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Top Coding, Data Structures, and Algorithm Questions for Google Software Engineer Interview

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Each year, Google receives millions of applications for the role of a software engineer. So the question is — how to stand out from the crowd? And what techniques can you use to clear the Google software engineer interview?

To land a tech job at the company, you’ll need to have impeccable skills and a knack for problem-solving. So as you get ready to prepare for the Google software engineer interview, knowing the right coding questions is vital to the process.

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To help you in your Google software engineer interview preparation, in this article, we’ll be covering:

  • Popular Google Software Engineer Interview Questions on Coding
  • Data Structure and Algorithm Interview Questions for Google Interview
  • Tips for Cracking the Google Software Engineer Interview
  • FAQs on Google Software Engineer Interview

Popular Google Software Engineer Interview Questions on Coding

As you start your preparing for the Google software engineering interview, here are the top 10 coding questions that you can expect:

  1. In a sorted number array and two integers, ‘K’ and ‘X’ find ‘K’ closest numbers to ‘X’ in the array. Return the numbers in the sorted order. ‘X’ is not necessarily there in the array.
  2. Given an array of integers and a value, determine if there are any two integers in the array whose sum is equal to the given value. If the sum exists, return true; otherwise, return false.
  3. If you’re given the head of a linked list and a key, how do you delete the node that contains this given key?
  4. Determine whether or not an input string produces a valid number. Assume that there are no white spaces in the input for the sake of simplicity.
  5. If you’re given a dictionary of words and a large input string, How can you tell if an input string can be completely segmented into words from a given dictionary?
  6. Find all non-single letter substrings of a string that are palindromes.
  7. In an input string, determine if it makes a valid number or not. For simplicity, assume that white spaces are not present in the input. 

4.325 is a valid number; 1.1.1 is NOT a valid number.

  1. Given an array of integers nums sorted in ascending order, find the starting and ending position of a given target value.

If the target is not found in the array, return [-1, -1].

  1. Swap the 'left' and 'right' children for each node, given the root node of a binary tree.
  2. Determine whether a string's letters can be rearranged so that no two identical characters appear next to each other.

Here are some more Google Software Engineer Interview Questions to practice.

Data Structure and Algorithm Interview Questions for Google Interview

Google places a lot of importance on algorithms and data structure concepts such as Array, Linked List, Binary tree, String. To help you prepare thoroughly for the software engineer interview at Google, we’ll be covering these topics one by one.

Google Software Engineer Interview Questions on Array 

  • How do you find the duplicate number on a given integer array?
  • How do you find the largest and smallest number in an unsorted integer array?
  • How do you identify duplicate numbers in an array if it consists of multiple duplicates?
  • How will you remove duplicates from an array in place?
  • In Java, how will you reverse an array in place?

You need to be well-versed with the fundamentals of arrays to be able to solve array-based questions in the Google software engineer interview. You’ll also need to know basic programming constructors such as recursion, loop, and fundamental operators.

Check more Data Structure and Algorithm Interview Questions Asked at Google here.

Google Software Engineer Interview Questions on Linked List

  • How will you check if a given linked list contains a cycle? How do you find the starting node of the cycle?
  • Do you know how to reverse a linked list?
  • How do you find the third node from the end in a singly linked list?
  • How do you find the sum of two linked lists using Stack?
  • How do you find the middle element of a singly linked list in one pass?

When you’re preparing linked-list questions, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of recursion as a linked list is a recursive data structure.

Google Software Engineer Interview Questions on Binary Tree

  • Explain how a binary search tree is implemented.
  • How do you traverse a given binary tree in preorder without recursion?
  • How do the leaves of a binary search tree get printed?
  • How will you perform a binary search in a given array?
  • How are the leaf nodes in a given binary tree counted?

As all data can’t just be represented in the linear data structure, this is where the tree data structure comes into play. When solving binary tree questions while preparing for a Google software engineer interview, having a good grasp of the theoretical concepts is vital.

Google Software Engineer Interview Questions on String

  • How will you go about printing the duplicate characters from a string? 
  • How will you determine whether a string only consists of digits?
  • How do you check if two strings are anagrams of each other?
  • Explain how to find all the permutations of a string.
  • How do you reverse words in a given sentence without using any library method?

The good news here is that if you know how to solve array-based coding questions, you will easily solve string programming problems.

Misclellaneous Interview Questions on Algorithms

  • Explain the implementation process of a bubble sort algorithm.
  • How is an iterative quicksort algorithm implemented?
  • How to carry out a merge sort algorithm?
  • How do you implement an insertion sort algorithm?
  • Elaborate upon the implementation of the radix sort algorithm.

Studying data structures and algorithms together is the best way to go. Without a good understanding of data structures, you’ll have a hard time grasping a particular algorithm in a specific condition.

Tips for Cracking the Google Software Engineer Interview

Before going in, ensure that you keep the following in mind and put your best efforts into clearing the Google software engineer interview:

  1. Have a thorough understanding of the work culture at Google because a good part of the interview process is focused on determining whether you’re a cultural fit for the company or not.
  1. Practice data structures and algorithms questions and work on developing your knowledge. Google looks for problem solvers, so the quicker you are, the higher are your chances of getting selected. 
  1. When preparing for Google software engineer interview questions, use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, and Result). Start by describing the situation, the task you did, the action you took in response to the given task, and finally, explain your experience and the result.
  1. Don’t keep your strengths to yourself. Be bold and confidently describe your strengths using your past experiences. Even if you are answering a question where you have to describe a mistake you’ve made in the past, be clear and own up to it.
  1. Make the interviewer feel like they’re a part of the communication and keep it going. 

These tips will always come in handy — whether you’re appearing for the Google software engineer intern interview or you’re an experienced professional. You can learn more Google software engineer interview prep tips here.

If you want some more help, check out these articles:

FAQs on Google Software Engineer Interview

Q1. Are Google software engineer interviews hard?

The term hard is relative. It all comes down to how well you have prepared for the interview. Usually, the questions asked in a Google software engineer interview range from easy to medium level in terms of difficulty.

Q2. How many rounds are there in a Google software engineer interview?

There are typically 6-7 rounds in a Google software engineer interview — 2 telephonic interviews, 3 or 4 data structure and algorithm interviews, and 1 behavioral interview. 

Q3. How to crack the Google software engineer interview?

Research the company, its core values, and the sort of questions you can expect in the interview. Create a study plan and then stick to it. You can also take the help of the book — Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell.

Q4. How long does the Google software engineer interview process last?

You can expect the entire process to take anywhere between 2-6 months. Starting from the initial phone screening round to the last set of interviews on-site (or virtual), it can take that long since the company has a lot of applicants.

Q5. What do Google interviewers look for?

When the recruiters are putting together their list of questions, the four core values of Google are taken into consideration — general cognitive ability, leadership, Googleyness (how well you fit into Google’s culture), and role-related knowledge.

Ready to Nail the Google Software Engineer Interview?

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