IBM ISDL Software Engineer Interview Experience (On-Campus 2023): A Journey of Challenges and Growth

Sudarshan S
3 min readSep 29, 2023

Are you aspiring to join the ranks of one of the tech industry giants, IBM? If so, you’ve probably wondered what the interview process is like. In this blog post, we’re going to take a deep dive into an interview experience at IBM ISDL for the role of ISDL Software Engineer. Our interviewee shares their journey through three rounds, focusing on key areas like operating systems, data structures, programming, and problem-solving.

Round 1: ONLINE TEST (MCQ + Coding)

The journey began with an online test hosted on the Hackerrank platform. This round lasted a challenging 96 minutes and encompassed a diverse range of topics, including computer networks, data structures, and operating systems.

The first segment consisted of ten multiple-choice questions (MCQs) designed to assess the grasp of these core concepts. However, the real challenge came in the form of six coding questions. These coding challenges spanned various topics, including Arrays, Stacks, Dynamic Programming, Graphs, and even delved into the intricacies of base64 encoding. The difficulty level was marked as medium, indicating the importance of a strong foundation in these areas.


The second round was a 45-minute technical interview. It kicked off with the familiar “Introduce yourself” question. But the real excitement began with a live coding session, where I had to share my screen and tackle two coding challenges: “Pattern printing” and “String reversal.” The catch? I couldn’t use any inbuilt functions. This segment was a true test of my problem-solving skills and coding under pressure.

Following the coding challenges, the interview transitioned to the realm of operating systems. I was quizzed on “Linux commands” and basic C/C++ concepts. This phase tested not just my theoretical knowledge but also my practical familiarity with these essential tools.

The grand finale of this round revolved around Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) concepts. This made sure that in addition to showcasing my technical skills, I also had a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of software engineering.


The final round was a 40-minute blend of technical and HR questions. It began with a review of my projects, applications, and contributions. My internship experience played a pivotal role, with a particular focus on Docker, a technology I had worked with during my internship.

The conversation then delved into a technical exploration of operating systems. Topics such as Virtualization, Scheduling algorithms, the Bootstrap program, and the difference between CPU and GPU were on the table. This segment highlighted the level of expertise expected from candidates in their chosen field.

Finally, the interview concluded with personal questions. I was asked about my decision to pursue software engineering in the electrical domain, recent skill enhancements, future plans for higher studies, and my family background. This phase allowed the interviewer to understand my motivations and aspirations beyond my technical skills.

Despite the rigorous journey through these rounds, it’s important to note that I did not receive a job offer from IBM ISDL. However, reaching the final round of the interview process is an accomplishment in itself. It signifies not only technical competence but also the ability to excel in a highly competitive selection process.

My overall interview experience was overwhelmingly positive. The panelists were friendly, creating an environment where I could confidently showcase my abilities. The interview process, while challenging, was well-structured and smoothly conducted.

In conclusion, the IBM ISDL Software Engineer interview is a demanding yet rewarding process for those who are well-prepared. It requires a strong foundation in operating systems, data structures, programming, and problem-solving.

Beyond technical skills, it also evaluates a candidate’s ability to communicate effectively and demonstrate a passion for the field. If you aspire to work at the forefront of technology with IBM ISDL, this interview experience provides valuable insights into what to expect. While success may not be guaranteed, every step in the journey is an opportunity for growth and learning. I wish you the best of luck on your continued journey to IBM!



Sudarshan S

Tech enthusiast | Developer | Machine learning | Data science | Cybersecurity