Scala interview questions (With example answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 September 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.

When you're applying for any role in the programming industry, having a strong interview is a necessity for getting the best possible job offers. This is especially the case when interviewers look for specific skills, such as a high level of competence with a programming language such as Scala. Knowing more about the most common interview questions in this case is an ideal part of the process. In this article, we discuss some of the most common Scala interview questions, why employers ask these questions and some of the best possible answers for these questions.

General Scala interview questions

Here are some general Scala interview questions:

  1. Why do you have an interest in this job?

  2. Why did you leave your previous job and how long were you in the role?

  3. Do you think that you are suitable for a leadership role, and what traits do you have to support this?

  4. What are some of the qualifications you have that make you suitable for this position?

  5. Name a time that you disagreed with a management decision in one of your previous workplaces and how you resolved the issue.

  6. Where do you see your career in five years? How about 20 years?

  7. How did you hear about this position?

  8. Do you prefer working in a team or as an individual when completing a large project?

  9. Do you prefer working from home, in an office environment or having a hybrid option that combines the two?

  10. What do you know about this company and why is that a good fit for you as a candidate?

  11. Do you have any gaps in your work experience? Why?

  12. Are there any reasons we shouldn't recruit you to fill the role?

Related: What to expect in an interview (in-depth guide with tips)

Scala interview questions about experience and background

Here are some of the most common interview questions candidates are asked:

  1. What is a Scala Map and why is it useful?

  2. How much experience do you have of working in programming?

  3. How much do you know about Scala libraries and which do you use most commonly in your work?

  4. What differentiates between the terms parallelism and concurrency? How much does this difference matter?

  5. What is a closure in Scala? When do you use a closure when programming in Scala?

  6. What is a Scala Trait and what are the benefits of using traits in your work?

  7. What is the difference between Array and List in Scala and why does this difference matter?

  8. What programming languages aside from Scala do you understand?

  9. What is the main use case of Scala's 'App' function and why is it useful?

  10. Do you see Scala as a scalable programming language?

  11. How does Scala differ from Java and which is your preference of language?

  12. Why did you learn Scala and what are its benefits to you and your work?

Related: Common programmer interview questions (With sample answers)

In-depth questions and example answers

Some questions interviewers ask feature more detail in their responses than others. Knowing how to provide an accurate answer is important, as these questions have a significant impact on your interview's success. See some of these questions, with example answers, below:

1. Why do you choose to work with Scala?

Companies that use Scala do so as it is an ideal programming tool for their needs. Recruiting members of staff with a strong understanding of Scala and its main use cases is ideal for a recruitment company. This means companies have a higher level of expertise from the very start, saving time and resources in the training process as members of staff already understand the complexities of Scala.

In this question, whilst Scala is the key aspect, consider comparing the language to a selection of other programming languages. For example, comparing Scala to Java demonstrates a high level of expertise across several different programming languages. This also presents the fact that you are a versatile member of staff that adapts to other coding languages when necessary. Set out your reasons clearly, and answer in a non-technical manner where possible.

Example answer: 'I enjoy using Scala in my work as I see it as a highly versatile programming language. Its scalable nature means I use it in a selection of different contexts across a range of projects. Implementing Scala means I transfer my work from smaller projects into larger ones relatively seamlessly, which saves a significant amount of time. Scala means I work more efficiently than with other programming languages.'

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

2. What do you do in your free time?

Many office spaces have a significant social aspect to them. This is important for building and retaining team morale, so knowing more about the social nature of new employees is important. Some interviewers also ask this question as a way of breaking the ice. Talking about your personal life is a good way of removing some of the formality from the situation and making everyone more at ease.

When discussing what you do in your free time, focus on discussing hobbies that specifically relate to workplace skills. For example, if you write in your free time, mentioning this is ideal as report writing is a consistent task across a range of different workplaces. Developing your skills is a constant process, so relating the skills you develop outside work to the workplace is beneficial.

Example answer: 'One of my hobbies outside of work is web design and working on my blog. This means I spend a lot of time coding new pages for my site, with the rest of the time focusing on writing reports that suit the blog's content plan. I also captain a Sunday League football team and play as a midfielder.'

Related: How to answer ‘What do you do for fun?' during an interview

3. What distinguishes you from other candidates for this position?

Whilst interviewers know you don't know the other candidates in the field, this remains a consistent question. Employers have an interest in the way you see yourself, the outstanding parts of your own work and some of the areas where you have the potential for development. This informs employers more about the members of staff they receive at the end of the process and some of the key aspects of the way you work.

When answering this question, think back to your previous workplaces. When managers assigned you certain tasks and responsibilities in the workplace, this is because these were your strongest areas. Focus on discussing these parts of your skill set, as some employers ask previous workplace questions about your strengths. This makes your interview match up closely with your references, benefiting your application's prospects.

Example answer: 'I believe my focus on the smallest details is a core aspect of my work that distinguishes me. My track record of working with large banks of data and resolving any potential issues means I demonstrate clear consistency in my projects and produce outcomes employers trust. Communication is another one of my strengths, and I work excellently in large teams and leadership positions alike.'

Related: What are hard skills and soft skills?

4. What are the personal achievements you are most proud of in your life?

This is an important question for interviewers to ask, as it develops a better understanding of who you are as an employee. Recruiting a new member of staff goes beyond someone's professional history and experience and specifically involves the way they change the dynamic in the workplace. Employers ask this as a means of establishing what you are most proud of in your personal life whilst better understanding some of your hobbies and ways of relating to you.

When preparing an answer for this question, think back on your experiences. This can include anything from entering competitions for your hobbies to completing charity events. When answering the question, speak as passionately as possible. Companies have an interest in recruiting staff with a lot of passion for what they do and this is an opportunity to demonstrate that passion.

Example answer: 'I do a major charity event every year of my life in the summer. For example, last year I did a marathon for a local mental health charity and this year I am walking across the country for cancer charities. I am proud of these events as I like making a difference in the lives of people less fortunate than myself.'

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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