Your first interview as a software engineer

Sohail Nasir on April 04, 2017

Just a note this piece is pretty subjective based on my experience and this is going to be a pretty long read! So you have spent ages writing ... [Read Full]
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A common theme in the U.S that i read about from other engineers is that most interviews will ask you CS-related questions (algorithms/data structures), and so it is in your best interest to know them. Is this something you experienced in the UK or would you say the need to know these things has been largely exaggerated both in the UK and US? Is it only applicable to big companies?


Interesting question, While it certainly doesn't hurt to know algorithms/data structures, I feel it is important to know in which situation you use them in, if you want to put them on your CV/resume. I know in university we were told that in order to get a job you had to revise an entire book about design patterns and be able to quote stuff like dynamic connectivity, etc. What we were not told is how you would present them to an interviewer.

I have known some of my peers at university who could quote an entire lecture on quick find algorithms but not quite understood it but found interviewers would constantly challenge them about where they used it and sometimes the interviewer would give them a problem to solve and they would try and mold the problem to use quick find.

In interviews I have not really been asked questions around computer science in general but I have only really gone for junior - mid level software development positions but I have interviewed at a range of companies from small one man shows to multinational corporations in the UK.

I will finish up by saying, every company is different, each interviewer has their own opinion and ways of trying to suss out whether you are up to the job or not. Whether or not knowing this stuff is exaggerated, I feel it is certainly worth knowing basics and knowing where and when to use them but it is not a death knell to your career if you don't know.

Hopefully this answers your question.


Thank you for your sharing! doesn't have a like/heart button for a post, so I have to comment here :D


When people ask you about how to prepare for the technical section interviews, what do you suggest to them?


It depends on the technology used to be honest and the company, normally I would advise the person concerned to make sure they know what technologies they may be working with as they are likely to be asked questions around those. Next be up to date with knowledge about the stack you are likely to work with. Go over some coding best practices and definitely look into design patterns.

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