8 Git Interview Questions With Sample Answers And Tips

Updated 12 September 2023

Git is a free and open-use tool to manage the source code versions of applications and collaborate on a large scale. Refreshing your knowledge of industry topics, such as Git software and terminology, is advisable to prepare for a programming interview. Reviewing potential questions can help you improve your chances of success in a programming interview round. In this article, we define Git, discuss eight Git interview questions with sample answers and list tips to help you prepare for your programming interview.

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What Is Git?

Git is an open-source software that helps developers and other programmers track modifications made to the code base of specific software and application. It is a distributed version control system. Git is a helpful tool, as it enables programmers to find and compare the modifications other teams made while upgrading the software.

Related: What Is Software Development? A Complete Guide

8 Git Interview Questions With Sample Answers

An effective response to Git interview questions can help demonstrate your work style, personality and knowledge. Many of these questions often lack a single correct response. Here are questions about Git with sample answers:

1. Describe Git to someone with no coding experience

An interviewer may ask such questions to evaluate your understanding of Git and your ability to articulate it in simple terms. Demonstrate your knowledge of version control systems while using simple language.

Example answer: Git is a useful tool for programmers to create mobile applications, web page designs and computer software. It allows them to keep a detailed record of everything they have done on a project. This helps the professionals collaborate and monitor and understand the changes they make on a project.

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

2. What programming language does Git use?

When asking this question, the interviewer may particularly expect a description of why this language is useful to others. Ensure your answer states the language and highlights its importance.

Example answer: Git primarily uses C language along with shell scripts that provide wrapper. Using C makes it fast and portable and allows easy connection with other components.

Related: What Is C Programming Language? Benefits And Career Advice

3. Which branching strategies do you know the most about?

A hiring manager might ask you such a question, as different organisations may have their own approaches to branch strategies. They want to know which ones you have encountered and what you know about them. Include a few specific types and brief descriptions for each.

Example answer: Based on my previous work experience, I am familiar with a few different branching strategies, such as release branching, which is the cloning of a development branch after it has enough features. With feature branching, you change a feature stored in a specific branch until it has merged with the master, and task branching is when every task gets its branch.

4. How do you distinguish an index, head and working tree?

The interviewer asks this question to evaluate your understanding of the various Git components. Ensure your response describes each of these components and their distinctive characteristics.

Example answer: A staging area, also known as an index, is a binary file that contains timestamps, checksums and the filename. The term head refers to the most recent commit in a checked-out branch, while a working tree or directory helps to describe the location where you can access all the source files.

5. Why is it necessary to create a copy of an existing commit rather than simply change the existing one?

A hiring manager may ask such questions to determine your knowledge of commits and your ability to avoid the loss of important time and work. Clearly explain the significance of constructing a duplicate commit and why you do not prefer modifying the existing one.

Example answer: It is important to duplicate an existing commit instead of modifying it because the existing commit is the only original copy. If you change it, you may put the entire system at risk. Using the amend function on an existing commit, for instance, may start the creation of a smaller commit containing unauthorised changes.

6. Tell us a few Git commands and their functions.

When an interviewer asks such open-ended questions, your response reveals your thought process. Such questions allow you to demonstrate your organisational skills and humour. Describe four to five different commands and state their purpose briefly. Maintaining a conversational tone during an interview can demonstrate your comfort with the subject. You can conclude your response by referencing a command's importance to the job position.

Example answer: Among the fundamental Git commands are configure, add, diff, commit and init. A configuration creates an account name and email address. The added command inserts files into the staging area of the system. The difference command displays any modifications made to the film. A commit function prohibits the modification of a remote repository. The initialisation is the act of opening a Git storage. I often use these commands, particularly when managing collaboration between teams in different time zones.

Related: 6 Interview Questions On Git (With Sample Answers And Tips)

7. Differentiate between a clone, fork and branch.

In an interview, definitions of technical terms are frequent questions. Replying to these questions concisely demonstrates that you have a comprehensive knowledge of the subject and can effectively communicate. While it is beneficial to practice your responses before the interview, it is preferable to speak naturally in the interview.

Example answer: Git cloning is a method that helps a programmer create a precise copy of an existing folder. Cloning creates a separate repository for the duplicate. Despite their separate locations, the original and the clone remain connected. It allows programmers to track project changes at every step and in any directory. A clone is also useful when sharing data beyond the initial scope. For example, you can create a clone of a Git repository for a client to evaluate without impacting the original.

Fork, clone and branch are all fundamental Git components. Forking is duplicating storage. This method is useful if you wish to experiment with the task without affecting the original. The fork enables collaborators to make suggestions, provide feedback on changes and make project-related notes. Within a repository, branching is an individual project. This shows that a single storage may contain multiple branches, each of which may comprise unique data files or folders.

8. State the difference between resetting and reverting.

Information maintenance is an important aspect of any technology-related role. Interviewers may ask this question to assess your knowledge of the flow of information within Git systems. The revert function applies to public branches, whereas the reset function applies to private branches. Clearly stating your understanding during the interview can demonstrate your dedication to and expertise in information management.

Example answer: One of Git's most significant advantages is that you can easily track the changes made to a shared project. The software has a spirit of collaboration, but information management processes are still important. Resetting is a Git command that reverts any local modifications made to a particular repository. Resets are only effective in the working directory, commit history and staging index. This protection safeguards the project against unexpected resets.

A revert is an additional Git command that generates a new commitment in the system. This reverts any modifications made to an existing commitment. This command adds a recent history while preserving the current history. If you want to define the success of a project, for instance, you can examine its status one month prior. It serves as a reference point and preserves the current project state as an existing history. After studying the documented data, you can revert to the project's current state.

Tips To Prepare For Git Interview Questions

Consider the following tips while preparing for your interview questions about Git:

Know what to prepare

You may already be familiar with the programming language and software required for the role. Research the other tools and components essential for the job. A company may have a specific technology stack for its software development process. Analyse the job description and the organisation's website to understand the potential employer's expectations.

Related: How To Call For A Job Interview With Any Company (Plus Tips)

Create a plan

It is advisable to prepare for an interview systematically. A practical learning plan ensures you complete all necessary topics while remaining motivated. A study plan might begin with a review of Git fundamentals and commands and then other advanced topics, such as reviewing, testing and deploying.

Related: What Is The Importance Of Planning? (With Advantages)

Practice mock interviews

Once you have learnt the Git framework, look for some sample interview questions online. Many of these questions may help determine your comprehension of key concepts and problem-solving abilities. You can then practice these questions with a friend or family member in a mock interview situation. This can help you mentally prepare to approach such questions in the actual interview.

Related: How To Prepare And Practise For A Mock Interview

Prepare questions to ask

During the interview, you also have a chance to ask questions about the position. It is often helpful to prepare with insightful follow-up questions. For asking questions of the hiring manager, you may bring a printed page or a notepad. This can assist you in highlighting your initiative, professionalism and enthusiasm for the position.

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