Amazon’s data engineers play a crucial role in the company’s day-to-day business operations. Data engineers work closely with various teams, including product, marketing, and operations, to ensure that data is leveraged effectively for decision-making. Being a consumer-centric organization with millions of users, data engineers play a critical role in helping understand consumer behavior and working closely with AI and ML teams to build algorithms for predictive data models.
The interview process for data engineers at Amazon is very similar to the process for software engineering roles. Just like how software engineers need to be good with coding, data engineers need to be adept in object-oriented programming languages, namely Python, C++, and Java. The process has a coding round where problems are asked around core data structures and algorithms. Besides coding, data engineers also have to be good with ETL design, data modeling, and SQL.
In this article, we’ll look at some Amazon data engineer interview questions and also take a quick look at the interview process for data engineering roles. Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:
- The Role of Data Engineers in Amazon
- Skills and Qualifications Required to Be an Amazon Data Engineer
- Amazon Data Engineer Interview Process
- Amazon Data Engineer Interview Questions
- Tips to Crack the Amazon Data Engineer Interview
The Role of Data Engineers at Amazon
If you’re wondering what your role as a data engineer at Amazon would entail, here’s what it looks like;
- Collect, store and manage huge quantities of data.
- Convert raw data into information that can be used to make decisions.
- Be at the forefront of data-driven decision-making by working closely with data scientists, product managers, and software engineers.
- Build and maintain database architectures.
- Develop tools for data analysis and process automation.
- Coordinate with product managers, software engineers, and data scientists to work on common projects that involve leveraging datasets.
- Leverage SQL and programming to build algorithms.
- Perform data modeling and carry out ETL design, keeping with best practices.
Skills and Qualifications Required to Be a Data Engineer at Amazon
Amazon expects engineers applying for data engineering roles to meet the below criteria:
- 4+ years of experience in Python, SQL, and ETL Design
- Proven experience in data modeling and building data pipeline architectures
- 3+ years of experience in big data analytics
- 3+ years of experience with workflow management engines (Luigi, Prefect, Dagster, Airflow, digdag.io, Google Cloud Composer, AWS Step Functions, UC4, Control-M)
- Proven experience in working with cloud analytics platforms or MPP analytics platforms such as AWS Redshift, Google BigQuery, Teradata, or Netezza
Additional Qualifications for Data Engineering Roles at Amazon:
- Proven experience in SQL Performance Tuning
- Proven experience in designing database pipeline architectures
- Experience in using Big data analytics tools such as Spark, Impala, Hive, Presto
- Experience in E2E process optimization
- Experience with anomaly/outlier detection
Amazon Data Engineer Interview Process
The interview process for data engineers at Amazon is very similar to the software engineering interview process. The only difference is that the design round in the onsite interview is replaced by a round dedicated to SQL and data analysis questions.
Here’s what the process broadly looks like:
An Initial Screen With a Recruiter
A recruiter from human resources will get in touch with you to ask you a few basic questions. The primary objective of this round is to evaluate if your skills match the description and responsibilities of the job.
The Technical Phone Screen
A hiring manager from the data engineering team will interview you in this round. You’ll be asked to solve a coding problem on algorithms and core data structures to evaluate your problem-solving skills. You’ll also be asked some theoretical questions around data analyses and leveraging datasets.
The Onsite Interview
The site Interview will essentially have 3-4 rounds of interviews - a coding round to evaluate your problem-solving and analytical skills, a round dedicated to SQL and Big Data Analytics, a behavioral round, and a round with an Amazon Bar-raiser.
Also known as the Loop, the onsite is usually conducted by different hiring managers. You’ll be asked a mix of practical and theory-based questions during the on-site rounds.
The onsite round has a special bar-raiser round that evaluates you on Amazon's 16 leadership principles. Bar-Raisers are trained to specifically maintain the hiring bar at Amazon by only recruiting the best of talent.
Recommended Reading: How to Prepare for the Amazon Onsite Interview in 2 Months
Amazon Data Engineer Interview Questions
Before we look at some Amazon data engineer interview questions, let’s take a quick look at the list of topics to prepare for the interview. Questions asked can be a combination of the following topics:
- Algorithms and data structures
- Metric and visualization solution designs
- Spark, EMR
- Reporting tools like Tableau and Excel
- Data pipeline design
- DB performance tuning
- Statistics and modeling
Below are some sample Amazon data engineer interview questions.
Amazon Data Engineer Coding Interview Questions
Coding is a key aspect of the data engineer interview. How you apply patterns to solve problems at the interview and your ability to think out solutions with an analytical approach will put you ahead of the competition.
- Given an integer array arr of size n, find all magic triplets in it. A magic triplet is a group of three numbers whose sum is zero. (Click here for solution)
- Given an array of integers, find any non-empty subarray whose elements sum up to zero. (Click here for solution)
- You are given an array of integers, arr, of size n, which is analogous to a continuous stream of integers input. Your task is to find K largest elements from a given stream of numbers. (Click here for solution)
- Given an unsorted set of numbers from 1 to N with exactly two of them missing, find those two missing numbers. (Click here for solution)
- Write a function that adds two numbers, a and b, represented as linked lists of size lenA and lenB, respectively, and returns the sum c in the form of a new linked list. (Click here for solution)
For more coding problems asked at the Amazon Data Engineer interview, visit our comprehensive Problems page.
Amazon Data Engineer Interview Questions on SQL and Data Analysis
Leveraging SQL to convert raw data into usable information is a key role of data engineers. Here are some SQL and data analysis interview questions:
- You’re given a dataset with information on users who’ve purchased a list of products. Design a dashboard to highlight specific aspects of user behavior.
- You’re given a dataset with the number of users visiting an e-commerce site and purchasing a long list of products. Find the top-performing product in the last one hour.
- Create DDL (table and foreign keys) for several tables in a provided ERD.
- Create a real-time dashboard to return the number of views for a popular video posted online. Also, find how many users didn’t watch the entire length of the video.
- You’re given a raw table with information. Use ETL design to create a clear table with neatly distributed information using SQL.
- You’re given an IP address as an input in the form of a string. Find out if it is a valid IP address or not.
- In SQL, The Order By command is set to which format if you don’t manually set the format.
- You’re given a list of movies and the number of times each movie was watched. Leverage SQL to compute the count of unique minutes watched for each movie.
- You’re given a 2D array of a list of Friends — [[A,B],[A,C],[B,D],[B,C],[R,M], [S],[P], [A]]
Use SQL and an OOPL to find out how many friends each person has. There shouldn’t be repeat relationships like [A,C] and [C,A], and neither should there be more than two people in a relationship.
- How do you join three tables with the values of the tables updated in real-time, and a copy of all values is stored in a database?
Check out Amazon SQL Interview Questions for more information on the types of questions asked at Amazon’s data engineer interviews.
Amazon Data Engineer Behavioral Interview Questions
Behavioral interviews are a crucial part of the hiring process. Here are some behavioral questions you can expect at Amazon’s data engineer interview.
- What about data engineering interests you the most?
- Have you dealt with a difficult client in the past? How did you handle it?
- Have you had a disagreement with a superior over a project decision? Tell us about it?
- How would you deal with an uncooperative coworker?
- Why do you want to work at Amazon?
- Which is your favorite Amazon leadership principle among the 14 leadership principles?
- How do you make sure to maintain high productivity levels at work?
- How often do you think vacations are important?
- Tell us about the most challenging project you worked on in the past. What were your key learnings?
- Tell us about a time when you took a risk on a project, and it failed?
Tips to Crack Amazon’s Data Engineering Interview
Take note of the following tips to nail your next Amazon data engineer interview:
- Start your prep at least 10 weeks before your interview
- Practice coding on a whiteboard for the onsite interview
- Practice mock interviews with professionals from FAANG companies
- Think out loud your solution to give the hiring manager a window into your analytical approach
- Create a project portfolio and list your projects in the STAR format
- Brush up on concepts in your programming language
Gear Up for Your Next Data Engineering Interview
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