Jenna Inouye | 23 Feb, 2023

Top 20 Full Stack Developer Interview Questions and Answers [2024]

A full stack developer is a jack-of-all-trades; someone who knows the ins and outs of back-end and front-end development. Full stack interview questions tend to be comprehensive, and, subsequently, intimidating. 

We’ve compiled a list of the most important full stack dev interview questions to practice and study, from technical questions to questions about your work experience.

Let’s look at the most popular interview questions for full stack developer positions. We’ll begin by discussing the basic structure of a full stack developer interview. Then, we’ll dive into some full stack developer interview questions.

What is a Full Stack Developer Interview?

First: What can you expect from full stack web developer interview questions?

If this is your first interview as a full stack developer, you’re probably nervous. But try not to worry. The interview process for a full stack developer is rigorous but clear.

While this may vary, most technology interviews operate in 3 to 4 stages. That may sound exhausting, but once you’ve cleared the initial stages, you’re usually a lock for at least an offer.

  1. A preliminary interview by a recruiter or hiring manager. Generally 10 to 15 minutes long, preliminary interviews may include a few technical questions but not many. They’re getting a feel for whether you even qualify for the position.
  2. A more in-depth interview by a direct supervisor or team lead. Now, you will have a 30 to 45-minute interview with a supervisor, team lead, and potentially other team members. This interview is to see whether you have technical skills and a “good fit.”
  3. A technical/coding interview. At this stage, you’re either asked to take a coding interview in-person (develop code in front of them) or take a project home (such as develop an API and send it in).
  4. A final interview. Optional, but sometimes there will be a final interview with the team to discuss your performance so far and any questions you have.

It’s a long step. Some of the biggest FAANG companies may take months to go through the interview process. But as you go through this process, you also attune your skills as a full stack developer.

A Quick Note on Technical Questions

If you look for full stack developer interview questions for freshers (beginners) online, you’ll see a lot of technical questions such as: 

  • What is GraphQL?
  • Describe a Rest API?
  • Should you choose jQuery or React?

In reality, these questions are very rarely asked in a full stack developer interview. As a full stack developer, you’ve already provided your portfolio. While you should know the answers to these questions, full stack development is extraordinarily broad.

You could be interviewing for a position in mobile app development for iOS or a position in enterprise SaaS development on the cloud. You could be interviewing for Python, JavaScript, or a banking application that’s built on COBOL that needs to be modernized through a sequence of ever-more-complex APIs.

Because of that, there aren’t any real “technical questions” universal to full stack web development. 

Know your code. Know your loops, functions, and strategies. Be prepared for a coding interview. But don’t over-obsess over the minutiae. Even the most rigorous employers are now using more “take home” programming examples than live coding interviews.

Basic Full Stack Development Interview Questions and Answers

As a full stack developer, you should know the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. You should understand a back-end technology like Python, Java, or C++. You should have knowledge of SQL, and potentially specific technologies like Microsoft SQL and MySQL. You will need to understand the basics of version control, integrated development environments (IDEs), and code hygiene. However, you may have less than one year of experience.

1. What is SQL?

SQL, or Structured Query Language, is a standard database query language used for accessing and manipulating data in relational databases. SQL commands are used to retrieve data from database tables, insert new records into tables, update existing records, and delete records from tables.

2. How does SQL differ from NoSQL?

SQL is a standard database query language that is used for accessing and manipulating data in relational databases, while NoSQL is a non-relational database management system that does not use the SQL query language. Functionally, NoSQL is generally used for big data, whereas SQL is used for traditional data.

3. What is GIT, and why is it so important?

Git is a version control system that allows developers to track changes to files and coordinate work on those files among multiple people. Git is commonly used for collaborative software development projects and is essential for code branching and merging in DevOps.

4. What is an HTML tag, attribute, or element?

An HTML tag is a code element that defines the structure and content of a web page. HTML tags are used to enclose web page content, such as text, images, and other media.

An HTML attribute is a code element that provides additional information about an HTML tag. Attributes typically specify the id, class, or style of an element.

An HTML element is a code element that represents a piece of content on a web page. Elements are typically enclosed by HTML tags.

5. What are the roles of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript on the page?

HTML is used to structure the content on the page, CSS is used to style the content on the page, and JavaScript is used to add interactivity or dynamic behavior to the page. In the old days, this answer was clear. Today, it can be blurred, especially because of technologies (frameworks) that mix the two.

6. How can you optimize your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript?

You can optimize your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code by minifying code, using a Content Delivery Network (CDN), or caching static assets.

7. What are the best languages for back-end web development?

You can use many programming languages for back-end web development, but popular choices include PHP, Java, Python, and Node.js (JavaScript). 

Your answer is an opinion, but be prepared to back it up and explain your personal experiences.

8. What are the major challenges of web development today?

Some major challenges of web development include scaling applications to meet increasing user demand, managing data security and privacy issues, and ensuring compatibility with a wide range of devices and browsers. 

A few years ago, the major challenge of web development was platform independence, but mobile optimization has become easier and more automated with the use of frameworks.

Intermediate Full Stack Interview Questions and Answers 

Now, you’ll dig into full stack developer interview questions and answers that reflect experience. You have likely been a developer for 2 to 3 years. The interviewer will ask questions about specific frameworks and technologies you’ve used, such as minification, SaSS, and Bootstrap. You will be asked about your experience in the industry and projects you have worked on.

9. What is your experience in full-stack web development?

A full-stack developer is someone comfortable working with all aspects of a web development project, from designing and building the user interface to setting up the server and database. But frequently, a developer comes from one area or another; they're really a back-end developer with some HTML/CSS/JavaScript skills or a front-end developer with some SQL knowledge. Describe exactly how well-versed you are in both front-end and back-end development.

10. What environment do you use to develop web applications?

Most people today start with what's known as a LAMP stack: Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. But there are increasingly exceptions now that developers are also developing web applications on the cloud. It's possible, for instance, that you primarily use an AWS Cloud Computing Server instance.

11. What is your tech stack?

A tech stack is the combination of programming languages, tools, frameworks, and libraries that a developer uses to create a web application or website. It's also known as a solution stack or software stack. 

Different types of applications will require different stacks; for instance, a basic HTML/CSS website might be built with just a text editor. As a developer, your tech stack is the sum of the technologies you prefer working with, not just the languages you use. E.g., you might like working with Bootstrap, CakePHP, and PHPMyAdmin.

12. What is your experience in database design and development?

Databases are a critical part of any web application, responsible for storing and retrieving data. A well-designed database can make a huge difference in the performance and scalability of an application. Describe your experience designing and building databases, both relational and non-relational. What technologies do you use most often?

An intermediate developer should have experience not only administering databases but developing them. Developing a database isn't just about structure and organization but also optimization. Be prepared to describe your process.

13. What is your experience in server administration and development?

Web applications are typically hosted on web servers, which handle user requests and return the appropriate response. Describe your experience setting up and configuring web servers, as well as any experience you have developing server-side code. Note that not all full-stack developers have experience in server administration; don't be afraid to say that you don't. But be clear about your willingness to learn.

14. What is your experience with DevOps?

DevOps is a set of practices that combine software development and operations to streamline the process of delivering features and updates to users. Today, DevOps is pretty essential to creating code that works and addresses customer needs quickly. If you don't have any experience in DevOps, consider taking a certification course.

15. What is your experience in cloud computing?

When you're asked this as a full-stack developer, they really want to know your experience building SaaS solutions on cloud computing servers. A web application on a cloud hosting service is not functionally different except in that it provides enterprise-grade resource management; you can requisition resources on the fly. But if you've ever created an app on Google or Amazon's cloud, you've created a cloud computing application.

16. What do you do to keep your coding skills sharp?

Perhaps unfair, but expect this question. Most employers want to hear you love programming on your own time and that you’re keeping yourself skilled and sharp. Maybe you’re doing Advent of Code challenges or working on personal video game projects. Maybe you’re taking a bootcamp. Be prepared to answer this question honestly with clear enthusiasm for the profession.

The reality is that people who don’t enjoy coding get burned out, full stack developers in particular. You want to show that you enjoy your field. 

Advanced, Experienced Full Stack Developer Interview Questions and Answers

Full stack developer interview questions and answers for experienced developers are less about technologies (they know you know about that) and more about your work habits and experience working with other people. How do you react to tight deadlines? Do you have management experience? What do you do when there’s a crunch? And how do you stay healthy and happy under stress? 

17. Have you ever led a development team? What happened and what did you learn?

Leadership is important for an experienced developer. Even if you’re not interested in a management role, a senior full stack developer will need to take charge of the team and educate them on principles and best practices. 

Example: I was the team lead on my last project. I put communication and visibility first, dug into our DevOps strategy, and we pushed the product out the door on time. I learned a lot about managing the strengths of my team members – everyone is different and does things differently, but by embracing those strengths, I was able to create the best possible project.

18. Describe a project that went wrong. What would you do differently today?

Everyone has that nightmare project. Perhaps scope creep took over. Maybe the client just didn’t know what they wanted. Everyone has failures, especially in development. What matters is your ability to learn and grow from these failures.

Example: Two key stakeholders strongly disagreed on a project’s direction. We chose the direction that made the most sense for the project, but the second stakeholder pulled the plug last minute. We should have gotten them aligned before moving forward instead of hoping for the best.

19. Describe a programming challenge that you couldn’t solve or that took you a while to solve.

As we mentioned in “intermediate” full stack web developer interview questions, you should be coding as a hobby and as a profession. It may not seem fair, but employers are frequently suspicious of those who don’t code in their spare time – it feels as though they don’t enjoy the process.

In your studies, you’ve probably run into at least one programming challenge you couldn’t solve. Describe it and the steps that you took. Frequently, it’s a dense mathematical question — no one will hold it against you if you can't build your own physics engine in your spare time.

20. Describe how you deal with your code reviews. Discuss a time when you were wrong and corrected.

If you’re an experienced full stack developer, you know by now that failure is just a part of the process. Sometimes we aren’t operating at 100%. Sometimes we overlook a clear solution. But when egos get in the way, software doesn’t get shipped. Talk about how you handle criticism. If you have had problems handling it in the past, describe how you’ve managed it now.

Tips and Tricks: How to Land and Prepare for a Full Stack Developer Interview

To answer full stack interview questions, you first need to land an interview. Let’s talk about how to get an interview and prepare for one.

Getting a Full Stack Developer Interview

If you’re not getting callbacks, it could be that your resume isn’t strong enough. Take these steps:

  • Build a strong portfolio. You need two or three real-world projects that show your skills.
  • Create a good resume. Your resume should show all the technologies you’re familiar with. Include all the web dev courses and bootcamps you’ve attended.
  • Brush off that LinkedIn. You’d be surprised how frequently recruiters reach out through social media.
  • Apply to many, many positions. Today, you might apply to 40 to even 100 positions before an interview.
  • Apply to positions you don’t always qualify for. Not everyone is going to have 10+ years of JavaScript. You might not need it. 

Think of a job description as a “wish list” rather than a series of requirements. You need a lot of applications to get an interview.

Acing a Full Stack Developer Interview

Not receiving follow-ups after an interview? Here’s what you should do: 

  • Read the job description and familiarize yourself with the technology. There are a lot of technologies involved in full stack dev.
  • Follow up with any questions you couldn't answer. Sometimes you just can’t answer well on the spot. If you think of a better answer later, just email them.
  • Focus on fit. Interviewers will want to know if you fit the company culture. Early on, they’ll interview based on personality rather than technical acumen. Don’t be afraid to show your personality.
  • Practice. Build confidence by practicing interviews with friends and family.

Most interviews are the same — people want to work with someone they get along with. A lot of interviewees make the mistake of only discussing their experience and technical skills without building a rapport. The first interview (and sometimes the second) is usually about rapport more than anything.

From your resume and portfolio, they should know you are technically strong. Now it’s time to show you’re a team player.

How to Prepare for a Coding Interview

A coding interview is a little different from the interview itself. During a coding interview, you actually solve coding problems — sometimes live, sometimes in an at-home quiz. Coding interview questions usually include knowledge of loops, optimization, and frameworks.

  • Try out some web development practice projects. Practice projects are a great way to get real-world knowledge.
  • Solve programming puzzles and quizzes. These puzzles and quizzes are frequently highlighted in coding interviews.
  • Brush up on the technologies mentioned in the job description. If it’s for Salesforce, you know they’ll want you to use Salesforce’s proprietary low-code language.

A coding interview is the most intimidating part of the interview process. Make sure you explain your code and your thought process. They don’t need you to be perfect. They need to see how you think.

Questions You Should Ask During an Interview

Interviewers often ask if you have any questions for them. Always prepare a few, like: 

  • What do you like about working for this business?
  • What is your favorite aspect of the company culture?
  • What is this company’s path toward advancement? 
  • What are key metrics for success?
  • How does this company support continuing education?

The Complete 2024 Web Development Bootcamp

Conclusion: Start Your Full Stack Developer Career Today

An interview shouldn’t be scary. Remember that you are interviewing them, too. You want to find a good fit for yourself – so don’t be afraid to ask questions or think out loud. 

In the meantime, consider:

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Do I Prepare for a Full Stack Developer Interview?

Prepare by brushing up on the skills mentioned in the job description, practicing your interview in advance, and looking back at some of your most recent projects. And, of course, review some common coding interview questions.

2. How Long are Full-Stack Developer Interviews?

Full-stack developer interviews start at 10 to 15 minutes for a preliminary meet-and-greet. From there, they range from 30 minutes to an hour. Expect that you will need to go through multiple stages, which can take days, weeks, or months depending on the experience level of the position.

3. Are Full-Stack Developer Interviews Hard?

Yes and no. If you know your stuff, they shouldn’t be difficult – but they can be stressful and time-consuming. Make them less difficult by preparing in advance. The more interviews you attend, the more confident you’ll feel. 

By Jenna Inouye

Jenna Inouye currently works at Google and has been a full-stack developer for two decades, specializing in web application design and development. She is a tech expert with a B.S. in Information & Computer Science and MCITP certification. For the last eight years, she has worked as a news and feature writer focusing on technology and finance, with bylines in Udemy, SVG, The Gamer, Productivity Spot, and Spreadsheet Point.

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