6 Common Coding Bootcamp Interview Questions

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by Staff Writers

Updated December 14, 2021

Reviewed by Andrew Lauchengco

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You've landed an interview with your dream coding bootcamp. Congratulations! But after the initial sense of excitement, you may start to feel nervous.

Although not every bootcamp requires an interview as part of the admissions process, many do. And even though the interviewers aren't hiring you, coding bootcamp interviews frequently resemble job interviews.

Any sort of interview can induce anxiety, which is why it's good to prepare thoroughly. The general advice for job interviews also applies to coding bootcamp interviews: Research the bootcamp so you know what to expect. Be ready to show samples of your work. Get a good night's sleep beforehand. Arrive early (even if it's a video call from your living room). Be polite. And have a couple questions of your own prepared.

It's always good to practice answering coding bootcamp interview questions beforehand, too. Try not to sound stiff and rehearsed when responding to questions, but having a general answer at the tip of your tongue can help you feel more confident.

Below, you will find a list of common interview questions. You can also learn about what questions to ask a coding bootcamp interviewer.

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Coding Bootcamp Interview Questions to Expect

Can You Tell Me About Yourself?

You can expect to hear this question at the beginning of most interviews, including interviews for coding bootcamps. It allows you to introduce yourself and set the tone for the rest of the interview. However, although it's a simple question, it tends to stump many people.

Instead of reciting all of the accomplishments on your resume, make a quick list of highlights. Focus on how these experiences have shaped your professional and educational priorities and goals. And keep your answer concise — if you speak about yourself for too long, the interviewer may find themselves becoming bored or zoning out.

Finally, avoid interjecting intimate personal experiences, especially those that don't relate to your professional goals. If you come from a family of computer programmers and spent time taking apart and building computers, that's fair game. But if you want to talk about how your recent heartbreak has affected your mood, save that for a conversation with a close friend.

Why Do You Want to Be a Coder?

This question gives you an opportunity to show your passion for the field. The interviewer wants to see that you have the perseverance and motivation to stick with a bootcamp program, even when it gets tough.

Here's where you can dig a little bit deeper into your past experiences and demonstrate where you get your drive for coding and why you're excited about the tech industry. You can also talk about the specific technical areas that interest you — like front-end coding, back-end development, data science, or cybersecurity. This helps the interviewer understand that you know what you want from the industry.

What Technical Experience Do You Have?

This one might seem scary — especially if you don't have much technical experience. But even if you don't have any background in computers or coding, don't fret. Some bootcamps accept complete beginners, so this may not hurt your chances at all. This is particularly true if you display a willingness to learn throughout the rest of the interview.

If you know that the bootcamp expects incoming students to have some technical background, then you should prepare accordingly. Many bootcamps offer prep programs or free introductory materials online. If you've completed a prep program, make sure to mention it so the interviewer will see your commitment to the field.

If you do have some academic or professional experience in coding or information technology, this question gives you a chance to dig a little bit deeper.

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Can You Walk Me Through Your Career Highlights?

This question provides another chance for you to speak about your programming or computer skills in more detail.

If you're switching careers and your past experience does not relate to coding at all, that's OK. Many of the top soft skills for tech jobs can be developed in other professions. Identify which of these skills you've mastered and speak about those. For example, if your career involves problem-solving, critical thinking, or research, tie that into your answer. Additionally, if you work in a job that requires daily math skills, mention that.

You can also take this opportunity to speak about any leadership roles you've had, challenging projects you've worked on, and career-related moments you're especially proud of.

What Are Your Career Aspirations?

Think about your short-term and long-term goals when answering this question. Perhaps you want to become an entrepreneur who uses your programming skills to build websites or apps. Or maybe you want to work as a product manager at a big tech company, like Facebook or Google.

These are great goals. But think about what you want to do right after you complete the bootcamp, too, like land an internship or entry-level position at a local tech firm.

Once again, if you're changing your career path entirely, this is a good time to talk about that in more detail. Your career aspirations have probably changed. What prompted that change? What values, beliefs, or interests do you hold now that influenced your new direction? An interviewer will appreciate an introspective answer.

Be honest with this answer, too. You don't need to come up with an outside-the-box career goal to impress the interviewer. If you want to find a remote programming job so you can dedicate more time to your family, that's a perfectly good response.

What Experience Do You Have Working on Teams?

The programming profession often requires workers to complete special projects as part of a team. Because of that, bootcamps often include team projects and partner work in the curriculum.

For this question, demonstrate how you have worked well as a team player. Relate past examples where you've accomplished a goal through a collaborative effort. You could even consider talking about a sports team or community group that you attend regularly. Emphasize how you have carried out your specific role and supported others on your team. If you've led a group project, talk about your management style.

Communication is also very important when working as part of a team. You may want to tell the interviewer a little bit about your communication style, and how you've handled any work conflicts in the past. (Remember to keep your answers relatively short, though!)

Frequently Asked Questions About Coding Bootcamp Interviews

How long should my response be to the "Tell Me About Yourself" prompt?

Career advisors often tell interviewees not to go over a couple of minutes when it comes to answering the "tell me about yourself" question. Make sure you have an answer prepared so you can answer concisely, hitting the most important points and communicating a clear narrative about your career trajectory.

Will not having technical experience hurt my chances of being accepted into a bootcamp?

It depends. Some bootcamps accept total beginners without any previous coding experience, although they may still ask you to complete some exercises to gauge your problem-solving skills. However, other bootcamps do expect applicants to have some tech experience. In this case, beginners should take steps to help increase their chances of getting into the coding bootcamp.

What type of questions should I ask the interviewer during my bootcamp interview?

Some example questions to ask a coding bootcamp interviewer include:

  • How many hours do students need to dedicate outside of class?
  • What are the professional qualifications of the instructor?
  • How big are class sizes?
  • How often is the curriculum updated?
  • What are your graduation and job placement rates?
  • What is the average starting salary of graduates?
  • Are there any financial aid or scholarship opportunities?

Remember that an interview goes both ways --it's a discussion to determine whether you are a good fit for the bootcamp, as well as a chance for you to figure out whether the bootcamp fits your lifestyle and career goals.

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