System design interview questions are a crucial part of any tech interview. A system design interview analyzes your ability to solve problems and create systems that can solve the company’s or clients' problems. You may think of it as a brainstorming session where you’ll be expected to discuss a complex system efficiently.
System design interviews are always driven by open-ended questions. Consider these interviews as an opportunity to work with your interviewer, just as a team would, to solve challenges related to the company’s goals.
Amazon builds scalable, reliable, and cost-optimal performance systems, and system design is a key aspect. It focuses on hiring employees who make fast decisions, stay smart, innovate for customers, and remain nimble. Hence, you must prepare for Amazon system design interview questions to land a job at this company.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the most popular Amazon system design interview questions and some noteworthy tips to solve them. We’ll also try to understand the system design interview process at Amazon.
Here’s what we will cover:
The Amazon system design interview is typically conducted later in the interview process. If you pass the phone screening round, you'll be invited for a video interview. This interview lasts for about 45 to 60 minutes. It will involve a hiring manager or a peer of the same level as your role.
Let’s look at the main stages of the Amazon technical interview -
The Recruiter Screen - In this round, you’re asked some basic questions about your profile and experience. If your qualifications and skills meet the demands of the role, you’re invited to the technical phone screen interview.
The Technical Screen - In this round, you’re asked 1-2 Amazon coding interview questions. This is a remote round that lasts about 30-45 minutes. You’re asked to write code on a shared doc or a remote interviewing tool.
The Loop Interview - Amazon’s on-site interview is known as the Loop. The Loop has 3-5 rounds of interviews - 1-2 coding rounds, 1-2 design rounds, a leadership round (based on Amazon’s leadership principles), and a Bar-raiser round. It is in the on-site design round that you’re asked Amazon systems design interview questions.
To learn more about the Amazon interview process, read the Amazon Interview Process Prep Guide.
The Amazon systems design interview tests your knowledge of scalable, distributed systems. You’re expected to be adept with the following concepts for the Amazon systems design interview -
If you have attempted a coding interview in the past, you must be aware that system design or software design problems are an important part of technical interviews. Practicing these questions is key to cracking tech interviews, especially if you're gunning for senior positions.
Here are a couple of sample interview questions and the approach you should take to solve them:
This is one of the most common Amazon system design interview questions involving shortening URLs for ease of sharing and use. While designing the URL shortening service, your ideal solution should:
This system design interview question has been popular for a while now. While answering this question, your ideal solution should:
The traffic control system’s behavior will depend on the state of the traffic control system. Explain all your considerations when stating your solution and reasons for trade-offs made, if any.
This is another Amazon systems design interview question that frequently features in Amazon systems design interviews. In order to answer this question, you should consider the following aspects -
This is one of the most common systems design interview questions asked at the Amazon interview. While designing a web crawler, the following aspects need to be considered -
Once you've figured out how to answer Amazon system design interview questions, you can use these sample questions to better prepare.
As you may have noticed, the Amazon system design interview questions can be tricky. The questions are ambiguous, and you will have to deal with the unstructured nature of the discussion. However, with extra practice, you’ll be prepared to handle anything the interviewers throw at you. Here’s what you should do before and during the interview to make the best impression.
Recommended Reading: How to Crack a System Design Interview
To ace the Amazon system design interview, you must keep four key things in mind:
You must ask questions related to scaling, performance, API, etc.
Take a look at some more System Design Interview Preparation Tips to nail your Amazon interview.
Q1. How to solve Amazon system design interview questions?
To solve Amazon systems design interview questions, you need to be thorough with the important systems design concepts. Spending at least two weeks preparing the important systems design concepts is highly recommended.
Q2. How many systems design interview questions are asked at the Amazon interview?
At the Amazon systems design interview, you’re generally asked 1-2 practical questions and a few theoretical questions.
Q3. Are system design interviews tough to crack?
Systems design interviews at top tech companies, including Amazon, are challenging, mostly because of the stiff competition and general difficulty associated with these interviews. The acceptance rate at FAANG+ companies is under 2%, making it even more difficult to crack these interviews.
Q4. What is the Amazon system design interview process like?
The Amazon systems design interview happens during the on-site interview, also known as the Loop. At the design interview, you’re typically asked to build an arbitrary system with a given set of parameters. Note that there’s more emphasis on systems design interviews for senior software and managerial positions.
Q5. Which concepts are to be learned for the system design interviews?
The important concepts to prepare for the Amazon systems design interview include - Scalable systems architecture, concurrency, API Modeling, online processing systems, file systems, network protocols, databases, sharding techniques, loading, and caching.
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Your technical interview preparation plays a pivotal role in your professional prospects. After all, to be prepared is half the victory.
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