Getting a call from Amazon to discuss a possible position is a fantastic feeling and opportunity for you. However, the interview process for Amazon can be daunting, long, and highly complex if you haven’t interviewed with other big tech companies.
One of the most challenging aspects is the Amazon coding interviews, even if the coding interviews are often short. With Amazon, the questions are complex, and you may be performing multiple coding interviews.
Algo.Monster is a good start on getting prepared for an Amazon coding interview.
Preparing For An Amazon Coding Interview
The Amazon Coding Interview is part of the overall Amazon interview process. In general, there are three types of interviews you will attend, coding interviews, system design interviews, and behavioral interviews. You may find these three intermixed during the interviews. However, all of them are important for getting a job within one of the Amazon teams.
Amazon will ask you to come onsite if you get through the online coding interview. Amazon splits onsite interviews into around six of various kinds. So, for example, it could include four coding interviews, which are four opportunities to show your code to four different Amazon developers.
Learn About Amazons Unique Culture
Learn about Amazon’s culture and how they work. Then, before you invest time in interviewing for a position there, ensure it’s the right fit your you and your goals.
The other important aspect of the Amazon culture is what they call Leadership Principles. Each interviewer you meet with may test you on some of these principles or straight out ask you about them and how you believe you’ve lived them. So it’s essential to review them and understand them well enough when an interviewer tests you on them.
One of your interviewers may be with what Amazon calls a “bar raiser”. The bar raiser is not somebody associated with the team you are applying to. They are specifically there to ensure your skills, personality, and drive match what Amazon requires. The bar raiser will not introduce themselves. Ensure that you follow and understand the Leadership Principles and use them throughout the process. Be aware of anybody who asks more about these than any other aspect, as they will likely be the bar raiser. They can block you from getting a job, no matter what other interviewers say.
Prepare for Amazon Coding Interview
As mentioned before, one of the core components and potentially the most complex is the coding interview. During the coding interview, there are specific steps that will gain you favor with the interviewer, as this is the approach Amazon wants. So review and follow these steps:
- Clarify the question the interviewer asks before proceeding. Make sure you fully understand what is they asked and if any aspects need additional information.
- Plan out your approach before diving in. While you only have a short time, you should still have a quick brainstorming session and layout your strategy.
- Write clean, readable code, do not use pseudocode. Amazon specifically wants to see actual code from you. Make sure you are actively explaining your code to the interviewer as you are writing it.
- Test your code and approach. Make sure there are no bugs for the interviewer to point out. Check if your code handles edge cases, such as large numbers or invalid input.
- Optimize your code. You have a short amount of time, but if there is time left, you should look for areas to improve the code to work better or faster.
Practice Coding Interview Questions
Before the interview, you should be finding an excellent online coding interview practice site, such as LeetCode.com. LeetCode gives you a free tier to practice coding interview questions.
Suppose you want to spend a little money. In that case, you can buy a package with LeetCode and filter coding interview questions to Amazon-specific questions. Filtering questions is excellent to get real examples of what Amazon will be testing you on.
You should try to complete and analyze at least one coding interview question a day leading up to your Amazon coding interview. You also need to time yourself. Your coding interview will be 30-45 minutes. Therefore, you must be practicing to complete coding interview questions in this amount of time.
Failure to complete your coding interview question during the Amazon interview may result in a failure for you. It’s always better to complete the coding question and then go back to optimize it later. Don’t spend too much time trying to write perfect code if you can’t finish the question.
Practice With Colleagues
Find colleagues or friends who may also be interested in coding interviews. Spend time practicing coding interview questions with them. Then, use them as an interviewer, and make sure that your explanations of your code are at a reasonable level.
If you write great code but can’t talk through it, then that is also an issue. The interviewer wants to know how well you can explain what you’re doing. You will be working in large teams and must help junior developers. You also need to describe your approach and defend it against anyone questioning why you made that decision.
Practice With Past Interviewees or Current Amazon Employees
If you can find or know anybody who has previously gone through an Amazon coding interview, they would be a great candidate to use as a practice person. If they only have a short time talk to them about the process and how the interviewer conducted the interview.
Reach out via LinkedIn to anybody you may know that is currently or previously worked at Amazon. Most people will at least spend a little time talking to you about the process. They may even run through some coding interview questions with you to see how well you might do and offer advice on anything you may be missing.
Types Of Questions To Expect
As with all coding interviews, the fundamentals are essential. Most coding questions will focus on or include data structures, algorithms, and potentially puzzles to solve. These types of questions are not significantly different from any other coding interview with top tech companies. So as long as you’re running through practice coding interview questions, you should have the knowledge covered.
Specific areas and common themes for Amazon coding interview questions are:
- Linked Lists
- Dynamic Programming
- Math and Stats
- Sorting and Searching
Prepare for Amazon System Design Interview
Amazon will include aspects of system design in your interview process. However, this will likely not have any coding and will involve explaining design principles. Therefore, you will want to review additional preparation steps. General requirements are listed below.
The approach expected by Amazon is similar to the coding interview expectations:
- First, clarify the question the interviewer asked.
- Next, discuss and design at high levels, then as time permits, drill down into specifics of the design process.
- Review your approach. Ensure that what you are discussing or designing covers everything that the interviewer initially requested.
Prepare for Amazon Behavioral Interview
An essential aspect of all interviews with Amazons whether you will be a good fit for the Amazon team you are applying for.
One of the most important and most discussed topics in these is how you can use the Leader Principles at Amazon in your day-to-day life. You must be enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and optimistic about them.