If you’ve ever wanted to create new software, help protect businesses from a cyber attack, support users as they learn new technology, or collect and process data, then a career as an Information Technology (IT) professional could be a good fit for you.
And the good news is, IT jobs are a hot commodity in the United States — the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects overall employment in this field to grow 15% through 2031.
But when a certain field shows strong job growth, it can often mean an influx of qualified applications, making the job-hunting process more competitive. This means you need to be on your A-game at each step of your job search. If you’ve already applied to IT jobs and you’re starting your interview prep, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up some of the most common IT interview questions, along with answers and tips on how to ace your interview.
1. Can you tell us about a project you’ve been working on in your spare time?
This is a great icebreaker, and you might be asked to answer this question early on in your interview. It can kickstart a great conversation and help you ease into the interview. When you’re describing your project, be sure to explain why it’s important to you, any interesting facts or lessons you’ve learned so far, and any challenges you’ve faced. For the challenges, explain how you’re dealing with them. Hiring managers love to hear how candidates approach and solve problems.
2. What attracted you to this position?
Your answer to this question should include details about your future employer’s products/services that excite you, as well as the company’s mission. Here’s an example:
“My mom learned how to code through online courses when I was in middle school, and she’s been working in web development for years now. So I know first-hand how important access to online education is. I’d be proud to build a career with Codecademy and help others follow their career dreams. Also, I’m drawn to the culture here and how it supports learning and development on the job. I also share these values and feel I could be a great fit for Codecademy.”
You could include how you’re looking forward to growing in the role, learning new professional skills, and working with a strong team.
3. How do you make sure your technology skills are up-to-date?
The key to answering this question is to show that you’re engaged in your field and open to learning new tech skills. Some of the ways you might be doing this include:
- Taking online courses
- Participating in hack-a-thons
- Engaging in personal IT projects
- Reading peer-reviewed journals about new tech developments
- Joining IT-focused online communities
4. What kinds of online resources do you use at work?
GitHub or StackExchange are popular resources for IT professionals. If you subscribe to any tech newsletters, blogs, or social media feeds, you can also talk about these.
5. Can you describe a time when you had to deal with a significant professional obstacle?
With this question, the interviewer is interested in hearing how you approach difficult work scenarios and how you solve them. They’re also likely looking to hear how you incorporate any lessons learned from this experience in your future work. In your reply, don’t forget to include any plot twists that increased the difficulty of the situation and how you approached/solved those issues, how you enlisted the help of others, and what you learned from the experience. You can also mention how those lessons are helping you be a better professional today.
6. What do you think are the most important qualities for someone in your position to have?
Ideally, you should answer this question both honestly and by including some traits you can prove or demonstrate you have during the interview. Four important qualities for IT professionals are collaboration, communication, thoroughness, and reliability.
You can tie in some of your soft skills, like your ability to give informative presentations or problem-solve complex issues, here as well.
7. What do you want to accomplish within your first six months with us?
You can use the information listed in the job description to help you answer this question since the job description will give you some insight into what your employer is expecting from you. Your answer could include a combination of goals you’d like to accomplish personally and ones you’d like to help your team meet.
8. How do you handle working under pressure?
As an IT professional, there will be times when you’ll need to manage tight deadlines and challenging problems. And this question is your chance to show the steps you take to alleviate work-related stress. Whether this is reaching out to others for help or using time management techniques, like the Pomodoro Technique, let the interviewer know that you have the skills to work well under pressure.
9. How do you manage tight deadlines?
When answering this question you can talk about your time management approach and skills, and how you delegate tasks that still need to get done but aren’t related to the deadline you’re trying to meet. You can also go into detail about how you break down a large project into smaller tasks in order to complete the project as a whole.
10. What's your biggest weakness?
This is a classic interview question, and although not every interviewer likes this one, it’s a good idea to have an answer ready in case you’re asked. Be honest here and talk about something you want to improve. You can state your area of weakness and then follow up with techniques you use to help you overcome your weakness.
Here’s an example:
“Memorization isn’t one of my strong suits. This is why I always try to take detailed notes. I’ve been known to carry around a pocket notebook everywhere I go or pull out my phone to take quick notes.”
11. What’s the biggest professional mistake you’ve made?
This is similar to the question above. The best way to answer this question is to use an 80/20 approach: 80% of your answer should be about what you learned from the mistake, and 20% should be about the mistake itself.
12. What are the advantages and disadvantages of working in an Agile environment?
Since much of the tech industry has adopted Agile, it’s a good idea to speak confidently about the method. This is your chance to show you understand the Agile approach.
A couple advantages to bring up:
- Lower risk of issues with the end product
A disadvantage to point out:
- It’s more demanding on the Scrum Master or other team lead
13. What does “working remotely” actually look like for you?
If you’re applying for a remote role, you’ll probably be asked a question or two about your experience working remotely. Ideally, your future employer wants to hear that you have a track record of working successfully in a remote environment and that you’re comfortable with this style of work.
Be sure to mention how you structure your day so you can stay focused, what communication tools you have experience with (Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Chat), and you can even describe your home office setup if you’d like.
14. What would you do if you had to fill in for a manager last minute?
This question is a test to see how you deal with stress, assume a leadership role, and whether or not you’re a flexible team member. You can talk about the immediate steps you’d take like reaching out to the manager you’re filling in for to get info about expectations and reaching out to key team members for support or input. How you communicate with the team is also really important during scenarios like this, so you could explain how you’d hold a brief huddle to let everyone know what’s going on and that you’re there to support them.
15. Which of our technologies do you think will give you the biggest challenge?
This is another “have you done your research?” question because, in order to answer it, you’ll need to know the different technologies the company uses. Feel free to answer this question using language that shows you’re still in the learning process but that you’re getting more comfortable with the technology each day. Recognizing that you can improve in an area is a good quality to have in the workplace.
16. Do you have any questions for us?
It’s always a good idea to have a few questions teed up to ask at the end of the interview. Here are some options:
- What benchmarks will be used to evaluate this person’s work?
- What will be the biggest measure of success for this person in the first six months of the job?
- What’s something I should know about the company culture?
- What’s something you’ve found to be really rewarding while working here?
- What’s something you’ve found to be challenging while working here?
- Do you have any advice to offer to someone in my position?
Get ready to interview
Need to brush up on any of the concepts mentioned above? We have courses and Skill Paths that cover a variety of IT topics, including Fundamentals of Operating Systems, Fundamentals of Cybersecurity, Introduction to Linux, and more.
We also offer the free course Introduction to IT where you’ll get an overview of software development basics, operating systems and applications, databases, and cybersecurity all in one course. You can also check out our course catalog for classes on other subjects to help you grow in your professional journey.
Our Career Center is another great resource that’s full of interview tips, resume writing advice, and more.