Job Interview Question & Answer: What Computer Programs Do You Know?

Job Interview Question & Answer: What Computer Programs Do You Know?

When going through a job interview, it’s common to face a wide range of questions. One particular question that frequently comes up is, “What computer programs do you know?” This question aims to gauge the candidate’s technical and software proficiency and how it relates to the job at hand.

Knowing how to answer this question can go a long way in making a good impression on the interviewer. In this article, we will provide guidance on the best way to answer this question to increase your chances of landing the job.

What does ‘Computer Programs’ refer to in this context?

When faced with this question, the interviewer is asking for your proficiency in computer software programs. These programs are applications that run on computers and accomplish specific tasks. They can either be commercial dedicated software or in-built computer utilities.

Why do interviewers ask about computer programs?

Knowing the computer programs that a candidate is proficient in provides insight into their technical, communication and teamwork skills. Depending on the responsibilities of the job, some programs may be essential skills for the candidate. The interviewer wants to gauge your proficiency in the relevant programs to ensure you are best suited for the job.

How do I know the specific programs that I should mention?

Before the interview, research the job position you applied for and its related technical duties. Once you have a clear understanding of the job, make a list of computer programs that are relevant to the position. This gives you a starting point when mentioning the software you are proficient in.

What should I do if I’m not confident in any specific program?

Be honest and straightforward about your proficiency level in the programs you have used. Indicate your willingness and eagerness to learn any relevant software programs.

What should I include in my answer for maximum impact?

Strengthen your answer by highlighting specific tasks that you have accomplished with the programs you mention. This gives the interviewer an actual sense of the impact of your proficiency. Indicating that you are tech-savvy and a fast learner in new software programs is also a bonus.

How do I answer this question if I know many programs?

Create a relevant flow based on the job position you applied for and your proficiency level in each program. Begin with the most relevant software for the position and give each program’s proficiency level. Demonstrate past experiences that you have had using the software for any relevant work.

What should I avoid when answering this question?

Do not exaggerate your proficiency level in any software. Avoid mentioning programs you do not have the experience of using as this gives a dishonest impression. Anything but honesty will impact your credibility and decrease your chances of being hired.

Should I only mention software related to the job, or can I mention programs from other domains?

When discussing software programs, avoid mentioning irrelevant software or software that has no correlation to the job position. It distracts the interviewer and wastes the limited time available. Mentioning software that is relevant to the position and also mentioning additional software shows your versatility with technology.

What impact does knowing multiple software programs have on my chances of getting the job?

It depends on the job position and how relevant the programs you mention are to the position. If you are required to work with multiple software programs, knowing several of them would impact your chances positively. This shows your versatility and proficiency in the field.

What if I never encountered a specific computer program before?

Being able to admit your lack of experience is essential. Express your willingness to learn and demonstrate how you prepared for unfamiliar programs in the past, if applicable.

Can I talk about open-source programs?

If they are relevant to the job position and the software’s acceptable tech stack in the company, you can mention open-source software programs. Remember that some companies have objections to particular open-source software packages and libraries, so be careful about your choice.

What if the company utilizes an internal software program?

This shows the employer’s commitment to maximizing efficiency and productivity, and your willingness to learn is essential. Indicate similar programs that you have proficiency in or used in the past to demonstrate your capacity for learning new software.

How much detail should I go into when talking about each program I mention?

Give a brief summary of each program and the tasks you have performed with them. Lengthy explanations only add to the total response time and bore the interviewer.

What if I’m only comfortable with basic computer programs?

It would depend on the expectations of the position. Basic software proficiency may suffice for some jobs, while others require more specialist skills. Express your willingness to learn new software to increase your proficiency.

Can I list industry certificates to strengthen my proficiency claims?

Yes, indicating relevant industry certificates, such as MOS, Excel, or certifications from software companies such as Oracle, IBM, or Microsoft, strengthens your proficiency claims. It shows your willingness to take your profession seriously and be better at it.


“In the dawn of the computer age, you could get a job in programming if you knew FORTRAN or COBOL.” – Radia Perlman

This quote alludes to the significance of knowing relevant computer programs in acquiring tech roles. Knowing computer programs is a vital part of being proficient in a technical job, and interviewers are keen to find out. By adequately preparing and delivering a straightforward answer, you increase your chances of securing a technical job.

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