If you’re on the path to earn an IT degree, you might already have your dream job in mind. And even you don’t, that’s ok too! Either way, you’ll need to be prepared to take your diploma and make it work for you on the job hunt. Earning your degree is only half the battle; you’ll need to make sure you can network to learn about job opportunities and land interviews, and be ready to answer common IT interview questions. WGU’s alumni resources can help you find professionals in your field, and make the introductions you need to learn about jobs.
Landing a job interview isn’t the last step either. You’ll need to be prepared to wow the interviewer when they ask questions in order to stand out from the competition and get the job. WGU doesn’t want to leave you on your own to do that, so we’ve created this job interview guide to help you nail an information technology interview. These common interview questions will help you understand what interviewers want to know about you, and give you ideas on how to answer these questions in the best possible way.
1. What are some current trends you are following in the information technology industry, and how do you anticipate them affecting this job?
What this question means: The employer wants to know that candidates are working to evolve as technology evolves. Technology is always moving and growing, and employers want to make sure you’re willing to keep up on current trends. They also want to know that you can take what updates are happening in your industry and directly translate them to your everyday job.
Best ways to answer: Be prepared before you go to a job interview by researching top trends in your industry. You can use podcasts, blogs, and even the news to learn about current information technology trends. Think about how these trends could impact your future job, and how you can make connections. Have a couple of trends and how they impact your future career path in mind before you go to your job interview.
2. What resources to you use to keep your tech skills current?
What this question means: Technology is updating and growing all the time, as we mentioned above. In this question your employer wants to know that candidates are going to keep their skills evolving and growing to match the industry. New technology is invented, which directly impacts your role in the industry. The interviewer wants to make sure that you are aware of how technology evolves, and that you are connected to the right resources to keep up.
Best ways to answer: Carefully research to find out the best kind of resources to keep your tech skills up to date before your interview so you can nail this common interview question. Depending on your field there will be different mediums and resources for you. Subscribe or purchase the software you need to make sure you’re well-versed in it. This kind of investment can go a long way to demonstrate to employers that you’re serious about keeping up to date. You can also ask the employer if they have conferences, licensing, or other ongoing education that they participate in to help you stay up to date. Asking them this will show them that you’re interested and invested in your IT future, and want them to be as well.
3. Have you ever been able to make improvements on a design
What this interview question means: Here the hiring manager is asking how candidates work with existing content, and the way they handle making suggestions for improvements. Everyone wants to help provide the best work possible, and sometimes that will mean making improvements and suggestions. In this part of the interview they want to know that you’re not afraid to suggest improvements to a project, and want to know that you’ll do it in a way that’s considerate of feelings of other designers. They also want to know that you understand your own work can sometimes be improved, and that you’re willing to make those improvements.
Best ways to answer: Have an example in your pocket of a time you improved your own work, as well as another person’s. Be sure to talk about how you communicated suggestions and made sure to give compliments about existing work, and highlight the strengths. This shows that you’re a team player and that you care about the feelings of other designers, but that you also care about giving the best possible product.
4. Can you explain the difference between Java and C#?
What this interview question means: Here with this common interview question, IT professionals want to know that candidates have the technical skills and knowledge needed to succeed at a job. You can list your knowledge on your resume, but they want to make sure you know your stuff. They want to make sure you can articulate key technical elements of coding so they know you have those skills, and that you can help explain your work to others. This is a common interview question that will let you demonstrate your technical abilities.
Best ways to answer: For this specific question, you can answer that Java is designed to run on Java Runtime Environments, and C# is designed to run on Common Language Runtimes. Java is usually used for heavy building, and C# is used for Microsoft platforms. The larger picture is a question about your technical proficiency. Make sure you brush up on all the technical terms for the job that you’re interested in getting so you can be ready to answer any question.
5. What do you think are the most important qualifications for a person in this position?
What this interview question means: The employer wants to know that you understand what the job is asking you to do. They want to hear from you what you believe the responsibilities are. They also want to know if you can translate the job responsibilities into technical skills that would be needed. And lastly, they want to make sure that you are invested enough in the potential job that you know what skills will be needed.
Best ways to answer: Carefully read the job description to make sure you understand what the requirements are. You can research similar job titles to see what kinds of expectations there are for people in this position. It’s usually smart to talk about a technical term or two, as well as a soft skill like communication to show that you think there are a variety of qualifications that are crucial for success in a job. Consider using the rule of three to answer this question.
6. Are you a self-starer?
What this interview question means: Many IT jobs require you to be self-motivated to take on projects that are assigned to you. This common job interview question is asking if you have that motivation needed to take on projects, try and solve problems, and get work done on your own, without having to be looked over.
Best ways to answer: The best answer to this question is simply YES. Bolster your answer with an example of how you tackle problems or projects without needing a lot of management or direction. Don’t make it seem like you never need direction or feedback, or that you dislike being managed. Just make it clear that you are capable and motivated to tackle projects.
7. Do you work on projects in your spare time?
What this interview question means: Interviewers want to know if a candidate is passionate about IT and what their hobbies are. They want to know if you’re so invested in IT that you spend your spare time doing projects or learning. Often employees who are so passionate about their profession that they want to learn and explore during their free time bring great things to work during the week.
Best ways to answer: Be honest in your answer here and talk about the kinds of things you like to do in your spare time. Even if it doesn’t directly relate to your job, talk about the podcasts you listen to or the books you read. You can talk about projects that aren’t directly related, because even those can sharpen your skills and help you get better.
8. What are the operating systems, hardware, and software that you find easiest to work with? Hardest?
What this interview question means: The interviewer wants to know what kind of technical knowledge you have when it comes to the IT world. They want to make sure you can first of all name the different operating systems, hardware, and software, and express why you enjoy working with it. This question also is gauging how self-aware you are about your preferences and needs when it comes to IT.
Best way to answer: The best way to answer this question is honestly! Spend some time researching other kinds of operating systems, hardware, and software that may be used in the job so you know if you can work with it. But it’s vital that you can directly talk about what you like about certain softwares and programs, so make sure you’ve actually used them and can say why you enjoy using them.
9. How did/would you feel if a project failed?
What this interview question means: Your interviewer is wanting to understand how you handle failure. In any organization, failure is inevitable. Especially in IT situations where code needs to be tested and problems arise, failure is common. Your hiring manager wants to know if you have been in this situation, and how you’ve handled it, or how you will handle it in the future.
Best way to answer: Have an example prepared of a time that you’ve failed and how you coped. It’s great to talk about learning from your mistakes and how you can find positives inside failure. It’s also important to focus on the fact that failure shouldn’t put you back or stop you from trying, and that you try to encourage everyone around you to grow from failure.
10. What source control tools are you most comfortable with?
What this interview question means: This is another technical question that will let the interviewer feel out if you’re qualified for the position. They want to know what tools you’ve used in the past to ensure you could be ready to use their tools. They also want to make sure you understand the differences between different source control versions so you are prepared to utilize whatever their organization is equipped with.
Best ways to answer: It’s crucial that you answer this honestly! Whatever you tell your potential employer, they may expect you to be able to demonstrate your abilities. Try working with multiple source control tools before you go out on job interviews, at least to practice, so you know what you like best, and why. Make sure you can explain what you prefer about certain tools so the employer can see that you know what you’re talking about.
11. What project have you worked on and felt proud?
What this interview question means: Employers want to know about successful projects you’ve had. This is them giving you an opportunity to brag. They want to know what work you’ve done in the past and how it turned out. This is them really wanting a glimpse of what assets you could bring to their organization.
Best ways to answer: Take the chance to brag a little! Give the details of the project and how you played a part in it, and then explain why you’re so proud of it. This could be because of how it was received by the public or by executives, or it could be because you overcame a lot to get the project finished. This is a great opportunity for you to really show the interviewer your skills and abilities.
12. How do you go about troubleshooting and testing?
What this interview question means: IT jobs involve a lot of testing and fixing, troubleshooting and updating. The interviewer wants to know that you’re familiar with that process and wants to get a view into how you handle these kinds of updates. They are trying to get a feel for how you’ll perform as part of the team when it comes to coding and projects.
Best way to answer: Go through step by step to explain how you troubleshoot and test your code. You can bring up specific software you use to validate your code, or how you QA your own code. Think about your process before you go into your interview so you can properly explain it to the interviewer.
13. How long do you usually spend testing?
What this interview question means: Here your potential employer wants to know how thorough you are when it comes to testing your code. They want to know how you balance a proper review of your code, without spending too much time on something, delaying other projects.
Best way to answer: Be honest in your answer, but it might be smart to talk with other IT professionals to understand how much time is normally expected to spend on testing code. When you understand how much time is industry standard, you’ll be prepared to answer this question in a way that will help you stand out to the interviewer.
14. What productivity tools have you used to make your job easier?
What this interview question means: Your potential new employer wants to know that you’ll be productive and stay on top of your work. They want to know how you manage time to ensure that you’ll be a valuable asset to the company. Productivity tools are usually used in many organizations to help employees be on the same system and schedule.
Best way to answer: Share how you are able to keep yourself on schedule and on track with calendars, post-it-notes, or software. It’s important to let your employer know how important organization of your time is to you, so that you can be efficient in your work. Showing your employer that you are used to and expecting productivity software or organization demonstrates you can be a team player and an asset.
15. What interests you about this job?
What this interview question means: The employer wants to know what element of the job is most interesting to you. They want to get to know a little bit about your passions and enjoyments in the world of IT. They also want to know that you understand what the job will demand and that there is excitement on your end about the possibility.
Best way to answer. Be honest! If you’ve landed a job interview in a field you’re interested in, let your passion shine. Explain what areas of the job seem like a perfect fit for you, how they interest you, and why you’re thrilled about the prospect of working there. Really show the employer that you are excited about the opportunity and why.
If you’re getting your IT degree, job interviews are right around the corner. We help you get the degree and skills you want to list on your resume, and we want to help you feel prepared to nail the interview and land your dream job.