Looking for questions to ask developers in a fun interview series

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・1 min read

Hey fam, if you recall, we shot some videos like this one and we're going to shoot a few more soon.

But with a slightly different format, and we're going to ask some devs from the community a variety of questions about their career, their stories, advice, thoughts, etc.

Questions like:

  • What was your worst bug?
  • What advice would you give in some situation?
  • Tabs or spaces?

But we need some more questions.

So I urge you to drop some good questions in the comments below. No dumb questions, if we don't think it's the right question, we just won't use it. But I'd love to get some questions that we wouldn't have thought of, so anything goes.

P.S. If you're in the New York City area, we're shooting next week and still have a few slots still available if you want to take part. If you are a programmer and want to do a low-pressure interview to help other devs, please feel welcome to book a spot. HERE IS THE LINK TO BOOK

Thanks everybody for the help, happy coding.

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Ben Halpern


A Canadian software developer who thinks he’s funny. He/Him.


Editor guide
  1. What's your secret "code pet peeve" that doesn't really matter but drives you crazy?
  2. What was something really hard for you to get when you were learning it? What helped it click?
  3. What's something that you did outside your comfort zone that you're glad you did?
  4. What's your favorite dev tool?
  5. What are you learning right now?
  6. What do you wish more people would ask/talk to you about? He asks this one on Developer Tea, and it always has really interesting answers.

Great ones!


(A bit assumptive and potentially too personal but) What caused your first burn out from programming?


Perfectly relevant, good question.

  • If you've been in the position to make hiring decisions, what usually most influences your decision?
  • What would your advice be for companies to be better workplaces for women/non-white/disabled people?
  • How would you explain your most recent project to a 5yo?
  • Show us your fizzbuzz (everyone has their own way to implement it, and these differences say something about who you are as a dev)
  • What's the best (physical) environment for you to code in?
  1. What was your most recent development "panic moment" and how did you end up handling it?

  2. What is something you still have trouble understanding despite researching the subject?

  3. What do you do to get "unstuck" on a really difficult problem/design/bug?

  4. How many cups of coffee do you drink throughout a normal development day?


Think of three people you worked with who match the following criteria:

  • The first one should be someone who has the best opinion of you.
  • The second one should be someone who has the worst opinion of you, for whatever reason.
  • The third one is the person who has the most balanced idea of you.

How would they describe you?

  1. What's your approach to solving a particularly tough issue or bug? What's your reaction once it's solved?

  2. What's an old project or piece of code you wrote you'd be embarrassed to read again? How much as your code improved since then?

  3. How do you prioritize what's on your "Learn Next" list?

  4. What moments when you're programming make you think "Wow, I love my job/field so damn much."


When do you think of solutions for big bugs? (Eg at home, during a work out, etc)


What was your favorite conference experience?

What's one conference you'd like to go to but haven't been to yet?


Tell us about the time you most misunderstood the client


Ooooh I bet I can come up with a good one for this! πŸ˜‹


"How are you currently involved in the tech community?"

"Do you blog/write anywhere/about anything?"

"What 3 pieces of advice would you give yourself when you first became a developer?"

"What are your current technological advancements?"

"How would you deal with a stressful moment as a developer?" ie, you're under time pressure to fix something etc

"Tell me your best software development moment?"

I think are all good questions for understanding how a candidate, particularly how passionate they are about being a developer.

  1. What are your productivity hacks?
  2. What advice would you give to someone looking for a new dev job?
  3. Mac, Windows or Linux?
  4. What is the best advice someone has given you?
  5. Are there any podcasts, books, or inspirations you swear by?
  1. gdb or LLVM and why?
  2. If you were to start your start-up company this Monday, what would you do? You have no time to learn new Technologies or Tools.
  3. NASM or GAS and why?
  4. VIM or Emac and why?
  1. Do you want to talk about your biggest achievement/success in your (personal or work) life?

  2. Do you want to talk about your biggest "mistake"/" something you regret" in your (personal or work) life?

  1. What is a breakthrough moment (or all your breakthrough moments) you had that accelerated your learning or deepened your understanding of what it means to be a good developer/engineer?
  2. What debates do you wish you never had to participate in again because they seem important but in your experience are not that important (functional v imperative, tabs v spaces, etc.)?
  3. What's something that has surprised you about coding in the last fifteen years?
  4. What's something unexpected (except to you) that will happen in coding in the next fifteen years?

Tell me about your day to day routines. How would you optimize them?


What was your lightbulb moment? When did it click in your head that you wanted to be a developer?


Q: What's your favorite language?
A: X
Q: What do you hate most about language X?


Describe the detailed schedule of ideal working day.

  1. What's the hardest SOLID principle to implement?
  2. Do you actively contribute to any GitHub / open source projects?
  3. Explain in as much detail as possible the process of loading a web page.

How many spaces should (or would) you use to indent? 2? 4? 8? 1.3billion?


"when were yo defeated"


If the "older" You could give advice to the "younger" You, what would he/she say to do about learning to be a programmer?


For how long do you think you are going to be coding as your main source of income? And Why?


how was your first ever code review?

(in case you're wondering, my code was compared to the opening sequence of "theme hospital")