How to Ask & Interpret 20 Most Common Programming Interview Questions

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Computer programming is a promising career. If you studied this subject area at a university or are contemplating entering the computer science field, understanding common programming interview questions can position you at an advantage.

1. What is Computer Programming?

This question may seem obvious, but chances are you will need an answer for this at some point. Computer programming is basically a method of instructing computers on what steps to take next to execute a particular set of functions. The overall purpose of computer programming is to develop a concrete and usable product, whether it be a software, webpage or internal system.

2. Why is Program Documentation Important?

Program documentation includes describing algorithms, coding strategies, designing, testing and proper use of a particular program in written form. This process is important for sharing data with other developers.

3. What are Some Common Computer Program Execution Errors?

Some common computer program execution errors include:

  • Logical errors - An error within a program that causes it to run incorrectly. 
  • Runtime errors – This error occurs when a program is executed.
  • Syntax errors – These are mistakes in a source code due to factors including misspelling and mislabeling. 

4. What is an Algorithm?

An algorithm is a set of instructions and standards that tells computer show to complete tasks. Algorithms function by applying specific steps to input information to deliver an output. Algorithms are used in various programs, such as search engines, and are crucial in designing automation.

5. What Does Maintaining a Computer Program Entail?

Maintaining a computer program includes repairing errors, eliminating useless components and optimization. This process is ongoing and requires experienced programming and development professionals to ensure bugs are fixed, systems are updated and programs are secured.

6. What are Constants?

Constants are data values that remain the same whenever a computer program is initiated. Examples are literal constants, those embedded in the source code, and name constants, simplified titles for literal constants.

7. What are Operators?

Operators are symbols leveraged to implement mathematical or logical alterations. Operator variations include arithmetic, relational, bitwise, logical, assignment, increment and miscellaneous.

8. What is Software Testing and Why is it Necessary?

Software testing entails identifying errors in a developed program and ensuring a product meets its stated function. This step is vital for ensuring a program is compatible with a wide array of devices, such as mobile phones and tablets. Testing improves product quality and makes programs more secure.

9. What is a ‘Beta’ Software Version?

A beta software version is a pre-release of a program distributed to a large group of users. This step acts as a realistic test that can help inform further changes needed to optimize a program. As programmers are generally very close to their projects throughout development, it’s vital to receive and implement feedback from real users.

10. What is Program Implementation?

Program implementation encompasses all steps need to take a program from development to production. This process includes a vast spectrum of project management tasks, including:

  • Funding – Program creation generally requires financing. Program implementation includes identifying and approaching sponsors for software development.
  • Project Scope – When implementing a program, company leaders need a clear idea of a program’s desired function and purpose.
  • Milestone Creation – This step entails detailing every task required to bring the program from conception to development to market. 

11. What are Some Coding Golden Rules?

When coding, it’s vital to implement a set of guidelines to ensure success. Some golden rules include: code with others in mind, consider the resulting processing power needed to support your code, start with structure, make sure to use consistent naming, check each code snippet for errors, and use reusable functions.

12. What is a Data Structure?

Data structures are systems specifically meant to organize data and perform functions with ease. Some data structures include arrays, linked lists and stacks.

13. What is a Binary Search and How is it Used?

A binary search is an advanced algorithm that locates a specific value in an array. The guiding principle of a binary search is to divide a data list in half until a requested value is identified and displayed to the end user. Other terms for binary search are ‘half-interval search’ and ‘logarithmic search’.

14. What are LIFO and FIFO?

FIFO stands for “first in first out”. This concept is often integrated in programming, indicating the first element is processed and followed by newer elements. LIFO stands for “last in first out”, meaning the last element is processed first followed by the first element.

15. What is Data Abstraction?

Data abstraction is the process of reducing a body of information to its essential characteristics. This process is also referred to as ‘modeling’ and simplifies program development. As databases are complex structures, only choosing to reveal data corresponding to particular user audiences is essential to the functionality of a program.

16. What is Sorting? What are Some Sorting Methods?

Sorting is the process of organizing data in a decreasing or increasing order according to specific relationship elements between information types. Some examples of sorting include:

  • Insertion Sort – Values are gradually inserted into an existing list.
  • Merge Sort – Partitions of elements are created and merged to prioritize each partition’s components.
  • Quick Sort – This sorting type positions a pivot element and organizes lesser elements to the left and greater elements to the right.
  • Radix Sort – This method sorts data by number place values.
  • Heap Sort – A process that relies on sorting data into a sequence. 

17.   What is an AVL Tree?

An Adelson-Velsky and Landis (AVL) tree is a binary chart that self-balances by maintaining a balance factor on every node. This was the first invented data structure.

18. What was the First Programming Language You Learned?

Be honest with the interviewer. What programming language did you start out on? Was it JavaScript? Python? One of the purposes of this question is to gauge your understanding of programming languages. No matter what you started with, make sure to brush up on the specifics of the language you plan to discuss.

19.   Which Programming Project Did You Enjoy the Most?

While preparing for your programming interview, think carefully about your past accomplishments. What programming project urged you to improve your skills? Which one was the most enjoyable? Potential employers want to hear about specific endeavors at which you excelled.

20.   What Would Your Skills and Experiences Contribute to the Team?

This question is asked in almost every job interview. Before your meeting, list both programming-related and overall skills you have developed from past projects, positions and educational experiences. Identify the three most vital talents you believe the hiring company would desire. Think about why you are best suited to perform the role you’re applying for and why your abilities make you the best candidate. 

Get Your Dream Programming Job

The above are just some key questions you will be asked during a programming job interview. It’s best to also compile your programming portfolio, vet your resume with trusted friends and family, and continue applying your skills to relevant programming pursuits.

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