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5 Computer Programmer Interview Questions and Answers

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Q:

What type of software development process do you follow when you are working on a new software application?

A:

Understanding the phases or stages and order of integration in software development is more important than knowing the name of the particular development methodology. Applicants should be able to discuss the order of development a computer programmer should follow and why each stage is equally important. The applicant should be able to discuss more in depth on at least one of the stages of development to demonstrate their comprehension. Listen for the following:

  • Understanding of "software development cycle"
  • Familiarity with the stages of development cycles
  • Ability to expand on a stage

Example:

"I follow a process of gathering and analyzing requirements. After setting the requirements, I design, develop and test the application. Finally, I will provide support."

Q:

What aspect of software development do you feel is the hardest part for a computer programmer?

A:

This question will offer insight concerning the applicant's strengths and weaknesses and may reveal personality traits. It also can give a good indication of how well the applicant understands some of the problems programmers face in their jobs. Common issues are existing applications that have had many developers over the years coding questions that are not answered in textbooks and legacy applications that may not be officially supported anymore. Listen for the following:

  • How the applicant solves coding problems
  • How the applicant deals with legacy applications
  • Opinions on old versus new applications

Example:

"Programming is often spent working on existing applications that may have had many different developers over the years. Deciphering their original intentions can be difficult."

Q:

How do you keep current with recent software development trends and new coding languages that come into use?

A:

Is the candidate curious about new ideas and software trends? This is a good question to see if the applicant likes to learn new skills and concepts. Some methods of staying informed are to take courses or certifications frequently, subscribe to IT publications and buy updated textbooks. If the applicant is currently involved in personal projects involving software development, this may indicate a curiosity for new ideas and software uses. Listen for the following:

  • Recent courses the applicant has taken
  • Subscriptions and forums the applicant is enrolled in
  • Personal software projects

Example:

"I am a member of several online forums, and I frequently post answers to questions. There are often new ideas being discussed on these forums."

Q:

What is the computer language that you most enjoy using while developing new applications or supporting existing ones?

A:

This a good way to find out how to best utilize the applicant's talents in your organization when you have multiple computer languages in use. Some languages are similar in syntax to other languages while some are more unique and singular. This question can give a better idea of possible future positioning for the applicant. Employees will also be more productive when they are fully engaged in enjoyable tasks. Listen for the following:

  • The applicant's favorite language
  • Whether the applicant has multiple preferred languages
  • Insight on where to place the applicant

Example:

"I enjoy VB.NET. It is an object-oriented language that is easy to understand and is well-supported in environments such as Visual Studio and SQL Server."

Q:

If you were on a development team, what area of development would you prefer to be assigned to?

A:

This is helpful in order to learn about the applicant's preferences while working on an application development project. If your company develops in a team environment, then this is a great way to find out where on the team they would be a good fit. It can also give insight as to whether the applicant has experience working on a team. Listen for the following:

  • Development phases the applicant likes
  • Whether the applicant has worked on a team
  • The applicant's strongest skills as a developer

Example:

"I would like to work with the design aspect of the development process. I like laying out the components and functionality on the front end."

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