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5 Incredible Tips on How to Stand Out in Your Interview as a Software Engineer

Last updated on: 
September 6, 2023
Dipen Dadhaniya
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About The Author!
Dipen Dadhaniya
Dipen Dadhaniya
Engineering Manager at Interview Kickstart. A passionate and versatile web developer packed with full-stack development skills and a curiosity to explore computer languages.

Technical interviews at top tech companies are significantly challenging. The competition is stiff, and the acceptance rates are under 2%, making it highly challenging even for competent engineers with years of experience to ace these interviews. That said, it is possible to crack these interviews with a good software engineer interview prep strategy.

A good software engineer interview prep strategy consists of many elements. Coding interviews test your core knowledge in data structures, algorithms, and distributed systems design. These concepts are pretty intensive and require a reasonable amount of time to master. Interviews at top tech companies, including the Amazon software engineer interview, the Google software engineer interview, and the Microsoft software engineer interview, consist of multiple coding and design rounds. 

Several candidates resort to memorizing solutions to popular interview problems and hope to get lucky with the questions in the interview. But FAANG+ interviews are different and are built to test your problem-solving and analytical capabilities, which you must build to rise to the challenge.

Check out some of the best practices to become the best software engineer here.

While the journey toward landing your dream software engineering job is steep, it is possible to ace these tough interviews by adopting the right software engineer interview prep strategy and doing the things that most applicants don’t. You’ll also get a fair idea of how to prepare for software engineering interviews ideally. 

In this article, we’ll look at 5 of the most comprehensive tips to stand out in your software engineering interview. In the process, you’ll be able to understand what the main elements of a good software engineer interview prep strategy will contain. 

If you’re a software engineer, coding engineer, software developer, engineering manager, or tech lead preparing for tech interviews, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get an idea of what the ideal software engineer interview prep strategy includes. 

Having trained over 9,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have landed lucrative offers from FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies, with an average salary hike of 49%. The highest-ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $933,000!

At IK, you get the unique opportunity to learn from expert instructors who are hiring managers and tech leads at Google, Facebook, Apple, and other top Silicon Valley tech companies.  Our reviews will tell you how we’ve shaped the careers of thousands of professionals aspiring to take their careers to new heights. 

Want to nail your next tech interview? Sign up for our FREE Webinar.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article on software engineer interview prep:

  • How to Stand Out in an Interview as a Software Engineer?
  • FAQs on Software Engineer Interview Preparation

Software Engineer Interview Prep — Standing Out in the Interview

While it is necessary to have a solid software engineer interview prep strategy to nail technical interviews at FAANG+ companies, these five proven tips will help you stand out in your next interview. 

1. Create a Strong Portfolio

A strong programming portfolio that lists all your projects and accomplishments is integral to a foolproof software engineer interview prep strategy. While creating your portfolio, make sure you list out all your projects and achievements in the STAR format. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Listing out your accomplishments in this format will give interviewers better clarity and understanding of the projects you’ve worked on in the past. 

Creating an online portfolio is the best way to go about this. Set up a custom web page that distinctly lists out various projects you’ve been part of. Make sure it is easy to use. The advantage of creating such a portfolio is that besides reflecting the information you want to convey, you can access it at any time.

Know how to improve software engineering skills here.

2. Practice Mock Interviews 

Mock interviews are highly effective in helping you get over interview anxiety and hone your interviewing skills. Moreover, if you want to crack the Amazon software engineer interview or the Google interview, mocks should be a crucial part of your software engineer interview prep strategy. 

The idea is to practice with professionals who are experienced enough to give you the right feedback. That’s because the right feedback goes a long way in helping you strengthen areas where you’re lacking and stand in good stead to crack tough technical interviews. 

Interview Kickstart allows you to practice mock interviews with expert professionals with over 25 years of industry experience. Our curriculum is created by instructors who are hiring managers and members of hiring committees at FAANG+ companies, giving our students a distinct edge over the competition.

3. Give Your Resume a Boost With Additional Degrees

Having a resume that includes additional skills beyond graduation degrees is certain to make you stand out in your software engineer interview. 

Enhancing your core professional capabilities aside from traditional avenues will attract the attention of recruiters and make you a serious contender for the job. 

While exploring additional certification courses and crafting the ideal software engineer interview prep strategy, make sure they’re closely relevant to your core skills. If you’re a coder, doing courses in additional programming languages and in-demand technologies can boost your chances of landing a high-paying offer at a FAANG+ company. 

Interview Kickstart offers 17 Domain-specific courses that focus on the most high-paying and in-demand fields.

Know the various software engineering levels in big tech companies here.

4. Think Your Solution Aloud in the Interview

In technical interviews, you aren’t awarded points only for getting the solution right. How you approach the solution and apply different solution patterns to arrive at the most optimal solution will give you the points you need. 

By thinking out loud in your interview, you give the hiring manager a window into your thinking. By discussing different solution patterns, you send out an impression of possessing good problem-solving skills. That said, even if the solution you arrived at isn’t optimal, you’ll still get the green signal and advance to the next round.

Check out the must-follow habits to succeed as a software engineer at FAANG here.

5. Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

Updating and optimizing your LinkedIn profile with the right keywords is extremely important to land interviews at top tech companies. Distributing the keywords is also crucial, as recruiters use LinkedIn boolean search algorithms to locate suitable profiles. 

If you’re not sure how to leverage LinkedIn to land FAANG interviews, using a good resource to help you optimize your LinkedIn profile and resume is an excellent way to go about this exercise.

FAQs on Software Engineer Interview Preparation

Q1. How many interview rounds do software engineering interviews at FAANG+ companies typically have?

The interview process at FAANG+ companies typically consists of 3 stages: 1. The initial recruiter screen with a recruiter from human resources, 2. A technical phone screen round where you’re asked to solve 1-2 core data structures and algorithms problems, and 3. An On-site round consists of a coding round, design round, and the behavioral+leadership rounds. On-site interviews can have additional rounds depending on the seniority of the position. 

Q2. What coding concepts should you cover as part of your software engineer interview prep strategy?

Coding concepts that feature in FAANG+ technical interviews include arrays, strings, linked lists, graphs and graph algorithms, trees, and dynamic programming. 

Q3. What systems design concepts should you cover in your software engineer interview prep strategy?

Your software engineer interview prep should cover concepts including caching, loading, sharding techniques, file-processing systems, API modeling, concurrency, databases, and network protocols. 

Q4. What type of questions are asked at behavioral interviews?

Behavioral interviews mostly focus on challenging past projects, workplace etiquette, the company’s culture, inclusion, workplace-related situations, general characteristics of your personality, and work-life balance. 

Q5. What is the acceptance rate for software engineers at FAANG interviews?

FAANG companies have an average acceptance rate of less than 2%, making these interviews significantly difficult to crack even for experienced engineers.

Gear Up for Your Next Technical Interview

If you’re preparing for an upcoming interview at a FAANG+ company and wondering what the best strategies are to nail these tough technical interviews, register for Interview Kickstart’s technical Interview webinar. Learn about advanced techniques, tips, and what it takes to crack technical interviews in the present age.

Our instructors are hiring managers at FAANG+ companies and are closely associated with the interview process at these companies. They are equipped with the right experience to impart the right training methods that have helped over 9,000 engineers land multiple offers at the biggest tech companies. 

These reviews from our huge network of successful alums will tell you more. 

Sign-up now to Uplevel your career!

Posted on 
November 17, 2021

Dipen Dadhaniya

Engineering Manager at Interview Kickstart

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