When hiring Technical Program Managers (TPMs), Amazon looks only for experienced professionals. While the e-commerce wing of Amazon hires TPMs from any background, when it comes to AWS, it only goes for those who have a solid technical background.
To crack the Amazon technical program manager interview process, you’ll need both good technical and product knowledge. You will be required to have a technical degree or background since the role is quite technical. In this article, we’ll look at the Amazon TPM interview process and some tips on how to crack it.
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- What Does an Amazon Technical Program Manager Do?
- Skills Needed to Become an Amazon Technical Program Manager
- Amazon Technical Program Manager Interview Process
- Types of Questions to Expect in Amazon Technical Program Manager Interview
- FAQs on Amazon Technical Program Manager Interview Prep
What Does an Amazon Technical Program Manager Do?
The responsibilities of an Amazon Technical Program Manager (TPM) are multi-faceted. As a TPM, you’ll be required to help lead the company strategy, work with different stakeholders, and manage several complicated projects simultaneously.
As Amazon rapidly diversifies and expands in the digital space, the company’s dependence on TPMs has only increased over the years. Because it's a tech major and offers several different products and services to its users (such as Alexa, AWS, and so on), they require TPMs to lead technical projects in said areas.
Do you want to learn more about the role of a TPM in Tier-1 organizations? Read our blog on "Becoming a Technical Program Manager at FAANG+ Companies," where one of our mentors describes his work experience and shares many insights from his 8+ years as a TPM at a FAANG+ company.
Skills Needed to Become an Amazon Technical Program Manager
To clear the Amazon technical program manager interview process, you’ll need to have these skills:
- Managerial experience handling projects from cross-functional teams, developing sustainable processes, and organizing release schedules
- Knowledge of Computer Science basics such as object-oriented design, data structures, algorithm design, problem-solving, and complexity analysis
- Proficient in a minimum of one modern programming language (C, C++, C#, Java, or Perl)
- Experience with MySQL or a related database
- Highly driven with a strong sense of ownership
- In-depth knowledge of data structures, algorithms, and designing for performance, scalability, and availability
- Knowledge of UI frameworks such as GWT, jQuery, Spring MVC, and so on
- Good understanding of Amazon Web Services, software development, and complete product life-cycles
Want to know how much you can earn if you crack the technical program manager interview process? Take a look at our article on technical program manager salaries in the US.
Amazon Technical Program Manager Interview Process
The Amazon technical program manager interview process can be divided into three parts:
- Recruiter Screen
- Phone Screen
- On-site Round
1. Recruiter Screen
The interview process of the Amazon technical program manager begins with a 30-minute interview with the recruiter. Your cultural and educational fit for the role will be tested in this round. You’ll most likely be asked questions based on your background, work experience, and projects you’ve worked on.
Familiarize yourself thoroughly with your resume and have a convincing but clear and concise answer for questions such as:
- Why should you be considered for this role?
- Why should we hire you?
2. Phone Screen
The recruiter screen will be followed by a telephonic interview of around 1 hour with a hiring manager. It can be roughly divided into 3 sections of 20 minutes each.
You will be tested on your program management skills. So expect the manager to ask questions based on your past work experience and background to gauge your program management expertise.
Technical questions will be asked to test your TPM abilities in this part of the phone screen round. You can expect questions on system design and architecture design. Also, don’t forget to keep practicing coding.
The behavioral part, where the manager will ask you questions based on Amazon’s 16 Leadership Principles. So research them well and prepare questions accordingly.
Check out these 11 Useful Phone Screen Interview Tips that will help you get hired
3. On-site Round
First up, brace yourself for a jam-packed day. The final stage of the Amazon technical program manager interview process consists of 5-6 interviews, each lasting around an hour. You can think of it as an extended version of the phone screen.
The interview panel will include Amazon employees in various roles such as Product Manager, Technical Program Manager, Software Developer, Software development manager, bar raiser, and hiring manager.
You can expect many questions that’ll test your comprehension of Amazon's 14 leadership principles. And when it comes to scoring, you can expect to be scored on your overall performance, except for bar raisers.
The role of a bar raiser is to ensure that the candidate who gets hired is better than at least 50% of the employees working at the company currently.
Confused about the Bar Raiser round? Read What Is an Amazon Bar Raiser Interview and How to Crack It?
What can you expect in this round?
This is the most complex of all the rounds in the Amazon technical program manager interview process. Expect questions divided into technical (system design and coding), program management, and behavioral.
Compared to other companies, where you can expect much more twisted questions, clearing Amazon’s interview process can be relatively simple because it tends to follow a pattern. All you need to do is give equal importance to the behavioral questions as to technical and program management questions.
Some resources to help you with your prep:
- What Are Cross-Functional Partnerships, and What Role Do They Play in TPM Interviews?
- 13 Technical Interview Tips to Get Hired at FAANG+ Companies
Types of Questions to Expect in Amazon Technical Program Manager Interview
In the technical program manager interview process at Amazon, your main issue would be facing a diverse range of questions. To simplify the preparation process, they can be broadly divided into three categories:
1. Technical questions
When preparing for the interview, prepare to be asked at least one or two questions on system design, technical explanation questions, and in infrequent circumstances, coding questions.
- Explain how you would design Amazon Video.
- What happens when you enter a URL in your browser?
- How would you write a program that reverts a string?
2. Project management questions
Since Amazon TPMs are in charge of developing and implementing programs from start to finish. Therefore, it’s vital to have quality skills to help you plan and deliver projects. So when you’re asked such questions, your management abilities will be assessed.
- Explain the process you would follow for change and incident management.
- What is the best method to run a project from end to end?
- How do you manage external team dependencies in your programs?
3. Behavioral questions
When it comes to behavioral questions, Amazon tends to focus on the first four principles of the company. The others come up too but not as often.
- Which company has the best customer service and why? (Customer obsession)
- List some ways in which you can transform Amazon for the better. (Ownership)
- Tell me about a time when you launched a feature with known risks. (Bias for action)
- Can you tell me about a time when your work was criticized? How did you handle it? (Have backbone; disagree and commit)
For more sample questions, you can check out these Amazon Technical Program Manager Interview Questions.
FAQs on Amazon Technical Program Manager Interview Prep
Q1. How to prepare for a technical program manager interview?
When preparing for a technical program manager interview, get ready to talk about your past work experience and background. You can expect questions on system design and architecture design, coding, and situational events.
Q2. How many rounds of interviews does Amazon have for the program manager?
Generally, you can expect 3-4 rounds of interviews. Starting with a recruiter screen call, followed by one or more interviews with the hiring manager, and finally, the on-site interviews.
Q3. Do TPMs need to know how to code?
While TPMs don’t need to code when doing their jobs, they might be asked coding questions in the interviews to test their knowledge. Or they might even be asked to show the detailed design of some past project. To do both of these, coding skills are needed.
Q4. Is it easy to crack the Amazon interview?
Amazon has one of the most challenging interview processes. So while preparing, make sure that you do your research about the company and prepare thoroughly.
Q5. What’s the average salary of an Amazon technical program manager?
As per Glassdoor, an Amazon technical program manager makes $111,829 per year, on average.
Want to Nail the Amazon Technical Program Manager Interview Process?
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