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5 minute read

Want to Be a Software Engineer? Wow Your Interviewers With These Skillsets

Building a career as a software engineer is incredibly rewarding. Find out how to relay the quality of your skills when you next attend a job interview to stand out from the competition.

Working as a software engineer delivers fantastic benefits, thanks to the industry’s career prospects, relatively high salaries, remote working possibilities and solid work-life balance. So, if you’ve received an interview invitation for a new job, getting the hiring manager to fully understand what makes your skillset special is essential to your success.

By reflecting on your talents and professional experiences, you can communicate what makes you suited to the company’s work environment, while highlighting how you’ll contribute to their long-term vision. Reflect on the responsibilities of a software engineer and explore how to share your talent during the interview process.

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1. Application of programming languages

You can’t perform as a software developer without being fluent in numerous programming languages. Although the ones that matter most will depend on the specific role, most software engineering jobs require a detailed understanding of JavaScript, HTML/CSS, Python, and SQL. This ensures you can produce and review code for computer programs and systems.

In an interview, you’ll be asked about your knowledge of programming languages. Discuss those most familiar and explain how you used these to deliver a successful project. You should also highlight any other languages you’re well-versed in or learning to show you’re staying on top of the latest industry trends.

2. Assessing data structure and building algorithms

Software engineers must have in-depth knowledge of data structures to produce efficient code. With several data structures to master, you’ll need to know how each of these applies to specific programming languages and what changes influence performance. Meanwhile, how you use algorithms to improve productivity is vital.

When discussing data structure and algorithm skills, a hiring manager will probe the depths of your knowledge to discover whether your talents are suitable for the company’s goals.

With these technical skills crucial to your performance as a software engineer, you may consider providing examples of how you have used data structures and algorithms to solve a specific problem. This could be a school project or an assignment tasked during prior internships or jobs.

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3. Testing and debugging

Across each stage of software development, rigorous testing and debugging are required to identify technical problems that could develop into larger issues if unaddressed. While automation now plays a helpful role in pinpointing concerns, software engineers must oversee this process and figure out how to resolve glitches in their products.

Hiring managers will look to understand how you approach this task. With numerous methodologies to consider, discuss your process and back it up with logical reasoning. Plus, highlight the tools you use to test and debug while revealing what challenging issues you have resolved in the past.

4. Communicating with stakeholders

Software engineers need to communicate effectively with a range of stakeholders. With complicated projects involving scores of people from various professional backgrounds, high-quality communication is needed to share information with less tech-savvy colleagues. Meanwhile, active listening is required to ensure your product achieves specific business goals.

You must convey a highly communicative and collaborative mindset in a job interview. As the hiring manager will ask about how you work with others, express how much you appreciate the importance of communication with technical and non-technical staff. An anecdote that captures how you work in a team will help display your talents in this area.

5. Ongoing learning

The role of a software engineer is constantly evolving. With new programming languages to master and techniques to learn, a dedicated approach to professional education ensures you remain aware of the latest innovations. Through online courses, in-house training and competitor analysis, you can progressively improve your skills.

Interviewers hiring for software engineer jobs want to know if you have a committed approach to learning. They’ll likely query your knowledge of industry trends to scope out your interests, so research what’s making waves with software developers. Plus, outline what steps you have taken, and will continue to take, to elevate your expertise and keep pace with the best in the sector.

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6. Problem-solving

To reach the pinnacle of the software engineering industry, you need to have excellent problem-solving skills. With countless obstacles emerging throughout the development process, having a refined approach to these problems that helps your team overcome them quickly and effectively is highly valuable.

Always highlight your problem-solving skills during a software engineer job interview. For example, you might delve into a clever solution you developed to fix a troubling bug. You can also consider a different perspective by sharing situations where your soft skills helped to mitigate communication issues.

To further enhance your chances of standing out during the interview and at getting hired, we’ve provided a guide on how to answer the “why should we hire you” interview question, and red flags employers look for in candidates.

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