Interview questions make up the core of any job application process. The answers a candidate gives in their interview will provide insight into their technical prowess as well as who they are as a potential employee. However, the process can be confusing and intimidating for employers without preparation and proper research, especially when hiring for technical roles like Scala developers.
It’s essential to ask Scala developer interview questions that test technical skills and assess communication and problem-solving abilities, creativity, and personality traits. Remember, you're not just looking for answers to questions; you're looking for insight into the candidate's thought process and how they interact with a problem.
At Revelo, we know that hiring Scala developers can be complex and time-consuming. That’s why we provide our services to help you source talent, line up interviews, and coach you through the process. This article will highlight common Scala interview questions and answers, explaining why you should ask each one.
What Is a Scala Developer?
A Scala developer is a software professional specializing in the Scala programming language. Scala, an acronym for "Scalable Language," combines the best features of both object-oriented and functional programming paradigms. It's known for its scalability, making it a popular choice for building complex applications, particularly those dealing with big data structures and distributed systems.
Scala developers are responsible for designing, coding, testing, and debugging applications and systems functions in Scala. They work on various projects, including but not limited to web applications, data analytics platforms, distributed computing systems, and machine learning algorithms. These developers collaborate closely with other team members to integrate Scala applications with other technologies and deliver high-quality software solutions.
Entry-Level Scala Developer Interview Questions
Entry-level or junior candidates are generally fresh out of college or in the early stages of their careers. You'll want to focus on questions that test their understanding of basic Scala concepts, syntax, and structure, as well as their ability to apply these in practical coding scenarios. These questions can help assess a candidate's eagerness to learn, adaptability, and growth potential. Here are a few examples of entry-level Scala developer interview questions.
Explain the difference between val and var in Scala.
This question assesses the candidate’s understanding of fundamental Scala development concepts. You are looking for an explanation of how val and var differ in scope and immutability. Var is a mutable variable, meaning its value can be changed at any time within the same scope. On the other hand, val is an immutable variable that can only be assigned once.
What are some of Scala’s features that differentiate it from other languages?
This question tests the candidate’s knowledge of Scala language features such as conciseness, type inference system, and support for functional programming. The candidate should be able to explain how these features make Scala stand out from other languages. For instance, inference eliminates the need for explicit type declarations, making code more concise and readable, while its functional programming capabilities support data processing and analysis.
What is the purpose of an object in Scala?
Objects are central to the Scala language; understanding them is essential for writing efficient code. The candidate should be able to explain that objects in Scala provide a way to package code and data together. Objects also allow developers to define classes, create instances of those classes, and access class methods from outside the class.
How does Scala support both Functional and Object-Oriented programming?
Through this question, you can gauge the candidate's comprehension of Scala's unique advantage of supporting both programming paradigms. The candidate should explain that Scala supports both paradigms by allowing developers to write code in a functional style and encapsulate data types in classes and objects. They should also be able to provide examples of how they can use these two styles together.
Describe a challenging problem you solved using Scala.
This question can provide insights into the candidate's problem-solving skills and ability to leverage Scala's features effectively. The candidate should be able to provide a concrete example of how they used the programming language to solve a complex problem, such as implementing an algorithm, using a monad in Scala, creating an anonymous function, or optimizing performance.
Mid-Level Scala Developer Interview Questions
Mid-level or experienced candidates should possess a strong foundation in Scala programming and have experience designing and developing applications. Your questions should test their ability to handle more complex tasks, work independently, and make minor architectural decisions. Furthermore, you should assess their understanding of best practices, coding standards, and ability to collaborate effectively with a team. Below are some mid-level Scala developer interview questions to ask.
What is pattern matching in Scala?
Pattern matching is a powerful and frequently used feature of Scala. The candidate should be able to explain that pattern matching allows developers to match values against patterns and extract data from them quickly. For example, a piece of code using pattern matching may compare incoming messages to different patterns and take appropriate action depending on the pattern it matches.
Explain how to handle exceptions in Scala.
Error handling is a crucial aspect of software development, and understanding how to do it in Scala is essential for writing robust code. The candidate should be able to explain why Scala prefers immutability and the different ways of handling exceptions in Scala, such as using try-catch blocks and pattern matching.
How does Scala handle concurrency and parallelism?
The candidate's answer will reflect their understanding of how to execute currying in Scala and multiple threads, a crucial aspect of building efficient and scalable applications. The candidate should explain that Scala offers the Akka framework for concurrency and parallelism. They should also understand the types of tasks that can benefit from concurrent and parallel execution, such as CPU-intensive operations.
Describe your experience with distributed systems.
Distributed systems are a crucial part of any large-scale application, and understanding how to build them is essential for a Scala developer. Therefore, you should ask the candidate to describe their experience in this area. The candidate's answer to this question should be a practical example, such as developing an application that works in a distributed environment or working with technologies like Apache Spark.
How is the Scala code compiled?
The compilation process is a fundamental part of the development workflow. The candidate should explain how to compile Scala code using the Scala compiler, which converts high-level source code into Java bytecode. They should also be able to explain the advantages of using this approach, such as compatibility with existing Java libraries and scalability.
Senior-Level Scala Developer Interview Questions
When interviewing a senior-level Scala developer, the focus extends beyond technical prowess to include leadership skills, strategic thinking, and a deep understanding of business needs. At this level, candidates should have vast experience with Scala, including its advanced features and nuances. Therefore, you must assess their expertise in designing complex systems, ability to make major architectural decisions, and experience leading teams or managing projects. Here are some questions to ask a senior-level Scala developer.
Explain how you would design an application using Scala.
This question assesses the candidate's problem-solving abilities and familiarity with software development best practices. The candidate should be able to explain their method in Scala to design and develop an application, such as using object-oriented programming, functional programming, or a combination of both. They should also provide examples of how they would approach problem-solving and debugging.
What strategies have you used to optimize performance?
Performance is a top priority when developing large-scale applications, and senior-level Scala developers should have the skills to optimize them. The candidate should be able to explain strategies they have used in the past, such as caching frequently accessed data, using parallelism for CPU-intensive tasks, and leveraging Scala's advanced features to reduce code complexity.
What architectural decisions have you made in the past?
This question allows you to gauge the candidate's experience designing and developing complex applications. The candidate should be able to provide examples of their decisions, such as choosing a particular technology stack or designing an application with scalability in mind. They should be able to explain their reasoning and how the decision impacted the performance or scalability of the system.
You are now the lead Scala developer on a project in a new company. What steps would you take to get up to speed?
This question tests the candidate's ability to hit the ground running and take initiative. The candidate should be able to provide a step-by-step account of how they would approach the project, such as familiarizing themselves with the requirements, researching existing solutions, setting up the development environment, and establishing communication channels.
Hire Scala Developers With Revelo
While interview questions are an integral part of the hiring process, they are only effective if the rest of the process is managed correctly. But finding qualified developers, sifting through resumes, and coordinating interviews can be time-consuming and stressful. Enter Revelo, a platform that matches you with highly skilled Scala developers in your time zone and helps you manage the entire hiring process — from sourcing to onboarding. We also take care of payroll, taxes, and other administrative tasks so you can focus on building the team you need to scale your business. If you're looking for a top Scala developer for your team, Revelo can help.
Contact us today and find the perfect candidate in no time.