Backend Development

Backend Developer Interview Questions: Prep to ace your interview

September 12, 2022
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Landing a backend developer interview is the result of so much hard work! You’ve learned the most common backend programming languages and familiarized yourself with popular frameworks, data structures, algorithms, and databases.You’ve expanded your knowledge of servers, APIs, and version control.Your resume, LinkedIn profile, and GitHub are perfect. You applied for backend jobs, which sometimes seemed like a job all on its own.

You made it: You’ve finally landed an interview! But among those feelings of excitement and relief, you might be nervous about the whole backend development interview process. You might also wonder what they’ll ask for backend developer interview questions.

If you’re anxious about interviews for backend engineer roles, you’re not alone. It’s true that interviewing for jobs can be nerve-racking but that’s because it’s something we don’t practice often. The great news is you can do something about those nerves!

Preparing for interviews and practicing answering questions pays off. BloomTech Backend Development graduate Will Kim is proof. He learned all the technical skills needed for backend engineering jobs and tirelessly practiced for backend development interviews, which resulted in a job offer even before he graduated from BloomTech. He has some advice for aspiring backend engineers.

“Practice both the practical skills and the technical interviewing skills. There will be dry days where your efforts seem fruitless, or when you have trouble understanding a concept, but maintaining consistency is the key. Practice makes perfect,” says Will, who now works for Amazon as a software development engineer. “More importantly, always maintain healthy optimism and do not sell yourself short.”

To set yourself up for success like Will, make sure you understand how to succeed in a backend engineer interview. Keep reading to find out more about the backend developer interview process and the backend developer interview questions you may have to answer.

What does a backend developer interview entail?

What a backend developer interview entails depends on the company. Some companies may have several parts to their interview process including a technical interview while others might not. Some companies may even skip the technical interview for entry-level developers because they run internal training programs.

The company you interview with will give you more information about what format will be used. Different formats include a phone screen, video interview, an onsite interview/whiteboard challenge, and a remote assignment. 

In most cases, there are three parts to a backend developer interview process: the behavioral interview, the technical knowledge assessment, and the coding challenge. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

The Behavioral Interview for Backend Developer roles

During this stage, employers will ask behavioral interview questions to learn about how you might act in certain situations. Why? Potential employers have to get to know you quickly, and how you acted in the past is a good indication of how you might deal with a similar scenario in the future. Employers also want to know if you will be a good fit for the company. 

Behavioral interviews typically take place by phone or video.

Casey Ramos, a career coach at BloomTech, preps learners in our Backend Development course as part of our in-depth career services support. She helps learners prepare for Amazon’s specific interviewing style called probing. 

“They often follow up or even interrupt interviewees to ask them to elaborate,” Ramos explains. For example, the interviewer might say, “Tell me about a time when you used a simple solution to solve a complex problem.” When the interviewee responds, the interviewer might interrupt to ask, “Okay, and how exactly did you know that was the right direction?” 

Ramos also teaches learners the STAR method, which is a useful technique for responding to backend engineer interview questions during the behavioral interview. This technique is useful no matter what company you are interviewing with. STAR stands for:

  • S – Situation: Set the scene and give details about the problem or situation you, your team, or the company was facing
  • T – Task: Describe what your responsibility was in the situation
  • A – Action: Explain what you did to resolve the issue
  • R – Result: Share was result or outcome your actions achieved

At BloomTech, learners gain real-world experience by working on teams to build and ship products for real clients. They often talk about these projects during job interviews, which shows hiring companies how they’d contribute if they were offered the job.

The Technical Knowledge Interview

In the technical knowledge interview, employers ask questions to assess your technical knowledge. Companies want to discover your strengths and the gaps in your skillset so they can create a training plan for you if you are hired. 

Technical knowledge interviews typically take place by phone or video.

Some questions you might encounter include: What are declarations? and What are expressions? Check out more backend developer interview questions in the next section.

Coding Challenge for Backend Developers

There are different formats for coding challenges. Some companies might give you a real-time monitored coding challenge while others might give you a take-home assignment. It really is company-specific, but this is where you use your tech knowledge to solve problems and show you can do the job.

Sometimes companies will give you a problem in a different programming language than you know. It’s also normal for you to get a problem you might not know how to solve. 

“What they are trying to find out is if you can transfer your programming skills to learn another language,” explains BloomTech Backend Development instructor Frank Fella. “The concept of programming is the same regardless of the language. Programming is problem solving. Coding is the language.” 

If you get a problem you don’t immediately know how to solve, or a problem in a programming language you don’t know, look at it as an opportunity to show how you’d tackle something new on the job. Being resourceful and keeping your cool can be just as important as your knowledge of APIs.

Backend developer interview questions

Interviewing is a skill that can be learned. The more you practice answering backend engineer interview questions, the more confident you’ll be.  

Interview questions can range from general to in-depth. General questions help employers get to know you better while in-depth questions give you a chance to showcase your hard skills.

Some common backend developer interview questions include:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • Do you like working independently or in a group?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • How do you stay current on backend development trends?

More technical backend engineer interview questions may cover:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses as a backend developer?
  • What programming language do you enjoy the most and why?
  • Do you have any experience with object-oriented programming (OOP)?
  • What is the difference between design and architecture?
  • Do you think refactoring is useful? Why or why not?
  • What’s a stack overflow?
  • What’s your approach to debugging?
  • Define “stack” and “heap.”

Be sure to practice responding to as many backend engineer interview questions as possible. This is one of the best ways to prepare for an interview.

The more confident and knowledgeable you are in an interview, the greater chance you have of landing a great backend engineering job.

How to succeed in your backend developer interview

There are several interview strategies you can use to make a good impression on a prospective employer. Here are a few:

  • Make sure your audio is working properly, so interviewers can hear your responses and learn more about you.
  • Be honest if you don’t know the answer to a question. You can say you’re not sure or ask clarifying questions. Don’t make up an answer. Employers want to find out how you deal with situations where you don’t know something. Explain how you’d approach figuring out how to tackle the unfamiliar problem.
  • Show an interest in the people who are interviewing you by asking questions. Employers will be interviewing you, but you will be interviewing them as well. This will also show that you want to learn new things, which backend engineers do often.
  • Participate in mock interviews where you can practice responding to complex technical questions. This will help you overcome nervousness. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will feel when it comes time for a real interview. BloomTech learners can get 1:1 prep for every interview they land—which gives them plenty of practice answering interview questions!
  • Record yourself answering backend engineer interview questions. It might feel awkward to watch yourself answer, but you can learn a lot about how to improve answering questions next time. This strategy worked for Uma Maheshwari Sitaraman, who graduated from BloomTech’s Backend Development program. She shared videos of her answering questions with instructors, who gave her feedback. She says all the practice made a difference. “Everybody at BloomTech  is really there to support you and give you confidence,” says Uma, who was offered a software development engineer job at Amazon even before she graduated from BloomTech. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without all that support.” 
  • Watch model interviews in which you can see how tech experts respond to difficult questions.

We hope these tips help you respond confidently to backend engineer interview questions.

How to start a career as a backend developer

If you want a career in backend development—but want full support to make your dream a reality—apply to our Backend Development program. We’ll train you in the technical skills needed to become a backend engineer and coach you through every step of the job hunt, including preparing you for interviews.

In addition, we offer a promise that you’ll get hired or we’ll give you your money back, guaranteed! Our 100% Tuition Refund Guarantee means that if you graduate and stick with our program yet don’t get job offers making at least $50,000 a year within a year, we’ll pay you. (Terms apply.)

Ready to make the leap to a career as a backend developer? We can’t wait to help. Apply for our Backend Developer program today!