Top Software Engineer Interview Questions with Example Answers [2022]

Prepare for your Software Engineer interview by going through these most asked Software Engineer interview questions. Additionally, get access to sample answers and interviewer's expectations.

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  • Question: What is the difference between Code-First and Database-First method?
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to see how well a candidate understands the difference between Code-First and Database-First method.

    Sample Answer: Code-First is a development approach in which you write your code first and then create your database. Database-First is a development approach in which you create your database first and then write your code.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Understanding of Code-First and Database-First
    • - Knowledge of database

  • Question: What is a linked list?
  • Question Overview: This is a basic computer science question that tests a candidate's knowledge of data structures and algorithms.

    Sample Answer: A linked list is a data structure that contains a series of nodes. Each node contains a value and a pointer to the next node in the list. The last node in the list contains a pointer to null, which is used to indicate the end of the list.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Data structure knowledge
    • - Algorithms knowledge
    • - Computer science knowled

  • Question: What is your experience with Java?
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to test the candidate's knowledge of Java and their ability to articulate their experience with the language.

    Sample Answer: I've been working with Java for the last five years. I've worked on a number of different projects using Java, from web applications to desktop applications. I've also worked on a few Android apps using Java.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Java knowledge
    • - Java experience
    • - Java fit

  • Question: Implement a stack from scratch and include a min() function that performs at O(1) time.
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to test a candidate's knowledge of data structures and their ability to implement them.

    Sample Answer: I would create a class called Stack that would have two private variables: a pointer to the top of the stack and an integer that represents the number of items in the stack. The constructor would take two parameters: the number of items in the stack and the pointer to the top of the stack. The push() method would take a single parameter, which is the item to be added to the stack. The pop() method would take no parameters and return an item from the stack. The min() function would take no parameters and return an integer representing the minimum value in the stack.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Coding ability
    • - Data structure knowledge
    • - Problem-solving abilit

  • Question: How will you find the first pair of numbers that sums to a given target value?
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to test the candidate's problem-solving skills and their ability to think outside the box.

    Sample Answer: I would first try to find the highest value that the first number could be. Then I would try to find the lowest value that the second number could be. Then I would try to find a range of values for both numbers that would sum to the target value.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Problem-solving skills
    • - Ability to think outside the box
    • - Creativity

  • Question: What are your hobbies?
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to see how well a candidate can communicate outside of their professional life. It also gives you insight into what they do for fun and how they spend their free time.

    Sample Answer: I like to go running in the mornings, and I'm a big fan of the New York Yankees. I also like to read books on history and politics, and I'm a member of the local library.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Hobbies
    • - Communication skills
    • - Personality

  • Question: How would you reverse a string?
  • Question Overview: This is a basic coding question that tests the candidate's knowledge of the most common string functions.

    Sample Answer: I would use a for loop to iterate through each character in the string and use a switch statement to check if the character is a letter or not. If it is a letter, I would add it to the end of the reversed string, and if it isn't, I would add a space to the end of the reversed string.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Coding knowledge
    • - Coding ability
    • - Problem-solving skills

  • Question: How would you design a LRU cache?
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to see how well a candidate can think through a problem, and how they would implement a solution.

    Sample Answer: A least recently used cache is a cache that stores the least recently used items in memory. This is useful for applications that have a lot of traffic and need to keep the most frequently accessed items in memory. The first step in designing a LRU cache is to determine what data structure you will use to store the items. I would use a hash table with a size of 2^n, where n is the number of items in the cache. The next step is to determine how you will determine if an item is least recently used. I would use a timestamp on each item in the cache, and then use that timestamp to determine if an item was least recently used.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Coding ability
    • - Problem-solving skills
    • - Problem-solving abilit

  • Question: How would you solve a problem on where to place new AmazonGo stores based on a map of current Amazon locations?
  • Question Overview: This question tests a candidate's ability to think through a problem and come up with a solution.

    Sample Answer: I would start by drawing a map of the current Amazon locations. Then I would look at the map and try to find patterns in where they are located. I would then try to find a pattern in the new proposed locations and see if there is a way to optimize the placement of new stores.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Problem-solving skills
    • - Ability to think through a problem
    • - Creativity

  • Question: How would you design a card game?
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to test a candidate's creativity and problem-solving skills.

    Sample Answer: I would start by brainstorming a list of all the different card games I know and the rules that go along with them. I would then try to think of ways to combine the rules of different games into one game. I would also need to think about how many players the game should support and what kind of game pieces would be needed.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Creativity
    • - Problem-solving skills
    • - Ability to work in a team

  • Question: How will you print Pyramid?
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to test a candidate's problem-solving skills and how well they can think on their feet.

    Sample Answer: I would start by writing a function that would take a number and return the number multiplied by 10. Then I would write another function that would take a number and return the number multiplied by 100. Then I would write another function that would take a number and return the number multiplied by 1000. Then I would write another function that would take a number and return the number multiplied by 10000. Then I would write another function that would take a number and return the number multiplied by 100000. Then I would write another function that would take a number and return the number multiplied by 1000000. Then I would write another function that would take a number and return the number multiplied by 10000000. Then I would write another function that would take a number and return the number multiplied by 100000000. Then I would write another function that would take a number and return the number multiplied by 1000000000. Then I would write another function that would take a number and return the number multiplied by 10000000000. Then I would write another function that would take a number and return the number multiplied by 100000000000. Then I would write another function that would take a number and return the number multiplied by 1000000000000. Then I would write another function that would take a number and return the number multiplied by 10000000000000. Then I would write another function that would take a number and return the number multiplied by 100000000000000. Then I would write another function that would take a number and return the number multiplied by 1000000000000000. Then

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Problem-solving skills
    • - Ability to think on their feet
    • - Creativity

  • Question: What projects have you worked on?
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to see what projects the candidate has worked on and how they've contributed to the project.

    Sample Answer: I've worked on a number of projects in my career, including building a web-based email client, an online shopping cart, and a web-based accounting system. I've also worked on smaller projects like creating a website for a local business and creating an internal tool to help manage our company's finances.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Applicant's work history
    • - Applicant's fit for your company
    • - Level of proficienc

  • Question: What is the difference between a reference and a pointer?
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to test a candidate's knowledge of C and C++.

    Sample Answer: A reference is an alias for another variable. It is not a copy of the variable, so any changes made to the reference will affect the original variable. A pointer is a memory address that stores the memory address of another variable. It is a copy of the variable, so any changes made to the pointer will not affect the original variable.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - C and C++ knowledge
    • - Technical knowledge
    • - Understanding of basic programm

  • Question: How will you find the kth most frequent word in a string?
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to test an applicant's knowledge of data structures and algorithms.

    Sample Answer: I would use a binary search tree or a hash table to find the kth most frequent word in a string. I would use a binary search tree because it is more efficient than a hash table.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Algorithms knowledge
    • - Data structure knowledge
    • - Problem-solving abilit

  • Question: What is the difference between pass-by-value and pass-by-reference?
  • Question Overview: This question tests a candidate's knowledge of basic programming concepts.

    Sample Answer: Pass-by-value means that a variable is copied into the function and any changes made to the variable in the function do not affect the original variable. Pass-by-reference means that a variable is not copied into the function and any changes made to the variable in the function do affect the original variable.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Coding knowledge
    • - Programming knowledge
    • - Coding ability

  • Question: What is the concept of polymorphism?
  • Question Overview: Polymorphism is a fundamental concept in object-oriented programming. It's important for a candidate to understand this concept and be able to explain it in their own words.

    Sample Answer: Polymorphism is the ability to use the same method name on different types of objects and have the method behave differently depending on the type of object it is being called on. For example, if you have a method called "print", you can call that method on an integer object and it will print out the value of that integer. You can also call that method on a string object and it will print out the value of that string.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Knowledge of object-oriented programming
    • - Knowledge of polymorphism
    • - Applicants ability to explain

  • Question: How will you apply the skills learned in your student leadership position to this job?
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to see how well the candidate can apply their skills from their previous job to the job they're applying for.

    Sample Answer: I've learned a lot about how to lead a team and motivate them to work together. I've learned how to delegate tasks and manage my time effectively. I've learned how to motivate people and keep them focused on the goals of the project. I've learned how to work well with people from different backgrounds and personalities. All of these skills will be very useful in this job.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Ability to apply previous experience
    • - Ability to learn new skills
    • - Ability to work in a team

  • Question: Design an elevator system.
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to test a candidate's ability to think on their feet and come up with a solution to a problem.

    Sample Answer: The elevator system I designed would be a simple system that would require the user to input their floor number and then the elevator would take them to that floor. The elevator would have a maximum capacity of 10 people and would be able to hold them in place while the elevator is moving. The elevator would also have a maximum speed of 10 meters per second.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Problem-solving skills
    • - Ability to think on their feet
    • - Creativity

  • Question: What classes would you create for a generic card game?
  • Question Overview: This question is designed to see how well a candidate can think on their feet and come up with a solution to a problem.

    Sample Answer: I would create a class for each card in the deck, and then a Deck class that would hold all the cards. I would also create a Card class that would hold the values of the cards and have methods for dealing them out.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Problem-solving skills
    • - Creativity
    • - Ability to think on their feet