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Computer Engineer Interview Questions

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  1. If you had to choose, what are your top two programming languages and what do you like about them? See answer
  2. How comfortable are you with working with code that was initially written by another person? See answer
  3. How frequently do you find yourself coding on a daily and weekly basis? See answer
  4. What is your preferred operating system to use while programming and why? See answer
  5. How do you avoid making mistakes in your code? See answer
  6. What do you think is most important when it comes to double-checking yours or a colleague’s programming work?
  7. Tell me about how you handled a difficult situation with a client. If you had a chance for a redo, what would you do differently?
  8. Give me an example in which you used logic to solve a problem.
  9. Tell me about your strategy for designing scalable applications.
  10. When analyzing code written by a colleague, what do you consider?
  11. Cyber attacks are an ongoing industry threat. What computer security methods would you use to protect our data and products?
  12. Your customer does not have any technical knowledge in computer engineering. How would you describe one of your projects to him?
  13. What are the three main components of the data structure of a database?
  14. Tell me about the main pros and cons of the operating systems you’ve worked with.
  15. Tell me about your experience in working with different types of data structures.
  16. A coworker disagrees with your review of their code. How do you handle it?
  17. Maintaining data security is important to us. Describe your protocols for securing your equipment and data.
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6 Computer Engineer Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

If you had to choose, what are your top two programming languages and what do you like about them?

A:

This question gives you an idea as to the candidate’s likes and dislikes, the type of programmer they are and what quirks they express. It is also a good way to gauge their overall knowledge when it comes to programming by having them choose only two to highlight, giving you an idea as to what they see as an accomplishment based on which languages they choose. What to look for in an answer:

  • Depth of knowledge in the field
  • Versatility in skill-set and learning
  • Articulation in how they explain things and reasoning ability

Example:

“My favorites might be Ruby and JavaScript. Ruby for how quickly it evolves and improves, which provides more learning opportunities, and JavaScript for how forgiving it is.”

Q:

How comfortable are you with working with code that was initially written by another person?

A:

This question gives you an idea as to how much of a team player a candidate may be. In a company setting, programmers will often need to work collaboratively for many reasons. Having someone who can adapt to and work with another’s style of programming is a real plus. Asking for examples of times they did this can also be beneficial. What to look for in an answer:

  • Willingness to work well with others
  • Adaptability and eagerness to learn new things
  • General personality and how agreeable they are

Example:

“I’m used to collaborating with others on different projects. The final for one of my college courses involved working in teams to build an app.”

Q:

How frequently do you find yourself coding on a daily and weekly basis?

A:

Learning the frequency with which a candidate uses their skills can give you an idea as to where they stand within their current employment. It also gives you a look at how dedicated they are to their work as those who aren’t programming frequently are likely not as invested in the field as they could be. This is their chance to talk about various projects they’re currently working on. What to look for in an answer:

  • Passions projects outside of work
  • Dedication to their job and to programming as a whole
  • Positions they’re most comfortable working

Example:

“I code daily for both work and my personal project. My last project for work was to build their website, and for personal use I’m currently designing a video game.”

Q:

What do you think is most important when it comes to double checking yours or a colleague’s programming work?

A:

Correcting mistakes is important as is being able to use problem solving skills to figure out why something is wrong in the first place. Asking what a potential computer engineer sees as most important when it comes to proofing code tells you what values they hold highest. Phrasing the question as checking over someone else’s work also gives further insight into a candidate’s willingness to work with others as equals. What to look for in an answer:

  • Humility and ability to admit mistakes
  • Willingness to work together
  • Attentiveness and ability to use problem solving in practical settings

Example:

“Readability is a necessity when it comes to code, so it’s something I check for a lot. If it’s possible, I’d recommend someone to simplify.”

Q:

What is your preferred operating system to use while programming and why?

A:

This question allows you to learn more about the candidate’s routines and what they’re most comfortable using now. Asking them to justify that decision will give you an idea as to whether they feel comfortable expanding their horizons. Additionally, listening to them talk about their choice of OS can also be a valuable opportunity to see what they value in that OS and their reasoning for why. What to look for in an answer:

  • Level of technological adaptability
  • Whether they mesh with the company standard
  • Reasoning ability and how easily they can explain concepts

Example:

“I prefer Linux when programming as it supports most programming languages and allows you to work with the source code as desired. Plus, it’s free.”

Q:

How do you avoid making mistakes in your code?

A:

Computer engineers should be accurate coders. An employer uses this question to find out if a candidate can add value to the accuracy of company's computer infrastructure and products. An ideal computer engineer candidate has a preventative system that eliminates or reduces coding errors.

A candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • System for reducing coding errors
  • Experience in leveraging technology to avoid mistakes
  • Self-starter personality trait

An example answer to this question can look like this:

Example:

"I use technology that helps me avoid errors, such as object-oriented programming languages. I also make sure my code can function effectively in different error situations by testing it before deployment with testing frameworks like Spring. I avoid repeating mistakes by using a log to document my coding errors and checking it frequently."

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