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Snowflake Software Engineer Interview

Interview Guide Apr 28

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

The role of a Snowflake Software Engineer

Snowflake Inc. is a leading cloud computing-based data cloud company headquartered in Bozeman, Montana. At Snowflake, software engineers play a pivotal role in creating data-intensive applications with a focus on performance, scalability, and concurrency.

As a software engineer at Snowflake, you'll be part of a dynamic team dedicated to enabling customers to extract maximum value from their data while maintaining privacy and security. You'll have the opportunity to work on cutting-edge technologies and collaborate closely with colleagues to bring privacy-enhancing solutions from concept to reality. More importantly, since you would be joining Snowflake early in their journey, you will have a direct hand in shaping the future of privacy-enhancing technologies.

Software engineers at Snowflake enjoy competitive compensation, with an average total package of $333,459, including a base salary of $179,156, stock grants totaling $138,832 per year, and a bonus of $15,471.

Snowflake Software Engineer Interview Guide

The Snowflake Software Engineer interview process typically comprises the following 3 rounds:

  • Initial Screen
  • Technical Phone Screen
  • 3- 5 Panel Interviews (Onsite Round)

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Initial Screen


The initial screen at Snowflake for the Software Engineer role is a 30-minute call where you'll discuss your technical skills and experiences with a member of the recruiting team (or possibly the hiring manager).

Make sure you have thoroughly reviewed your resume and are ready to discuss your relevant experiences and technical expertise. More importantly, be prepared to explain why you're excited about the opportunity at Snowflake and how those experiences, your professional background, etc set you up for success in the role.

This is also a great chance to ask any questions you have about the role or the upcoming interview process.

Interview Questions

Here are some potential questions you might encounter during the initial screen:

  • Can you walk me through your resume and highlight your relevant experience as a software engineer?
  • What motivated you to apply for the software engineer position at Snowflake?
  • Can you discuss a challenging technical problem you've solved in the past and how you approached it?
  • Can you provide an example of a project where you collaborated effectively with a team?

Technical Screen


In the technical screening stage, there are typically multiple interviews, each lasting around 60 minutes. These interviews cover a range of topics, including:

  • Coding Interviews: You can expect live coding questions revolving around algorithmic and data structure problems. They'll ask you to solve them on a shared coding platform or whiteboard. We recommend practising solving coding challenges on platforms like LeetCode, HackerRank, or CodeSignal.
  • System Design Interviews: In these interviews, you'll discuss how you would design and architect large-scale systems. There will be follow-up questions as well, so make sure you are familiar with fundamental system design concepts such as scalability, reliability, and performance. Plus, don't hesitate to ask questions if you need clarification or are simply unsure about certain requirements.

Panel Interviews - three to five 60-minute interviews


At Snowflake, software engineers typically face up to 5 panel interviews of 60 minutes each, depending on which level you are applying to. For instance, mid-to-senior levels (IC3 and 4) software engineers typically start off with a 30-minute presentation, which is followed by a coding session, an expertise interview, a behavioural interview and a closing discussion. Whereas, Principal levels (IC5 and above) also have a similar format but they also face an additional “cross-functional interview” with members from multiple teams across Snowflake, wherein each brings questions related to their department and the potential team.

You’ll meet with several senior software engineers and team members in each round. In general, you can expect to face the following rounds:

  1. (30-minute) Tech Talk Presentation; this typically depends on the level you are applying for. You'll have a 30-minute slot to present a past project showcasing your technical skills and knowledge. For instance, any scalable system you've developed for data aggregation or if you've used a combination of distributed computing and database technologies. Typically, this presentation is with multiple engineers from the team the candidate is applying for. 
  2. Technical Interview: This is typically a coding interview where you can expect a one hour Q/A session revolving around your algorithmic knowledge. But, expect a focus on Snowflake-specific questions and a strong emphasis on database internals. For instance, an example question could be “How can you gather all the information from a log file and put it together quickly without taking too much time?” But remember, the questions may not solely be LeetCode-based; they will throw in a range of technical questions relevant to Snowflake's technology stack.. To get a good idea of what you can expect about the technical topics, we recommend you speak with some current or ex-Snowflake employees for deeper insight. You can do mock interviews with them to get practice as well; Prepfully can put you in touch with Snowflake software engineers. Check them out here.
  3. Expertise Interview: This round assesses your skills relevant to the specific team you're interviewing for. So, depending on the team's focus, it may involve coding, system design, or a deep dive into a specific language or framework. You could also be asked to solve real-world scenarios and demonstrate your expertise in a particular technology.
  4. Behavioural Interview: This is typically conducted by a project manager, although sometimes a hiring manager may step in, depending on the team structure. It's similar to behavioural interviews you might encounter at SDE interviews of top tech companies. Questions about your past experiences, (particularly those that spotlight your problem-solving, collaboration skills, etc) and culture fit are common.
  5. Collaboration/Cross-functional Interview (for principal levels and above); The cross-functional interview at Snowflake is a unique type of interview where they interact with members from various teams across the organisation. You can expect to meet with representatives from different departments, such as engineering, product management, sales, marketing, and possibly others depending on the role and team you're applying for. Each interviewer will come prepared with their own set of questions tailored to their area of expertise and how it intersects with the role you're interviewing for. For example, an engineer might ask technical questions to assess your depth of knowledge in specific areas, while a product manager might inquire about your understanding of market trends and customer needs.
  6. Closing Discussion; As the final stage of the process, this involves a conversation with either a recruiter or a senior leader, depending on the team you're applying to. The main purpose here is to address any remaining questions about the role and team, and to potentially tie up any loose ends from previous rounds of interviews.

Interview Questions

  1. Write a class that processes a stream of input.
  2. Implement a MyDeque API with a fixed size.
  3. Implement a function to find the median of a stream of numbers efficiently.
  4. Given a string (array of characters), check whether any character has been duplicated.
  5. Merge two sorted array lists. Follow-up: They are two linked lists. Follow-up: You have k sorted linked lists.
  6. Merge two sorted arrays.
  7. Design a system to manage user authentication and authorization for a large-scale web application.
  8. Find the K-th largest element in an array of unsorted integers.
  9. Print out the outer triangle of a binary tree.
  10. Explain how you would optimise a database query for performance in a Snowflake environment.
  11. Can you explain the CAP theorem and its implications for distributed systems like Snowflake?
  12. Explain how you would design a system for real-time data processing and analytics in a distributed environment.
  13. Design a website that shows all Twitter posts having certain keywords in real-time.
  14. Given an array of intervals and a new interval, adjust the array to fit the new interval.
  15. How do you handle conflicts or disagreements within a team setting?
  16. How do you adapt your approach when working with colleagues from different departments or disciplines?
  17. What are the teams you would like to work for? What programming language do you prefer to use in your interview?
  18. Explain how you would handle concurrency and synchronisation in a multi-threaded application.
  19. Implement a system to buy and sell stocks efficiently.
  20. Develop a cache implementation for optimising data retrieval and storage.
  21. Design a crawler system for efficiently gathering information from the web.
  22. Create an algorithm to sort files stored in a system.
  23. Develop a method to determine if a given binary tree is a unival tree.

Schedule your mock interview with a Snowflake SWE and fine-tune your interview skills.

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Snowflake Software Engineer Roles and Responsibilities

Following are the roles and responsibilities of a Snowflake Software Engineer:

  • You'll be responsible for leading the integration of Privacy-Enhancing Technologies into the Data Cloud platform.
  • You'll need to collaborate closely with Product Managers to guide projects from conception to execution.
  • You'll be responsible for spearheading significant initiatives involving the research, design, and implementation of PETs at Snowflake.
  • You'll need to develop high-quality, resilient production systems capable of global scalability.
  • You'll be responsible for actively contributing to shaping the product's long-term vision.
  • You'll need to foster a positive and collaborative culture focused on innovation and technical excellence.

Snowflake Software Engineer Skills and Qualifications

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

  • You should have at least 8 years of industry experience building and supporting large-scale distributed systems.
  • A degree in Computer Science or related fields, or equivalent experience, is required.
  • Strong foundational knowledge in Computer Science and Statistics is necessary.
  • Proficiency in Java, C++, or similar languages is essential.
  • Experience in Privacy-Enhancing Technologies, Machine Learning, or Database systems & internals is a bonus, but not mandatory.