Top 10 Most Common Android Interview Questions

April 1st, 2013 Leave a comment
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Android Interview Questions

Looking for a job as an Android developer? You’ll likely be grilled in the interview to make sure you know what you’re talking about. Here’s a list of some of the most common Android interview questions and how you should handle them!

1. What is Android?

You’d be amazed at how many interviewees say “An open-source mobile operating system…” and then start fumbling for words. Be precise and on-point with your explanation without going into too much extraneous detail: Android is a Linux-based mobile operating system that allows developers to create applications that can perform basic and advanced functions for a user.

2. What Is The Android Architecture?

Here’s another question that’s often asked- it’s a bit pedantic, but does reveal how much formal training a developer’s had. Here’s a solid answer for it:

The Android architecture is made up of:

  • Linux Kernel
  • Libraries
  • Android Framework
  • Android Applications

Most interviewers will be satisfied with that answer. Best to learn this one by rote, as the answer won’t change that much.

3. What’s the difference between an activity and a service?

This is another one of those tricky questions that may leave a developer fumbling for words even though they instinctively or practically know the difference between activities and services. In a nutshell, you can say that activities can be terminated or closed whenever a user wishes. Services, on the other hand, are meant to run behind the scenes and act independently. These services run continuously even when there are no activities being executed.

4. What do you think are some of the weaknesses of Android?

Much like the “What do you think your weaknesses are” question common to job interviews in general, you need to make sure you address the disadvantages of Android without seeming disparaging. You can discuss fragmentation and the difficulties of designing around it as well as the different shapes and sizes of the devices making it challenging to write an app that will work uniformly across most of the devices on the market.

5. Why is Android important, specifically in the mobile market?

While this one is often more prevalent in a managerial interview, it’ll pop up in developer interviews as well, especially in smaller shops or enterprise conditions that want developers with a sales-oriented mindset. You can talk about Android’s market share and how it represents a large customer base, but also be on the lookout for the interviewer’s likes and dislikes: if they’re open-source friendly, talk about how it offers an open alternative to closed-source walled gardens like Windows Phone or iOS.

6. What is the importance of requesting settings permissions in app development?

The right answer here is, of course, to only ask for the bare minimum of permissions you need- from a programmatic standpoint, anyway. If you want to fluff it out a bit for an eager interviewer, elaborate on how a program might need functionality in different ways and which permissions you’d ask for to ensure proper functionality.

7. What role does Dalvik play in Android development?

This one is another question that might be obvious programmatically but can trip you up verbally. Dalvik serves as a virtual machine, and Android applications run in it. With Dalvik, a device is able to run multiple virtual machines efficiently through better memory management; be careful not to call it a Java virtual machine, as it technically isn’t and doesn’t conform to Java SE or ME class library profiles.

8. When is the best time to kill a foreground activity?

The best time to kill a foreground activity is, generally speaking, only as a last resort. Foreground activities are normally the most important state, and if the device is lagging or non-responsive then you might have to be forced to kill a foreground activity.

9. Why do you want to go into Android application development?

Many interviewers will try to suss out your motivations and reasons. You can riff off a similar answer to #5 here, especially in regards to open-source development and the challenges of a mobile architecture: make sure to be honest, though, as you don’t want to shoehorn yourself into a path that you definitely didn’t want to go down in the first place.

10. Is Android secure?

The interviewer’s most likely looking for you not to answer yes or no off the bat: talk about Android’s recent security issues (including malware in the market as well as black markets) but also make sue to reiterate that the actual OS itself has a number of security features that make it very secure. Bonus if you can talk about how you would go about securing your applications and the OS itself programmatically.

Conclusion

While there are other Android interview questions out there, these tend to be some of the most common ones you’ll see in the wild. Hopefully it’ll help you nail that final interview- now get out there and get talking!

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