The engineering manager’s role is commonly used in mid- and large-sized tech teams that require managerial and technical direction. An EM works with people, supervising and guiding skilled engineers as they complete technical tasks while focusing on non-technical and soft skills such as leadership, hiring, mentoring, project management, delegation, communication, and so on.
So, why do engineering manager interviews include coding interview questions? What kind of coding interview questions do engineering manager interview questions include, and how important are coding interview questions in an engineering manager interview? More importantly, what is the best way to prepare to answer coding interview questions at an engineer manager interview? Let’s look at the answers to all of these questions in this article.
If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready! You can also look at the guide to the engineering manager role here.
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In this article, we’ll cover:
Engineering management can mean different things depending on the company you work with. For example, your EM role may be that of the senior-most or highest-level engineer on a team or project. In this case, coding will remain one of your primary responsibilities (in addition to people and project management). This may happen on smaller teams or projects or in cases where technical expertise is essential to technical direction.
This is also how your engineering manager career path is likely to progress — from a purely technical role to an amalgam of technical and leadership and managerial roles to a purely managerial role.
Unless you’re moving into a top management role laterally, you’re bound to have to work your way up the technical ladder and then move to a management career track. In either case, you’d be required to have coding knowledge or knowledge of a programming language or relevant technologies, if not strong experience in these areas.
On larger teams or projects, an EM may be required to lead and coordinate multiple activities and diverse requirements without the distraction of having to code. In this case too, although EM roles focus on people management:
Coding interview questions at an engineering manager interview will primarily be asked to assess if you possess the minimum level of coding expertise required to function as an EM in the hiring company. While you can expect easy to medium coding interview questions, you would do well to also prepare for more difficult coding interview questions. Interviewers may dig deeper to ascertain your actual level of expertise since deep tech skills act as a differentiator and enable companies to identify long-term employees.
Although coding interview questions are important, system design and behavioral interview questions are assigned the highest weightage at engineering manager interviews. Design and interpersonal skills are essential competencies for an EM and should be the focus of your engineering manager interview prep.
Tech interviews at most large tech companies follow a standardized process. This is usually emulated as an industry standard by smaller companies as well. Engineering manager roles have developed to become a common component of tech teams.
If you’re appearing for an engineering manager interview, you can expect a structured interview process focusing on standardized engineering manager interview questions.
We take a quick look at the engineering manager interview process to get an understanding of the type of engineering manager interview questions you can expect:
The three main types of questions asked at an engineering manager interview are:
Coding interview questions are not always asked as a part of engineering manager interview questions. For example, of FAANG, Amazon engineering manager interviews don’t feature coding interview questions. However, you can expect coding interview questions at Google’s engineering manager interview or Facebook’s engineering manager interview.
Coding interview questions are standardized across most tech interviews. You can expect similar coding interview questions to be included in most engineering manager interviews. Focus on the following knowledge areas to prepare for EM coding interview questions:
This includes coding interview questions on:
Below we outline sample coding interview questions asked as a part of the engineering manager interview questions at large tech companies. These include Facebook coding interview questions and Google coding interview questions.
Take a look at the complete list of Facebook Engineering Manager Interview Questions here.
Below are sample Java coding interview questions that can be asked at an engineering manager interview.
Look up this comprehensive list of different types of coding interview questions to prepare for your engineering manager interview.
FAANG and other large tech companies serve large user bases. Engineering manager interview questions on system design will test your designing and architecture skills and concepts and your ability to design large-scale or scalable systems.
Unlike EM coding interview questions, engineering manager interview questions on system design will be open-ended. You will be required to use a whiteboard to draw and explain your design, as you would to write code and explain solutions to coding interview questions.
Recommended Reading: More questions answered on ‘An Inside Look Into Engineering Manager Interviews.’
Below are examples of engineering manager interview questions asked at large tech companies, including FAANG.
Find more engineering manager interview questions on systems design here.
To answer engineering manager interview questions effectively, you have to have a structured interview prep plan. The key ways to prepare are:
Engineering manager interview questions can appear challenging at first. However, it’s possible to crack even the hardest interviews with the right preparation. You can check some more tips to crack engineering manager interview questions at FAANG+ companies.
Q1. What kind of engineering manager interview questions can I expect in a technical interview?
Engineering manager interview questions at technical interviews will typically include coding interview questions, systems, product design interview questions, and behavioral or cultural interview questions.
Q2. Are coding interview questions hard to answer in an engineering manager interview?
Engineering manager interview questions are generally more exacting than software engineering tech interview questions since an EM is a high-level role. However, coding interview questions for an engineering manager interview are usually not as difficult as for a software engineering interview.
Q3. How should I prepare to answer engineering manager interview questions?
Prepare for all engineering manager interview questions, including coding interview questions in a structured manner. Focus on building your skill by starting with easy sums. Try to identify patterns to build strong problem-solving skills.
Q4. What are the best programming languages for engineering manager coding interviews?
Q5. What are the top behavioral or soft skills for an engineering manager interview?
Engineering manager interview questions on interpersonal skills will focus greatly on leadership, communication, and project management skills, among a host of other behavioral skills.
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