Hiring Guide

Software Developer

Specific duties of a Software Developer can vary from business to business — along with factors like company culture, work environment, and team dynamics — it’s vital to tailor any job description and interview content to your company’s needs and expectations.

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Software Developer interview templates

Why you should hire a Software Developer

Software Developers help companies achieve success by designing, developing, and testing software and applications for the web, computers, and/or mobile devices. They often work closely with cross-functional team members (e.g., Product, Design) to improve existing tools and features or to design and build new ones.

In this hiring guide, we'll provide everything you need to hire a great Software Developer.

Top skills for Software Developers

Technological Proficiency

Software and Programming Languages
Algorithm Analysis
Software Design

Debugging and Problem Solving

Critical/Analytical Thinking
Strategic Thinking

Product Development

Agile Methodology
Scope Control
Technical Reporting

Cross-functional Collaboration

Verbal Communication

Sample Software Developer job description

Software Developers design, develop, and test software applications for computers. Their main responsibilities involve building software by writing code, troubleshooting software by fixing errors in code, and improving or upgrading interfaces. This role requires technical knowledge and skills in scientific analysis and/or mathematical models in order to predict and measure outcomes and design consequences when developing software. In practice, they work closely with other Software Developers to develop specifications and performance requirements for a given system. They also work closely with project or product managers to obtain and share information regarding capabilities or limitations for relevant software specifications. While some software developers specialize in either front-end or back-end software development, others are considered full-stack developers and specialize in both.

Sample interview questions for Software Developers

Question 1

Tell me about a time you struggled to modify some pre-existing code that was being used in a production environment. What challenge(s) did you face and what would you do to avoid these challenges when your code is modified 10 years from today?

James Langille portrait image
James Langille
Senior Software Developer — 10 years professional experience

What does this question reveal?

Candidate understands how to write maintainable code

Answer tips

  • Notes code should be written for the reader more than the writer of the code
  • Is familiar with ‘clean code’ 
  • Notes comments can easily mislead or become out-of-sync of the code it documents
  • Mentions coding to interfaces increases testability
  • Explains manual testing ensures code works when written, test cases ensure code works into the future

Question 2

Imagine a scenario where an algorithm with a slower asymptotic runtime than another known solution is implemented. Why might a slower algorithm be preferable in some cases?

James Langille portrait image
James Langille
Senior Software Developer — 10 years professional experience

What does this question reveal?

Candidate has the ability to recognize and describe algorithmic trade-offs, and how to make those trade-offs in practice

Answer tips

  • Describes different resources at play when an algorithm runs
  • Explains how speed can often be traded for memory 
  • References minimizing use of some specific resource (e.g. API calls)
  • Discusses how they would make a decision about such a tradeoff 
  • Mentions that a larger asymptotic runtime can be faster if the problem size is bounded