Computer Science Interview Questions You’ll Encounter in 2021
If you want to become a web designer or a computer science specialist, you’ll have to go through several challenges. The first stop is the classroom. The next one is the job interview room. We know your coding bootcamp or college studies were a challenge, so we’re ready to see you through the next big hurdle. Read on and familiarize yourself with the computer science interview questions you’ll likely encounter in your job hunt.
An Overview of the Computer Science Job Market
The field remains strong, with the computer science job market expected to grow by 15 percent in the next decade. The figure, which is faster than the average growth rate across the job board, isn’t surprising. Over the years, we’ve seen more and more companies transitioning to the cloud. This has led to surging demand for candidates that demonstrate proficiency in all things computer science.
The compensation matches the demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that computer scientists earned a median pay of $122,840 in 2019. This is several times higher than the average personal income of $35,977 recorded in the same year.
These numbers convey a clear message: the computer science field is rife with sustainable and lucrative opportunities. There’s just one catch. You’d have to make it through the hiring manager to get these rewards. Preparing for the right sort of computer science interview questions increases your chances of blowing the competition out of the water.
Let’s get started.
Technical Computer Science Interview Questions
In every job interview, hiring managers are likely to ask you different types of questions. These can usually be categorized into two: technical and behavioral questions. In this section, we’ll look into the former.
Technical questions test your knowledge of the field and highlight the skills and abilities that you have to offer. These questions are a good way for hiring managers to weed out applicants who don’t know the fundamentals of computer science.
Explain Multiple Inheritance
One of the more common knowledge questions you might encounter deals with multiple inheritance. More specifically, what is it? The long and short answer is that multiple inheritance deals with classes. With multiple inheritance, subclasses aren’t necessarily derived from a single superclass.
That’s both a good thing and a bad thing as it allows classes to inherit multiple base functionalities. On the other hand, when you have two identically named methods from different base classes, the situation can get a bit muddled.
What are Classes, Superclasses, and Subclasses?
You probably thought that coding was hard to learn when you were just starting. But as time went on, you might have started breaking down your learning tasks into simpler ones. Doing so has perhaps made the learning process more manageable and even enjoyable.
Keep that example in mind when you get an interview question asking you to explain classes in Java. It’s a question you’re very likely to see and is a great way to separate the wheat from the chaff.
The concept of classes isn’t limited to Java. However, because the language is so popular, you’ll run across the concept mostly in that context. Think of classes and subclasses as a tree structure. At the top of the tree is a single class, otherwise known as the object class.
Below this class are the subclasses, all of which inherit the object class’ behavior and state. This hierarchy makes the object class superclass over all the subclasses. Likewise, subclasses that are higher on the hierarchy have a superclass over their subclasses.
Is There a Difference Between C++ and C?
Even folks with a casual interest in programming have heard of the C family of software development languages. C and its various iterations have a long history in programming that dates back to the early 1970s. This makes it a good subject for knowledge questions. Expect to be asked about how C++ and C—two of the more well-known flavors—differ from each other.
There are plenty of answers you can give to this question. To begin with, both C+ and C feature similar grammar, syntax, and code structure. They also have the same general approach toward heap, stack, static variables, and file scope.
The two differ in their programming orientation. C is a language used in structured programming whereas C++ is an object-oriented programming language. This makes C++ the more popular choice given that code written in any object-oriented programming language is easier to maintain, read, and secure.
What is Your Favorite Programming Language and Why?
Your approach in managing the software development lifecycle can determine how you’ll fit into your prospective company. Expect to get questions about your technical preferences, including which programming languages you prefer.
Preferred development code questions get to the heart of the matter since organizations work with different languages. If you’re interested in landing a computer science role at a particular company, find out what programming languages the company uses. Is their choice of language similar to yours? If not, can you adapt to it quickly?
You might wind up being a great fit for the company. But if you and the team don’t see eye-to-eye on favorite languages, consider looking elsewhere.
Other Common Technical Computer Science Interview Questions
- What is a constructor?
- Compare and contrast default constructors and conversion constructors
- What is polymorphism?
- What is an interface?
- What are the main components of a computer system?
- Define an operating system and identify the most commonly used ones today
Behavioral Computer Science Interview Questions
Personality and “cultural fit” are more important than you think when sitting for a job interview. You might have an impeccable resume and show yourself to be technically qualified. None of that will do you much good, however, if you don’t mesh well with your team.
Note that because these questions assess your professional traits, you’ll likely be asked about situations you’ve experienced in previous roles and workplaces. Below are some behavioral questions that you’ll likely get asked during your job interview.
- What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
- How do you keep your computer science skills current?
- How would your colleagues describe you?
- Tell me about a time when you were tasked to handle multiple projects within a tight deadline. How did you handle your time and your tasks?
- What, for you, is the best way to handle differences in opinion within your team?
- Pretend that I have no background in computer science. How would you describe [a particular computer science concept] to me?
- Why do you want to work for us?
Questions to Ask Your Interviewer
Before concluding a job interview, employers usually ask if you have any questions for them. The smartest response to this is to say yes. A job interview is not just designed for your employer to determine whether you’re a good fit for the company. It’s also there for you to assess whether the company is the right fit for you. Asking questions is thus recommended, if not necessary. Doing so also shows a prospective employer that you’re well-prepared for the interview and highly interested in the position.
- Below are some of the questions you can ask at an interview.
- Can you tell me about the dynamics of the team I’ll be joining?
- What are the biggest challenges that the team is currently facing?
- What are your expectations for the role that I’m being considered for?
- What are the role’s KPIs and performance metrics?
- Is there room for growth in the company?
- Do you have any feedback for me?
Find Your Fit
And that’s the whole deal, job hunters. Computer science jobs pop up all the time, offering top salaries and enjoyable work. Our guide gets you familiar with some of the questions most candidates encounter in computer science interviews.
Do you have any questions or thoughts about interviews for CS jobs? Let us know in the comments section below.