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Snap Software Engineer Interview Guide

Interview Guide Nov 28

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

The role of a Snap Software Engineer

Snap hires some of the best engineers in tech. This makes their roles quite competitive. If you get the chance to work at Snap, you'd be building technically sophisticated products that reach countless Snapchatters worldwide every day.

The company fosters a culture that promotes collaboration, creativity, teamwork, and is well-known for its challenging and rewarding work environment. It also offers employees highly competitive salaries and benefits; the yearly total compensation at Snap for Software Engineer ranges between $196K-$794K+ per annum. Here's a level-by-level break down of the compensation you can expect as an SWE at Snap: 

  • L3 (Entry Level): US$196.12K
  • L4 Software Engineer: US$372.26K
  • L5 Software Engineer: US$537.75K
  • L6 Software Engineer: US$679.48K
  • L7 Software Engineer: US$793.8K

Snap Software Engineer Interview Guide

As a Snap Software Engineer, candidates need to go through the following interview rounds:

  • Recruiter Phone Screen
  • Technical Screen
  • Virtual On-Site

Let's look at each of these in detail.

Relevant Guides

Snap SWE - Initial Phone Screen

Overview

The initial phone screen interview for the Snap Software Engineer position is a basic get-to-know-you conversation with the interviewer. You may be asked to share information about a previous project you've worked on and explain your motive behind applying for the SWE role at Snap.

This round is designed to assess your experience and skills, and to determine how well you may fit into the team and culture at Snap.

Snap SWE - Technical Screen

Overview

This round of the Snap software engineer interview is a coding interview with a technical team over Google Meet. Previous candidates have reportedly been asked Hackerrank coding questions in React and Java. You may also face system design questions such as building a small game.

Be ready to explain your thought process and reasoning behind your solutions, since the interviewers will be looking to get insight into your technical skills and problem-solving abilities. 

After you've passed this round, you will be brought in for a virtual onsite interview.

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Snap SWE - Virtual Onsite Interviews

Overview

While the number of interviews will vary depending on the location you are applying to, you can expect a minimum of five rounds of interviews during the virtual onsite: 2 coding rounds, 1 system design, 1 behavioral with different engineers/managers, and a lunch break chat with another software engineer to just chat about Snap.

You have the option to split the on site interviews across a couple days and appear for them remotely.

Here's deep-diving into each round:

Coding Interview

During the two coding/technical rounds of your interview, you'll be expected to demonstrate your proficiency in programming concepts such as data structures, algorithms, and object-oriented programming. 

The interviewers will be looking to assess your approach to solving complex problems, identifying the right data structures and algorithms to use, and writing clean, efficient, and well-structured code in the given period of time.

Snap's coding questions are typically of Leetcode medium-hard level; Make sure you brush up on your CS fundamentals and DSA concepts such as matrix operations, tree serialization, string operations, and bit encoding. 

Here are a few examples of questions you can expect:

  • Given a matrix of integers, write a program to find the maximum sum of a submatrix of size k x k.
  • Implement a binary tree serialization and deserialization algorithm using any preferred encoding.
  • Given a string, write a program to find the longest palindromic substring.
  • Implement a function to perform bit encoding and decoding of a given string.
  • Given a linked list, write a program to reverse it in-place.
  • Implement a function to sort an array of integers using the quicksort algorithm

System Design: 

The system design round can be challenging, as Snap intentionally designs questions to be increasingly difficult to prevent candidates from giving definitive answers. 

A previous candidate reported being asked system design questions that were made up on the spot. Almost every candidate who has interviewed at Snap reports that questions are tailored to their past projects and experiences and are created on-the-go.

Here are 5 potential system design and architecture questions that may be asked during a Snap interview:

  • Design a system that can handle a large volume of user-generated content, such as photos or videos, and ensure quick and reliable access to that content.
  • Describe how you would design an infrastructure for a messaging app that supports millions of daily active users with fast and reliable message delivery.
  • How would you design a system to support real-time video streaming for a large number of users with varying internet speeds and device capabilities?
  • Design a recommendation engine that suggests content to users based on their viewing history and preferences.
  • Explain how you would design and implement a system to detect and prevent fraudulent activity on a social media platform, such as fake accounts, spam, or scams.

Snap's interview process also includes a system design round that focuses solely on Snapchat's design. During this round, you may be asked questions such as "what do you like about the product?" or "what do you dislike about the product?". Based on your responses, the interviewer may ask further questions to evaluate your understanding of the product and your ability to identify potential design improvements.

Mock interviews are an excellent way to prepare for these rounds. A field expert from your target company can simulate interview-like conditions and ask you varied questions to help you refine your design approach and prepare for the interview process.

Behavioral 

The behavioral round not only aims to evaluate whether you are a good fit for Snap's culture and your motivations behind joining Snap but also to assess your leadership, managerial, and communication abilities.

You may be asked questions like:

  • Why Snap?
  • Talk about a time you demonstrated audacity.
  • Describe a time you made a big difference.

Make sure you research the company's values and culture. Spend some time reflecting on your previous work experiences that demonstrate the relevant strengths and values the Snap is looking for. 

This round is also to determine your level—and how you demonstrate your leadership, managerial, and communication skills plays a key role here. 

To put it simply, if you are interviewing for the L4/L5 position at Snap, successfully demonstrating your work/experience can land you the L5 role, instead of the default L4 role.

To excel in the interview, we recommend studying Snap's previous interview questions and practicing for technical interviews. Additionally, leverage mock interviews to hone your skills further. Seeking feedback from senior software engineers and hiring managers from Snap or other FAANG companies can provide valuable insights that can help you improve your interviewing techniques 

Schedule a mock interview with a Snap SWE. 

Lunch Break Chat

Snap is one of the few companies that organizes a lunch break chat for SWE candidates to meet with software engineers and engage in a casual conversation about their work experience at Snap, and gain insights into the company's culture and values.

This is an opportunity for you to get a better sense of Snap's work practices, team structure, and communication style, as well as get to know some of your potential future colleagues. It will also help you determine if the company is the right fit for your career goals and aspirations.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Snap Software Engineer

While the responsibilities of Snap software engineers vary depending on their specific role and team, here's a brief overview of what you'll be expected to do:

  • You will be responsible for developing, designing, and maintaining software for Snap's platforms and products.
  • You will be expected to write efficient, well-documented code that follows Snap's coding standards and best practice.
  • Conducting code reviews, ensuring code quality will also be a part of your responsibilities.
  • You will collaborate with researchers, engineers, and designers to create innovative products and interactive experiences using algorithms and cutting-edge technologies.
  • You will be expected to stay up-to-date with emerging technologies, industry trends, and best practices.
  • If you are on board to a higher level, you will be expected to mentor and coach junior engineers and interns to foster their growth.

Skills and Qualifications required for a Snap SWE

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

  • BSc in Computer Science, or equivalent field
  • Knowledge of programming languages like JavaScript, HTML/CSS, SQL, Python, React, Ruby on Rails
  • Experience in developing real-time systems and user experiences
  • Strong understanding of computer science fundamentals
  • You should possess compelling problem-solving skills

Frequently Asked Questions