39 Important SVN Interview Questions (And Sample Answers)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 1 February 2023

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It is common for interviewers to ask questions about industry-related topics in an interview for an IT, software development or programming role. Subversion, known also as SVN, is a tool that helps stakeholders and professionals track changes in code across a variety of platforms and projects. If you are interviewing for a role that uses this technology, it may be beneficial to review common interview questions and answers to prepare effectively. In this article, we list important SVN interview questions and review some sample answers.

Related: 12 Effective Source Control Management Tools (With Features)

General SVN Interview Questions

During an SVN interview, an employer may ask you some general SVN interview questions to gain a better understanding of your personality and work ethic. The following are some general questions you can anticipate:

  1. Describe yourself briefly.

  2. What is your primary motivation for working with this firm?

  3. What is your primary motivation for working in this role?

  4. Explain how you process and incorporate constructive criticism in your work.

  5. In your opinion, what are your prominent strengths and weaknesses?

  6. If your colleagues were to describe you, what would they have to say?

  7. What are your most notable professional achievements? Can you describe each briefly?

  8. When do you wish to start this work engagement?

  9. What do you feel is a reasonable salary figure to start with in this role?

  10. Outside the workplace, what professional activities do you regularly engage in?

  11. Where do you see yourself three months into this job role at this company?

  12. Do you have any queries relating to the company, its work culture or the job role?

Related: How To Introduce Yourself In An Interview

Questions About Experience And Background

An interviewer may ask you some questions about your experience and background to determine if you are qualified for a position that uses SVN. These are some questions about experience and background that you can anticipate:

  1. In terms of storage, what type of data does SVN cater to?

  2. When do you normally use SVN as part of your work?

  3. While working with SVN, what are the specific commands that you use the most?

  4. While working with code repositories, outline the steps involved in switching to a previous version and your rationale for following those particular steps.

  5. Explain how you may verify the contents of a repository in SVN?

  6. What is your first experience working with SVN?

  7. How would you rate the efficiency and effectiveness of SVN as a tool?

  8. How do you plan to improve your competency and expand your knowledge in working with SVN?

  9. Briefly outline the steps involved in deleting items from an SVN repository.

  10. How is an SVN repository different from a GIT repository?

  11. Briefly outline the steps involved in transferring history and code subsets from one repository to another in SVN?

Related: 7 Experience Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

In-Depth Questions

Towards the end of a job interview, an employer may ask you some questions to gauge the extent of your knowledge of SVN. Some common in-depth interview questions include:

  1. Describe the utility and functionality of SVN.

  2. Briefly outline the steps involved in reverting back to a previous version of code in SVN.

  3. What are the different types of elements that an SVN repository can store? Can you list them all?

  4. Briefly explain the steps involved in using a patch in SVN.

  5. How are the commands update and commit different?

  6. Briefly outline the steps involved in transporting the contents of an existing directory to a newly formed repository?

  7. How would you use the function revert in SVN?

  8. How can you use indications from the R and G codes in SVN?

  9. Briefly outline the steps involved in adding a file or dir in SVN.

  10. Briefly outline the steps involved in examining the contents of a repository.

  11. What do the terms tag, branch and trunk mean in the context of SVN?

Related: How To Become A Freelance Programmer: A Complete Guide

SVN Interview Questions With Sample Answers

Here are some SVN interview questions you may encounter, with sample responses and explanations for why employers ask them:

1. What are some best practices for SVN?

An interviewer may ask you this question to evaluate your level of familiarity in working with the tool. Your answer can indicate your preferences in working with SVN and outline the practices you adopt to guide your workflows. To answer this, list a few common best practices and explain how they help you when using SVN.

Example: "Some of the best practices for using SVN are maintaining contact with the SVN Repo, working from your own local workspace, watching for conflicts and validating that files you are committing actually get changed. It is also helpful to always group your check-in logically so that users can easily work on multiple file collections. When the number of projects increases, the complexity of workflows can also increase. Keeping check-ins and file collections organised can speed up work on SVN."

Related: Strength-Based Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

2. Why is there a need to make changes to documents, files or source codes in businesses?

This question looks at your understanding of using SVN to track changes in business documents, files and source codes. In your answer, explain why these changes occur and how they impact these types of records. Also discuss how you can use SVN to make sure you work on the latest version.

Example: "Since decisions and tasks occur frequently in businesses, changes occur frequently in business documents, files and source code. Often, companies make these changes to improve their business and it becomes important for changes to reflect accurately across multiple platforms for them to be effective."

Related: What Is Organisational Change? (Benefits, Types And Reasons)

3. How does the SVN checkout command work?

Employers may ask you this question to assess your knowledge about SVN checkout command. Before your interview, it may be helpful to review several common commands, such as the checkout command, so you can explain what they do. In your answer, tell the employer what this command is and briefly describe its purpose and functionality.

Example: "The SVN checkout command helps users create a folder on a local system so that they can copy all the files to a single location. This is important since it helps users work independently on code. For projects that involve a large number of professionals, it is more efficient for individual users to copy code and work independently. The team can append and compile work after each contributor has completed their assigned snippet of work."

4. What is the purpose of the revert command in SVN?

An interviewer asks this to see if you understand the purpose of various commands in SVN. While answering this question, describe instances where you may use this particular command. Consider sharing real-world examples of a time when you used the revert command.

Example: "The revert command in SVN helps users undo changes they have already made. This is helpful when professionals require access to earlier versions of a project for effective decision making. When multiple professionals work together on a project, this command can be useful for enabling each contributor to view multiple historical versions of a code snippet they may be working on."

Related: What is Coding? A Complete Guide to Coding Languages

5. How do you decide between using SVN or Git?

This question helps interviews evaluate your ability to make effective decisions based on organisational needs. It also shows that you possess a good understanding of both these tools. In your answer, explain how you consider the organisation's specifications to find a solution that best matches their requirements. You can also provide an anecdotal reference of a time when you had to choose between the two.

Example: "While deciding whether to use SVN or Git on a project, I first evaluate the organisation's requirements and specifications. This helps me to consider what features are most important so I can decide between the two. If an organisation wanted a tracker that allowed for synchronisation between team members, I would recommend using SVN. Considering parameters like repository size, it is also a viable option to proceed with Git, if synchronisation is not a priority requirement."

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

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