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What are Common Programming Interview Questions?

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  • Written By: Vanessa Harvey
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Common programming interview questions usually are designed to find out the specific language or languages the interviewee knows, how much experience he or she has programming in those languages, what type of applications he or she has developed in them, whether he or she has ever worked as a member of a team of programmers and, if so, what his or her role was on the team. If the languages support object oriented programming (OOP), the interviewer might ask whether the interviewee is proficient with object oriented programming. Other programming interview questions an applicant can expect might concern the model-view-controller (MVC) pattern and frameworks.

Programming interview questions can vary, depending on the specific programming language or languages of which the potential employer requires knowledge, the type of applications that will need to be developed and the type of business operations of the company. Many programming jobs in small companies or organizations call for the development of applications for internal use only, but others require the coding of programs to be used by clients. Programmers who engineer software to meet the business needs of the company's clients tend to work under more pressure than those who code applications to be used strictly by other employees, so they might be asked about how well they work under stress and how well they can meet deadlines.

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It is not unusual for programming interview questions to lead to a potential employer requesting to view the code of an actual application written by the applicant. The interviewer might even desire to see a demonstration of the software, which is almost always possible with the widespread use of laptop personal computers. Applications indicating that an applicant is a self-taught programmer will probably prompt programming interview questions about how the knowledge was acquired, over what period of time and whether there are any users of software written by the applicant who can vouch for its usefulness. Applicants who are not proficient with object oriented programming but who are competent in procedural coding might be asked whether they have at least some familiarity with the concepts of OOP or whether they would consider themselves a fast learner.

Most programming interview questions relating to the use of frameworks will almost always go into depth on the specific framework of choice used in the company. Although it is somewhat rare, programming interview questions for a C or C++ developer might include questions about his or her skill to write programs for certain operating systems because a good number of C and C++ developers code software strictly for one particular operating system. Applicants for a web programmer position should be ready to answer questions that those who apply for software developer positions might not be asked, such as questions about following web standards.

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