Cucumber is an open-source testing tool that enables users to create test scenarios to determine a software’s functionality. It helps support behavior-driven development (BDD), which is a methodology that encourages collaboration between software developers, testers, and customer specialists, and makes validating software easier. If you’re interested in pursuing a software developer or tester position, it’s important to know how to answer questions about Cucumber.
In this article, we discuss several interview questions that relate to using Cucumber to test software, with a sample answer for each to guide you in preparing your own.
Cucumber interview questions with sample answers
Cucumber enables users to test software easily while collaborating with others. It helps make test cases or scenarios easy to read so that even nontechnical users can understand them and allows developers to develop test cases that they can reuse. The following questions and answers can help you prepare for an interview that tests your knowledge of this testing tool:
1. What is Cucumber and why is it important?
Most employers expect software developers and testers to have a detailed understanding of Cucumber. This question tests your basic knowledge of what Cucumber is and why it’s useful and helps employers determine your level of familiarity with it. Based on the answers you provide, they can determine how qualified you are for the position. To answer this question, summarize the basics of what Cucumber is and briefly describe why it’s important in the software development process.
Example: “Cucumber is a software testing tool that allows users to write test cases that are easy to understand and duplicate. It’s important because it supports BDD, which allows a variety of professionals, such as quality assurance specialists, software developers, customer support specialists and business analysts, to understand software applications without needing extensive technical knowledge. It helps testers and developers to evaluate the functionality of different software programs and automate tests that customers can understand. This helps reduce the total testing time, allowing companies to release software to customers and determine and fix any issues with it much more quickly.”
2. Describe the Gherkin syntax and the principle of BDD.
Employers ask this question to evaluate your basic knowledge of Cucumber further and determine whether you’re familiar with the Gherkin syntax, which uses keywords to create automated tests. It typically requires more direct experience with using Cucumber. Employers are typically looking for a response that clearly states what primary Gherkin keywords are and describes what BDD is and how it relates to Cucumber. Start by explaining the Gherkin syntax and provide a basic overview of BDD.
Example: “The Gherkin syntax is a language that allows you to describe behavior without being overly technical. Most of the lines within a Gherkin document begin with a keyword, which you can follow up with your desired text. Common keywords include ‘Feature,’ ‘Rule,’ ‘Example,’ ‘Background,’ ‘Scenario Outline,’ and ‘Examples.’ BDD is an Agile software development methodology that involves creating software based on the unique requirements of its users. It also allows for cross-functional collaboration among software developers, testers and professionals in positions that have more direct interaction with customers.”
3. Explain what some of the keywords mean in Cucumber.
Hiring managers ask this question to gauge further your knowledge of Cucumber and the Gherkin language that it uses. They’re looking for an answer that demonstrates a thorough understanding of the language and showcases your confidence in explaining its primary components. Demonstrate your competence by explaining what some of the most common keywords mean and how you can use them. Consider using examples to make it easier for your interviewer to understand how to use the keywords.
Example: “There are many keywords in Cucumber that have different meanings and functionalities. The purpose of ‘Feature’ is to provide a thorough description of a software feature. ‘Scenario Outline’ allows you to test a scenario multiple times. This can be especially useful because it allows you to consider all different types of users when developing a sign-in feature. ‘Background’ enables you to define a single step or set of steps that are the same for all software tests. It executes the steps before performing the actual tests.”
4. Describe some of the primary benefits of using Cucumber
Hiring managers ask this question to determine whether you can think independently and discuss the positive attributes of the testing tool using your own experience. A developer or tester with extensive experience using Cucumber can typically answer this question easily. Mention at least three primary benefits of the tool and explain why they make it so valuable when it comes to developing software. Try to relate the benefits you describe to your own experience.
Example: “From my own experience working with Cucumber, I’ve discovered that it supports a variety of programming languages, which can be especially useful when collaborating with different developers. Another major benefit is that it functions as an end-to-end testing framework, which means that it enables all different types of tests. It also makes it easy to reuse code due to its simplistic architecture, which helps to reduce costs and make developing different applications quicker and easier.”
5. List the files and annotations required in the Cucumber framework.
This question further assesses your knowledge of Cucumber and helps employers determine whether you possess an in-depth understanding of its primary processes and components. Knowing what files and annotations are in Cucumber may be important to the role. You can answer this question by providing as many details about files and annotations as you can.
Example: “There are five primary annotations in Cucumber. ‘Given’ determines the test’s specifications, ‘When’ establishes the test’s starting point, ‘Then’ specifies the preferred result of the test, ‘And’ provides the logical condition for the test and ‘But’ outlines the relationship between the two available propositions. In Cucumber, a feature file contains the descriptions of your tests and stores your test cases, while a step definition file translates the test case steps from the feature files into code. A test runner file enables you to execute multiple tests at once and helps connect the feature and step definition files.”
6. How does the BDD process work?
As your interview progresses, you may encounter questions that are more specific and complex. Employers may ask this question to assess your knowledge of the BDD process, which is important for many software development roles that use Cucumber regularly. In answering this question, it’s important to state each step in the process clearly and outline your knowledge in a way that best showcases your expertise.
Example: “The BDD process includes three primary phases. First is the discovery phase, which involves the creation of acceptance criteria. This phase is often a collaborative process that involves professionals from different backgrounds working together to determine additional criteria to include. The next step in the process is the formulation phase, which involves creating the acceptance tests. The initial acceptance criteria from the discovery tend to be simplistic and vague, and this phase helps to resolve any ambiguities and develop more detailed criteria. Finally, the automation phase automates the acceptance tests, enabling them to occur continuously.”
7. What’s the difference between Selenium and Cucumber?
While Selenium and Cucumber are both useful for functional software testing, there are a few important distinctions between the two that can be useful to know if you’re in a software job. Employers might ask this question to determine your basic understanding of both automation tools and allow you to provide insight into how they differ in your own words. In your answer, state the primary differences between Selenium and Cucumber and briefly mention the significance of those differences.
Example: “Although Selenium and Cucumber are both technologies and automation tools, Cucumber is a tool for BDD, while Selenium is primarily a tool for web applications. Another common difference is that Selenium executes user interface tests, while Cucumber executes acceptance tests. More technical teams often choose to use Selenium over Cucumber, and teams containing both business professionals and developers use Cucumber due to its broad appeal and the fact that it tends to be much easier to create scripts.”
8. How do you use the Options tag in Cucumber?
This question assesses your knowledge of tags, which allow you to organize and simplify your test cases in Cucumber. The interviewer ultimately wants to understand how comfortable you are working with Cucumber and whether you understand how to use Options properly. Consider mentioning your previous experience using Options or provide a specific example of a project you worked on where you used the tag. If possible, you can also provide a demonstration to show the employer how Options work in Cucumber.
Example: “The Options tag helps create a link between the feature files and the step definition files, with each feature file connecting to a corresponding step definition file. In my previous role as a developer for a software startup, I tested a variety of projects with the help of Options. My team often used Options to set a feature file option and a step definition file option. The two parameters were features and glue, with the feature option specifying the path to the feature file and glue providing the location of the step definition file.”
Cucumber interview tips
It’s important to spend some time preparing before the day of your interview. Being prepared for your interview can help you feel more confident and better equipped to answer each question to the best of your ability. Here are a few practical ways you can prepare for your interview:
Review your Cucumber knowledge. Ensure that you know necessary to handle a variety of situations involving Cucumber with confidence.
Participate in a mock interview. Ask someone close to you who’s knowledgeable about Cucumber to help you practice your interview to improve your answers.
Research additional Cucumber questions. Refresh your memory by researching additional questions that you haven’t already practiced answering, especially if you don’t have a lot of regular experience using Cucumber.
I hope you find this article helpful.