Wondering how to prepare for your embedded software engineer interview? Here’s our guide to the different types of technical and behavioral questions you’ll need to ace.
Embedded software engineers are in high demand, with thousands of contract and permanent positions open across the United States. As a result, professionals with the right mix of technical and soft skills have every chance of landing their dream job — if you’re well prepared for your interview. Here’s what you need to know.
what does an embedded software engineer do?
Embedded software engineers create, develop and install software solutions across a variety of industries, from consumer electronics to healthcare and aviation. They also test and verify software and systems, and may work with a wider team of engineers to identify and resolve customer and technical issues.
technical questions for an embedded software engineer interview
Interviewers will be testing your subject matter expertise in areas like hardware management, OS system configuration and code debugging. They may also want to find out about your hands-on experience with software engineering and coding techniques or assess your skills through an interview project.
Technical questions fall broadly into the following categories:
These test your knowledge of various terms. Answer these succinctly, in one or two sentences. Examples include:
- explain what a CAN bus is
- what does the keyword ‘const’ mean?
- what is a semaphore? What are the different types?
These ask you to describe the similarities and differences between two concepts. Think about their characteristics, functions and usage to answer questions like:
- tell me the difference between a process and a thread
- what is the difference between mutexes and semaphores?
- differentiate between component-based design and object-oriented design
This tests how you would approach various scenarios. Analyze the problem and outline your solution logically. If there are alternative solutions, mention them and explain why you would choose your approach above the others. Examples include:
- how would you equalize a high-speed interface?
- when would you use a recursion function?
- why do we need an infinite loop in embedded systems?
- would you debug ISR using breakpoints?
These sample questions are only a small selection of what you may be asked during your interview. Always use the job posting as a starting point for your interview prep, as the specific technical skills required will be listed.
If you don’t know the answer to a question during your interview, be honest and say you don’t know but want to learn. Interviewers understand that one engineer can’t know everything about how to build and test an entire system.
soft-skills questions for an embedded software engineer interview
Technical skills are only part of the equation. Interviewers are also looking for candidates with the right interpersonal or soft skills. Here are the most common categories of questions and examples.
- Teamwork: Describe a time when a colleague disagreed with your solution to a problem but suggested what you felt was an inferior solution. How did you resolve it?
- Critical thinking: Tell me about a time you used a creative, innovative approach to devise a solution.
- Problem-solving: Think about a complex project that you’re proud of. What challenges did you face, and how did you resolve them?
- Personal: Why did you choose to become an embedded software engineer?
Finally, research your target company and prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer if you’re given the opportunity. This will demonstrate your interest in the organization and may just put you ahead of other candidates in nailing that interview.
Ready to start searching? Join a staffing agency like Randstad and find openings for embedded software engineers nationwide.