Are you a hiring manager looking to hire a junior developer for an upcoming development project? If so, you must ask the right junior developer interview questions to identify the best candidate for the job.
Junior developers are entry-level employees who typically have 0–3 years of experience. They often work toward becoming full-fledged software developers or engineers. Junior developers' tasks are much simpler development projects and assignments than those of their more experienced counterparts.
The role of junior tech employees remains one of the most sought-after hires in the tech world, although they require more technical training than experienced employees. When interviewing a junior developer, asking technical and non-technical questions is essential. Technical junior developer interview questions will help you gauge the candidate's development skills and abilities, while non-technical questions will give you insights into their work ethic, problem-solving skills, and ability to collaborate with other team members.
To help you, we've compiled a list of junior developer interview questions you can ask during an interview. First, though, it's important to understand a junior developer's roles, responsibilities, and requirements so that you can ask targeted questions during the interview.
Junior Developer Roles and Responsibilities
Junior developers are entry-level employees who work on development projects under the supervision of a senior developer or manager. Therefore, their responsibilities are typically more straightforward than those of their more experienced counterparts.
Junior developers are responsible for the following:
- Assisting senior developers with tasks such as code reviews, testing, and debugging
- Writing code for new features and applications
- Fixing minor bugs
- Updating existing software programs
- Providing on-call support as necessary
Junior Developer Requirements and Qualifications
Before hiring a junior developer, you should confirm they have the necessary skills and qualifications. Junior developers should have the following:
- A bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering, or a related field
- Basic programming experience
- Proficiency in email systems and Microsoft Office software
- Knowledge of databases and operating systems
Entry-Level Interview Questions
Entry-level candidates are those who just graduated from college or have little to no work experience. They may not have the skills and knowledge that more experienced candidates have. However, they can be valuable assets to your team if they have the right skills and attitude.
Here is a list of entry-level junior developer interview questions:
What are your career goals?
Answer: Entry-level candidates may not have a clear idea of what they want to do with their careers yet. However, it's still important to ask this question to gauge their commitment and motivation. For example, a candidate who wants to become a manager eventually may be more likely to work harder and take on additional responsibilities.
What did you like/dislike about your previous job?
Answer: This question can give insight into a candidate's work ethic and attitude. For example, candidates who disliked their previous job because they felt they weren't given enough responsibility may be a better fit for your team.
What do you think it takes to be successful in this field?
Answer: This question allows you to gauge a candidate's level of commitment and motivation. Candidates willing to put in the extra effort to be successful are more likely to be good employees.
What do you think sets you apart from other candidates?
Answer: This question allows you to gauge a candidate's confidence level. While candidates must be confident, too much can be a red flag. Candidates who can back up their claims with examples are more likely to be successful.
What are the most important skills for this job?
Answer: This question allows you to gauge a candidate's understanding of the job requirements. Candidates who understand the importance of essential skills like problem-solving and critical thinking are more likely to be successful.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Answer: With this question, you can test a candidate's self-awareness. Those who see their strengths and weaknesses are more likely to succeed than those who do not focus on areas needing improvement. The best employees will work on transgressions to make them into business assets.
What is your most outstanding achievement?
Answer: This question allows you to see how much a candidate has accomplished. Candidates who have achieved more are usually more successful.
What first attracted you to a role in this field?
Answer: This question allows you to understand what motivates a candidate. If their motivation is something that your company can support, they are likely to stay with the company for longer. A junior developer who wants to learn and grow with a company is more likely to be a valuable asset than one who is simply looking for a job.
What do you think are the biggest challenges in this field?
Answer: With this question, you can see if a candidate is aware of the current challenges in the field. If they are, it shows they are keeping up with current trends. Candidates who are not aware of the challenges may not be as successful.
Basic Interview Questions for Junior Developers
When interviewing candidates, you should ask junior developer interview questions that test the core development concepts and the skills required for the job. These questions will help you gauge the candidate's development abilities and skills.
Some examples of core concepts and skills that you can test during a junior developer interview include:
- Coding abilities
- Problem-solving skills
- Debugging skills
- Testing skills
- Analytical skills
Common Junior Developer Practical Questions
When it comes to practical skills, junior developers should be able to:
- Understand and utilize basic data structures such as lists and dictionaries
- Write clean and readable code
- Understand and use basic algorithms such as sorting and searching
- Use version control software such as Git
- Understand software development principles and concepts
To test their practical skills and understanding of core concepts in development, you can use the following junior developer interview questions:
Junior Developer Coding Abilities Interview Questions
One of the essential skills a junior developer must have is coding abilities. To test a junior developer's coding skills, you can ask questions such as:
What is your favorite coding language, and why?
Answer: The candidate should be able to demonstrate why they enjoy using a particular coding language. For example, they might say that they enjoy using the Python programming language because it is easy to read and understand.
What was the last coding language you learned, and how did you learn it?
Answer: The candidate should be able to demonstrate how they can learn new coding languages quickly and effectively. For example, they might say they learned Java programming by reading online tutorials and practicing coding challenges.
How do you ensure code quality?
Answer: The candidate should be able to demonstrate how they write clean and well-organized code. For example, they might say that they always use comments and indentations to make their code more readable.
What personal projects are you working on right now? Can you walk me through your code?
Answer: You'll be testing the candidate's creativity and coding abilities with this question. For example, they might say they are creating a website as a personal project. They should be able to walk you through their code and explain how they use different coding languages to create the website.
What exactly is continuous integration, and why is it important during the development process?
Answer: Candidates should have a strong understanding of the software development process and be able to explain the importance of continuous integration. Continuous integration is merging code changes regularly to avoid conflicts between different developers working on the same project. It is crucial during development because it helps to prevent errors and ensures that the codebase remains consistent.
What is the difference between a bug and an error?
Answer: Junior developers should be able to articulate the difference between a bug and an error. A bug is simply a coding mistake that doesn't result in program failure, whereas an error causes the program to crash.
What is a software development methodology, and can you name a few of the most popular ones?
Answer: Some popular development methodologies that junior developers should be aware of are waterfall, agile, and scrum.
What is the difference between a unit test and an integration test?
Answer: Junior developers should be up to date on various testing types and able to explain the contrast between a unit test and an integration test. Unit tests are small-scale tests focusing exclusively on one code component, while integration tests examine how multiple code components work in unison.
What is your favorite data structure?
Answer: Junior developers should be able to identify and explain the advantages and disadvantages of different data structures. For example, lists are suitable for storing data that needs access in order, while dictionaries are suitable for storing data that needs quick accessing.
How would you sort a list of numbers?
Answer: Junior developers should be able to explain how different sorting algorithms work. For example, quicksort is a fast sorting algorithm that works well on large lists.
Junior Developer Problem-Solving Skills Interview Questions
In addition to coding abilities, junior developers must have strong problem-solving skills to debug and solve development issues quickly and efficiently. To test a junior developer's problem-solving skills, you can ask the following junior developer interview questions:
What is the most challenging problem you have ever solved?
Answer: The candidate should be able to demonstrate how they can solve complex problems. For example, they might say they once faced a challenge where they had to debug a complex piece of code. They solved the problem by breaking the code down into smaller pieces and then tracing each line of code to find the error.
What is your approach to solving problems?
Answer: The candidate should be able to demonstrate how they go about solving problems. For example, they might say that they first try to reproduce the problem so that they can better understand it. They then start brainstorming possible solutions and testing each one until they find the correct solution.
What do you do when you are stuck on a problem?
Answer: The candidate should be able to demonstrate how they can find help when they are stuck on a problem. For example, they might say they first try to find a solution independently. If they are still stuck, they will ask for help from their team members or look for resources online.
Junior Developer Debugging Skills
Debugging is an essential skill for junior developers since they will be responsible for finding and fixing errors in code. To test a junior developer's debugging skills, you can ask the following junior developer interview questions:
What is your process for debugging code?
Answer: The candidate should mention some of the tools they use for debugging code, such as a debugger or a coding tool. They should also mention some steps they take to debug code, such as breakpoints and tracing.
Can you walk me through a time when you had to debug?
Answer: They should give a real-life example of when they had to debug code. For instance, they might say that they once had to debug a piece of code that was not working as intended. They solved the problem by setting breakpoints and tracing each line of code.
What is the most challenging part of debugging?
Answer: Finding and illustrating the most challenging part of debugging is critical for this role. For example, candidates should discuss how often the root cause is hard to identify. Once found, however, solving the issue becomes much more manageable. Being aware of common obstacles like logic errors is also key — especially when everything appears fine on the surface.
Junior Developer Testing Skills
Since junior developers are responsible for creating and maintaining code, they need to have strong testing skills to ensure that their code works as intended. To test a junior developer's testing skills, you can ask the following questions:
What methods do you use to test your code?
Answer: Some practical methods for testing code are unit tests and integration tests, while tools used to debug code include a debugger or coding tool. Candidates should highlight which ones they utilize.
What is an essential part of testing code?
Answer: Junior developers should be able to identify critical aspects of testing code, such as identifying errors and ensuring that the code meets all requirements.
Can you walk me through a time you had to test a code?
Answer: A junior developer should be able to provide a customer example of when they had to debug code. For instance, if the software wasn't functioning as planned, how did they find and fix the issue? Likely by identifying what went wrong in the code using breakpoints and tracing each line step-by-step.
Recruitment Junior Developer Coding Challenges
Coding challenges are a popular way to assess junior developers since they can directly test their coding skills. Hiring managers use coding challenges to determine whether candidates can write clean, efficient, and error-free code. Challenges may also involve developing the correct algorithm to solve an issue or testing more on object-oriented concepts and designing a system.
As the hiring manager, you can give several coding challenges to a junior developer candidate.
Whiteboard Coding Challenges
A whiteboard coding challenge is a popular challenge where the interviewer gives the candidate a prompt and asks them to solve it on a whiteboard. HR managers use this coding challenge to assess a candidate's ability to think on their feet and solve problems under pressure.
One advantage of administering a coding challenge during an interview is that it allows you to see how the candidate works through problems. It also provides insight into their communication skills, as they will need to explain their reasoning to you.
Pair Programming Coding Challenges
Pair programming is a popular method of working among developers where two developers work together on one computer. One developer is the driver, who writes the code, and the other is the observer, who reviews the code. The driver and observer can switch roles at any time.
Hiring managers use pair programming coding challenges to assess candidates' coding skills and ability to collaborate with others.
Take-Home Coding Challenges
Take-home coding challenges are another popular type of coding challenge, in which the interviewer gives the candidate a prompt and asks them to solve it in their own time. HR managers use this coding challenge to assess candidates' ability to solve problems independently and produce high-quality code.
While take-home coding challenges are a great way to evaluate a candidate's technical skills, they also have drawbacks. For instance, take-home coding challenges can be time-consuming for both the candidate and the hiring manager. In addition, take-home coding challenges can be susceptible to cheating.
If you decide to give a take-home coding challenge, provide the candidate with clear instructions on what you expect of them. Moreover, to reduce the chances of cheating, you can give the candidate a time limit to complete the challenge or make it a live coding challenge.
MCQ or Screening-Based Challenges
In this challenge, the interviewer gives the candidate a list of multiple choice questions (MCQ) to screen for their understanding of basic concepts. Interviewers can use this assessment to determine whether the candidate understands the basics and is suitable for the role.
However, using screening-based coding challenges to assess candidates has several drawbacks:
- The challenges only evaluate limited abilities.
- There is no assurance that the candidate can write optimal or high-quality code.
As a result, interviewers usually use this method when there are many potential candidates and need to shortlist applicants quickly.
Some tips for giving an MCQ-based challenge:
- Make sure the questions are relevant to the role.
- Avoid trick questions.
- Give the candidate a reasonable amount of time to complete the challenge.
Hire a Junior Developer With Revelo
Hiring an entry-level developer can be a great way to find someone with the potential to grow into a senior role within your company. Moreover, junior developers are often more affordable than senior developers and can be a great addition to your team. If you're looking to hire a junior developer, Revelo can help. We are a talent marketplace that connects tech companies in the US with pre-vetted remote software developers in Latin America, helping them scale their engineering teams quickly and cost-effectively. Contact us today if you're interested in hiring a junior developer with Revelo.