36 Entry-Level Software Engineer Interview Questions

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Software engineering interview processes involve several rounds of technical and non-technical questions that help recruiters understand your suitability for the role. It is vital to prepare for an interview by learning about the company and revising your fundamentals. Practicing for an interview helps you become more confident in your answers. In this article, we discuss several entry-level software engineering interview questions, share some sample answers and provide tips to prepare for the interview.

Related: How To Become A Software Engineer: A Complete Guide

General Entry-Level Software Engineer Interview Questions

Hiring managers may often begin an interview with entry-level software engineer interview questions that help them understand your goals and personality. It is important to provide authentic answers to the interviewer, share experiences and provide answers that make you seem a good fit for the company. Here are some general questions that an interviewer may ask:

  • Tell me about yourself

  • Why did you become a software engineer?

  • What interests you in coding?

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

  • Are you planning to study further?

  • Why do you want to work with us?

  • Tell me about a project that failed and how you handled it

  • Tell me about your last project

  • What are your strengths?

  • What kind of growth are you expecting in this company?

Related: How To Answer 'Tell Me About Yourself' For Freshers (With Tips)

Questions About Experience And Background

As an entry-level software engineer, interviewers may show their interest in learning more about your internships, education and projects. These questions help them understand your interest in the industry, capabilities and suitability for the job role. Here are some questions that an interviewer may ask:

  • Share your process of starting a project.

  • Have you led a team of software engineers? Tell me a bit about that experience

  • How many projects have you built?

  • Share your experience of working alone and as a team on a project.

  • How would you remove duplicates from an array in place?

  • What strategies do you use to make a program faster?

  • What was your most cherished project?

  • How many lines of code can you write in a day?

  • How do you stay motivated while working on a complex project?

  • Which phase of the software development life cycle do you enjoy?

In-Depth Interview Questions

The interviewer may ask you technical questions to understand your knowledge about coding. These questions test your fundamentals and help interviewers understand your qualifications. Here are some in-depth interview questions that hiring managers may ask:

  • What is immutability in Java?

  • What is an abstract class and what is its use?

  • What is the difference between object-oriented programming and functional programming?

  • When is a CSS style sheet used?

  • How do you conduct software prototyping?

  • Describe CASE tools.

  • How would you describe an API to someone from a non-technical background?

  • What are a black box and white box testing?

  • Give two reasons why prototyping may be problematic.

  • What is system modelling?

Interview Questions With Samples

Here are some interview questions with sample answers that you may refer to while preparing for an interview:

What are the types of software maintenance?

Hiring managers aim to test your technical knowledge during the interview. Software maintenance is a crucial aspect that a software engineer overlooks. When answering this question, ensure you discuss the various types of software maintenance practices, along with their importance.

Example: "Software maintenance helps improve or correct the software and is a natural process in the software development life cycle (SDLC). There are predominantly four types of software maintenance practices namely corrective, preventive, perfective and adaptive. Each of these processes gets performed at different stages and to deliver to different objectives of the SDLC. Corrective software maintenance helps correct bugs and faults while preventive maintenance helps avoid future mishaps. Similarly, perfective maintenance gets performed after the release of the software depending on user feedback and adaptive maintenance helps upgrade the software to be compatible with new technologies and policies."

Which design pattern do you prefer?

Your interviewer may ask this question to evaluate your knowledge of theoretical concepts in software engineering and understand a bit about your work process. You may address this question by highlighting design patterns you prefer for different projects. It is vital to justify the selection of your design pattern in the answer.

Example: "The design pattern I choose largely depends on the projects. For example, I develop several e-commerce websites and prefer using a structural design pattern and leveraging facade and strategy patterns. While developing games, I often use singletons to create the main players and factory patterns to design the enemies. These patterns offer me more flexibility to create multiple characters using the same code."

Which programming language is your strength?

A software engineer works on several programming languages depending on the project requirement. An interviewer may ask this question to understand if your programming skills match their requirements. Review the job role before the interview to understand the company and the programming language they use to meet their objectives. Share your experience of working with different programming languages to substantiate your proficiency.

Example: "I am experienced working with JavaScript, Python, Java, PHP, C# and C++. I am proficient in using Java for multiple large-scale projects. I often rely on PHP and Java for developing robust websites and mobile applications. In my previous role, I used Python to develop data analytics systems for multiple clients."

Related: 12 Important Web Development Tools (With Examples)

Are you aware of the Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO) model?

The hiring manager may ask you this question to test your project management skills and theoretical knowledge. Answer this question by briefly discussing the relevance of the model. You may share your experience of using this model and its benefits to your project.

Example: "Yes, I am aware of the COCOMO model. In my previous role, I assisted my manager with this model to derive estimates for software projects. The model is a regression model based on the number of lines of code and helps understand the size, effort, cost, time and quality of software. I believe that the COCOMO model is very effective and helps improve project management during the software development phase."

Why should we hire you for this position?

Interviewers aim to evaluate your suitability for the job role. Refer to the job description before the interview to understand how your skills and experience may benefit the company. It may also help you understand the important skills and traits the firm requires. It is essential to highlight your skills and how you may fit into the company.

Example: "Based on my research, the company engages in several projects to develop educational games and data analytics systems for companies. I believe my expertise in coding gaming software, creating characters and storytelling along with my experience in Python may benefit the company. I strongly resonate with the company values and strive to find innovative solutions to tackle a problem. I also believe that my ability to rationally analyse any situation benefits the company to reduce its turnaround time on debugging and software maintenance."

Related: Interview Question: “Why Should We Hire You?”

How do you stay updated on your software engineering skills?

Software engineering is a dynamic field with periodic advancements in technology. A hiring manager aims to assess your interest in the field and your adaptability to new technology. Highlight the various channels through which you update your skills. You may also share instances of implementing any new technologies or sharing your opinion on an ongoing trend.

Example: "I follow Software Daily, GeeksMeter, Codify Life and several other blogs and magazines to stay updated with new technological developments. I periodically update my skills and adopt new technology in my work to improve the efficiency and quality of the platforms I build. I recently completed my certification from Microsoft and am now a Certified Azure Solutions Architect."

Tips For An Entry-Level Software Engineer Interview

Here are some tips that may help you prepare for your interview:

  • Research the company. It is vital to understand the values, functioning and culture of a company before you attend an interview. Learn about their previous projects and technologies used to prepare for technical and conceptual questions.

  • Revise your fundamentals. Hiring managers may ask several technical questions during the interview. It is crucial to recall important concepts that may help you during the interview.

  • Rehearse your answers. You may prepare your answers for a few technical and general questions. Research your answers and practice them in front of a mirror or a friend to become more confident.

  • Prepare your essentials. It is imperative to prepare your clothes, time the distance to the firm and identify your mode of transportation. Ensure you reach the venue at least 15 minutes before the interview time.

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

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