Web Developer Interview Questions
Web developers build websites with the purpose of providing an optimal user experience. They design the appearance of the website by creating webpage layouts through stylistic choices such as colors and fonts.
Web developers also handle the technical aspects of a website to ensure the website performs at maximum capacity. This can include streamlining code and media to improve site speed as well as directing the user flow of a website.
Web developer responsibilities may include:
- Designing website and software applications
- Performing website updates as needed
- Backing up website files to local directories
- Directing team members to provide web content
- Performing cross-functional implementation and tests
Websites have quickly become a popular way for businesses to reach their customers on the web. In order to provide a user-friendly experience to retain traffic, skilled web developers will:
- Possess an eye for detail to identify errors in code
- Possess an understanding of common, general-purpose programming languages
- Utilize customer feedback to optimize code
- Maintain a solid work ethic to provide the best product possible
- Stay up to date on industry trends and relevant web design tools
Many entry-level positions require that applicants possess a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. However, it is not uncommon to find self-taught developers with little to no formal education. There are many courses and certifications outside of formal education that candidates can utilize to make themselves more attractive to employers.
If you’re getting ready to interview for a position as a web developer, you can prepare by researching the company as much as possible. Learn about the 9 things you should research before an interview.
Salaries for web developers range between $64K and $102K with the median being $82K.
Factors impacting the salary you receive as a web developer include:
- Degrees (associate's or appropriate certifications, bachelor's, master's)
- Years of Experience
- Reporting Structure (seniority of the manager you report to and number of direct reports)
- Level of Performance - exceeding expectations
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Web Developer Interview Questions
Question: Why did you choose to pursue a career in web development?
Explanation: This is a general or opening question which the interviewer will use to begin the conversation, learn more about your background, and uncover some information they can use for future questions.
Example: “I’ve always enjoyed technology and interacting with interesting websites and gaming applications. In college, my fascination with this turned into a vocation. I enjoyed my IT-related classes the most and decided to pursue a career as a web developer. I really enjoy this work and have never looked back, knowing I made the right choice.”
Question: Please describe a project you’ve developed and the approach you took from conception to launch.
Explanation: This is another general question which is attempting to learn more about your background. Your answer should align with the type of projects the employer is looking to hire you for. You can determine this by doing pre-interview research, visiting their website, and going to job boards to read how employees describe the work they do.
Example: “My favorite project was developing a website that provided educational resources to children. I enjoyed this because of the site’s focus, its content, and working with children to determine how they would navigate the site both with and without parental supervision. It was a challenging project which turned out well and is currently used by millions of kids.”
Question: How would you explain the concept of plug-ins to someone who doesn’t have a technical background?
Explanation: An interviewer will ask this type of question to determine your understanding of a topic as well as your communication skills. Describing technical subjects to nontechnical people requires you to avoid using jargon and any terms which the nontechnical person may not understand. This is a common practice for web developers who need to collaborate with project stakeholders and other nontechnical individuals.
Example: “When asked to describe a concept like plug-ins to a nontechnical person, I make sure to avoid using jargon and any technical terms they may not understand. My answer would be something like this, 'Plug-ins are pieces of code that perform a specific function on a website. The advantage of plug-ins is that they have already been developed and tested. Using them ensures the function will work properly and avoids me having to develop and code the application myself. This makes my website more reliable and reduces the amount of time needed to develop it.'”
Explanation: This is a technical question that asks you to define a term used in this job. Technical questions are best answered concisely and directly with little embellishment. The interviewer will ask a follow-up question if they need additional information about the topic.
Question: Can you tell me the differences between REST and SOAP?
Explanation: This is another technical question in which the interviewer is asking you to compare two terms. The best way to respond to this is first to define each term and then describe how it is used in website development. You should also anticipate a follow-up question once you provide your answer.
Example: “REST and SOAP are both web service protocols. The difference between them is that SOAP uses XML, while REST supports JSON, text, and several other formats. I prefer to use REST because of its flexibility and the options it provides.”
Question: What are some of the new input types that were included in HTML5?
Explanation: This is another technical question in which the interviewer is seeking to understand your knowledge of HTM5. As a seasoned web developer, you should be knowledgeable in a variety of different programming languages. While HTML5 has been around for some time, its new features should still be something you can address.
Example: “When HTML5 was announced a few years ago, it came with several different features that were new to HTML. These features included daytime-local, e-mail, month, number range, color, date, search, URL, and week. These features made it a lot easier to include these elements on a website without additional coding.”
Question: What content management systems (CMS) do you have experience with?
Explanation: The interviewer is using this operational question to determine the scope of your knowledge with different content management systems which are also known as CMS. Operational questions help the interviewer understand how you go about doing this job. Again, you should mention CMSs in your answer that align with the same ones the employer uses. You can usually find these out by examining their website and looking at the source code.
Example: “Throughout my career, I have worked with several different content management systems. The ones I prefer include WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Of these, I prefer WordPress. This is one of the most ubiquitous CMSs and has a large library of plug-ins and other components to work with.”
Question: How would you describe your SQL skills?
Explanation: This is a direct question asking you to describe your skills with a specific operation used in website development. People usually have a tendency not to brag or be too boisterous about their skills and qualifications. During an interview, you have to avoid this tendency. Now is the time for you to brag about how good you are in certain areas. The interviewer is expecting this and will not be offended. The key is not overstating your qualifications. This could be disastrous if they hired you, and you were not able to perform the required tasks.
Example: “I have solid SQL skills. I’ve done quite a bit of work with both SQL Server and MySQL. I’m confident I can integrate the functionality of SQL into any website I develop.”
Question: Which programming languages do you code in, and which of them do you prefer to work with?
Explanation: There are many different languages you can use to design a website. The key is knowing and naming the same ones the employer’s development or design team currently uses. This will align your skills with their current operations. You can locate this information before the interview by examining their websites and searching for comments that current employees made about the employer on sites such as Glassdoor or Indeed.
Question: Have you ever done pair programming, and what do you think of it?
Explanation: Pair programming is a relatively new development within the website development and design field. This involves two people working together to code a project. If you have experience with this, you can state so and describe your preferences for designing a website using this methodology. If you haven’t, you can express your familiarity with the practice and describe whether you would be inclined to use it in the future.
Example: “While I have never used pair programming to design a website, I am familiar with the practice. I understand the benefits it provides by including two different perspectives, background, and knowledge to design a website faster and more accurately. However, I do my best work in isolation and would prefer to work alone whenever possible. I am open to peer review and often use it to increase the quality of my designs and to identify anything I may have missed.”
Additional Web Developer Interview Questions
Can you tell me what is in a grunt file?
How would you troubleshoot slow-loading webpages?
What is W3C, and why is it important?
How do you stay up to date on industry trends?
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