I am a software engineer who took a number of years off to deal with a family commitment that is now resolved. I have started applying for software developer roles. Can anyone advise how I should approach the job interviews when I've been out of software development for years and I'm quite rusty? I am trying to make a plan of actions I need to do, so suggestions are useful.

I'm going to start writing code for some personal project, and study up on agile practices again.

Is there anything else I should be doing a) To prepare in advance of an interview b) Advice for the interview itself

My previous experience is that software development interviews involve a lot of technical questions which I am likely to struggle with at the moment, particularly with the advances in technology over the last couple years that I have missed.

My background was in C#/.Net, but I would really like to get into Java this time around - for whatever reason, in my area there are 2 Java jobs for every C# job and also seem to be better paid. Comment if you think trying to get into Java is unwise.

  • These questions should help somewhat.
    – Chris E
    Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 18:51
  • 2
    As for Java, it's not that different from C#. It's just more verbose, depending on which version of Java you're using. If it's for Android, you use an older version so there's all that getting and setting code. Ugh. I much prefer C# myself and while I know Java, I don't even apply for those. I'd rather wait for a good C# job.
    – Chris E
    Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 19:06
  • All you can really do is openly state "I'm rusty since I have not worked for X years." There is infinite demand for (good) programmers, so it should be fine.
    – Fattie
    Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 19:34
  • How many years is “a number of years”? It likely matters. If it’s 2 years you can probably just write a cover letter and practice a lot to ace the interview. If it’s 10 years, you may need to take more drastic steps to do a career reboot. The number matters and I’m not sure the question can be answered without it (or at least a rough estimate).
    – bob
    Commented Jul 9, 2023 at 13:40
  • Re: the “it’s been 10+ years” scenario, you may need to go to school and get a new degree and/or get highly active in open source dev (major contributor on a major dev community project) or something similarly significant to get hired with a really long gap.
    – bob
    Commented Jul 9, 2023 at 13:44

1 Answer 1


My thoughts would be that you should definitely try doing a number of personal projects while you are going through the process of getting interviews. It's a great way to brush up on some rusty skills.

As for the interviews themselves, there are a number of sites that offer "Java interview questions". Just googling that term should get you all that you realistically need. Not that your interviewer will give you those exact questions, but they can give you a decent idea of the ins and outs of the language, depending on how diligently you study them.

As far as C# vs. Java goes, remember that "Uncle Bob" (Robert Martin) says that C# IS Java - The languages are so very similar that knowledge of one can easily transfer to the other.

I also wouldn't worry too much about the advances in the languages in the past few years. For example, comparing Java 1.5 to the current version isn't like trying to compare assembly code to Go or anything. Java is still basically Java, and the same could be said of C# as well.

I think some of this is primarily opinion based, but hopefully that gets you started in the right direction.

  • 1
    If OP was out of software dev for a decade or more, worrying about recent advances will be important. If they come into a web dev interview and all they know is JSP for example, that’s not going to work in their favor in most cases.
    – bob
    Commented Jul 9, 2023 at 13:45
  • True, but if I was out of date I'd be looking at back-end jobs, where trends change more slowly.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jul 9, 2023 at 16:37

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