What Should I Expect in a Software Engineer Interview at Google And?

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What should I expect in a Software Engineer interview at Google and how should I prepare?

The short answer is ‘Yes’. The long answer is much more nuanced. First, there is nothing like an ‘average person’. Everyone has the ability to be stellar. Second, like most worthy endeavours in life the Google interview process is difficult. It is designed as a gating process. By that I mean it is designed to keep people out rather than let them in. And so cracking it often comes down to effort, focus and most importantly strong preparation. Over the last 4 years at Interview Kickstart (our bootcamp for top company interview prep.) we have seen many people with different backgrounds and often non-pedigree (so called) schools, get into Google and other top companies. The common theme across all of them was serious commitment and ‘deliberate’ practise. So what sort of commitment is needed? To give this a good shot you should assume that this will need to be the primary thing that you do apart from your day job. So assume that you would need to put in about 12–15 hours a week on practise. In terms of weeks, we have empirically seen candidates take 2–3 months to get very well prepared. What does Deliberate Practise mean? Deliberate practise is a term taken from sport. It means trying to simulate the live environment. In that case that would mean doing practise problems, simulating the phone screen via online timed problem solving and also doing a bunch of Mock interviews. What do you need to prepare? Ideally there are 4 areas of preparation Algorithms and Data Structures System Design Domain Specific knowledge Behavoural Interview questions (Often under estimated, but very important) Finally while all this seems like a lot, remember this is a unique time to be a software engineer where current demand for talent far outstrips supply of good talent and so the upside to moving to a great company is very high. Bottom like so is a few months of effort can result in a lifetime of benefits.

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