Interview Prep One Month Left


First of all I would like to thank the authors for their continued support of their book. As a lurker who has been watching from the side, the community interaction in the last 2 years has just been above and beyond.

I have the 1.3 version but I went ahead purchased the latest version. I was going to get the one from PlayStore but I saw it $20 on Amazon so I went that route instead ;).

I have an upcoming Amazon on-site interview with about a month left with the AFT team (Lamps). Position is for an SDE2 at Austin but the interview is at Seattle. My background is 3 yrs of development in building Navigation products.

From my initial research, in addition to ds/algos here are the topics I need to cover:

  1. Amazon Leadership principles. I’m preparing 1-2 stories for each principle.
  2. Systems Design - not really sure how to go about this one to be honest. I have do have some experience at work regarding designing for availability, nodes self healing etc, listening for heartbeats but not at the scale of Amazon, FB or Google.

My schedule (that I hope to keep) is basically 2-3 problems a day, with a systems design question here and there. Lately I would start my study time with a problem I already did a week ago and then work on a new problem and push through it for an hour (really painful sometimes!). When I don’t finish it, I just try to give myself another day to go through it.

This will be my first on-site technical interview of this type.

Any specific tips on the SDE2 position or preparation in general would be greatly appreciated.




Hey Herbert,

Thanks for your kind words as we authors like to share our knowledge and passion to people who are interested in this. Of course, thanks so much for your lasting support since 1.3, and we did put constant efforts on this literally every day to make this book better and better even we know it is the best already.

About your incoming interviews, I would like to give you some advice from mental perspective:

  1. Don’t be scared first time when you go to Google/Amazon office: many people I know when they visit those companies for the very first time, they will be amazed by how nice the office is, which eventually disturb their calm mood because they want to stay here so much. However, we both know being cool is the most important thing in interview. So if you know any friend at those companies, ask for a help if he/she could give you a tour of it such that your mental impact at that date will be less. Even not, take a look of the gallery on internet to see how their office looks like and tell yourself something like “this office is cool but it is not something that I have to get no matter what price I will pay.” to strengthen your will.
  2. People work there are great people, but they are not Gods. When you encounter some hard questions, trying to discuss the thoughts in your mind and to see how their response it. Remember that interviewers come to interview for selecting people who might have the potential to work with. So trying to discuss with them if you encounter something really difficult.
  3. Interviewer is not your enemy, but friends; in the worst case, interviewer is neutral. Many novice interviewee go to the interview room with an attitude that people in front of him is enemy that tries to fail me. However, this is totally wrong because if an interviewer hates you so much, he/she could just tell recruiter that he/she does not waste their time on you before interview. On the contrary, interviewers come to interview because we thought you might have the potential to be one of the coworkers. If you treat people in front of you as your enemy, the whole communicate will deteriorate pretty soon, and you should know this fact already. So try to think your interviewers are friends, it will greatly help the whole chemistry of the interview.

Please feel to let me know if you have any other questions, and I sincerely wish your interviews going smoothly :smile:



Thanks for the advice! I just finished my phone interview and I was more relaxed this time around.

I tried my best to make it a two way conversation, just like a typical dat at the office talking about problems/solutions etc. I think that mindset definetely changed how I approach my last interview and performed better (I think).



What a great answer! :slightly_smiling_face: