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Top Questions For Backend Developer Jobs
Nov 23, 2023

Top Questions For Backend Developer Jobs

Prepare for success with insights into technical challenges, coding assessments, and key skills required.

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Developers, both backend and frontend, are typically grouped together with digital designers by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS reports that companies will add an extra 25,500 of these frontend and backend developer jobs by 2030, 5 percent faster than average. As companies expect to fill thousands of new frontend and backend developer jobs over the upcoming years, there will be many opportunities for a backend developer to interview for a position with an exciting and innovative team. Backend developers should have a portfolio filled with great website projects they have completed. The portfolio should include examples of projects (website or application) with excellent navigability, speed, and functionality.

To get a backend developer job, the candidate needs to be proficient with several tools and skillsets. Below are some typical skills a backend developer must possess:

Server-Side Languages & Frameworks: Ruby, Perl, Python, PHP, Node.JS, Angular

Database Skills: MySQL, Oracle, NoSQL, MongoDB or PostgreSQL

Others: Apache, Nginx, Docker, Kubernetes, Git, OAuth, etc.

Given that there is such a large scope for discussion in an interview, candidates need to prepare for and be ready to answer certain questions with flair and confidence. Below is a list of questions which backend developers should be prepared to answer.

Which programming languages are you familiar with? Which ones are you still learning?

Depending on the candidate’s level of experience, the number and the types of programming languages they know should increase with time in the field. While an ideal candidate does not have to be an expert in every language, they should have experience with at least a few to succeed in the day-to-day work of the role. When interviewers ask this question, they look for indications that the candidate is eager to learn new skills and is actively working on development.

Can you identify limitations within the programming languages you prefer?

This question may start a series of detailed questions meant to extract the technical skills and knowledge required for the role. Here, the best course of action for the candidate is to make sure that whatever they discuss — anything from stack overflow to loose coupling to domain logic — is completely understandable to the person asking the question. The interviewer wants to make sure the candidate is well-trained, and also demonstrates humility and a willingness to listen to others.

Tell me one of your favorite apps and what you like most about it?

Interviewers ask this question to gauge the candidate’s awareness of the industry, as well as their appreciation for the nuances of application development. Applicant's most likely think like a developer when they look at other apps, and their answer can give insight into their values when it comes to functionality. In the answer to this question, interviewers listen for specific development concepts like user experience, load times, and navigation, and candidates should be able to demonstrate inspiration and motivation to constantly improve.

Describe your favorite development project to date and what it was like from start to finish.

Interviewers ask this question to understand the candidate's development process and working style. It provides them insight into the kind of projects the candidate enjoys working on and whether the role will provide the candidate with similar opportunities. A strong answer will detail the candidate’s inspiration and specific examples of why they enjoy that type of work so much.

Tell me about a time when you hit a roadblock during a project. How did you work your way through the challenge?

Every backend developer will encounter a piece of broken code or a bug in their system. These obstacles are inherent to their work. The candidate’s answer helps the interviewer understand how they solve problems. Are they inspired to work until it’s fixed? Did they ask for help? Interviewers here look for enthusiasm for taking on challenges and problem-solving skills, along with a detailed answer involving steps taken and final results.

Tell me about a time when you received negative feedback.

User experience and design can be subjective. Whether shared by a colleague, client, or user, criticism is inevitable in this role, and candidates must be comfortable with that. An ideal candidate will face the situation with professionalism and open mind, looking for opportunities to improve. When asked this question, if the candidate shows signs of annoyance or frustration, this might indicate the candidate doesn’t receive feedback well. Interviewers here look for a strong answer with details of the circumstances, feedback, and approach to find a solution.

What do you think contributes to a successful project?

This question helps the interviewer see whether the candidate prefers to work independently or as part of a team. Both preferences are valid, but here the interviewer wants to make sure that the work environment of the role fits the working style of the candidate. If the candidate prefers to work on their own, the interviewer may ask how they feel about teamwork. Interviewers here look for strong answers that will focus on the need for teamwork and agility, as there are often many developers working on a project.

How do you keep up with the latest technologies and trends?

Web development is a rapidly changing industry. Technology that thrives one year can become obsolete the next. In order to keep up with the changes, backend developers must have a commitment to continuous learning to ensure their skills don’t become outdated. Interviewers look for strong answers which will include current participation in a course to update their skills. Apart from it, mention of favorite tools, designers, thought leaders, blogs etc. in the answer will be considered impressive.

To land with backend developer jobs, it takes more than a strong resume and strong answers to questions, even like the ones above. Be sure to research the company well when planning for the big day. Candidates should know as much as they can about the company, including its online presence, backend structure, goals, and the team.

An interview is also an excellent platform to ask informed questions. Interviews are opportunities for the candidates to determine if they will fit into the company culture and be an asset to the projects they are assigned to. Candidates should make sure that the day-to-day responsibilities and expectations are clear. They can also ask about performance measurements.

When the candidates finish the interview, they should thank the interviewer for their time and consideration, whether or not they end up being the person for the job. Also getting names of each of the interviewers and contact information is always a great idea so that the candidate can follow up later, and answer any lingering questions from the interview, and again, thank them sincerely.

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