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Senior Software Devs - Interview Advise

PrimePrime Registered User regular
edited October 2015 in Help / Advice Forum
I've decided to move jobs since my current one has just gone down hill in fun factor and my skills are not moving due to company stubborness that will eventually kill it...anyway.

I've spent my entire software development life at this job going from junior/starter to project lead over 4 years so i've never had to interview for senior positions before except internally (which is far easier).

What questions are generally asked at this level? Can anyone provide pointers regarding things they'll make sure I have knowledge of? I only ask as I'm slightly panicing that although im a senior here and manage a multi million pound enterprise solution my "senior" skill set wont be equal in other enviroments. Is this a normal feeling when moving on from your first employer? Or am I being daft. I've got a few phone interviews lined up two are almost dream jobs so dont want to mess it up.

The role will be primarily be C#, .Net (non web) and SQL development.

Prime on

Posts

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Obviously you should know what's on your resume. Our field is really not one you can lie or bullshit around. So if you're listing SQL, make sure you know DDL/DML. If you know C#, make sure you know as much as you can. Are you focusing on .NET 2 or .NET 4, Winforms or WPF, etc.

    Bring concrete examples of what you've done and what kind of stuff you do.

    If you can't answer a question say so, don't try to lie.

    If they ask you questions on implementation, obviously work through the steps out loud.

    Knowing how to break things down into manageable pieces is important.

    Also I'm assuming since it's a senior position you probably want to know at least a little bit about ERP/SAP.

    You got this.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
    Primeecco the dolphin
  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    It varies wildly depending on the job, the company, and the interviewer. You may be asked:
    • Windows or Linux development knowledge
    • language-specific questions trying to figure out your level of comfort with the language
    • programming exercises on a whiteboard or computer - varying levels of fidelity to language syntax
    • algorithm analysis (write a psuedocode algorithm to do X. Okay, now make it faster. Okay, how could you make it even faster (answer is usually change the problem assumptions / add stuff to the data structure)?
    • clean code (what would you look for in a code review, how important is X vs Y, what design patterns do you know (ugh I hate this question))
    • API design
    • Class design (given a problem, design a system to solve it and specify the modules or classes, maybe their interfaces
    • SDLC - for Agile, what is Agile, why is it important, which pieces matter the most. For Waterfall, usually something about requirements gathering and how you figure out what the customer actually wants.
    • Testing, testing philosophy - if you were a project lead, what processes would you put in place for testing
    • QA philosophy - how do you work with QA professionals, do you push back when you need to, do you defer when you should
    • Conflict resolution - do you have a naive view of conflict, do you seek out conflict, are you an irritating person
    • Continuous integration / Continuous deployment / mature processes
    • Domain knowledge for the particular job

    I would guess no more than 5 topics from that list for a particular interview. Keep in mind, many companys have their developers conduct the interviews with no meaningful training. They may not have a strong understanding of the answer to the question they're asking!

    sig.gif
    Primebowenecco the dolphin
  • PrimePrime Registered User regular
    Thanks guys, this was all really helpful. Did some overview cramming last night for a phone interview today based on a few of the topics here and the job spec. It just highlighted why I need to leave my current position. I wish we did half that stuff on any regular basis. I've got a few days before the face to face luckily.

  • PrimePrime Registered User regular
    Update:

    So I had the phone interview which started off great but ended on a bit of a weakness of mine but none the less I got invited to the face to face. Ouch that was painful it was very very hard, but they said I impressed them and my recruiting agent was told 100% a written offer will be on the table within 24 hours. I can't see it being worse then my current package and the job will be infinity more rewarding so I guess I have a new job :)

    Still keeping it underwraps till I've got something signed though and thats killing me. So thanks @Bowen and @Powerpuppies was helpful in getting me started.

    bowenschussPowerpuppiesdavidsdurionsCauldecco the dolphinkimejdarksunXavier1216Inquisitor77
  • billythethirdbillythethird Registered User new member
    Sorry to be late to the party but here are my thoughts on the subject. In my mind senior software developers distinguish themselves by being able to confidently and independently make decisions. Specific examples include:
    • Giving advice when less experienced peers have hit a wall or don't know how to get started
    • Researching solutions and narrowing them down (databases, frameworks, etc)
    • Being able to work independently if necessary or, if on a team, to fill in the gaps in skills
    • Knowing as early as possible that a deadline can't be reached or scope needs to be scaled back

    Knowing how to communicate with non-technical stakeholders is reaaaally important too. Taking vague or impossible requirements and refining them into a system you can actually build is an art.

    All of that is really hard to communicate in an interview without seeming like a know it all. Its also good to have examples of when you failed at something and what you learned from it or otherwise how you were able to make it a positive experience.

    Good luck!

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