AMA - How I got multiple offers from FAANG and Tier 1 companies

Autodesk vCLg47
Jan 13 130 Comments

I see a lot of folks asking about interview preparation and topics to study for the SWE roles at FAANG. Here's a list of topics that I studied and managed to get offers from Facebook, Apple, Lyft, Linkedin, and Amazon. If you study these topics and once you develop a knack of identifying patterns and algorithms, you'd do great.

I solved ~150 LC questions and most of the companies asked me LC mediums. I did not study any advanced data-structures like Disjoint Sets, K Dimensional, n-array tree etc. as nobody asked them in any of my interviews including FAANG, Uber, Linkedin, Lyft, Airbnb, Snap, Dropbox, Pinterest and many more.

I gave myself a couple of months to prepare and I'd study at least a couple of hours every day and more on weekends. I got LC premium for 35$ and bought 90$ System Groking, did not have any mockup interviews as I initially scheduled interviews at companies that I could use as mocks likes of Walmart Labs, Snap etc.

TC: 240K, YOE: 7

Data Structures
- Hash-Based DS: Set, HashMap, LinkedHashMap
- Lists
- Trie
- Min, Max Heap
- Matrix
- Graph
- Trees
- Stack/Queue
- Priority Queue
- Bit manipulation

Algorithms
- BFS & DFS
- Sorting & Searching
- Recursion (Bottom Up & Top Down)
- Backtracking
- Intervals, meeting rooms etc.
- Island problems
- Two pointer approach, three sum
- Window sliding
- Dynamic programming (Tushar Roy)
- Word ladder, word break, word split
- LRU, MFU Cache

Conceptual Topics
- Threads, executor services, futures, semaphores
- Generics
- BlockingQueue
- Memory leak, Garbage collection
- Basic Sql operations and queries

System Designs
- System Design Primer (Github)
- White paper on DynamoDB and Kafka
- Design common services like Instagram, facebook, google docs, WhatsApp, uber etc.
- Read articles on REDIS, Memcached, Cassandra
- Grokking the system design

Behavioral questions
- Read through CTCI section, leetcode explore section and leadership principles
- Make a few cases based on STAR format

AMA if you have any questions, would love to help fellow blinders to get offers from their dream companies.

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TOP 130 Comments
  • LinkedIn Lolllllll
    Share the offers?
    Jan 13 14
    • Oath / Eng asPl03
      @vCLg47 Thanks, then isn't your TC for Apple 190 + 75 = 265k/yr, excluding signing bonus and annual bonus? I believe you posted $240k initially
      Jan 13
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      @Oauth that is my current TC at Autodesk.
      Jan 13
    • Oath / Eng asPl03
      @vCLg47 gotcha, thanks for clarifying.
      Jan 13
    • Rakuten iuUh62
      Thanks for the negotiations link. Did you go back and forth with Apple, FB, and Lyft before arriving at your final numbers? What was the difference between their initial and final offers?
      Jan 13
    • Google ktmb15
      That looks like either a good E4 FB offer or a really low E5 offer (basically the lowest possible)
      Aug 15
  • Uber / Eng tfh
    Which companies rejected you and do you know why?
    Jan 13 8
    • Uber / Eng tfh
      But then you failed the best ones IMO. FAA are the worst part of FAANG, and airbnb and uber are better than FAANG. I'm talking about TC
      Jan 13
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      @Uber I did fail the best one i.e. Google. IMO, Uber and Airbnb are at similar levels of Apple, Facebook.

      TC is not my only sole priority. I took the Apple offer based on the WLB, team I met, the projects I'll be working on, the couple of meetings I had with HM.
      Jan 13
    • Uber / Eng tfh
      But I heard Apple has very bad WLB. Which team are you joining?
      Jan 15
    • MathWorks / Eng ∞ ^ 2
      Congrats OP!!! Which team are you joining?
      Jan 16
    • Cisco HR-Angel1
      Yeah at Apple it’s terrible wlb all around and they are secretive in what you’ll be working on so have no idea if this is even a real post
      Mar 17
  • HPE TimB
    First time I saw a useful post in Blind. Thank you..
    Jan 13 1
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      ✌️
      Jan 13
  • Amazon xAQu84
    Was there any topic you studied that you felt like you could get away with not studying? Could you rank the topics based off how often they were asked in your interviews? (I know your sample size isn’t huge)
    Jan 13 5
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      I was surprised at how many times I was asked Island problem or it's variation, at least 8-10 times IIRC.
      Jan 13
    • Amazon xAQu84
      I think I have most of the basic stuff down. Wondering if I should spend more time on things like DP, backtracking, search algorithm type problems, trie, kruskals, KMP, rabin Karp, bit manipulation, regex, etc.
      Jan 13
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      Everything you mentioned I'd go through except regex
      Jan 13
    • VMware / Eng andor
      What is the island prob? LC question 200?
      Jan 13
    • Amazon xAQu84
      I’m gonna guess the count number of islands, size of islands, bfs/dfs on adjacency matrix type questions.
      Jan 13
  • VMware / Eng andor
    Did you interview at G? If yes, how was it compared to Fb and Uber? And how did you get a call from Apple? I applied there many times in the past 2 months but no one calls.
    Jan 13 5
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      Yes, I interview at G, theirs was the toughest among all the companies I interviewed.

      A recruiter reached out from Apple and he forwarded my resume among his peers and got calls from each of the respective team recruiters. I had almost 6-7 teams reached out to me and I zeroed down to ones that I was interested in.

      TBH, Apple recruiters are not so much fun to work with.
      Jan 13
    • VMware / Eng andor
      Thanks for the info. I have an Fb interview coming up. Cleared G. Can you say what's different between these 2 interviews? Heard Fb expects more speed is that true? What about Uber?
      Jan 13
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      yes, facebook expects you to solve 2 LC Medium or 1 LC easy and 1 LC hard in the span of 45 minutes.
      Jan 13
    • VMware / Eng andor
      Thanks. How was Uber?
      Jan 13
    • Microsoft / Eng SwitchJobs
      2M or 1E + 1H in 45 mins is what you said for FB. How about G and Uber expectations?
      Jan 13
  • How did you get calls from Lyft & Pinterest without Referrals? Did you apply online or a recruiter made the first contact?
    Jan 13 5
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      Lyft recruiter reached out and Pinterest I applied
      Jan 13
    • Awesome! Any resume tips to get a call from Pinterest?
      Jan 13
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      Id' recommend to keep it short and precise to your important projects. I usually include my StackOverflow profile link as I have answered 100's of questions there which you can't fake. So try to include your github projects, SO profile or anything which they can see it first hand.
      Jan 13
    • New JthG36
      Ballpark SO score?
      Jan 13
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      The score doesn't really matter, it's how many questions have you answered.

      My score is around ~5k but I've answered ~350 questions over the last 2 years which is not that great but still better for the interviewer to gauge your skills.
      Jan 13
  • Facebook public2
    Which offer did you take?
    Jan 13 2
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      I took Apple as they gave me the best numbers and I'm excited about the team and product I'll be working on.
      Jan 13
    • Facebook public2
      Nice, congrats!
      Jan 13
  • Microsoft Vgj(5;)
    Has anyone asked Bit Manipulation questions? Is it really needed?
    Jan 13 3
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      A dude from Snap asked me about it. If you got time, I'd say at least read through the CTCI section of it.
      Jan 13
    • Microsoft exM
      Yes G asked
      Jan 14
    • C Spire Wireless SXvh05
      I bought CTCI this week just for this
      Jan 14
  • New begin
    Great writeup. How did you get referrals?
    Jan 13 1
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      I did not, fortunately, my experience, skills and background helped me get the most of recruiters reached out to me and a couple of recruiters called up after I applied on their company site.

      My background is is Distributed systems and back end engineering.
      Jan 13
  • Twitter
    Brahmann

    Twitter

    PRE
    Adobe
    Brahmannmore
    Thanks for this honest post. I am currently preparing for interviews and this post is a great advice.
    Jan 13 4
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      You're welcome!
      Jan 13
    • Proofpoint / Eng foodtruckj
      Why are you leaving Twitter? Your stock is doing well over last 2 weeks compared to Facebook or Google.
      Is it because you're tired and need to change things up or are you leaving to change your location?
      Jan 13
    • ^Curious to know that too
      Jan 13
    • Twitter
      Brahmann

      Twitter

      PRE
      Adobe
      Brahmannmore
      Been here > 4 years. Need to change things.
      Jan 14
  • Zillow Group Sr. Troll
    How do you structure your resume ?
    Jan 13 2
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      Twp page
      - Name, Email, Phone, Address, Github/SO profile link
      - Introduction and assert your skills, background, what makes you unique
      - Company experiences, only mention the impacting projects you worked on, tech stack you worked on, come up with numbers to assert the impact e.g. decreased the latency by 3X, increased the response time by 5x, handled 100x the load etc.
      - Your educational background, school and projects if you're a new grad
      Jan 13
    • Zillow Group Sr. Troll
      Thanks man
      Jan 13
  • PayPal unionfind
    Experiencing burnout rn, have multiple interviews scheduled for the week. What should i do?
    Jan 13 1
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      Try to cover as many LC mediums as possible sorted by frequency if you have them scheduled in next 2 weeks.
      Jan 13
  • Microsoft / Eng SwitchJobs
    How many were LC hard? How many Dp, combinatorics?
    Jan 13 3
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      Probably 3-4 LC hards in all of my interviews and 4-5 DP based.
      Jan 13
    • Microsoft / Eng SwitchJobs
      Thanks ! Congratulations!
      Jan 13
    • Microsoft Vgj(5;)
      Any combinatorial problem?
      Jan 13
  • Twitch FUI
    This is why I still use Blind. Thanks for inspiration
    Jan 13 0
  • OP did any company ask you object oriented design questions in the onsite interviews ?
    Feb 4 2
    • Amazon forceful
      My literal nightmare is someone asking me to explain the "Decorator Pattern" as if that were a) important and b) needed to be memorized.
      Feb 9
    • Twitter
      Brahmann

      Twitter

      PRE
      Adobe
      Brahmannmore
      This is my nightmare as well. I have faced some bizarre questions in interviews. I won't be surprised if I someone asks this.
      Jul 30
  • New / Eng Iu
    What makes you so successful?
    Jan 14 1
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      Hard work and perseverance
      Jan 14
  • 240 to 265 TC ,not a big jump.. are you happy with the negotiation ? you might be worth more, how long you are planning to stay with Apple ? were you in DPE ?
    Jan 13 1
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      Current 240k TC includes base, RSU, bonus and refreshers. Including all of these and SignOn for the first year at Apple makes TC much higher.
      Jan 13
  • Twitch FUI
    What is your initial offer look like compared to the final offer? How much could you leverage during negotiation? The article you shared on negotiation is really interesting and I’m wondering how effective it is in real life.
    Jan 13 1
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      Well, I didn't go that extreme in negotiation as I was afraid that the offer might get rescinded. However, I managed to squeeze 10-20% extra from each of the TC components at Apple.
      Jan 13
  • New DvVM00
    will you marry me?
    Jan 13 1
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      Sorry, I'm taken by a beautiful girl already.
      Jan 13
  • Chase tjPE83
    What was ur tc and what’s the new offer’s tc?
    Jan 13 1
    • Autodesk vCLg47
      OP
      Both mentioned in the post and one of the answers here.
      Jan 13