How to get ready for a job interview when you’re applying for a low-code developer position? Or, on the other hand, what Oracle APEX interview questions to ask when you’re looking to hire APEX developers yourself? Here are some suggestions and pointers from an Oracle ACE Associate and the CEO of Pretius Low-Code.
A job interview is never an easy task – both for the candidate and for those who carry it out. And on the low-code side of software development, the situation is even more complicated. The reason for this is that good low-code developers can’t be “just developers” – they need to have skills from outside of the technological spectrum. Knowledge of technologies such as Oracle APEX, OutSystems, MS PowerApps, or Mendix simply isn’t enough – you also need communication skills, foreign languages proficiency, and some understanding of how business works.
The best thing you can do to overcome this hurdle – no matter which side you’re currently sitting on – is to come prepared. And a great way to prepare yourself is to learn how such an interview is conducted, and what questions may be asked during its course.
I’m Przemysław Staniszewski – the CEO of Pretius Low-Code, and an Oracle ACE Associate. I’ve led hundreds of job interviews looking for low-code developers, and I can tell you our talks with candidates are a little bit different than what you might know and expect. Here’s a couple of pointers, including some Oracle APEX interview questions and answers that we usually look for.
Technology-related Oracle APEX interview questions
Let’s start with the basics. What do the candidates need to know about Oracle Application Express (APEX), and what kind of questions can they expect during the interview? This is how we do it at Pretius.
Questions about the Oracle APEX technology
It’s pretty simple. We need to verify the person’s basic knowledge about Oracle Application Express technology, so we ask them some questions about it, as well as their experience with the solution.
The candidate will likely be well prepared for this part of the interview, but it’s good to remember that the best answers are ones that are followed by some examples from real life.
We’ll likely ask about such things as:
- Different elements and functions (like APEX Collection, APEX Dynamic Actions).
- Experience with automated testing and CI/CD.
- Any Oracle APEX certificates the candidate might hold or aspire to (and the road they took to get them, or plans for it).
- Where they look for knowledge and solutions for APEX-related problems when they encounter an issue they don’t know how to solve.
We’ll also want to know how the candidate is using Oracle Application Express in actual work. I list some examples of such Oracle APEX interview questions below – but in general, we might want the candidate to explain how to carry out a certain task or achieve an effect using the technology. The important thing here is that we value creativity and approaching problems in interesting ways, so the answer doesn’t have to be a standard one (as long as the task is done).
Oracle APEX interview questions – APEX-related examples:
- What is Page Zero in Oracle APEX?
- What are Collections in APEX? Could you give some usage examples?
- What would you call APEX Items in APEX, in PL/SQL, and in JS?
- How would you connect the APEX application to Active Directory?
- Have you used APEX Dynamic Actions?
- Have you ever used plug-ins in APEX? Which ones and for what purpose?
- Where are you looking for APEX knowledge?
Do these Oracle APEX interview questions seem easy to you? 😎 Pretius Low-Code recruits people from all around the world – you can drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. 🔥
Technologies other than Oracle Application Express
Oracle Application Express isn’t everything – there are other skills required for APEX developers. A great candidate should have expertise with a wide variety of tools and technologies. Some of them also have to do with Oracle, others with completely different solutions. In most cases, the Oracle APEX interview questions will be decided by the details of the position you’re looking to fill.
For example, when you’re trying to find a back-end Oracle APEX developer, you likely want a candidate with experience with database-related languages, frameworks and technologies, such as PL/SQL, Oracle Database (Oracle DB) or Liquibase (we have a great Liquibase tutorial if you’re interested).
If you often work with cloud-based applications, you’ll need someone who knows his way around various cloud services: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Oracle Cloud (OCI), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure.
If your company often migrates applications and systems from one technology (usually old, maybe no longer supported) to another (in this case APEX), the candidate you’re looking for should have experience with such older solutions. Examples include things like Oracle Forms or Oracle Discoverer.
Examples of Oracle APEX interview questions – other technologies:
- Have you worked with Oracle solutions other than APEX?
- Do you have experience in using EBS, Discoverer, Oracle Forms, Oracle BPMN?
- How is your experience with the cloud? Which services have you used and in what capacity?
- Have you created or used automated tests and unit tests in APEX applications?
- In what methodologies have you worked in (i.e. Scrum)? How exactly?
Not just developers
We’ve covered the obvious, so now let’s get back to the important bit I’ve mentioned in the premise of this article: Oracle APEX developers aren’t just developers. They need to be something more because low-code’s very nature demands a closer, more direct style of communication with the client. At Pretius, low-code developers often take part in meetings with clients from the very beginning – even before signing the contract – and can be an important part of the team that makes the sale, i.e. convinces the client that your company is the best one for the job.
Communication and leadership skills
Because of this, so-called soft skills can actually be more important than the actual technological know-how. We can teach someone a lot about Oracle APEX but it’s quite possible that we won’t be able to make them more open, talkative, and charismatic, which is why ideally we have to get to know them a little bit better during the initial interview.
Previous experience in direct contact with the client – gathering requirements, showing new versions of applications – is also very valuable. The same goes for business knowledge about different industries, though it doesn’t have to be particularly deep (it’s mostly about experience with projects for companies from various fields).
And we also can’t forget about the ability to effectively work with designers, testers, and analysts – well-developed communication skills and team player mentality are a necessity.
The future employee should also be able to communicate with people with varying levels of technical knowledge (from experienced software developers to business specialists with only superficial understanding of programming, if any at all).
In the case of some positions the ability to lead a small team can be yet another important characteristic the candidate needs to have – managerial skills, gathering requirements from the client, reporting back to them, and so on. These things sometimes come with experience, but some people have better aptitude for team leader roles than others.
Pretius works with companies all around the globe, which means we have to communicate with people from different countries. Of course, to talk with anybody, you first need to be able to understand them, so foreign languages are also quite important for an APEX developer. Nowadays, good English skills are a must. Keep in mind that grammar perfection isn’t required. Communicating, and possibly writing some emails or parts of the documentation – that’s mostly what the skills will be used for.
However, English isn’t everything. At Pretius, knowledge of any other foreign language – German, French, Italian, Spanish, even Hindu and Chinese – is treated as a boon.
Building a personal brand
One thing that can help you immensely in your work as an Oracle APEX developer – especially when you aspire to be a senior dev – is having some level of renown and recognition in the community. It’s important for ambitious devs, and it can also be pretty valuable for their employers – for example, acquiring an Oracle ACE title gives you a certain kind of authority that clients respect.
This is why that ambition, and the ability to build a personal brand, are things we look for in candidates. Our APEX developers don’t necessarily have to be global stars, but a willingness to take an active part in low-code conferences around the world (or better yet, a documented experience with such things) can go a long way. Writing skills can be valuable too since articles and blog posts are one of the ways to gain that recognition.
Examples of Oracle APEX interview questions – soft skills:
- Have you ever gathered requirements from the client? What do you think about this kind of work?
- What kinds of people (developers, testers, analysts etc.) do you prefer working with? Why?
- What foreign languages do you know? Have you used them at work?
- Have you worked in a multinational environment? Were there any problems?
- Do you have any developer certificates? Do you plan to acquire any?
- Do you go to conferences? Which ones? Do you take an active role during such events, or are you just a listener?
Oracle APEX interview – a different kind of conversation
All of the things I’ve mentioned above should be taken into account and verified during the job interview. Because of this, these meetings are usually substantially different than in the case of developers who work with other, non-low-code technologies. They more closely resemble a talk between two colleagues, instead of a more formal conversation.
How does this work? For example, I usually start by asking the other side if we can get on a first-name basis. I’m also not against engaging in small talk, humor, and laughter during the interview (within reasonable bounds, of course).
The main thing here is that I want to be able to judge how at ease candidates are in such circumstances, how good they are at making conversation – because, if you think about it, a job interview is not unlike a typical meeting with a possible client. I also want to give them a chance to present themselves as they see fit, and ask questions in relation to what they talk about (such as their experiences in previous workplaces).
In fact, it’s usually a good idea to strive for a more relaxed atmosphere during the interviews, no matter the job position. In most cases, it’ll allow you to get to know the candidate better than a more formal conversation, see whether they fit in your team. In the end, that will help both parties feel more at ease and get the best out of the interview (whether it’s a job/employee or just new knowledge, and a few moments of good conversation).
What makes a great APEX developer?
The specific interview questions will usually be decided by the details of the position you’re looking to fill – some jobs require knowledge of a certain set of technologies, others put emphasis on different ones. However, there are some things that are always nice to have in a candidate. Certain factors, such as communication skills, leadership abilities, language aptitude or the willingness and ambition to take a more active role in the community, make the difference between a good, and a great APEX developer. Incidentally, these are also characteristics you won’t reveal by asking typical interview questions and demanding that people pass tests, like they did in school. Drop some of the formality and just talk to them – I can assure you you’ll achieve better results this way.
Do you need low-code developers?
Pretius is a company with extensive knowledge about low-code development. We specialize in Oracle APEX, but we also know our way around other solutions, such as OutSystems, MS PowerPlatform and Mendix. If you’re interested in software created using such technology, write to us at email@example.com (or use the contact form below). We’ll be sure to get back to you in 48 hours.