If you’ve recently finished a tech certification or coding bootcamp, you’re likely getting ready to sift through online job boards and begin the lengthy but thrilling process of Software Engineering interviews. Congrats on leveling up — we’re happy dancing right alongside you!
Due to the technical nature of the job, interviews in this field are different from those in most other industries. Hiring managers need to see your skills in action so you’re likely to spend much of the process being tested.
If you’re new to the industry, here’s what you need to know to ace your next Software Engineering interview.
Know Your Code
According to Tremayne Stewart, a Software Engineer at Google, it’s most important to focus on knowing your code as you go into an interview. This means practicing in your spare time and writing code both on and offline (yes, with basic pen and paper too).
This doesn’t mean you should throw out your soft skills though.
You’re still likely to encounter questions about your life and professional background like the oft-dreaded “Tell me about yourself.” Come prepared to answer that question and to showcase your rockstar-level technical and people skills. But, keep your main focus on studying up on the ins and outs of Software Engineering and perfecting the languages and programs required for the role. The job description is your best friend here. Don’t skim through it!
Find Out the Interview Style
Software Engineering interviews often take two forms: domain-specific interviews or computer science fundamentals interviews.
Domain-specific interviews test your knowledge of specific software and usually focus on projects you’ve already worked on. You’ll most likely be given a take-home test or be asked to find and fix bugs in an existing project. Take-home tests are not for the faint of heart so be prepared to give it your all. We’re pretty confident you’ll crush it!
Computer science fundamentals interviews are all about problem-solving. You’ll be asked to solve very specific questions to test your knowledge of different algorithms and data structures. These tests require heavy preparation, so consider practicing on a site like Pramp, where you can get paired with an engineer who will help you perfect your interviewing skills. Or, check out Tech Interview Pro’s coding interview training.
Connect with Your Recruiter
Like with any interview, you’ll want to check in with the hiring manager or recruiter early on to learn how many interviews you’ll have, who you’ll be speaking to, and generally what’s expected of you during the process. The Software Engineer interviewing process can be lengthy so you’ll want to get a full picture of what you’re stepping into, especially if you’re speaking with more than one company at a time. Your recruiter is also your go-to for learning about the company’s culture, which can make or break your decision to take the job, should you get an offer.
Want even more interviewing tips? Read up on questions you should ask in your next tech job interview to go above and beyond, or check out this list of 93 software engineering interview questions from Pathrise.