Interview survival tips for every developer

Be wary of talking about a skill that you haven’t used in more than a year (

Developers are a breed apart, and as such the interview questions they can expect are not the same as everyone else's. Here are our top interview tips for developers.

Interviews are daunting for almost everyone. They’re like an interrogation into your personal, professional - and now - your cyber life. For developers, you can ensure that your candidacy is more attractive than others even before you sit down in the interview room. Follow these tips to ace your dev interview. 

The Usual

Before applying, update your CV with your most recent experience, get someone to proof read it and tailor your skills according to the vacancy’s specifics. Typos, exaggerating your skills, and using buzzwords like “dynamic,” and “synergy” put people off. When preparing for the interview, researching the company (culture, products, etc.) will enable you to tailor your answers to suit the position too.

The Questions

The typical questions such as ‘what are your long term goals?’ and ‘what are your strengths?’ will definitely be asked so do brush up on them too. We have an entire list of questions specifically related to devs that you can use to prepare. These questions are asked to test your technical skill, your personality, and your cognitive ability. Take care of how you answer them and follow these general rules:

Be wary of talking about a skill that you haven’t used in more than a year. Focus on what you’re currently capable of doing. The software development industry changes rapidly. What you did last year ago is great for reflection but might have little bearing on your current expertise.

The interviewer wants you to explain how proficient you are with developer tools rather than how long you've been exposed to them. Rather, when talking about your experience level with technologies, emphasize the kinds of challenges you solved and the unique aspects you appreciate about using each tool when solving problems.

You will be given a technical problem to solve. They aren’t just looking for a certain level of competency - they also want to see how you go about solving the problem… What are your reasons? Why did you choose that route? A great tip is to offer them a peek into your mind. And remember, familiarity and confidence in solving these types of problems will minimise your anxiety levels, so practice practice practice.

The New Age

Make sure you have a professional online presence. It is imperative that when your name is searched online, your expertise and enthusiasm are clear.

If you’re a recent graduate you’re feeling like that infamous chicken or the egg problem: how do you get experience if you don’t have any? For developers, it’s easy: get creative. Join (or start!) an open source project; build an app, start a blog or present at code camps or other groups. Even if you have experience, these are great side projects to keep your skills polished.

Contributions to open-source projects will be a good reference point in the event your interviewer (she probably will) requests an example of your work. Another advantage of being immersed in an online community is building up a network that will give a good recommendation.

Stand out from regular candidates by commenting on developer forums and sharing interesting articles on your social networks and more. While this doesn’t necessarily indicate that you’re qualified, it does show that you have an active interest in the community and are willing to learn.

Can you imagine how impressed companies will be with your initiative and determination? They’ll have to hire you!

The Secret

Job interviews aren’t nearly as intimidating when you realise that they’re not a one-way street. Yes, the interviewer is sizing you up and deciding whether or not you’ll be a good fit for the company, but you also have a big decision of your own to make: Is this the right place for you? Ask these questions to ensure you’re satisfied with the culture, morale and environment of the company whilst impressing your interviewer with your confidence and I know what I want attitude. 

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