Verified by Software Engineer at Lyft

Lyft Software Engineer Interview Guide

Interview Guide Jul 29

Detailed, specific guidance on the Lyft Software Engineer interview process - with a breakdown of different stages and interview questions asked at each stage.

The role of a Lyft Software Engineer

Lyft is a tech company that is rapidly expanding its engineering team and looking for exceptional software engineers. 

Working at Lyft as a software engineer means having the opportunity to work on highly technical and complex systems that have a significant impact on millions of users worldwide. The engineers at Lyft are part of a dynamic and innovative team that is always looking for ways to improve the user experience. They work closely with cross-functional teams, including engineering, product, data science, analytics, and operations, to develop programs that enhance the user experience for passengers and drivers.

As the company continues to grow, software engineers can look forward to ample opportunities to take on exciting new challenges and play a crucial role in the company's success.

The average Lyft software engineer salary ranges between US$220.9K for an entry-level SWE to US$541.17K for a staff engineer.

  • T3 Software Engineer - US$220.9K
  • T4 Software Engineer - US$282.79K
  • T5 Software Engineer - US$368.4K
  • T6 Software Engineer - US$541.17K

Lyft Software Engineer Interview Guide

Lyft interviews consists of the following four stages

  • Phone Screen
  • Technical Screen
  • Onsite Interview 
  • Team Matching 

Let's discuss each of these in detail:

Relevant Guides

Phone Round


The phone screen round is fairly straightforward and typically lasts about 45 minutes to an hour. It is an introductory call with a recruiter, who will provide an overview of the entire interview process and answer any questions you may have.

During the phone screen, the recruiter will ask questions based on your resume and your fit for the software engineer role. They may inquire about your past experiences, your interests, and why you want to work at Lyft.

In addition to these questions, you will also be asked one or two basic computer science fundamental questions. It may be followed by a coding question, usually a medium level LeetCode problem.

Note that candidates who have previous experience at top tech companies such the Uber Software Engineer or Google Software Engineer may have an advantage in the screening process. However, all candidates will be evaluated based on their skills and qualifications.

Technical Screen


The technical screen usually lasts about an hour; the questions are generally less in-depth than those in later rounds, but they cover a broad range of topics related to computer science and software engineering.

The interviewer may ask you about your previous experience, your interests, and your goals for your next position to evaluate your communication skills and determine if you would be a good cultural fit for the company.

The technical screen is typically conducted over Coderpad, an online platform that allows you to write, test, and debug code in real-time. You will be given a coding problem to solve, and you will be expected to write clean, efficient code to solve the problem within a specified timeframe

During this round, you will have the opportunity to demonstrate your technical skills and problem-solving abilities to a software engineer at Lyft.

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Onsite Interview


Lyft wants to evaluate your problem-solving skills and thought processes across various technical domains during the interview process. So, if you pass the phone screen, you will need to successfully complete at least three of the following four rounds to receive an offer letter:

  • Coding Interview 
  • Laptop Interview 
  • System Design Interview 
  • Behavioral Interview 

Coding Round

This round requires strong knowledge of CS fundamentals, and candidates who do not perform well in this round will not proceed to the next stage of the interview process.

The on-site coding round of the Lyft software engineer interview is a 60-minute interview with one of the senior engineers.

During the coding round, you will be expected to solve a coding problem in a language of your choice and to communicate your thought process clearly to the interviewer. For example, a previous candidate has been asked to represent a tree structure in Python. Another was told to complete a task related to batch reading from a given file. 

The coding round is designed to evaluate your ability to solve complex problems using algorithms and data structures, and to test your problem-solving skills. 

Here's a list of potential coding questions for the coding round:

  • Given an array of integers, find the largest element in the array.
  • Implement a function to check whether a string is a palindrome.
  • Write a program to count the number of occurrences of a given character in a string.
  • Implement a function to find the first non-repeating character in a string.
  • Given two arrays of integers, write a function to find the common elements between them.
  • Implement a binary search algorithm for a sorted array.

While traditionally this round has been performed with a whiteboard, Lyft allows candidates to use their laptops (or you might request for one to be provided) if you think you work better in an IDE.

How to prepare for the coding round?

Given the type of questions Lyft coding rounds typically revolve around, it is recommended that you practice solving a ton of Hackerrank and Leetcode questions to get confident in your coding abilities. 

In addition to this, Lyft looks for candidates who can communicate effectively, think critically, and work through edge cases during the interview. Therefore, make sure to voice out your process as you code and bounce ideas off of your interviewers to present an optimal solution. 

Laptop Interview 

Lyft's software engineer interview includes a unique component called the "Laptop Programming Test." During this 90-minute interview, you are asked to solve a problem using the internet and a programming language of your choice. 

This exercise is typically designed to replicate the type of work you would do as a Lyft engineer. Therefore, you would be encouraged to work as you normally would, including accessing third-party libraries and resources, and creating a work environment that suits you best, such as listening to music or working in silence.

How to approach the Laptop Interview?

Here are a few tips to help you excel in this part of the interview: 

  • First, inform your interviewer of the toolset with which you are most familiar.
  • It is recommended that you iterate on your solution; start small and thereafter, expand your approach.
  • Remember, clarity and correctness are more important than performance. Hence, make sure you Inform the interviewer of your thought process as you work through the problem, and be prepared to incorporate standard input in your chosen programming language. 
  • Finally, be yourself and share your experiences, decision-making process, and what you have learned so far.

System Design Interview

In this 60-minute interview with a senior software engineer, you will be asked to design a complex system related to Lyft's operations using a visual tool like Google Draw or a whiteboard. The goal of this interview is to evaluate your ability to design scalable, fault-tolerant, and maintainable systems that can handle large-scale operations.

For example, you may be asked to design a distributed system that can handle real-time ride requests and driver matching, or a recommendation engine that suggests relevant destinations to riders. You will need to consider various factors such as data storage, communication protocols, system architecture, and API design.

This is an opportunity to dig deeper and demonstrate your strong problem-solving skills and a deep understanding of system design concepts such as caching, load balancing, sharding, and fault tolerance. You also need to be able to communicate your design decisions clearly and effectively to the interviewer, as well as identify potential trade-offs and limitations of your proposed solution.

The best way to prepare for system design interviews is to practice via mock interviews with field experts (Lyft hiring managers or Lyft software engineers, in this case) to get better at structuring your thoughts and articulating them. Systems design questions are common for a lot of firms who hire for this role. One such firm is the e-commerce behemoth, check out the Amazon Software Engineering interview to know more.

Behavioral Interview 

During the behavioral round of the Lyft software engineer interview, you'll be meeting with an engineering manager to discuss your background, experiences, and interests. The questions asked will cover a wide range of topics such as your previous roles, technologies you've used, values, soft skills, and more. 

Here are some example questions you may encounter:

  • How do you think Lyft can improve the safety of its passengers and drivers, and what role do you think technology can play in this?
  • Lyft is considering implementing autonomous vehicles in the future. What technical challenges do you think this presents, and how do you think these challenges can be addressed?
  • What drives your interest in this position at Lyft?
  • What's a challenge you faced in your previous job, and how did you overcome it?
  • How do you stay up-to-date with new technologies and industry trends?
  • What role do you think data analysis plays in the success of Lyft?

The behavioral round can be extremely tough; a previous case was asked to find the minimum number of employees required to complete all tasks, wherein the test case had 100 tasks. They had to solve the problem in one hour.

In such a case, make sure to break down the tasks into smaller groups and use estimates based on your previous experience with similar tasks to refine your approach accordingly.

Remember to prepare examples and stories from your previous experience to help support your answers and demonstrate your skills and abilities to the interviewer.

Another company with a very comprehensive hiring process for the Software Engineering role is Tesla. You should check out our Tesla Software Engineering interview guide as well. This can really give you some good perspective!

Team Matching


The team matching round is the final stage of the Lyft software engineer interview process. If you successfully make it past the on-site interview, Lyft will match you with potential teams within the company based on your skills, experience, and interests.

You will receive exploratory calls from team managers to discuss the team's goals, projects, and culture, as well as your own interests and career aspirations. 

The goal of the team matching round is to help you find the team that is the best fit for your skills and interests, while also ensuring that the team has the right candidate for the role.

Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities that Lyft looks for in a Software Engineer are:

  • As a Lyft Software Engineer, you will be responsible for collaborating with the team to establish roadmaps and determine architecture that aligns with technology and business needs
  • You will be expected to write clean, maintainable and well-tested code that adheres to Lyft's standards
  • You will participate in code reviews to ensure code quality, improve your skills and share your knowledge with colleagues
  • You will be responsible for sharing your expertise through brown bags, tech talks and promoting engineering best practices
  • You will be expected to take on leadership roles in managing large projects from idea to successful completion
  • It also involves communicating with internal stakeholders and providing support to help them achieve their goals
  • Finally, you will need to proactively identify and resolve technical issues, roadblocks, and other challenges to keep projects on track.

Skills and Qualifications

Here are the skills and qualifications that a Lyft Software Engineer must have:

  • You'll need to have at least 5 years of experience in the software engineering industry to be considered for this role.
  • Experience with object-oriented programming is a must-have skill for this position.
  • You'll require experience working with distributed systems to succeed in this role.
  • You should have experience working with databases, either relational or NoSQL.
  • You'll be expected to write clear, scalable, and well-documented code and design documentation.
  • You'll need to be able to design, build, and improve a set of components owned by your team to contribute effectively to Lyft's overall success.