The Top 25 Design Patterns Interview Questions for Software Engineers

Design patterns are reusable solutions to common problems in software design. As a software engineer, having a solid grasp of design patterns is crucial for excelling in coding interviews and delivering robust systems. This comprehensive article will explore the 25 most frequently asked design pattern interview questions to help you master this critical concept.

Before diving into specific questions let’s briefly introduce design patterns. Design patterns provide proven development paradigms to solve recurring issues in software architecture and design. They capture expert solutions to common problems that software engineers face during system development.

There are three main categories of design patterns:

  • Creational patterns – Deal with object creation mechanisms and creation of objects in a manner suitable for the situation. Examples include Factory Method and Singleton.

  • Structural patterns – Concerned with class and object composition. Help structure code to ensure entities fit together well. Examples include Adapter and Decorator.

  • Behavioral patterns – Help define communication between objects and how responsibilities are distributed. Examples are Observer and Strategy.

While not finished designs that can be transformed directly into code, design patterns provide a shared vocabulary and flexible solutions to realize relationships between entities. Using them promotes reusability, flexibility, and efficiency in the software development process.

Now let’s look at the top 25 design pattern interview questions and sample responses.

Top Design Pattern Interview Questions and Answers

Q1. What are design patterns and why are they useful?

Design patterns represent best practices for solving common problems in software design and development. They provide reusable templates to address issues like creating objects, structuring classes for flexibility, and promoting communication between objects.

The main benefits of using design patterns include:

  • Reusability – Design patterns allow for code reuse since solutions are not tied to specific problems but general concepts.

  • Understandability – Patterns provide a shared terminology to discuss design solutions, improving communication between developers.

  • Flexibility – Patterns decouple classes, promoting loose coupling and encapsulation for easier maintenance.

  • Efficiency – Patterns leverage tried and tested development paradigms, saving time compared to ad-hoc solutions.

  • Robustness – Pattern-based systems are usually more robust and resilient to change.

Q2. Can you explain the Singleton design pattern?

The Singleton pattern ensures only one instance of a class exists throughout the runtime of an application. It provides a global point of access to that instance.

Key characteristics of the Singleton pattern are:

  • A private constructor to prevent external instantiation.

  • A static method that creates and returns the singleton instance.

  • A global access point to retrieve the instance.

The Singleton pattern is useful when exactly one object is needed to coordinate actions across the system. Examples include database connections, thread pools, and logging objects. It promotes efficiency and consistency by providing a single instance.

Q3. What is the difference between the factory and abstract factory patterns?

Though both are creational patterns dealing with object creation, they differ in their implementation:

  • Factory method relies on inheritance – object creation logic is defined in a subclass overriding a factory method.

  • Abstract factory relies on object composition – object creation logic is implemented by calling methods on an interface.

Factory method provides a simple way to delegate object creation while allowing subclasses to alter the type of objects created. Abstract factory provides an interface for creating related objects without specifying concrete classes.

Factory method is used when the creation logic needs to be reused in multiple places. Abstract factory is used when the system needs to be decoupled from how its objects are created.

Q4. How does the builder pattern simplify complex object creation?

The builder pattern aims to separate the construction of a complex object from its representation. It does this by extracting the object construction logic into a separate builder class.

Advantages of the builder pattern:

  • Allows creating different object representations using the same construction process.

  • Shields complex creation logic from the client code.

  • Objects can be created in a step-by-step manner, deferring steps or reusing steps.

  • Improves understandability and maintainability by isolating complex construction code.

For example, a fast food meal with sandwich, drink and sides can be created by a MealBuilder class instead of overloaded constructors within Meal class.

Q5. What is the observer pattern and when is it useful?

The observer pattern defines a one-to-many relationship between objects to allow state changes to be propagated automatically. It consists of:

  • Subject – maintains list of observers, provides interfaces to attach/detach observers

  • Observer – provides an update interface to receive notifications from subject

The observer pattern is useful when:

  • A change to one object requires changing other objects.

  • You want to abstract coupling between objects to promote reusability.

  • Components need to be able to notify other components without tight coupling or dependency issues.

For example, an email service can notify all subscribers when a new email is received.

Q6. Can you explain the decorator pattern with an example?

The decorator pattern dynamically adds responsibilities and behaviors to objects by enclosing them in wrapper objects. This provides greater flexibility compared to static inheritance.

It involves:

  • Component interface – defines objects that can have responsibilities added to them

  • Concrete component – basic object representing core state and behavior

  • Decorator – holds reference to component and defines extra behaviors

For example, various toppings can be added to a pizza object using decorator objects like CheeseTopping or MeatTopping to enrich its behaviors.

Q7. What problem does the facade pattern solve?

The facade pattern provides a simple, unified interface to a complex subsystem. It encapsulates the functionality and internal details of a subsystem, providing a more convenient higher-level interface.

Benefits of using facades include:

  • Reduces coupling between client and subsystem classes

  • Improves readability, understandability and ease of use

  • Promotes flexibility by allowing changes within the subsystem without impacting clients

  • Helps structure applications by layering subsystems

For example, a computer facade class can provide simple methods like start() and shutdown() to hide complexity of initializing numerous components.

Q8. When would you use the proxy pattern?

The proxy pattern provides a placeholder for an object to control access to it. It is useful when:

  • The object being represented is complex or resource intensive.

  • You want to defer initialization of the object until needed.

  • You need to manage permissions before accessing the object.

  • The object is located remotely and needs a local representation.

  • You want to log access to the object.

For example, a virtual proxy can be used to load images lazily to avoid overhead of loading all images on startup.

Q9. Explain the difference between the adapter and bridge patterns?

Though both are structural patterns that deal with interfaces, they have distinct purposes:

  • Adapter – Allows incompatible interfaces to work together by converting the interface of one class into an interface expected by clients.

  • Bridge – Decouples an abstraction from its implementation so they can vary independently. Abstraction contains a reference to the implementation.

Adapter focuses on resolving incompatibilities between existing interfaces. Bridge prevents incompatibilities by encapsulating implementation details.

Q10. When would you use the template method pattern?

The template method pattern defines a skeleton algorithm structure in a base class, deferring some steps to subclasses. It lets subclasses redefine certain steps without altering the overall algorithm’s structure.

It is useful when:

  • Multiple subclasses share a common overall algorithm, but steps vary.

  • You want to avoid code duplication by extracting common parts of algorithms into a base class.

  • You want to control variations in the steps of an algorithm at a single point.

For example, a base report class can define the overall flow for generating reports while allowing subclasses to customize the data source and formatting.

Q11. What are the benefits of the strategy pattern?

The strategy pattern encapsulates interchangeable behaviors or algorithms within separate classes called strategies. This allows selecting a specific strategy at runtime based on context or user preferences.


  • Promotes loose coupling since strategies can vary independently from clients using them.

  • Avoids conditional statements for selecting desired behavior.

  • Enables switching strategies at runtime as requirements change.

  • Simplifies unit testing since each strategy can be tested in isolation.

  • Improves code maintainability by segregating distinct behaviors.

For example, different shipping strategies like express and regular can be encapsulated within their own classes.

Q12. When would you use the state pattern?

The state pattern represents state-specific behaviors within separate state objects that can alter the behavior of the context object dynamically. It is useful when:

  • An object’s behavior depends on its state, and it must change its behavior at run-time depending on state.

  • Operations have large, conditional state-based code that is difficult to maintain.

  • A clear separation between state-specific behaviors is desired.

For example, implementing state-specific behaviors for a video player like pause, play

Software Architecture and Design Patterns Interview Questions


Which design patterns are asked in an interview?

Singleton Pattern is a standard interview question. You would be asked about the different ways to implement it, and even write a sample code. Almost 60% of Design Pattern questions will be on Singleton. Some other patterns on which you are generally quizzed on would be Adaptor, Factory, Facade, Interpreter.

Do pattern questions be asked in an interview?

Design patterns are a popular topic in interviews. It allows developers to solve common programming problems like the reusability of code. This article will cover the most frequently asked design pattern interview questions, including their definition, usage, and implementation.

What are the three main types of design patterns?

Design Patterns are categorized mainly into three categories: Creational Design Pattern, Structural Design Pattern, and Behavioral Design Pattern. These are differed from each other on the basis of their level of detail, complexity, and scale of applicability to the entire system being design.

What are design patterns?

Gain a competitive edge by understanding key concepts and techniques in design patterns. Design patterns are like blueprints that software professionals use to solve common problems when designing an application or system. They represent tried and tested solutions to recurring design issues, making them invaluable tools for developers.

How do you answer a design pattern interview?

Your approach to answering this question may show the interviewer how much experience you have in the field. You can start by briefly explaining what you know about design patterns. Example: “Design patterns are functional codes that solve common problems of software development processes.

How do you answer a factory pattern interview question?

When interviewers ask this question, they want to evaluate your knowledge and understanding of the many common design patterns. Hiring managers may also note how fast you answer questions given to you and how well you construct your answers. Briefly explain what you know about the factory pattern when answering this question.

How many expert design patterns interview questions are there?

Follow along and refresh your knowledge of 29 Expert Design Patterns Interview Questions (answered and solved) for your next senior developer/architect tech interview. What is Design Patterns and why anyone should use them?

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