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Amazon Software Development Engineer (SDE) Interview Process, Questions and Prep Tips

Mastering how to answer Amazon SDE and Senior SDE interview questions by sharpening your core problem-solving abilities is essential to securing a desirable offer. Amazon SDE interview questions typically revolve around algorithms, data structures, and system design, putting your coding and engineering design skills to the test.

As such, software development engineers (SDE) are an indispensable part of IT companies. Their role is extremely crucial, so FAANG+ companies conduct extensive interviews to hire only the best. To increase the probability of landing a job with a FAANG company, you must get yourself acquainted with the entire interview process. So, if you are aspiring to be the next Amazon Software Development Engineer or are looking for Amazon Software Development Engineer Interview Prep Guide, we are here to help you. 

If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation ebook to get interview-ready! Also, read How hard it is to get a job at Amazon and Amazon interview questions for specific insights and guidance on Amazon tech interviews.

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Here’s what we’ll cover in this article on Amazon SDE and Senior SDE interview questions:

  1. What do Software Development Engineers at Amazon do?
  2. Amazon SDE Interview Process and Rounds
  3. Amazon Software Development Interview Questions to Expect
  4. How to Prepare for Amazon SDE Interview Questions?
  5. FAQs on Amazon SDE Interview

What Do Software Development Engineers (SDEs) at Amazon Do?

Amazon is acclaimed for its customer-centric goals and providing services across various sectors like E-commerce, digital streaming, Cloud computing, and AI. The widespread solutions offered by the company provide the employees with a plethora of opportunities for innovation and growth. Amazon’s work approach is based on four principles: make smart decisions, be nimble, innovate and focus on customer satisfaction. 

Software Development Engineers are the drivers of technological innovations at Amazon. Their main responsibility is to build, invent and sometimes convert outdated practices into simpler and faster solutions. 

SDEs at Amazon build scalable solutions to complex problems and leave an impact on millions of lives. At Amazon, Software Development Engineers are passionate, skilled, and open to exciting challenges. The Amazon SDE interview questions are designed to test these very skills of a candidate.

Levels of Software Development Engineers at Amazon

There are six main job designations available for Software Development Engineers at Amazon. These designations are allotted under different levels within the company’s compensation hierarchy. The job titles and their levels are:

  • L4 - Software Development Engineer
  • L5 - Software Development Engineer II
  • L6 - Software Development Engineer (SDE) III
  • L7 - Principal SDE
  • L8 - Senior Software Engineer (Principal)
  • L9 - Distinguished SDE

Amazon SDE Interview Process

The entire Amazon Software Development Engineer Interview process takes about four to eight weeks to complete, and the timeline is as follows: 

  • The process begins with the submission of the resume, cover letter, and referrals
  • Shortlisting of the candidate via HR recruitment mail or call
  • Online assessment for fresher positions
  • Phone screen (one or two interviews)
  • On-site interviews about 4 to 6
  • Debriefing
  • Offer letter

Amazon Software Development Engineer Interview Rounds

The Amazon software development engineer interview process is lengthy and exhaustive. Here’s what you can expect:

1. HR Interview

The preliminary step of the Amazon HR interview is focused on understanding your interests and why you would be a good fit for the company. Once the recruiter is satisfied with your answers, you would be given an online assessment to solve, or a technical screening would be scheduled based on the profile you have applied for.  

2. Amazon Online Assessments

This online assessment is usually a part of the Amazon hiring process for interns and fresher candidates. Sometimes, it is also included for experienced candidates. The assessment has three sections:

  1. Debugging questions: A set of seven debugging questions will be assigned to you with an allotted time of 20 mins. Java, C, and C++ will be the three coding languages available for you to solve this assignment.
  2. Questions on coding: The second assessment would comprise two Amazon SDE interview questions based on data structure and algorithm. You can use any of these languages: C, C#, C++, Java, Ruby, Swift, JavaScript, and Python.
  3. Questions based on work simulation and logical reasoning: There are two parts to this assessment; In the first part, you would be given various scenarios from the life of a software development engineer, and your responses to it would be analyzed. The second part would contain 24 multiple choice questions based on logical reasoning.

3. Phone Screen

During this round of Amazon technical phone screening, you will be asked a set of technical and behavioral questions. The entire session goes on for 45-60 mins, and the recruiter is mostly your potential manager. During this round, be sure to express your understanding of Amazon’s leadership principles.

Take a look at some of the Amazon phone interview questions here.

4. On-site Interview

This is the most elaborate interview round that consists of 4-6 rounds of 60 mins each. Some of the Amazon SDE interview questions asked during these rounds will assess your coding knowledge. In contrast, others will evaluate your system design skills, and one topic common to all the interviews will be behavioral questions.

Lastly, an interview round called the “bar raiser,” is conducted by experts to see that you are better or at least as good for each competency they test as an average Amazon SDE. The Amazon SDE interview questions asked in this round are tough to crack!

Read Amazon Interview Process Guide 2021 for more information.

Amazon SDE Interview Questions to Expect

As from the previous two subsections, you might have understood the intricacy of the entire Amazon interview process. So, we have broken down the entire Amazon Software Development Engineer interview questions asked and the process into three major components to help you plan your prep.

1. Amazon System Design Interview Questions

Amazon has a large consumer base, so they are always looking for software development engineers who can design scalable systems. The commonly asked Amazon SDE interview questions in a system design round are:

  1. How would you design a payment system for parking lots?
  2. How would you design a warehouse system for our company?
  3. Design a counters system for online services.
  4. Design a URL shortening system. 

Prep Tips: Simple ways to ace the Amazon system design interview questions are: reading books like “Designing Data-Intensive Applications” by Martin Kleppmann, brushing up on fundamental concepts, and practicing mock interviews. 

For more details on amazon system design interview questions and tips for preparation, refer to our guide on Amazon System Design Interview

2. Amazon Coding Interview Questions

Coding forms an integral part of any technical interview, be it for a software developer, software engineer, or technical lead role. One of the frequently asked Amazon software development engineer interview questions is based on coding. The examples of such questions asked are:

  1. Construct a binary tree, given preorder and inorder traversal of a tree. (Solution)
  2. Find the missing number in the array; an array of positive numbers is given from 1 to n; you have to find two missing numbers in the array. (Solution)
  3. Design a stack that should support push, pop, and top and retrieve the minimum element in constant time. (Solution)
  4. Determine if the given binary tree is a search binary tree. (Solution)

Prep Tips: The best way to clear the Amazon coding questions asked during the online assessment or in an on-site interview is to at least dedicate three months of self-study. During this period, you should review your basics; study the concepts of algorithms, system designs, OS, and concurrency. 

3. Amazon Behavioral Interview Questions

Amazon strongly believes in its 16 leadership principles, so behavioral questions are a part of every round of interviews. In comparison to other FAANG companies, the answers to behavioral questions are much more important in the Amazon Software Development Interview. The common behavioral questions asked are:

  1. Share the lessons you learned when you took a calculated risk and failed?
  2. Tell us about a time you had to handle a difficult customer.
  3. Describe an incident where you had to make an important decision without receiving approval from your boss.
  4. What is one of your most innovative ideas?
  5. How do you prioritize your work?

Prep Tips: If you wish to know how to tackle Amazon SDE behavioral questions and prepare for them, you can check out Amazon Behavioral Interview Questions

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How to Prepare for Amazon Software Development Engineer Interview?

The only way to crack Amazon SDE interview questions is to have a strategic plan and stick to it. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

  1. Learn to code in any computer language and get a strong grasp of data structures and algorithms. Strengthen your foundation of other computer science subjects.
  2. Learn about Amazon’s culture and its leadership principles. 
  3. Practice SDE interviews by solving problems. Ask your peers to help you with interview prep to build confidence. 
  4. Refer to the most commonly asked behavioral questions and prepare your answers.
  5. Try to attend 10-15 mock interviews with ex-interviewers to analyze your weaknesses. 

Check out Amazon Software Development Engineer Interview Preparation for more. 

FAQs on Amazon Software Development Interview

Q1. What coding topics are part of Amazon SDE interview questions?

Amazon SDE interview questions on coding are based on arrays, linked lists, trees, graphs, strings, greedy algorithms, recursion, and dynamic programming. 

Q2. What is the best way to answer coding Amazon SDE interview questions?

The best way to answer Amazon software engineer interview questions is by improving your problem-solving and analytical capabilities. This is best done by classifying problems based on inherent patterns and applying existing patterns to solve new problems at the interview.   

Q3. How many Amazon SDE interview questions are asked on systems design?

Systems design questions are an important part of the On-site interview at Amazon. Recruiters usually ask you 2-3 questions on systems design. Questions can be theoretical and practical-based involving designing an arbitrary system. 

Q4. How many Systems design rounds are conducted in the Amazon On-site SDE interview?

The On-site interview usually has one or two rounds in distributed systems design. The number of rounds typically increases if you apply to senior SDE positions. 

Q5. What are some tips to ideally answer Amazon SDE interview questions?

Some noteworthy tips to ace the Microsoft SDE interview include: i) practicing mocks ii) practicing responses to behavioral questions, iii) improving your problem-solving skills to power patterns, iv) spending at least 8 weeks prepping for your interview, and v) learning from industry experts.

Q6. What is the salary of a software development engineer at Amazon?

The average salary will differ based on your experience. According to Level.fyi, you can make anywhere from $151,000 per year as an entry-level SDE to $490,000 as a principal SDE. For more information, read Amazon Software Development Engineer Salary at Different Levels.

Nail Your Amazon SDE Interview

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