How the Best SWE Interns Prepare for Interviews: Tips and Strategies

Discover the proven strategies and top tips used by successful software engineering (SWE) interns to prepare for interviews. Learn how to stand out and increase your chances of securing the internship of your dreams.

FEBRUARY 11, 2024



Volunteer & ML Research Engineer

Understanding the Role and Company

Before going into an interview, it is crucial to fully understand the role you are applying for and the company you are interviewing with. This will not only help you prepare for the interview, but also show the interviewer that you are genuinely interested in the position and the company.

Here are some tips and strategies to help you understand the role and company better:

1. Read the job description thoroughly

Go through the job description carefully and make note of the key responsibilities and requirements. Consider how your skills and experiences align with the role. This will help you prepare relevant examples to showcase during the interview.

2. Research the company

Visit the company's website and explore their products, services, and values. Look for any recent news articles or press releases about the company. This will give you insights into their mission, culture, and the industry they operate in.

3. Understand the company's tech stack

If you are applying for a Software Engineering (SWE) internship, it is important to understand the company's tech stack. Research the programming languages, frameworks, and tools they use in their development process. This will allow you to speak knowledgeably about their tech stack and demonstrate your interest and familiarity with it.

4. Leverage employee resources

Many companies have blogs, YouTube channels, or other platforms where their employees share their experiences and insights. Take advantage of these resources to get a better understanding of the company culture, work environment, and the day-to-day life of a software engineer at the company.

5. Utilize internships listing websites

Websites like InternStreet provide up-to-date lists of internships available in various industries. Use these platforms to search for internships that align with your interests and skills. The internship descriptions often contain valuable information about the role and the company.

By understanding the role and company before an interview, you will be better prepared to answer questions and showcase your fit for the position. It will also give you confidence and enable you to ask thoughtful questions during the interview, highlighting your genuine interest in the company. Remember, preparation is key to success in interviews!


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Mastering Technical Concepts

As a software engineering intern, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of technical concepts in order to excel in interviews. Here are some tips and strategies to help you prepare:

  1. Review the fundamentals: Start by reviewing the core concepts of computer science such as data structures, algorithms, object-oriented programming, and system design. Make sure you have a good grasp of these fundamental concepts as they form the basis of many technical interviews.

  2. Practice coding: Coding is a skill that requires practice, so make sure you spend time coding on a daily basis. Solve coding problems on platforms like LeetCode, HackerRank, and CodeSignal to improve your problem-solving skills and gain familiarity with common coding interview questions.

  3. Work on side projects: Side projects are an excellent way to showcase your skills and demonstrate your passion for software engineering. Build a project that aligns with your interests and incorporates a variety of technical concepts. This will give you something tangible to discuss during interviews and set you apart from other candidates.

  4. Contribute to open-source projects: Contributing to open-source projects is a great way to collaborate with other developers and gain real-world experience. Find a project that interests you and start contributing. This will not only enhance your technical skills but also demonstrate your ability to work in a team and contribute to larger codebases.

  5. Stay up to date with industry trends: The field of software engineering is constantly evolving, so it is important to stay updated with the latest industry trends and technologies. Follow tech blogs, join online communities, and attend tech conferences to learn about new tools and frameworks. This knowledge will come in handy during technical interviews and show your enthusiasm for the field.

  6. Mock interviews: Practice mock interviews with friends or mentors to simulate the interview experience. This will help you become more comfortable with the interview format and improve your problem-solving and communication skills. Ask for feedback after each mock interview to identify areas for improvement.

  7. Review past interview questions: Look up previous interview questions asked by companies you are interested in. Familiarize yourself with their interview process and the types of questions they ask. Practice solving these questions to get a sense of the difficulty level and to build your problem-solving techniques.

  8. Utilize online resources: There are numerous online resources available to help you prepare for technical interviews. Websites like, Pramp, and AlgoExpert offer practice interview sessions, coding challenges, and study materials. Take advantage of these resources to supplement your preparation.

By following these tips and strategies, you can strengthen your technical skills and increase your chances of performing well in software engineering intern interviews. Remember to practice consistently, stay motivated, and approach each interview as a learning experience. Good luck!

Practicing Coding and Problem-Solving

As an aspiring software engineering intern, it is crucial to spend time practicing your coding and problem-solving skills. Many top companies will test your technical abilities during the interview process, so being well-prepared in this area is essential. Here are some tips and strategies to help you practice effectively:

  1. Start with the basics: Begin by familiarizing yourself with coding languages frequently used in software engineering, such as Java, Python, or C++. Make sure you have a good understanding of the fundamentals, including data structures, algorithms, and object-oriented programming concepts.

  2. Solve coding challenges: There are numerous online platforms that offer coding challenges and practice problems, such as LeetCode, HackerRank, and Codewars. These platforms provide a wide range of coding exercises that can help you improve your problem-solving skills. Start with easier problems and gradually work your way up to more complex ones.

  3. Participate in coding competitions: Joining coding competitions, such as ACM ICPC or Google Code Jam, can be an excellent way to challenge yourself and gauge your skills against other aspiring software engineers. These competitions often have time constraints and test your ability to solve problems efficiently under pressure.

  4. Contribute to open-source projects: Collaborating on open-source projects not only allows you to gain practical experience but also enhances your coding skills. You can find open-source projects on platforms like GitHub and contribute by fixing bugs, adding new features, or improving documentation. This experience demonstrates your ability to work in a team and contribute to real-world projects.

  5. Pair programming: Find a study partner or join a coding group to engage in pair programming sessions. Pair programming involves two programmers working together on the same codebase. This practice not only helps you learn from others but also improves your communication and collaboration skills.

  6. Review and analyze existing code: Take the time to review and analyze code written by experienced software engineers. Reading through well-written code can give you insights into best practices and help you understand different coding styles. You can find quality code examples in open-source projects, online tutorials, and programming books.

  7. Mock interviews: Practice mock interviews with friends or mentors who have experience in software engineering. Focus on technical interview questions and coding problems that are commonly asked during internship interviews. Make sure to simulate a real interview environment by using a whiteboard or an online coding platform.

Remember that consistency and dedication are key when practicing coding and problem-solving. The more you practice, the more confident you will become in your abilities. Good luck with your intern interviews!

Developing Soft Skills

Soft skills are just as important as technical skills when it comes to being a successful software engineering intern. Employers look for interns who not only possess the technical knowledge required for the job, but also have strong communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. Here are some tips and strategies to help you develop and showcase your soft skills during interviews:

  1. Practice communication: Good communication is essential in the workplace, and employers want to see that you can effectively convey your thoughts and ideas. Practice speaking clearly and concisely, and work on explaining complex concepts in a simple and understandable way. Be confident in your ability to communicate with others, whether it's in person, on the phone, or through email.

  2. Demonstrate problem-solving skills: Software engineering is all about solving problems, so employers want to know that you have the ability to think critically and come up with creative solutions. Prepare examples of times when you have faced challenges or setbacks, and describe how you navigated through them. Emphasize your ability to analyze problems, break them down into smaller parts, and come up with effective solutions.

  3. Highlight teamwork abilities: Software engineering is rarely a solitary endeavor, so employers value interns who can work well with others. Talk about your experiences working on group projects or collaborating with others to achieve a common goal. Highlight your ability to listen to others, contribute ideas, and work together to find the best solution.

  4. Practice active listening: Active listening involves fully focusing on and understanding the person speaking to you. Show your interviewer that you value their words by maintaining eye contact, nodding, and asking clarifying questions. This not only demonstrates your ability to listen, but also shows that you are engaged and interested in the conversation.

  5. Be adaptable: The software engineering industry is constantly evolving, and employers want interns who can adapt to new technologies and methodologies. Show that you are open to learning and willing to step outside of your comfort zone. Talk about times when you have learned new programming languages or frameworks, or when you have quickly adjusted to changes in project requirements.

By preparing for interviews with these soft skills in mind, you can demonstrate to employers that you are not only technically proficient, but also possess the qualities necessary to thrive in a professional environment. Don't forget to practice, as the more you hone these skills, the more confident you will become in interviews. Good luck!


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Find an internship on InternStreet. (50+ Added Today!)

Leveraging Resources and Seeking Support

Preparing for a software engineering internship interview can be challenging, but there are many resources available to help you succeed. Here are some tips and strategies to leverage resources and seek support during your interview preparation:

  1. Online Coding Platforms: Utilize online coding platforms such as HackerRank, LeetCode, or CodeSignal to practice coding challenges and improve your problem-solving skills. These platforms often offer a variety of coding problems from different companies, making them a great resource to simulate real interview scenarios.

  2. Interview Preparation Websites: Take advantage of interview preparation websites like or InterviewCake. These platforms provide practice interviews, algorithm explanations, and coding exercises specifically tailored to software engineering internships. They can help you familiarize yourself with the types of questions typically asked in interviews and improve your overall performance.

  3. Books and Online Tutorials: Read books and complete online tutorials that focus on software engineering interview preparation. Some highly recommended titles include "Cracking the Coding Interview" by Gayle Laakmann McDowell and "Elements of Programming Interviews" by Adnan Aziz, Tsung-Hsien Lee, and Amit Prakash. These resources offer valuable insights into the interview process and provide sample questions and solutions to help you practice.

  4. Mock Interviews: Conduct mock interviews with friends, classmates, or mentors who have experience in the industry. Mock interviews can help you identify areas of weakness and gain confidence in your interview skills. Consider reaching out to your university's career services department or joining a coding bootcamp to find opportunities for mock interviews.

  5. Online Communities: Join online communities and forums where you can connect with other software engineering internship candidates. Platforms like Reddit, Quora, and Stack Overflow have dedicated communities where you can ask questions, share resources, and learn from others' experiences. Engaging with these communities can provide valuable insights and support throughout your interview preparation journey.

  6. Seeking Support: Don't be afraid to seek support from your professors, career advisors, or mentors. They can provide guidance, offer valuable feedback on your resume or interview strategies, and help you stay motivated during the process. Additionally, consider joining professional organizations or networking events where you can meet industry professionals and learn from their experiences.

Remember, preparing for a software engineering internship interview is a journey that requires dedication and persistence. By leveraging the available resources and seeking support, you can enhance your preparation and increase your chances of success. Good luck!


Preparing for software engineering interviews can be a daunting task for interns. However, with the right strategies and tips, you can increase your chances of success.

Start by gaining a solid understanding of the fundamentals of data structures, algorithms, and coding languages. Practice solving coding problems daily to improve your problem-solving skills and become familiar with common interview questions.

Utilize online resources like LeetCode, HackerRank, and CodeSignal to access a wide range of coding challenges and practice problems. Take advantage of mock interview platforms like or Pramp to simulate real interview scenarios and receive feedback from experienced engineers.

Additionally, attending technical workshops, participating in coding competitions, and collaborating with fellow interns can provide valuable learning opportunities and help you build a strong network within the tech community.

Remember to research the companies you are interviewing with to understand their specific requirements and the technologies they use. This will not only demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm but also allow you to tailor your preparation accordingly.

Lastly, don't be afraid to ask for help or seek guidance from mentors, professors, or internship placement websites like InternStreet. These resources can provide valuable insights and support throughout your interview preparation journey.

By following these tips and strategies, you can position yourself as a competitive candidate and increase your chances of landing a software engineering internship. Good luck!


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