

  10. What is one professional goal you have that you are currently working to achieve?

  11. Why do you want to work for our company?

  12. How would you apply your software engineering skills in a start-up?

Related: Interview Question: What Are Your Greatest Weaknesses?

Questions About Experience And Background

Hiring managers evaluate your abilities for the job through your skills, educational background and experience in software engineering. Here are several questions about your experience and background that hiring managers might ask:

  1. What experience do you have working as a software engineer?

  2. Did you ever debug a challenging program? How did you resolve the issue?

  3. How do you stay up-to-date with software industry trends and innovations?

  4. Are you familiar with the agile process of software development?

  5. What are the software development principles every software engineer follows?

  6. Can you explain a complicated software system design to a customer without any programming background?

  7. What do you do when you notice a colleague making coding errors?

  8. Have you ever completed any coding outside of your work?

  9. What journals, books and blogs do you read about software engineering and development that you might recommend to your colleagues?

  10. How do you ensure your code is free from errors?

In-Depth Questions

As an associate software engineer, you use specific skills to help you accomplish various job responsibilities. Therefore, hiring managers might ask questions to evaluate your technical background, skills and industry knowledge. Here are some in-depth questions you might encounter during your upcoming interview:

  1. What role do you think user experience plays in designing a software application?

  2. What are the essential properties of a binary search tree?

  3. How do you ensure that the code you write manages various error scenarios?

  4. When do you use mutex in a multithread application?

  5. We are looking for someone who can improve this company's software development process. What process do you currently use?

  6. How do you support senior software engineers?

  7. What is an agile software development, and what are your thoughts on it?

  8. What debugging methods do you use to ensure your code is error-free?

  9. How comfortable do you feel reviewing the codes of other software engineers? What process do you follow when reviewing someone else's code?

  10. Explain the bucket sort algorithm. How do you implement it in a project?

  11. How do you merge two sorted linked lists?

  12. What is an abstract class? Why do you use it?

  13. Explain some common data structures and their principles.

  14. Explain the process of finding an intersection between two lists.

Associate Software Engineer Interview Questions With Sample Answers

When preparing for your software engineer interview, you can review sample answers to help you plan responses to similar questions. Here are some interview questions with sample answers to help you prepare for an upcoming interview:

1. How would you explain object-oriented programming to a non-technical person?

When collaborating with users, colleagues and people outside the software department, you might explain complex software engineering concepts to non-technical people. A key ability in this role is explaining technical concepts in simple words using examples. Employers may ask this question to test your technical communication skills and ability to explain complex subjects.

Example: "Object-oriented programming provides a simple structure for a program and makes coding easier to change, maintain and debug. It saves time because it helps simplify the coding process by inheriting common functions. It simplifies the execution process. For example, an electric scooter program can take the code that models any other electric vehicle."

Related: What Is Object-Oriented Programming Language? (With Basics)

2. How might you handle criticism from a senior software engineer?

Accepting feedback and implementing them in your code is an essential skill for this job. Employers prefer candidates who consider feedback as a learning opportunity. When answering this question, use examples from an internship or previous job experience.

Example: "I consider feedback as an opportunity to learn, and I welcome it from senior software engineers. The feedback I receive helps me to grow and improve my software engineering skills. When receiving feedback, I focus on how I can improve. During the feedback in my internship, I stayed open-minded and asked questions when I did not understand what the senior software engineer was trying to convey. Also, I understand the importance of being positive and respectful towards the senior software engineer."

Related: How To Handle Pressure From Work (With Practical Tips)

3. Which programming language do you frequently use?

Hiring managers might ask questions about the coding language you know to understand your skills and knowledge. Before preparing for this question, read the job description to see if hiring managers mention any coding languages they prefer. When answering this question, respond with languages you are proficient in and those that match the employer's job requirements.

Example: "I am experienced in Java, C++, C# and JavaScript, and I frequently use Java and C++. During my internship, I used Java to create applications that worked across multiple platforms. Java gives me the power to leverage object-oriented features for creating maintainable and reusable codes. In addition, I used C++ to create a new operating system that worked with applications I engineered."

Related: Similarities And Differences Between C++ And Java

4. Your programming code has a bug, but you do not know how to fix it. How do you handle such a situation?

Hiring managers ask this question to test your problem-solving skills. Troubleshooting and finding problems in your code are essential for this role. When answering this question, show the interviewer you can think critically, troubleshoot workplace problems and learn from your mistakes.

Example: "When I realise my code has a bug, I review the code from the first line to identify what is causing the problem. If I cannot find the error, I use various debugging techniques, such as creating breakpoints, to understand the issue. If I still cannot locate the error, I seek advice from my colleagues and manager. Asking for help from experienced individuals ensures they provide me with the right guidance. With their support, I can implement the right solution to make the code error-free."

Related: How To Improve Coding Skills (With Practical Tips And Advice)

5. What is unit testing, and why is it important?

Hiring managers might ask questions related to unit testing to know your rate of error in programming. It also examines your knowledge of software testing. When answering this question, highlight how you include unit testing in your development process.

Example: "Unit testing verifies and ensures that individual source code units work correctly. It primarily involves writing test cases for every unit and executing them to check if the expected results match the actual ones. I perform unit testing after I enter the code into the framework or application. Unit testing helps me identify bugs early in the development lifecycle, and this prevents costly reworks. It encourages me to write more robust and maintainable code, making future changes easier to implement."

Related: What Is Unit Testing? Definition, Types, Pros And Cons

6. As an associate software engineer, we expect you to be both innovative and predictable. How do these skills exist in your work?

Hiring managers might ask this question to evaluate your ability to balance consistency with creativity. They may also want to gain an understanding of your working process. Provide an answer that reflects your work philosophy.

Example: "I believe that the right balance between predictability and innovation is the foundation of my work as a software engineer. I aim to deliver high-quality codes within a predictable time frame. Also, software engineers use innovation to develop alternative systems and processes. During my internship, I worked with a team that had a balanced approach to innovation and predictability. From there, I discovered why these two skills are essential for a software engineer's career."

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