Full Stack Developer Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 26, 2022 | Published November 12, 2020

Updated July 26, 2022

Published November 12, 2020

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.

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Since full-stack development involves working with both the back and front ends of an application, these professionals must have a strong background in computer programming, software development and database management. If you're getting ready to interview for a full stack developer role, it's important to showcase these unique skills during your interview.

This is why it's important to prepare in advance by practicing how you will answer different interview questions. In this article, we'll cover full stack developer interview questions, including common, in-depth and technical questions with sample answers to give you an idea of what to expect during your interview.

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General questions

At the beginning of your interview, the interviewer is likely going to ask you some basic questions to get the conversation going. Here are several types of questions you might expect:

  • Tell me a little bit about yourself.

  • What do you know about this company?

  • What interests you about working as a developer here?

  • What are your strongest programming and development skills?

  • How will these skills be an asset to this company?

  • What is one of your weaker skills that you have made improvements to recently?

  • How do you set goals when working on complex projects?

  • How would your past colleagues describe you?

  • How would your last employer describe you?

  • What do you plan to accomplish during your first three months on the job?

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Questions about background and experience as a full-stack developer

The interviewer will want to know that you have a deep knowledge and understanding of what you'll be required to do on the job. Questions about your background and experience will give you the opportunity to showcase your contributions in past roles, your past achievements and how your skills will be an asset to the company you're interviewing for. Here are some examples:

  • How long have you worked as a full stack developer?

  • Do you have any technical certifications?

  • What programming language is your favorite to work with and why?

  • Can you describe some of the web applications you've developed in past projects?

  • How do you feel about directing a development team?

  • Do you have management experience?

  • Have you ever completed projects using paired programming?

  • Describe a challenge you faced when working on a development project. How did you overcome it?

  • What is one contribution you've made in your past role that had a lasting impact on the organization?

  • Have you ever disagreed with a teammate? How did you handle it?

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In-depth questions about full-stack development

In-depth questions may include situational questions that are more technical in nature. Your answers will give the interviewer insight into how you initiate development projects, apply strategies and techniques to complex tasks and essentially how you perform specific technical aspects of the job. The following examples can give you an idea of what to expect:

  • What kinds of resources and programming languages do you need to start a development project from scratch?

  • What kinds of approaches do you use when initiating debugging?

  • Describe continuous integration.

  • How would you implement multi-threading into an application?

  • How can you reduce the load time for a web application?

  • What is long polling and why would it be beneficial to use?

  • What path or method would you use for writing an endpoint for verifying a resource's existence?

  • What's the biggest difference between GraphQL and REST?

  • Describe inversion of control in relation to the decoupling of layers and components within a system.

  • Describe your experience with creating a workflow in Gitflow.

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Full stack developer interview questions and example answers

Use the following full-stack development interview questions and answers to help you prepare your responses before your interview:

What are some of the challenges of working in full-stack development?

Full-stack developers take on both front- and back-end programming tasks, and the interviewer understands that these functions can be challenging. Demonstrate your ability to take on challenges on the job and give examples of how you've solved problems you've faced in the past.

Example: "Because full-stack development requires a diverse range of programming, coding and data analysis skills, it can be challenging to delve deeper into specific aspects of the field. I typically have to rely on my IT team's unique specialties in addition to my oversight and programming integration to develop applications with quick turnarounds."

What have been your past responsibilities as a full stack developer?

This question will give the interviewer an idea of the types of tasks you performed in your past role. Highlight your strongest skills that match the job requirements so the interviewer can see your qualifications.

Example: “In my past role, I was responsible for many of the key coding tasks and overall project management. For instance, I wrote quite a bit of back-end code in Python, Java, Ruby and PHP and optimized front-end code in JavaScript and HTML. Another key job I was responsible for was creating the test code so I could test applications, and I would monitor and ensure application performance. Troubleshooting was another large part of my job, and I would also meet with clients.”

How do you stay updated on current trends in the tech industry?

Technology is always changing and upgrading, and the interviewer will want to ensure you are willing to continue to learn about new innovations, technological applications and evolving trends in the industry. Demonstrate your ability to learn new skills, take on challenges and advance your knowledge of your field.

Example: “I love to attend networking events and tech seminars that introduce new products and extensions. I usually take time at least twice per year to attend these types of events, where I've learned about the latest improvements to JavaScript among others. I also regularly read blogs and tech magazines for emerging trends, and I love technology podcasts for developers because they provide opportunities to learn new applications in programming.”

What are several factors that you consider when coding in regards to SEO?

As the interviewer gets into more technical topics, they'll likely want to know how you perform specific tasks in the programming and development process. Highlight your attention to detail and critical thinking skills by describing how you approached similar tasks in your past role.

Example: “I always implement several key standards throughout my code, including specification of an alt tag on any images, accurate HTML tags for all content hierarchy, XML sitemap routing, enabled SSL and Google analytics integration. These factors are essential in ensuring proper optimization for a website's organic rankings in search engines.”

What approaches do you use for website optimization to ensure maximum scalability and efficiency?

The interviewer will want to know how you apply your problem-solving and critical thinking skills to ensure optimum performance of the applications you develop. Use examples from your past experience to describe your process for optimizing and monitoring a website's performance.

Example: “There are many different approaches to optimizing a website for maximum scalability. Several approaches I immediately take for this process include placing all of the assets in separate, cookie-free domains using a CDN, avoiding inline JavaScript and CSS, enabling gzipping and reducing the number of HTTP requests to load only necessary external resources.”

What are some use cases for Docker?

The interviewer may ask this question as a way to gauge your experience with this particular platform as a service product (PSP). If you have previous experience with this application, describe it in your answer. You can also explain what you know to be popular advantages of Docker if you have experience using another container tool.

Example: “In my last job, I found Docker to be highly advantageous with building test boxes and facilitating testing for continuous integration. I've also used Docker to encapsulate legacy applications, which allows developers to deploy them to any servers that require older packages or software versions to set up.”

What do you feel are some benefits to using CommonJS?

This is another operational question that the interviewer may ask you to learn how you use CommonJS in programming tasks and the benefits you experienced when using it. In your answer, describe any experience you have with the application or what you've learned about it in the past.

Example: “Since CommonJS is a server-side design, I find it beneficial for writing import statements and modules and switching between server-side and client-side development with JavaScript. CommonJS also affords ease of use through its syntax, which is closer to the Node style of writing import statements and modules.”

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What is CORS and how can it be advantageous?

Technical interview questions like this one can give the interviewer an idea of your experience level with specific applications and resources. Describe what you know about the application and how you applied similar tools in your past experience.

Example: “CORS is short for cross-origin resource sharing, which is the process I use to access web resources across different domains. CORS is advantageous when integrating web scripts, as I can do this more openly with the original domain's external content. This results in a smooth integration between two or more web services.”

What do you do to prevent bots from scraping publicly accessible APIs?

Since full-stack developers are responsible for much of the functionality of a company's web application products, the interviewer will want to know how you apply risk management to technical projects. Use examples from your past experience developing websites and applications to answer this type of question.

Example: “Technically, if the data within the API is publicly accessible, then it's not possible to prevent data scraping completely. However, there's an effective solution to this problem that usually deters most bots, and this is rate-limiting or throttling. This prevents certain devices from making too many requests within a time period, which I set as defined parameters. Once a user exceeds the defined number of requests that I set, the system throws a '429 too many attempts HTTP' error message.”

What is “use strict” and what are some of its advantages?

Another technically applicable question, this one can give the interviewer insight into your ability to use different tools in your development projects. Showcase your adaptability to work with different development tools and how these are advantageous for achieving your work objectives.

Example: “In my experience, 'use strict' is the statement that enables strict modes to entire scripts or even to individual functions, which provides a way to opt into restricted variants of JavaScript. Two key advantages I've found from using 'use strict' in code is that it makes it impossible to create global variables by accident and requires unique function parameter labels.”

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