Interview Guide Oct 02
Oct 024 rounds
Elevate Your Production Engineer Interview Performance: Proven Tactics and Expert Advice Tailored to Meta's Unique Hiring Process
Meta's Production Engineering is not only a rewarding role but also a lucrative one. With their ability to unify infrastructure, software, teams, and processes, Production Engineers play a crucial role in Meta's success. They collaborate with engineering teams and partners to prioritize "Reliability, Scalability, Performance, and Security" in production services.
Production Engineers possess a unique mix of software and systems expertise. They write production code, solve complex problems for billions of users across Meta's platforms, and work in diverse infrastructure domains. A PE's strength lies in fostering relationships, promoting collaboration, and sharing knowledge.
Apart from the rewarding nature of their work, Production Engineers at Meta enjoy substantial financial benefits. They earn an impressive average yearly total compensation of $376,153, which includes a base salary of $218,394, an average annual total stock (RSUs) of $125,000, and an annual target bonus of $32,759.
Typically, the interview process kicks off with a brief phone call with an HR recruiter. Their goal is to assess your potential for the job, so it's essential to be ready to discuss your background and explain why you're a strong match for Facebook. During this initial conversation, you can anticipate answering common behavioral and resume-related questions such as "Tell me about yourself" and "Why Facebook?" There may also be some technical inquiries thrown into the mix.
Beyond that, you can expect the following 4-5 rounds depending on the position you are applying for:
- Online assessment
- Coding Interview
- System Interview
- Design and Architecture Interview
Let's discuss each of these briefly:
This round is typically part of the internship application process and involves an online Linux questionnaire that takes about 18-20 minutes to complete. The questionnaire consists of approximately 20 questions covering basic Linux systems and commands, operating systems concepts, and networking.
For instance, you may be provided with two CSV data files—one of which will contain statistics about dinosaurs, and the second will contain additional data. You will then be asked to process the data and print the names of dinosaurs from fastest to slowest.
To prep for this round,
- We suggest familiarising yourself with the basics of Linux systems, networking, operating systems Concepts, and commonly used commands.
- It would be beneficial to review essential topics such as process scheduling, network protocols, IP addressing, subnetting, basic troubleshooting techniques, memory management, file systems, and so on.
- Also, look for sample Linux, operating systems, and networking questions online, and try your hand at solving them.
The coding interview is a challenging 1-hour session where you will demonstrate your ability to think logically and code accurately under pressure. You will be presented with two data structure and algorithm coding problems. These can cover various topics such as BFS/DFS graph traversal, string manipulations, tree operations, and so on.
As you progress, the interviewer will keep adding on details to assess your problem-solving skills and evaluate your code for clarity, accuracy, efficiency, and speed.
Here are common questions you could be asked:
- Implement a depth-first search (DFS) algorithm to traverse a binary tree and print its elements.
- Implement a function that finds the kth smallest element in a binary search tree (BST).
- Given a string, implement a function to check if it is a palindrome.
- Implement a function that reverses a linked list.
- Given an array of integers, find the maximum sum of any contiguous subarray.
To prep for the coding round, make sure you have a solid understanding of essential data structures like arrays, linked lists, stacks, queues, trees, and graphs. Practice solving common algorithms on platforms like LeetCode, HackerRank, etc.
Then, you can move to code on a whiteboard or paper without the aid of an IDE or compiler. Or better yet, practice with a mock interviewer; you can book a "coding style" interview with one of the Meta Production Engineers at Prepfully for a simulated experience.
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This is roughly a 45-minute systems interview that focuses on responding to real-world situations. This is probably the most complex and diverse segment; questions cover the breadth of topics like OS system call (finding stack information or what files are being called for deep performance analysis), tcpdump, and more importantly, linux troubleshooting and debugging. It will also touch upon topics like tooling, memory allocation, swapping, Linux processes, and UNIX process lifecycle.
It typically commences with a high-level troubleshooting of a likely scenario, such as an unhealthy web server or database. You are then asked to probe deeper into the issue, identify the root cause, and propose potential solutions. The objective is to assess your understanding of systems at scale and their behaviour under load.
This interview will likely challenge your boundaries of what you know and whether you can implement it. What tools might you use to debug something? Do you have an understanding of things like IO, CPU, shell, memory? If you know how to actually write a UNIX shell? Keep in mind the challenges of the Meta's environment when leveraging Linux processes, threads, memory, system calls to address the problem.
There are several excellent Linux preparation books you can leverage to prep for this round, such as "Advanced Linux Programming," "Linux Kernel Development" by Robert Love, and "Systems Performance" by Brendan Gregg.
The Design/Architecture Interview revolves around tackling an ambiguous question on how to build a system and skillfully guiding the interviewer through the process. For instance, you might be asked—
- How would you design a scalable messaging platform?
- What considerations would you take into account when designing an e-commerce checkout system?
Throughout the interview, your task is to develop a simple and practical solution while taking into account any constraints that the interviewer may introduce. Factors such as load and monitoring should be taken into consideration, and it's equally important to be aware of what not to consider.
Therefore, don't hesitate to ask clarifying questions and gather requirements as needed. For instance, "Could you provide more details about the expected user load or the expected number of concurrent users?" OR "Are there any specific performance or latency requirements for this system? OR "Should the system prioritize fault tolerance or speed of execution?"
- Find an almost palindrome.
- How is virtual memory managed on Linux?
- Split an array so that the sum is the same for both partitions.
- Read two CSV files, calculate based on the data in these files.
- What are the daily tasks of a production engineer?
- How does your work impact customers?
- How do you foster innovation in your work?
- Write a script that connects to 100 hosts, searches for a specific process, and sends an email with a report.
- Read data from an API call in JSON format, organise it as requested.
- Read an input file, parse the strings, and count the occurrences of email addresses.
- Given the formula: speed = ((STRIDE_LENGTH / LEG_LENGTH) - 1) * SQRT(LEG_LENGTH * g) (where g = 9.8 m/s^2, the gravitational constant), write a program to read data files, and print the names of bipedal dinosaurs from fastest to slowest.
- How does the Linux kernel handle process scheduling and what algorithms are involved?
- What is the role of the virtual file system (VFS) in the Linux kernel?
- How would you implement a solution for the two-sum problem using Python?
- Can you describe an efficient algorithm for finding the longest substring without repeating characters?
- What is the difference between a process and a thread?
- How does Linux handle inter-process communication (IPC) and what are some common mechanisms used?
Here are the skills and qualifications that a Meta Production Engineer must have:Following are the roles and responsibilities of a Meta Production Engineer:
- As a Meta Production Engineer, you will assume ownership of various back-end services, including Hadoop data warehouses, front-end services like Messenger and Newsfeed, infrastructure components like Memcache, and other related components.
- Your responsibilities will encompass writing, reviewing, and debugging code, as well as developing documentation and capacity plans. You will tackle real-time challenges within some of the world's largest and most complex systems.
- Collaboration with your engineering team will involve sharing on-call duties and acting as an escalation point for service incidents.
- By working alongside exceptional engineers in the industry, you will contribute to cutting-edge projects. The code and systems you develop will be deployed in production and utilised by millions of users worldwide.
- In addition to your technical responsibilities, you'll serve as a mentor to team members, guiding them in evaluating and implementing improved approaches to problem-solving while suggesting updates to tools and processes.
- By building strong cross-functional relationships, you'll have the opportunity to influence policies and procedures, driving continuous improvement in global data centre operations.
- As a Meta Production Engineer, you will need to have a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Engineering, or a related technical discipline. Equivalent experience will also be considered.
- They expect you to have a minimum of 8 years of experience in UNIX and TCP/IP network fundamentals, along with 8+ years of coding experience.
- In addition to that, you should have experience in learning and working with development languages like PHP, Python, C++, and Java. Furthermore, the role requires you to be adept at 'guerilla capacity planning' for internet service architectures.
- You should have a strong understanding of internet service architectures, including load balancing, LAMP, and CDN's.
- You also need to have hands-on experience in configuring and maintaining various applications such as Apache, Memcached, Squid, MySQL, NFS, DHCP, NTP, SSH, DNS, and SNMP.
What can I do to stand out as a candidate during the Production Engineer interview process?
Highlight your experience with system administration, automation, and incident management. Showcase your ability to troubleshoot and optimize production systems and provide examples of your impact.
How long does the entire interview process for a Meta Production Engineer role typically take?
The duration can vary but usually takes several weeks to complete, including phone screens and technical interviews. The timeline may depend on the specific role and team.
What should I know about Meta's company culture during the interview process?
Meta values innovation, collaboration, and a focus on user experience. Be prepared to demonstrate your ability to work in a dynamic and fast-paced environment.
How can I prepare for the technical interviews in the Meta Production Engineer interview process?
Brush up on your Linux system administration skills, practice writing scripts for automation tasks, and review networking concepts. Be prepared to discuss your experiences in managing production systems.