How to tackle system design interviews? Any preparation materials?

Amazon I3JQHz
Aug 3, 2018 12 Comments

I have no problem with leetcode style interview questions but always find it hard to tackle system design interview questions. I am always satisfied with my own solution but the interviewers always seem to expect something else. Can anyone of you tell me how to tackle system design questions.


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TOP 12 Comments
  • Cruise Automation / Eng UVEm85
    Designing data intensive applications book provides a great foundation for backend distributed systems
    Aug 3, 2018 1
    • Qualtrics 3l3ctr1c
      Highly recommend this book for backend engineers
      Aug 25, 2018
  • VMware / Eng

    VMware Eng

    Microsoft, Hulu
    Just throw in a messaging service and you will be fine
    Aug 3, 2018 1
    • Capital One / Eng
      Area Man

      Capital One Eng

      death by onions and peppers
      Area Manmore
      Hah, came here to say this!
      Aug 3, 2018
  • Microsoft Mhjjl
    The point is not to evaluate if you can finish the entire design. It is to see if you know best practices and industry standards for solving common issues we encounter in real world with large scale systems. When you suggest an approach make sure you know why it is better than others. A good interviewer will always question your choices at every layer of the system.
    Aug 3, 2018 3
    • Amazon I3JQHz
      What if I don’t have experience with that? I am kind of working on the same project because I stayed at the same team. Anywhere I can learn those stuff?
      Aug 3, 2018
    • Microsoft Mhjjl
      Read up. The link that someone pasted in this thread is really good, I have used it in the past. Be honest. For example, in a recent interview I had mentioned that I will use elastic search. I also mentioned that although I know how to use it (I have researched about it) I have personally not used it. I still passed the loop. The point is, if you don’t know something and you just know a buzz word, don’t use it and get into trouble. For all you know the interviewer might be an expert in that topic.
      Aug 3, 2018
    • Microsoft Mhjjl
      If your interview is more than a month away I recommend Hired in tech is also a very good resource
      Aug 3, 2018
  • Would definitely recommend Grokking the System Design Interview on

    Well worth the price and pretty much covers the full range of questions.
    Aug 3, 2018 2
    • New / Eng

      New Eng

      +1. Learned a bunch from that course, definitely worth the money for interview prep
      Aug 3, 2018
    • Amazon I3JQHz
      Thanks. I will try it out.
      Aug 3, 2018