Amazon Web Services (AWS) Technical Program Manager

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The role of an Amazon Web Services (AWS) 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.

Role

  • Take large, complex projects and break them down into manageable pieces.
  • Develop functional specifications, then drive the delivery in a successful and timely manner.
  • Drive program schedules from design to launch, communicate to stakeholders and senior leaders.
  • Gain a deep technical understanding of our products and be able to drive the technical direction of the team, working with frontend and back-end technologies.
  • Thrive and succeed in an innovative environment, and not be hindered by ambiguity or conflicting priorities.
  • Anticipate bottlenecks, provide escalation management, anticipate and make tradeoffs, and balance the business needs versus technical constraints.
  • Lead interactions with cross functional teams consisting of UX designers, Engineers, Product Managers and executive leadership.

Skills/Qualifications required

  1. Experience managing projects across cross functional teams, building sustainable processes and coordinating release schedules.
  2. 4+ years of experience working directly with engineering teams.
  3. 3+ years of technical program management experience.
  4. Bachelor's/Master's degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or another relevant field
  5. Experience with contributing to engineering discussions around technology decisions related to a suite of products/programs.
  6. Experience with agile or other program management methodologies.  
  7. Demonstrated solid judgment and effective communication skills.
  8. Experience in AWS and/or cloud computing.
  9. Experience with Machine Learning (ML) applications.

AWS 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

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

  • Recruiter Screen (30 minutes)
  • Phone screen (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?"

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

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

Interview Questions

Most asked interview questions in the Phone Screen

Program Management Section

  • Tell us briefly how you go about executing a project.
  • Have you handled multiple teams within a program?

Technical Section

  • Define a complex system and its system design.
  • What is a hypervisor?
  • Design Uber’s frontend
  • What is a 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?

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?

Practice more such questions with an AWS Technical Program Manager (TPM)

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Onsite Round

Overview

The on-site interview is a full day event. It comprises 3-4 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 rRaiser, 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

Program Management

  • 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

  • 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?

Behavioural 

  • How did you manage when a project deadline was missed?
  • How do you steep deadlines? 
  • How do you deal with underperforming members of your team?
  • Tell me about your biggest strength?

So, this was a quick walk-through of the AWS TPM interview process and prep strategy. Hope you found this useful.

Thanks for reading!

All the best!

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