Amazon Software Engineer

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The one-stop guide for the Amazon Software Engineer interview

The role of an Amazon Software Engineer

In a customer-centric company like Amazon, software engineers play a crucial role in building complex software systems and delivering them to the customer. They work closely with business, design, and development teams to collect requirements, assess risks, and work on customer impact. 

Amazon Software Engineers implement software engineering strategies to communicate with the customers, collect requirements, design and deploy the products. For this, they are required to be proficient coders and have experience in working with software development methods like Agile and Scrum. 

Requirements for an Amazon Software Engineer -

  • Proficiency in programming languages like Java/C++ and have experience with object-oriented programming.
  • Ability to deal with databases and design back-end systems, as well as integrate them with front-end and other frameworks. 
  • Knowledge of data structures and CS fundamentals. They must also possess design and architectural skills and be able to implement these designs.

Interview Guide

The Amazon Software Engineer interview consists of 6-7 interviews across 3 rounds.

The first round is an HR interview, which will be a general discussion about the role and your experiences. The next round is the Technical Phone Screen, which will test your coding and problem-solving skills and focus on data structures. The final round is the onsite round, which will consist of 4-5 interviews; one will be a behavioral interview and the rest will be technical interviews.

HR Phone Screen

Overview

This is the first round of the Amazon Software Engineer interview, which is a 30-minute call with the HR. This will typically be a phone screen with some basic questions about your background and experience.

Sometimes the HR will give you an online assessment, which will consist of programming problems and soft skills questions. Following this, the recruiter will advance you to the technical screen.

Interview Questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Tell me about your current role.
  • What was the biggest conflict you had with a team member?
  • What was your biggest challenge in your previous role?

Technical Phone Screen

Overview

This is the second round which is a 45-minute technical phone screen with a team member. There may also be a general discussion about your experience, the role, and salary expectations. 

You will be tested on the following - 

  1. Coding
  2. Problem Solving
  3. Algorithms and Data Structures
  4. Dynamic Programming

Tips

  • Be prepared to highlight your skills that are relevant to the job description, and will help you stand out in the interview.

Amazon Coding Interview Questions - 

  1. Write a code to implement Binary Search in the given array.
  2. What is Dijkstra's algorithm? What are its advantages and disadvantages?
  3. Find a given element in a linked list.
  4. Given a string containing digits, generate valid IP addresses.
  5. For a given algorithm, analyze its complexity.
  6. Find the second greatest element in the list.

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Onsite Round

Overview

This is the final round which consists of 4-5 interviews, out of which 3-4 will be technical interviews and one will be a behavioral interview. 

For the technical interviews, you will be tested on - 

  1. Data Structures
  2. Debugging Problems
  3. System Design
  4. Questions related to previous experiences and technical questions related to that are also asked. 

Note - You can program in the language of your choice. 

Amazon SDE interview questions for the Onsite Round are - 

Sample Coding Questions -

  1. What is the window sliding technique?
  2. Find the maximum path sum in a binary tree. 
  3. Find all the paths from the first cell to the last in a matrix.
  4. Given multiple sorted lists, merge them. 
  5. Given a list of words, find the three most common words.
  6. Write a code to return the postorder traversal of the node values of a binary tree.
  7. Write a code to find the best time to sell a stock.
  8. Given a list of numbers, convert it into a dictionary, the key being the number and values being their frequency.
  9. Print the given linked list in reverse order.
  10. What is the difference between a process and a thread?
  11. Debug the given code.
  12. How will you solve a particular software problem?
  13. Find the minimum number of characters that need to be removed to form a pattern in a given string. 

Note - Graphs, trees, arrays, and strings are also commonly asked Amazon coding interview question topics.

Sample Behavioural Questions - 

  1. Describe a situation in which your opinion differed from those of your co-workers during a project. What did you do?
  2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  3. Who has been your most difficult customer?
  4. Given a work scenario, what things do you consider when you need to make a decision?
  5. Describe a project in which you gained many skills. 
  6. Tell me about a piece of critical feedback you received.

Sample System Design Questions - 

  1. Design a system to fill a truck optimally.
  2. Design a music streaming service such as Amazon Music. 
  3. Design a widget showing the customers the last 5 products viewed by them.

Tips for the Technical Round - 

  • In this round, the interviewers generally assess the quality of code. It is recommended that you optimize your working code and focus on minimizing its complexity. 

Tips for the Behavioural Round -

  • For the behavioral round, answer questions using the STARR Framework - Situation, Task, Action, Result, Reflection.
  • The 14 leadership principles form the key questions in the Amazon Software Engineer interview. Hence, it's important to have experiences ready that exemplify them. Preparing some scenarios beforehand will help you feel more confident, and you can answer related questions by deriving relevant details from these prepared scenarios. 

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