Frontend interview questions – how to impress in 2020?

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As the high demand for frontend development continues, technologies come and go and requirements change, the typical frontend interview evolves. Depending on a company, they may also put more focus on a specific framework, UX/design prowess and more. In this article, we’re going to give you a possibly most accurate description of a frontend interview in 2020, complete with frontend interview questions.

We’re continuing our series about interview questions. We have already covered the PHP interview, as well as an interview with a focus on microservices. This time, it’s all about frontend development.

According to the latest Stack Overflow Survey, as many as 32.8% of all programmers on Stack Overflow consider themselves frontend developers. That’s quite a lot. But considering the fact that frontend development is an essential and obligatory part of any web-based and many mobile-based projects, it’s hardly surprising that there are a lot of them.

Frontend developers and the companies that need their skills are in a constant process of matching, with developers of different quality and specializations joining more or less ambitious endeavors. Want to be on the “more” side? Then, make sure to nail your frontend interview!

At The Software House, frontend development is one of the most important departments. We asked TSH’s Head of Frontend Witold Ossera to provide us with an accurate description of how frontend interview looks in 2020. He can take it from here 🙂

stack overflow logo
Stack Overflow reports are an important source of software development trends

Frontend developer interview – how to approach it in 2020?

The frontend developer interview is not just about answering questions. Oftentimes, you will be asked to speak freely about yourself. It’s a great way to test the soft skills of a developer. How to tackle it?

Think back to the projects you took part in. What technologies did you use? What exactly did you do? What were most proud of? What worked really well and what did not? What else was in it that you would want to talk about? Also, if possible, boast a bit about your private projects – what you do and enjoy doing, what kind of interesting challenges you encountered in the process and how you overcame them.

If you state in your resume/website that you are familiar with a given framework, be sure to go over its documentation. It’s full of simple examples that many recruiters like to use. Browse online listicles to get a feel of the common questions that are asked during frontend interviews. But do not memorize the answers! Prepare to answer with your own words, possibly giving examples from your own experience. You don’t have to recite it – no software company is looking for a walking Wikipedia.

If you took a break from programming and trying to get back on track, improve your confidence by tackling some simple JavaScript codekatas, or develop a simple project of your own.

codekatas for frontend developers
Codekatas are programming exercises that help you hone skills through repetition

UX vs programming – how to keep the right balance in the skillset?

Aside of hard skills such as JavaScript/TypeScript, proficiency in various libraries and frameworks etc., it’s getting increasingly important for a frontend developer candidate to master soft skills.

As a frontend specialist, you should understand exactly who you develop for. You should have a feel for what works and what doesn’t when it comes to UX. After all, end users don’t care about the code quality. It is the usability they are after. It’s equally important for mobile devices. You need to ask yourself if you would like to use an app like this and understand what the answer to that means.

Frontend developer interview – key areas

These are definitely the most important areas you should expect during a frontend interview in 2020:

  • Very good understanding of JavaScript – that one is quite obvious. Aside of the language itself, you should be familiar with static code analysis tools.
  • Good knowledge of top frameworks/libraries (depending on specific needs of the company you’re applying for): React, Angular, Vue.js etc.
  • HTML5 and CSS – writing semantically correct HTML, pixel perfect implementations of designs into CSS, attention to detail, responsive web design.
  • English – you should be able to communicate fluently and make your points clearly.
  • Browsers – practical knowledge of browsers, how they work and how to debug your code in the browser.
  • Practical experience working with APIs (Rest APIs and/or GraphQL).
  • Experience in working with GIT repos.
  • Experience in writing tests.

Frontend interview questions

At The Software House, we like presenting the candidates with specific use cases and ask them about possible solutions to various practical problems. But there is no shortage of theoretical questions as well. Typical frontend interview questions in 2020 include:

  1. Do you use CSS preprocessors? What are their pros and cons?
  2. Explain the difference between Flexbox and CSS Grid. When would you use any of these? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  3. What is and why to use the Block Element Modifier (BEM) convention?
  4. JavaScript: Explain how you can use JavaScript functions such as forEach, Map, or Reduce. 
  5. JavaScript: Common questions are often related to ECMAScript 6+, including arrow functions and how they work, difference between var, let, const etc.
  6. JavaScript: Explain the difference between Async/Await and Promises.
  7. React: What is and how you can take advantage of PureComponent?
  8. React: What are higher-order components (HOC) and how you can use them in practice.
  9. React: What do you think about the latest updates of React – go over the benefits and uses of React Hooks.

Frontend interview tips

It’s not all about your skills. Your success during the interview will also depend on your planning, state of mind and overall impression you can make. Try to follow these tips to improve your chances:

  • Get a full night’s sleep before the interview. You will be sharper and more confident.
  • Get there on time – rushing to your interview will only make you more nervous unnecessarily! If you drive by car, make sure you know where you can park. 
  • Since you’re planning to start a new job, be sure to know WHY exactly you want to work there. Don’t be surprised to be asked about it.
  • What are your expectations for that new work? Be ready to give a good answer to that question as well!
  • Come up with questions of your own. What you’ll be doing, what the goals of the company are and more. Write them down before the interview.
  • Don’t try too hard to have a perfect answer to every question – nobody has to be good at everything!

Fronted interview questions – summary

What do you think about the questions and advice? Are you now ready to try your luck? Remember:

  • Make sure to prepare yourself extremely well when it comes to technologies that are your strongest suit. You don’t have to be good at everything though.
  • During a typical interview, you will be asked to solve some practical cases. Learning definitions by heart is not a good idea. Get familiar with frontend interview questions, but think of them as nothing more than a guideline.
  • Take the initiative and show the recruiters your own projects, ask them your own questions about the company and your role too.

And if you’re considering The Software House to be your next stop, make sure to go over our current job openings!

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