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Top Resources for Systems Design Interviews

Systems design interviews are an integral part of the hiring process at all FAANG and Tier-1 companies. Engineers who apply for software and IT roles at these companies go through a mandatory scalable systems design round during the onsite interview. The importance of this round cannot be dismissed, as it significantly influences the outcome of the interview.

If you’re preparing for a technical interview, adequately covering the important concepts in distributed systems design is crucial. Even domain-specific interviews have a scalable systems round that is based on the particular domain. So whether you’re applying for an Android, iOS, cloud engineering, machine learning, or back-end engineering role, being adept with concepts in systems design is super important.   

Sounds overwhelming and you don’t know how and where to start with your interview prep? That’s where we come in.

Having trained over 9,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have been landing 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. 

So, 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 ebook to get interview-ready! Sign up for our FREE Webinar.

Design interviews are more important for senior developer and engineering management roles at FAANG and tier-1 companies. In fact, design rounds at interviews for these positions carry more weight than the coding rounds. The depth of questions asked in design interviews is contingent on the level of seniority of the position you’re applying for. 

In this article, we’ll look at the top resources to prepare yourself thoroughly for systems design interviews at top companies. 

Here’s an outline of what we’ll be covering:

  • Books for Systems Design Interviews
  • Systems Design Interview Prep Courses
  • Mock Interviews for Systems Design Interviews
  • Discord Servers for Systems Design Interviews
  • Get Ready for Your Next Systems Design Interview

Books for Systems Design Interviews 

Books are a great way to kickstart your prep, and choosing the right book is crucial. Due to the fact that there are plenty of resources online, books have become a forgotten, neglected and underrated resource. The fact that they contain tons of information, often more than online resources, is ignored by engineers prepping for systems design interviews. 

If you’re getting ready for interviews at FAANG and tier-1 companies, these books will help you get started with your systems design interview preparation:

Cracking the Coding Interview 

by Gayle Laakmann Mcdowell

This is a great book that doesn’t just cover coding interviews but also touches on the fundamentals of systems design and core computer science concepts. This book gives you a great idea of what technical interviews at FAANG and tier-1 companies look like. Authored by Gayle Laakmann (who has coached and interviewed hundreds of software engineers), the book also covers frequently asked questions at systems design interviews as well as techniques to prepare for the soft side of these interviews 

Designing Data-Intensive Applications

by Martin Kleppmann

This is another great book that will give you a good grip on the concepts in scalable systems design. The book extensively covers designing and developing the architecture for data-heavy scalable applications. It covers a ton of in-depth and complex concepts that feature in systems design interviews at FAANG and tier-1 companies. 

Understanding Distributed Systems

by Roberto Vitillo

This book, written by principal software engineer Roberto Vitillo from Microsoft, covers the basics of distributed systems design from the perspective of technical interviews at FAANG and tier-1 companies. This is a great book to get started with your systems design interview prep, as it covers the fundamentals very clearly and succinctly. If books are how you want to go about your prep, you must consider giving this book a thorough read. 

Interview Prep Courses

Cracking technical interviews at FAANG and tier-1 companies requires serious and dedicated preparation. You should be ready to go the mile with your effort. The best part about opting for a comprehensive and popular interview prep course is that you can improve your chances of success. The fact that the top companies, especially FAANG, select less than 2% of candidates who apply, should give you a clear picture of what the success rate at these interviews are. 

Interview Kickstart — the Only Technical Interview Prep Course You Need

At Interview Kickstart, we’ve trained thousands of engineers to crack the most challenging and competitive technical interviews at FAANG and tier-1 companies. Our alums have landed multiple offers from top companies, with an average pay-jump of 49% in the last 4 years. 

Here how Interview Kicstart’s courses will help you ace systems design and technical interviews at the biggest companies:

  • Comprehensive programs that cover everything on technical interviews at FAANG+ companies, including systems design
  • 17 domain-specific courses that specialize in the highest-paying domains
  • A 6-month support period to help you land interviews at FAANG+ companies, practice mock interviews with industry experts, and optimize your LinkedIn profile and resume
  • Special training for behavioral and leadership interviews
  • One-on-One sessions with mentors who are hiring managers and hiring committee members at FAANG companies
  • Designed specifically for working professionals to allow them to balance their work and interview prep

Mock Interviews for Systems Design Interviews

Another great resource for systems design interviews is mock interviews. But note that mock interviews are only good as a resource if you practice with the right professionals who can give you clear and correct feedback. If you don’t get the right feedback, it’s unlikely that you’ll improve your weak areas and rise to the standard that’s required at FAANG interviews. 

Interview Kickstart’s Mock Interview Program is just the perfect tool to help you get interview-ready and face the toughest technical interviews. That’s because, with IK’s mock interviews, you get to practice with active hiring managers from FAANG companies. These hiring managers know exactly what’s required to nail technical interviews, and will help you with the right tips and tricks.

Check out the Mock Interview Course to learn more about how we can help you scale up your professional career. 

Discord Servers for Systems Design Interviews

Discord servers are another great platform to prepare for design interviews. They may not be ideal for brushing up on your fundamentals or preparing advanced design topics, but they’re definitely good for discussions and getting your queries answered. Here are some notable discord servers you can follow:

  • SDE Skills
  • Leetcode Server
  • CS Career Hub
  • InterviewMe’s Mock Interview Server
  • Recent Interview Experiences

Get Ready for Your Next Systems Design Interview

Is your next design interview around the corner? If yes, register for Interview Kickstart’s Technical Interview webinar to get the right tips on strategy and resources to prepare for your interview. Our alums have landed multiple offers from FAANG and tier-1 companies by adopting IK’s foolproof strategy to nail technical interviews.

Sign-up now to uplevel your career.

Interview Preparation
Last updated on: 
August 10, 2021

Utkarsh Sahu

Director, Category Management @ Interview Kickstart || IIM Bangalore || NITW.

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