The Complete Guide to Python Interview Questions in 2023

The Complete Guide to Python Interview Questions in 2023


Python is one of the most popular programming languages today and a common one used in technical interviews. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore some of the most common Python interview questions asked and provide sample answers to help prepare you for the coding interview process.

We’ll cover key Python concepts like language fundamentals, data structures, algorithms, object-oriented and functional programming, multithreading, web frameworks, and software design principles.

Let’s dive in!

Python Interview Questions: Fundamentals

Python language fundamentals include syntax, data types, variable assignment, control flow constructs, and language paradigms like object-oriented and functional programming. Interviewers commonly test candidates on this core knowledge.

Q: What are some key features of the Python programming language?

Python is an interpreted, object-oriented, high-level programming language known for its simplicity, readability and huge standard library. Some key Python features include:

  • Dynamic typing with duck typing capabilities
  • Automatic memory management and garbage collection
  • Extensive library and framework ecosystem
  • Interpreted for development speed and portability
  • Support for multiple programming paradigms like OOP, structured, and functional programming

Q: What are the main Python data types?

The core Python data types include:

  • Integers – Whole numbers like 1, 2, 3
  • Floats – Decimal point values like 1.5, 5.0, etc
  • Strings – Sequence of Unicode characters
  • Lists – Ordered collection of objects in []
  • Tuples – Immutable ordered collection in ()
  • Sets – Unordered collection of unique objects in {}
  • Dictionaries – Collection of key-value pair mappings in {}

Python also has Boolean, complex number, and byte data types.

Q: What is duck typing in Python?

Duck typing refers to the dynamic typing paradigm where the runtime type of objects is less important than the methods they provide. Class types are “duck typed” by ensuring they have the required methods rather than conforming to specific class hierarchies.

If it walks and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck! This avoids overly rigid structural inheritance requirements.

Q: How are variables assigned in Python?

In Python, variables are references that point to objects in memory. They are assigned using the = operator:

x = 5   # x points to an integer object with value 5

Variables don’t have specific types – they reference objects of any type. This dynamic typing allows reassigning variables to objects of different types.

Q: What are the main conditional statements in Python?

  • if statement – Executes code block if condition is True
  • else statement – Executes optional code block if if condition is False
  • elif statement – Chain conditional blocks after initial if statement
  • for loop – Iterate over sequences like lists, strings
  • while loop – Repeatedly execute block while condition is True

Q: How are exceptions handled in Python?

Python uses try/except statements for exception handling:

   # Code block to try 
except ValueError:
   # Handle value error
   # Optionally handle all other exceptions
   # Runs if no exceptions
   # Always execute finally block

raise statements also explicitly trigger exceptions in code.

Proper exception handling makes Python programs robust and fault tolerant.

Q: What Python libraries are you familiar with?

Some widely used Python libraries include:

  • Numpy – Foundational package for scientific computing
  • Pandas – Data analysis and manipulation tool built on Numpy
  • Matplotlib – Comprehensive 2D/3D plotting and visualization
  • Scikit-learn – Core machine learning library with many algorithms
  • Django – Full-featured web framework for rapid development
  • Flask – Lightweight web development microframework
  • Requests – Simplified HTTP client library

The extensive Python ecosystem provides libraries for virtually any task.

Python Data Structure Questions

Since Python lists, dictionaries, tuples and sets provide the core data types, questions on proper usage and manipulation are common Python Data Structure Questions

Q: How can you concatenate two lists in Python?

The + operator allows concatenating lists in Python:

list1 = [1, 2, 3]
list2 = [4, 5, 6]

joined_list = list1 + list2 # [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

We can also use the extend() method:


Q: What is the runtime complexity of inserting into a Python list?

Inserting into a list is O(N) time since all elements after the insert index must be shifted over. Appending to the end of a list is fast at O(1) however.

Q: How do you implement a stack or queue in Python?

Python lists provide the standard way to implement stacks and queues:

Stack – Use append() and pop() methods on a list:

stack = []

stack.append(1) # Push 
x = stack.pop() # Pop

Queue – Use collections.deque object which optimizes append/pop from both ends:

from collections import deque

queue = deque() 

queue.append(1) # Enqueue
x = queue.popleft() # Dequeue

Q: What are the operations supported by Python dictionaries?

Python dictionaries support:

  • Insertion using dict[key] = value syntax
  • Deletion with del dict[key] or dict.pop(key)
  • Membership test with key in dict syntax
  • Lookup value for key using dict[key]

Dictionaries are implemented using hash tables allowing fast O(1) lookups.

Q: How can you merge two dictionaries in Python?

Merging two dicts in Python can be done using the update() method:

dict1 = {'a': 1, 'b': 2} 
dict2 = {'b': 3, 'c': 4}

# Result: {'a': 1, 'b': 3, 'c': 4}

We can also use the ** operator:

dict3 = {**dict1, **dict2}

This unpacks each dict into dict3 concatenating them.

Python Coding and Algorithms Questions

Interviewers commonly ask candidates to solve real problems by Python Coding and Algorithms Questions:

Q: Write a function that reverses a string in Python.

Here is one way to reverse a string in Python:

def reverse_string(text):
  return text[::-1]
print(reverse_string("hello")) # "olleh"

The [::-1] slice syntax causes string to be stepped through backwards.

Alternatively we can use a for loop:

def reverse_string(text):
  reversed = ""
  for char in text:
    reversed = char + reversed
  return reversed

print(reverse_string("hello")) # "olleh"

Here we iteratively prepend each character to build up the reversed string.

Q: How can you check if a Python list contains duplicates?

Here is an algorithm to check if list contains duplicates:

def contains_duplicates(list):
  seen = set()
  for element in list:
    if element in seen:
      return True
  return False

This keeps track of elements seen and returns True if any element is seen more than once.

Q: Write a function that takes two sorted lists and merges them together into a single sorted list.

Here is one approach:

def merge_lists(list1, list2):
  merged = []
  i, j = 0, 0

  while i < len(list1) and j < len(list2):
    if list1[i] < list2[j]:
      i += 1
      j += 1

  return merged

This iterates through both lists simultaneously combining elements in sorted order. Runtime is O(N) where N is total elements.

Q: How can you find the maximum depth of a tree in Python?

Here is an algorithm using depth-first search:

def max_depth(root):
  if not root:
    return 0

  left_depth = max_depth(root.left)
  right_depth = max_depth(root.right)

  return 1 + max(left_depth, right_depth)

At each node, we recursively compute the depth of the left and right subtrees. The final depth is 1 plus the maximum depth of the deeper subtree.

Python Object Oriented and Functional Programming Questions

Since Python supports both object-oriented (OOP) and functional programming styles, expect related questions:

Q: What is the difference between a class and an instance in Python?

A class is a blueprint for objects – it defines properties and behaviors. An instance is a specific object created from a particular class.

For example:

class Person:
  def __init__(self, name): = name

john = Person('John') # Person instance
jane = Person('Jane') # Different Person instance

Instances inherit the class blueprint but contain distinct state and data.

Q: How do you define a class inheritance hierarchy in Python?

Python supports single and multiple inheritance. To define an inheritance hierarchy, we specify parent classes when defining a child class:

class Vehicle:
  def start(self):

class Car(Vehicle):
  def drive(self):

class Truck(Vehicle):
  def haul(self):
    print("Hauling heavy load")

Here Car and Truck inherit start() from parent Vehicle and define their own custom methods.

Q: What are decorators in Python?

Python decorators provide a syntax for wrapping or modifying functions and classes. This allows extending behavior without permanently modifying code.

For example:

def verbose(func):
  def wrapper():
    print("Function", func.__name__, "executing")
  return wrapper

def print_text():
  print("Some text") 

# Prints "Function print_text executing" before call

The @verbose syntax attaches the decorator to the function. Decorators supercharge Python with metaprogramming capabilities.

Q: How can you make a Python function pure?

A pure function has no side effects and always returns the same value for same arguments. Here is an example:

def pure_sum(x, y):
  temp = x + y
  return temp

No class variables or global state change. Given inputs 3 and 5, will always return 8.

Pure functions aid understandability and testability.

Python Design and Architecture Questions

Python Design and architecture questions aim to understand how you structure real Python programs and workflows:

Q: How would you optimize performance in a Python web application?

Some ways to optimize Python web apps:

  • Use asynchronous frameworks like Sanic and uvloop rather than synchronous Flask/Django
  • Offload expensive work like ML inference to background Celery workers
  • Enable caching and CDNs to reduce database load
  • Monitor using profiling tools to identify bottlenecks
  • Use PyPy or Numba to JIT compile hot code paths
  • Avoid premature optimization – measure then optimize bottlenecks

Q: How would you deploy a new Python web service?

Some modern best practices for deploying Python web services:

  • Containerize the app in Docker for portability
  • Use Kubernetes or AWS ECS for orchestration
  • Configure CI/CD pipeline to build and deploy images
  • Set up monitoring, logging and alerting
  • Make security a priority with HTTPS, auth, rate limiting etc
  • Handle traffic spikes with autoscaling and replicas
  • Support zero-downtime deploys with rolling updates

Q: How would you structure a complex Python application?

For large Python applications, I would recommend:

  • Organizing into modules and packages
  • Encapsulating business logic into services
  • Separating interface layers like APIs and UIs
  • Having loose coupling between components
  • Adding configuration, authentication and telemetry
  • Logging calls, metrics and errors
  • Introducing concurrency with threads, asyncio etc

The goal is modular, resilient and observable systems following best practices.


This guide has covered a wide array of Python interview questions testing your knowledge of Python fundamentals, data structures, algorithms, design patterns and programming principles.

Preparing answers and being able to eloquently code algorithms on the spot will help you stand out as a strong Python developer during the technical interview screening process.

Remember to think through examples thoroughly, clearly communicate your approach, double check syntax, and test edge cases while coding.

With diligent practice of Python syntax and problem solving, you’ll be equipped to ace your next Python developer interview!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are some useful tips for effectively answering and communicating during Python interview questions?

A: Speak clearly, explain your thought process step-by-step, check in frequently with the interviewer, think through edge cases, ask clarifying questions if unsure, and test your code thoroughly. The communication is just as important as writing correct code.

Q: If I’m stuck on a Python interview questions, what should I do?

A: First, take a moment to think through the problem and formulate an approach. If still stuck, explain where you are at and ask the interviewer for a hint. Honest communication is appreciated.

Q: What Python topics should I focus my preparation on the most?

A: Have a solid grasp of data structures, algorithms, object-oriented programming principles like inheritance and polymorphism, and sufficient Python language familiarity to write syntactically correct code quickly.

Q: How much Python trivia and factual knowledge is required in python interview questions?

A: Generally not too much – the focus is more on practical coding skills, design decisions, and communication. But ensure you know Python’s major features and principles.

Q: Are there certain Python skills I can skip focusing on for interviews?

A: Advanced areas like metaprogramming and introspection won’t likely come up. But have reasonable breadth across language fundamentals, common data structures and algorithms.

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