Python interview questions for developers (with examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 19 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're interested in becoming a software developer or programmer, you're likely to participate in a Python interview when you apply for a job. These interviews allow you to demonstrate your proficiency and expertise in using the common programming language. A good way to prepare for this interview is to prepare answers to some mock questions in Python. In this article, we discuss what a Python interview is and outline some different Python interview questions for you to practise with.

Related: What is a Python developer? (Plus duties and skills)

What is a Python coding interview?

A Python coding interview is a technical problem-based interview that allows hiring managers to assess your programming language skills. Since Python is the most commonly used programming language, interviewers usually centre their questions around this form of code. Recruiters design these interviews to assess your coding abilities, technical knowledge, creativity and problem-solving skills. They also allow hiring managers to assess your communication skills as you explain complex programming processes in simplistic terms. Some positions that may require the interview includes information science, electrical engineering, computer engineering and science and software development questions.

Related: 10 of the most in-demand coding languages and their uses

Examples of Python interview questions

There are a number of Python interview questions a hiring manager may ask you. All these questions intend to assess your proficiency and understanding of Python through demonstrative and recounting methods. Here are some common interview questions and examples for developers about Python:

General Python questions

These questions help interviewers understand more about your professional background and experience with Python. Some of these questions are more general than others and focus on your professional goals, opinions and other skills related to the position you're applying for. Some general questions include:

  • What applications of Python have you encountered in your experience?

  • What are the benefits of using Python?

  • What are the disadvantages of Python?

  • What are the key features of Python?

  • What skills do you think you can bring to our team?

  • What are your career goals?

  • How does Python compare to other programming languages you've used?

  • Why are you interested in Python?

  • When did you first encounter Python?

Related: How much does a web developer make? (With related jobs)

Python definition questions

These questions require you to define various Python processes and features. Make sure to elaborate on your answers where necessary and use the correct terminology. Some examples of definition questions include:

  • What is a dynamically typed language?

  • What are generators?

  • What is pass in Python?

  • What are unit tests?

  • What is PEP 8?

  • What is break, continue and pass in Python?

  • What is scope in Python?

  • What is an Interpreted language?

  • What are modules and packages in Python?

  • What does args and kwargs mean?

  • What is PYTHONPATH in Python?

  • What is pickling and unpickling?

  • What are Python namespaces?

  • What is lambda in Python?

  • What are lists and tuples?

  • What is Flask?

  • What is a docstring?

  • What is __init__?

  • What is slicing in Python?

  • What are iterators in Python?

  • What are keywords in Python?

  • What are negative indexes?

  • What are dict and list comprehensions?

  • What are global, protected and private attributes in Python?

  • What is docstring in Python?

  • What are the common built-in data types in Python?

Demonstrative questions

These questions require you to talk the interviewer through certain Python processes. Some demonstrative questions include:

  • Explain how can you make a Python Script executable on Unix.

  • How does inheritance work in Python? Explain it with an example.

  • Illustrate the correct method for Python error handling.

  • How can you concatenate two tuples?

  • Demonstrate how you combine different panda dataframes.

  • Show what len() does.

  • Explain the different Literals in Python.

  • Give an example showing the MVC pattern for your application.

  • How do you access parent members in the child class?

  • Explain how to delete a file in Python.

  • How would you access a module written in Python from C?

  • Define pandas dataframe and how to create one.

  • How would you convert a string to all lower case?

  • Write a program to produce the Fibonacci sequence in Python.

  • What is the use of help() and dir() functions?

  • How can you initialise a 5*5 NumPy array with only zeroes?

Proficiency questions

These questions help determine how skilled you are when using Python. They're less about demonstrating your knowledge as they require you to compare and contrast different formulas and features in Python based on their function. Some examples include:

  • What is the key difference between lists and tuples?

  • What is the difference between .py and .pyc files?

  • Why are negative indexes used?

  • Is indentation required?

  • How can you make a Python script executable on Unix?

  • Why is lambda used?

  • Why is finalise used?

  • What is the difference between xrange and range?

  • What is the difference between Python Arrays and lists?

  • Can you create a series from the dictionary object in pandas?

  • How would you check if a class is a child of another class?

  • How are arguments passed by value or by reference in Python?

  • What are the differences between Django, Pyramid and Flask?

  • Is it possible to call parent class without its instance creation?

  • Is Python an interpreted or uninterpreted language? What does that mean?

  • How does Python manage memory?

  • Is Python case sensitive?

  • Are access specifiers used in Python?

Related: What does a software developer do (with skills and salary)

How to prepare for your interview

Alongside preparing answers to potential interview questions, there are other ways to prepare for your coding interview. Preparation can help you to remain calm in the interview and focus on the question. Some other ways to prepare for a Python interview include:

1. Review data structures and algorithms

Familiarise yourself with basic Python data structures that you may forget about as an experienced professional. Some of these basic structures include dictionaries, data structures and tuples. Make sure you're able to compare and contrast different data structures and enforce them.

Related: 7 best data structure and algorithm courses: a guide

2. Demonstrate your personal projects

Create a portfolio of any data processing, web interfaces or small desktop programmes you've created in the past. Interviewers may ask you to provide evidence of projects you've worked on previously that use Python. These projects showcase your ability to create a working piece of software by using and manipulating programming language.

3. Review key concepts and terminology

There are several resources you can use to refresh your knowledge of Python. Look for online courses, books or knowledge proficiency tests that help you go over the basic and advanced principles of Python. Be sure to focus on areas that you're the least competent in first.

4. Practise your problem-solving skills

Many technical-based questions asked in Python interviews require you to use problem-solving skills. These skills show hiring managers that you're able to handle problems or complex coding tasks by drawing on methods that you understand. Take online Python quizzes that require you to solve problems and create code. This ensures you're able to explain these processes when answering demonstrative questions.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

Python interview questions with example answers

Example questions and answers can give you an understanding of how to structure your responses to different question types in an interview. Be sure to tailor your responses according to your own understanding to avoid seeming robotic. Here are three interview questions with example answers to get you started:

What are the benefits of using Python?

This question helps interviewers understand your basic knowledge of Python and also why you consider it useful. Avoid simply listing the benefits and using non-specific vocabulary.

Example: 'Python is a high-level programming language that's easy to use and learn, making it suitable for software developers with varying experience levels. As an interpreted programming language, Python executes code line by line and stops when it recognises any errors. The architectural framework also prioritises code readability and utilises indentation. Other recognisable qualities are that it supports third-party packages, it's free to use and has a large open-source community.'

Related: A guide to programming language popularity (With definition)

What is the difference between new and override modifiers?

It's essential that you don't overcomplicate this question. Provide a simple and straightforward answer that shows your ability to sum up complex functions.

Example: 'The override modifier overrides a base class function inside the child class. Alternatively, the new modifier function is useful when instructing the compiler to the new implementation and not the base class function.'

How does inheritance work in Python? Explain it with an example

This is a demonstrative question with two parts. Start by explaining the processes of inheritance before putting it into context.

Example: 'Inheritance is the process of deriving a class from another class and creating a hierarchy of classes that share the same qualities and methods. Different examples of inheritance include single inheritance, multi-level inheritance and multiple inheritance. Multiple inheritance occurs when one child class derives members from more than one parent class. This leads to all features of parent classes becoming inherited by the child class.'

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