C Interview Question and Answers

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What is C language?

C is a mid level and procedural programming language.

When is a “switch” statement preferable over an “if” statement?

The switch statement is best used when dealing with selections based on a single variable or expression. However, switch statements can only evaluate integer and character data types.

What is spaghetti programming?

Spaghetti programming refers to codes that tend to get tangled and overlapped throughout the program. This unstructured approach to coding is usually attributed to lack of experience on the part of the programmer. Spaghetti programing makes a program complex and analyzing the codes difficult, and so must be avoided as much as possible.

How do you construct an increment statement or decrement statement in C?

There are actually two ways you can do this. One is to use the increment operator ++ and decrement operator –. For example, the statement “x++” means to increment the value of x by 1. Likewise, the statement “x –” means to decrement the value of x by 1. Another way of writing increment statements is to use the conventional + plus sign or – minus sign. In the case of “x++”, another way to write it is “x = x +1”.

What is the difference between Call by Value and Call by Reference?

When using Call by Value, you are sending the value of a variable as parameter to a function, whereas Call by Reference sends the address of the variable. Also, under Call by Value, the value in the parameter is not affected by whatever operation that takes place, while in the case of Call by Reference, values can be affected by the process within the function.

What is a sequential access file?

When writing programs that will store and retrieve data in a file, it is possible to designate that file into different forms. A sequential access file is such that data are saved in sequential order: one data is placed into the file after another. To access a particular data within the sequential access file, data has to be read one data at a time, until the right one is reached.

Some coders debug their programs by placing comment symbols on some codes instead of deleting it. How does this aid in debugging?

Placing comment symbols /* */ around a code, also referred to as “commenting out”, is a way of isolating some codes that you think maybe causing errors in the program, without deleting the code. The idea is that if the code is in fact correct, you simply remove the comment symbols and continue on. It also saves you time and effort on having to retype the codes if you have deleted it in the first place.

What is the equivalent code of the following statement in WHILE LOOP format?


How do you declare a variable that will hold string values?

What is a stack?

What is variable initialization and why is it important?

Differentiate Source Codes from Object Codes

In C programming, how do you insert quote characters (‘ and “) into the output screen?

This is a common problem for beginners because quotes are normally part of a printf statement. To insert the quote character as part of the output, use the format specifiers \’ (for single quote), and \” (for double quote).

What is the use of a ‘’ character?

It is referred to as a terminating null character, and is used primarily to show the end of a string value.

What is the difference between the = symbol and == symbol?

The = symbol is often used in mathematical operations. It is used to assign a value to a given variable. On the other hand, the == symbol, also known as “equal to” or “equivalent to”, is a relational operator that is used to compare two values.

What is the modulus operator?

The modulus operator outputs the remainder of a division. It makes use of the percentage (%) symbol. For example: 10 % 3 = 1, meaning when you divide 10 by 3, the remainder is 1.

What is a nested loop?

A nested loop is a loop that runs within another loop. Put it in another sense, you have an inner loop that is inside an outer loop. In this scenario, the inner loop is performed a number of times as specified by the outer loop. For each turn on the outer loop, the inner loop is first performed.

Can the curly brackets { } be used to enclose a single line of code?

While curly brackets are mainly used to group several lines of codes, it will still work without error if you used it for a single line. Some programmers prefer this method as a way of organizing codes to make it look clearer, especially in conditional statements. 

Which of the following operators is incorrect and why? ( >=, <=, <>, ==)

<> is incorrect. While this operator is correctly interpreted as “not  equal to” in writing conditional statements, it is not the proper operator to be used in C programming. Instead, the operator  !=  must be used to indicate “not equal to” condition.

Compare and contrast compilers from interpreters.

Compilers and interpreters often deal with how program codes are executed. Interpreters execute program codes one line at a time, while compilers take the program as a whole and convert it into object code, before executing it. The key difference here is that in the case of interpreters, a program may encounter syntax errors in the middle of execution, and will stop from there. On the other hand, compilers check the syntax of the entire program and will only proceed to execution when no syntax errors are found.

What are header files and what are its uses in C programming?

Header files are also known as library files. They contain two essential things: the definitions and prototypes of functions being used in a program. Simply put, commands that you use in C programming are actually functions that are defined from within each header files. Each header file contains a set of functions. For example: stdio.h is a header file that contains definition and prototypes of commands like printf and scanf. 

What is syntax error?

Syntax errors are associated with mistakes in the use of a programming language. It maybe a command that was misspelled or a command that must was entered in lowercase mode but was instead entered with an upper case character. A misplaced symbol, or lack of symbol, somewhere within a line of code can also lead to syntax error.