Amazon Technical Program Manager

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The role of an Amazon Technical Program Manager

A Technical Program Manager(TPM) plays a critical role in helping drive company strategy, aligning teams, collaborating with cross-functional stakeholders, and delivering on multiple complex projects for the company. Given the rapid expansion of companies in the digital space, it has become imperative for companies, especially ones with a large digital footprint, to hire TPMs.

Amazon is the world's largest e-commerce company and also a tech major. With a variety of products and services such as Alexa, AWS, E-commerce, logistics, Amazon needs TPMs who can lead and manage technical projects in these areas, and thus drive its growth.

Role

Amazon TPMs don different hats depending upon the teams/programs they are assigned to. Some of the different teams at Amazon where TPMs have to lend their services are:

  • Amazon Devices Team
  • Amazon Advertising Products Group
  • AWS Services Team
  • Automation, Tooling and Insights team
  • Transportation Financial Systems Team

Here's a more generic description of the role of a TPM at Amazon:

  • Working with product management to define business strategy, requirements and timelines.
  • Leading multiple cross-functional development teams through design, delivery, and management and support.
  • Regularly communicating with senior management on progress, risks and change control.

Skills/Qualifications required

  • Experience managing projects across cross-functional teams, building sustainable processes and coordinating release schedules
  • 5+ years of relevant engineering experience
  • 3+ years of technical program management experience
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or related field
  • Computer Science fundamentals in object-oriented design, data structures, algorithm design, problem-solving, and complexity analysis
  • Proficiency in, at least, one modern programming language such as C, C++, C#, Java, or Perl
  • 1+ year of MySQL or similar database experience
  • Strong sense of ownership, urgency, and drive
  • Strong knowledge of data structures, algorithms, and designing for performance, scalability, and availability
  • Experience with UI frameworks such as Spring MVC, GWT, jQuery, Swing, etc.
  • Experience with Amazon Web Services
  • 3+ years of experience in software development and full product life-cycles

Amazon Technical Program Manager(TPM) salary

  • Entry level salary :USD 130,000.
  • Senior positions   :USD 315,000. 
  • Median salary      :USD 189,000 with base component being USD 140,000, stock component being USD 32,000 and bonus being USD 16,000.

Interview Guide

Interview Process Overview

The interview process for the Amazon Technical Program Manager role consists of 3 stages as under:

  • Recruiter Screen(30 minutes)
  • Phone screen(about 1 hour)
  • Onsite round(5-6 hours)

Recruiter Screen

Overview

The interview process commences with a 30-minute interview with the recruiter. This interview call is aimed at assessing your cultural and experiential fit for the role at the company. The interviewer is likely to pose questions regarding your background and previous work experience in the relevant domain, and may also discuss previous projects you have handled. Be thoroughly prepared with your CV. Keep a crisp and convincing answer ready for questions such as "why do you think you are best for the role?" or "why should we hire you?" Since Amazon TPM has many roles/teams, the recruiter screen also tries to match you with the best teams/roles based on your skill sets and experience.

Phone Screen

Overview

The recruiter screen is followed by a telephonic interview with the company's hiring manager. This interview is roughly of 1 hour duration and consists of 3 sections of 20 minutes each.

The first section is a test of your program management skills. By asking questions related to your background and previous work experience, the interviewer tries to assess your program management expertise. 

In the second section of your phone screen, the interviewer asks technical questions to  assess your ability as a TPM. Candidates have often reported to have been asked questions on system design and architecture design. So, prepare these topics well. Also, brush up your coding.

The third section is the behavioural interview. Here, the interviewer will ask you questions on Amazon's 14 Leadership Principles.. Therefore, you must learn and understand these principles. For each leadership principle, you must be ready to share an experience where you applied that principle.

Tips

Tips to do well in the phone screen

  • Practice a lot of system design/architecture design questions.
  • Be thorough with Amazon's 14 leadership principles. Use them when the interviewers ask you behavioural questions.

Interview Questions

Program Management Section

  • Tell us briefly how you go about executing a project.
  • Have you handled multiple teams within a program?
  • Can you share an experience where you worked on improving a system without being asked by the customer?
  • There is an internal customer/consumer of your service who is not benefiting from your service improvements. How will you convince them to use your service?

Technical Section

  • Define a complex system and it's system design.
  • What is a hypervisor?
  • Design Uber frontend
  • What is Java construct?
  • What is a field in Java?
  • You are trying to make music content available to customers for the first time. How would you go about it?
  • How would you design a database schema for a certain configuration manager?
  • What is your favorite app and how would you improve it?
  • Customer requirement is to "display an ebook after 60 seconds from purchase"- What you should do in order to support that requirement?

Behavioural Interview Section

  • What is the toughest decision you faced and how did you overcome it?
  • Tell us about a time when you disagreed with the entire team and why?
  • How did you manage when a project deadline was missed?

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Onsite Round

Overview

The on-site interview is a full day event. It comprises 5-6 interviews each lasting about 1 hour.  The on-site can essentially be perceived to be an extended version of the phone interview. The interview panel consists of Amazon employees currently working there in various capacities such as Product Manager, Technical Program manager, Software Developer, Software development manager, a bar raiser, and the hiring manager. The onsite interview is going to be replete with questions testing your understanding of Amazon's 14 leadership principles.

Each of these interview scores is going to be counted to assess your overall performance  (except the bar raiser). A bar raiser is an interviewer from a different business unit. The interviewer of the bar raiser round will be a more senior executive than the level you are applying for and holds the final call regarding your selection. Bar raisers make sure that candidates who get selected are at least better than 50% of the current employees of the company.

Interview Questions

Most asked questions in the onsite round

  • What was the most complex design project you've worked on?
  • Say you’re working on a project and it comes to your notice that the company has changed its goals, how do you adapt?
  • What is the difference between TCP and UDP? Describe the TCP protocol
  • Design the front end of a travel booking platform.
  • When pursuing a project goal, how do you deal with failure?

The onsite round is the most complex of all the rounds and you can expect questions that are technical, such as system design questions and coding questions, some program.management questions, and also some behavioural questions. The behavioural section is particularly important, and you must be thorough with Amazon's 14 leadership principles for this round.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How many rounds are there in the Amazon TPM interview?

There are 3 rounds, namely Initial Screen, Phone Screen, and Onsite Round.

What kind of questions are asked in the Amazon TPM interview?

The questions asked are from various topics including Program Management, System design and architecture, and behavioural and HR questions.