How to Prepare for Your Google Data Engineer Interview?

Google is a technology giant that impacts the lives of over 3 billion internet users worldwide. Its systems rely heavily on collecting and utilizing data, making data engineering an important job role at the company. 

However, landing a Google data engineer job isn’t easy as the company accepts less than 1% of applications each year. That said, it isn’t impossible if you prepare right under proper guidance. If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our interview questions page and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready.

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We have compiled this comprehensive guide to help you prepare for your next Google data engineer interview. Take a look.

  • What Does a Google Data Engineer do?
  • What Is the Difference Between a Google Data Engineer and a Data Scientist?
  • What Is the Typical Google Data Engineer interview Structure?
  • How to Prepare for a Google Data Engineer Interview?
  • Topics to Prepare for a Google Data Engineer Interview
  • Skills Required to Crack Google Data Engineer Interviews
  • A Few Sample Google Data Engineer Interview Questions
  • 6 Google Data Engineer Interview Tips
  • FAQs on Google Tech Interviews

What Does a Google Data Engineer Do?

Google data engineers play a vital role in developing, deploying as well as supporting the company’s internal business applications. You will be responsible for developing custom-built software on Google stack. 

Also, you will have to be part of the team that implements enterprise software, configures the software, customizes it, and integrates it with the internal systems.

What Is the Difference Between a Google Data Engineer and a Data Scientist?

The skills and responsibilities of a Google data engineer and a data scientist often tend to overlap. A data engineer is responsible for building the architecture and infrastructure for data generation. Now, data scientists are in constant interaction with these infrastructures. They conduct high-level business operations and market-level research to find out trends and relations.

It is the data engineers who provide the necessary support to the data scientists for effective business solutions.

What Is the Typical Google Data Engineer Interview Structure?

We have collected information from multiple resources and Google’s career website to provide an overview of the data engineer interview structure.

Phone Screen Interview

The Google data engineer interview begins with two phone screen rounds: HR and technical. Here’s a detailed look at each of the phone screen interviews:

HR Phone Screen

This is the first round of interviews which usually lasts for around 15-30 minutes and is conducted by the recruiter. The recruiter will ask you some basic non-technical questions to assess whether you are the right fit for the team.

Technical Phone Screen

After you clear the first round, you will have to appear for the technical phone screen. Here, you will have to answer and solve technical questions. This round can last as long as 60 minutes. The interviewer will ask about your educational qualifications, experiences, training projects, and more. In addition, you might have to work out complex SQL questions as well.

On-site Interview

Once you are done with the first two rounds, you need to prepare for the most grueling part of the hiring process. On-site rounds involve interviewing with various tech leads; these rounds might last for a few hours. You need to prepare yourself accordingly.

Here are some of the most common topics which you will need to deal with during an on-site interview for Google data engineers:

  • Whiteboard Algorithm and Data Structures: You have to show your coding skills on whiteboards.
  • Whiteboard System Design: You need to design entire systems from scratch on whiteboards with no IDEs or Stack Overflow.
  • SQL and NoSQL: Recruiters will assess your knowledge of SQL and NoSQL databases.
  • Cultural Fit: Here, you can expect behavioral questions which you need to answer based on your previous experiences.

Recommended Reading: Data Engineer Interview Process

How to Prepare for a Google Data Engineer Interview?

Since the Google data engineer interview process is quite challenging, you have to prepare accordingly. We have listed down everything that you need to prepare to clear each of the rounds. Let’s take a look.

HR Phone Screen

To prepare for the first round, here’s what you have to do:

  1. Conduct thorough research of the company, its values and form your script accordingly.
  2. You can also practice with your peers over the phone.
  3. Make sure to settle in a quiet environment with a stable internet connection before the interview starts.

Technical Phone Screen

Here’s how you can ace the technical phone screen:

  1. Solve questions related to SQL, NoSQL, and other coding languages.
  2. Assess your knowledge about DE, SWE, etc., so that you can develop your ability to communicate technical information efficiently.

On-site Interview

An on-site interview is, undoubtedly, the most challenging part. Here, you have to solve problems related to various technical subjects. To nail this difficult round, you need to:

  • Solve algorithms and data structures and practice writing clean, legible codes on a whiteboard or paper.
  • Go for practice sessions as an interviewee with professionals or peers.
  • Develop the skill to draw clear and readable system diagrams on a whiteboard.
  • Solve SQL and NoSQL questions and learn about Query Optimization in detail.
  • To ace behavioral interview rounds such as cultural fit, make sure to practice questions related to STAR (Situation, Task, Action, and Results). If needed, write scripts and record your answers. You can also take help from your peers in this regard.

Recommended Reading:
How to Prepare for Data Engineer Interviews
How to Prepare for Amazon Data Engineer Interview

Topics to Prepare for a Google Data Engineer Interview

If you are determined to land the dream job of a data engineer at Google, you must be proficient in the following technical topics:

  • Machine learning
  • Database design
  • Python, Java, and Scala programming languages
  • Data structure
  • Data APIs
  • ETL tools
  • Database systems like SQL and NoSQL
  • Algorithms, data structures, data filtering
  • Data warehouse solutions

Skills Required to Crack Google Data Engineer Interviews

Data engineering is a blend of data science and software engineering. So, as a data engineer at Google, you must be familiar with the following:

  • Finding warehouse solutions
  • Building databases
  • Managing and maintaining databases

Google is a company that gives tremendous importance to users and their experiences. Hence, as a data engineer, you will have to bring innovative ideas to the table and solve complex problems to improve user experiences.

The tech giant, thus, assesses the following skills during a data engineer interview:

  • Data modeling
  • SQL and NoSQL
  • Linear algebra and probability
  • Machine learning
  • Data warehousing
  • Summary statistics
  • Big data technology

In addition to technical knowledge and expertise, you need to equip yourself with the necessary soft skills to become a data engineer at Google. Such soft skills include:

Communication

A data engineer has to interact with data scientists, analysts, developers, software engineers, etc., on a day-to-day basis. 

As a data engineer at Google, you are required to work with other teams and business units to find necessary solutions for a problem. Also, you will have to show your understanding of the business problems and communicate how you are going to solve the issue.

Presentation Skills

Sometimes, Google might expect you to conduct data analysis and present your findings to the stakeholders. In such situations, you will need to explain technical concepts to solve the issues at hand.

Collaboration

At this prestigious FAANG company, teams rely on each other for deliverables. As a data engineer, you have to work in a team with other members. Therefore, you need to have an understanding of the expectations of the team so that you can collaborate with the members better.

A Few Sample Google Data Engineer Interview Questions

To make your tech interview prep a bit easier, we have compiled a set of probable questions.

Technical Questions

You can expect the following technical questions during the data engineer interview:

  1. What are the differences between structured and unstructured data?
  2. Name the four Vs of Big Data.
  3. What are some of the design schemas used for data modeling?
  4. What are linked lists?
  5. State some of the uses of Hadoop.
  6. How does Big Data Analytics contribute to a company’s revenue?
  7. What are the components of Hive?
  8. Can you print the nth largest entry of a table column?
  9. Discuss Rack Awareness.
  10. How to see the structure of a database with the help of MySQL?

Behavioral Questions

These are some of the behavioral questions that you might get asked at your Google data engineer interview:

  • Why do you want to be a data engineer at Google?
  • Describe a situation where you faced a problem. What was the problem? What course of action did you choose to solve the issue? Were you able to solve it?
  • Have you ever led a group of individuals or collaborated on a project? How was the experience?
  • Did you ever fail or make a mistake? How did you respond to it? Did the experience help you in any way later?
  • Do you have any experience in developing a strategy with the help of data?

Recommended Reading:
Uber Data Engineer Interview Questions
Facebook Data Engineer Interview Questions

6 Google Data Engineer Interview Tips

We have compiled the following list of 6 key tips that will help you to crack a data engineer interview at Google:

Learn About the Company

While preparing for a data engineering interview at Google, make sure to know about the company in detail. Learning about Google will give you a clear insight into its functions, business teams, and other vital information. You can use this knowledge in your favor during the interview process.

Solve Coding on Whiteboards

Interviewers will assess your coding skill on whiteboards during the on-site round. If you are comfortable only with IDEs, working on whiteboards might seem a bit difficult. 

Therefore, instead of using IDEs, practice coding using a whiteboard. This will sufficiently prepare you for the on-site interview rounds.

Be Communicative During the Problem-solving Process

You need to communicate with the interviewers when coding on the whiteboard. While it is natural for you to focus on solving the problems, it is also crucial to talk your way through the problem-solving process. Therefore, you need to make it a habit to be communicative while working on the given task.

Provide Detailed Yet Concise Answers

A lot will depend on how effectively you reply to the questions. You might wonder how much information would be too much. One way is to pause after providing a response and ask the interviewers whether they are looking for further details.

Have a Solid Response Ready for the “Why Google” Question

Recruiters at top tech companies like Google tend to ask why you chose to work with that company. Although this might sound like a very standard question, you have to prepare a clear response for it. Recruiters would genuinely want to know what inspired you to explore an opportunity with Google.

Your answer will also help the recruiters to get a better understanding of your personality. So, figure out what inspired you to work as a data engineer with Google and frame a response accordingly.

Get a Detailed Idea About the STAR Technique

The STAR technique is a vital method to help you answer behavioral questions through real-life experiences. 

Here is a brief overview of the STAR technique:

  • Situation: First, describe the situation or the task that you completed in the past. Make sure to provide enough details to help the interviewers understand the complexities of the situation. The situation can be a previous group project, a voluntary activity, or other events. 
  • Task: Now, discuss the goal that you wished to achieve in the said situation. Here, you will need to talk about the responsibility that you undertook.
  • Action: In this case, elaborate on the course of action you took to resolve the situation. Try to highlight your contribution or approach towards solving the issue. Do remember to add all the relevant details.
  • Result: At last, point out the outcomes of the course of action that you took. Also, explain the goals accomplished and the experiences that you gained from the situation. You must also try and substantiate your replies with relevant data if possible.

Practice Mock Interviews

Participating in mock interviews should also be a part of your interview preparation strategy if you are serious about cracking technical interviews. Mock interviews are useful means by which you can get the right feedback from industry experts and hiring professionals. You can easily identify your shortcomings and make improvements accordingly. 

Want to practice mock interviews under the guidance of technical leads and hiring managers from Google? Register for our free webinar to learn more.

Moreover, keep the following points in mind while answering behavioral questions:

  • Try to be as straightforward as possible. You should not exaggerate or avoid any details while narrating a personal experience.
  • Be sure to avoid making generalized statements.
  • You should be prepared to face follow-up questions.
  • Every response must have a beginning, middle, and end to help recruiters have a clear understanding of what you're trying to convey.

How Can IK Help You to be a Google Data Engineer?

Interview Kickstart is a pioneer and a trailblazer in the field of technical interview preparation. We have successfully trained thousands of software and data engineers and helped them land lucrative jobs at FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies successfully.

Our Data Engineering Interview Masterclass one-of-its-kind tech interview prep course tailored to data engineers to help you crack the toughest tech interviews at FAANG+ companies. 

Our course will take your prep to the next level. Register for a free webinar to learn more.

FAQs on Google Tech Interviews

1. Is it Hard to Get Hired at Google?

Hiring at Google is extremely competitive. According to a periodic study on the hiring trends at FAANG, Google receives more than 2 million applications each year. Out of 130-150 engineers, only 1 gets the opportunity to crack the interview. However, Google is constantly hiring and looking for top talents around the world.

Therefore, you should prepare yourself accordingly and give your best to land that dream job. With the right strategy, skills, knowledge, diligence, and perseverance, you can clear the interview at Google.

2. What are the different rounds of interviews at Google?

At Google, interviews begin with an HR phone screen where the recruiter will ask certain non-technical questions to assess your personality. After that comes the technical phone screen. Here, the interviewers will ask technical questions to assess your technical knowledge. 

If you clear these rounds, you will have to face the final on-site interview. It is an extensive round where you have to engage with more than one interviewer. It includes both technical and behavioral questions.


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