40 Snowflake Interview Questions

Founded in 2012, Snowflake has become one of the leading self-managing data warehouse solutions over the last few years. With its unique features and cost-effectiveness, the company has been making waves globally. 

Due to its rapid growth and promising future, Snowflake looks for the best candidates in the industry while recruiting. To ace the interview and land an offer, you’ll have to first understand the intricacies of the hiring process and prepare for the Snowflake interview questions. That’s where we come in.

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Now, let’s dive in to get a clearer understanding of the Snowflake interview process, commonly asked questions, and how to ace it. Here’s what we will cover in this article: 

  • Different Software Engineering Profiles at Snowflake
  • Roles and Responsibilities of Software Engineers at Snowflake
  • What Is the Hiring Process at Snowflake Like?
  • What Are the Stages of a Snowflake Interview Process?
  • Snowflake Interview Questions 
  • Tips to Prepare for Snowflake Interview Questions

Different Software Engineering Profiles at Snowflake

Snowflake offers a wide variety of software engineering profiles across different technical domains. Some of the most notable ones are:

  • Senior Software Engineer - Database Engineering
  • Senior Software Engineer - Database Security
  • Principal Software Engineer - Data Sharing
  • Data Engineer
  • Technical Lead, Engineering Productivity
  • Senior Technical Program Manager
  • Senior Manager, Technical Support
  • Backend Engineer
  • Senior Production Engineer
  • Senior Data Scientist

Roles and Responsibilities of Software Engineers at Snowflake

Here are the detailed responsibilities of two prominent roles at Snowflake:

Senior Software Engineer - Database Engineering

  • Designing and supporting highly parallel and fault-tolerant database systems
  • Identifying and implementing novel query optimization
  • Implementing transaction management and distributed data processing algorithms
  • Analyzing and solving performance and scalability bottlenecks in the system
  • Dealing with issues from Snowflake’s logical representation of the execution plan to efficient resource management

Senior Software Engineer - Database Security

  • Designing and implementing features to provide identity and access management
  • Providing integration with the next generation identity providers and protocols
  • Building authorization frameworks to provide fine-grained access control
  • Designing and implementing other key security capabilities around key management and encryption
  • Developing solutions to secure communication and data sharing in a globally distributed service

You can refer to Snowflake’s Careers page for more in-depth information on the different software engineering profiles and their responsibilities.

What Is the Hiring Process at Snowflake Like?

Snowflake, being a fast-growing company, considers the recruitment process an integral part of its culture. Focusing on its vision, Snowflake prefers to hire individuals whose ambitions and integrity align with its own. So naturally, you need to be a driven, risk-taker to get hired at Snowflake. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to get noticed by Snowflake and make an excellent first impression:

Your Resume

Before you proceed with your tech interview prep, build a crisp and clean resume. Your resume should highlight your expertise in terms of experiences, skills, and leadership concerning the job role. For instance, if you are a software developer, mention relevant software you have previously worked on. Whereas if you are an engineering manager, highlight your management skills. Likewise, if you are a tech lead, mention the projects you have led previously.

Online Application

Go to Snowflake’s careers page or eminent job portals like LinkedIn to apply. Browse through the open jobs and apply when you find something that fits. If you set “Open to New Opportunities” as your preference on LinkedIn, recruiters will reach out to you if your profile is suitable for a particular job role.

What Are the Stages of a Snowflake Interview Process?

Snowflake’s interview process consists of the following steps while recruiting employees.

Phone Screen(s)

The recruiter will set up a phone screen if your resume gets shortlisted for the desired job role. Since this call is when the recruiters get to know you as an individual for the first time, the first phone screen round is typically pretty casual.

In this round, the recruiter will ask you about your previous relevant experience, why you’re applying at Snowflake, and your views on how you will be adding more value to the company.

For this, it is crucial to know about the company's history, vision, and exploits beforehand. Browse through Snowflake’s company, ventures, and investor relations to get a clear overview of the company.

Onsite/Video Interview(s)

After you clear the phone screen round, the recruiter will call you for an onsite or video interview. This onsite or video interview is an in-depth one where the recruiting team will evaluate both your technical and behavioral skills. 

Typically, this round will be filled with technical questions, both theoretical and coding-based. Here, you can also expect questions revolving around your leadership and problem-solving skills.

You may have to appear for additional rounds depending on the recruiting team and the job role or designation you apply for.  

Snowflake Interview Questions

To help you in your technical interview prep, we have compiled a list of the most important interview questions on Snowflake, along with sample answers for you to go through.

Q: Explain Snowflake Cloud Data Warehouse

A: Snowflake’s data cloud is backed by an advanced data platform working on the software-as-a-service (SaaS) principle. As a result, it facilitates easier, faster, and more flexible data processing, data storage, and analytics solutions compared to traditional products.

These data platforms are not created on pre-existing database technologies or “Big Data” software platforms like Hadoop. Instead, Snowflake works on a new SQL query engine with a cloud-based architecture. Hence, Snowflake can provide all the features of an enterprise analytics database along with other unique features.

Q: How Does Snowflake Differ from AWS?

A: In Snowflake, the storage and calculations are totally independent. So, the storage cost is similar to the data in S3 storage. On the other hand, AWS tries to bypass this issue by introducing a Red Shift spectrum and lets you query data that directly exists in S3. However, it is not as flawless as Snowflake.

Q: Explain Snowflake ETL.

A: Snowflake ETL signifies that the application of the ETL process transfers data to the Snowflake data warehouse. So, you can efficiently extract the required data from the data source. It also facilitates the related transformations to prepare the data analysis and then loads it into Snowflake. 

Q: What Are the features of Snowflake?

A: Snowflake comes with the following features:

  • Database Storage
  • Seamless Data Sharing
  • Cloud Services
  • External Tables
  • Data Sharing
  • Result Caching
  • XML Support
  • Availability and Security
  • Performance and Speed
  • Concurrency and Accessibility
  • Search Optimization Service
  • Compute Layer
  • Structured and Semi-structured Data Support

Q: Explain Snowflake software architecture in brief

A: Snowflake software architecture is a combination of conventional shared disk and shared database architectures. It is based on the principle of a central repository that can access persistent data from all the computer nodes in the platform identical to shared disk architecture. 

Here’s a collection of several commonly asked Snowflake job interview questions:

Basic Overview Questions

  • Explain Snowflake cloud data warehouse.
  • What type of database is associated with Snowflake?
  • Can Snowflake be called an ETL?
  • Explain Snowflake ETL.
  • Is Snowflake PaaS or SaaS?
  • How does Snowflake differ from AWS?
  • What do you know about Snowflake on AWS?
  • Explain Snowflake software architecture in brief
  • How important is the storage layer to Snowflake?
  • Advantages of a Snowflake database

Entry-Level Questions

  • Explain the functions of the compute layer in Snowflake
  • Can AWS Glue be related to Snowflake?
  • Explain Snowflake caching
  • What are the features of Snowflake?
  • Explain schema in Snowflake
  • What do you know about zero-copy in Snowflake?
  • Explain the query processing layer in Snowflake
  • Define columnar database

Real-Time Questions

  • Explain time travel in Snowflake
  • What do you know about the failsafe in Snowflake?
  • What are the costs associated with Snowflake time travel?
  • List the cloud platforms supported by Snowflake
  • How is metadata stored in Snowflake?
  • Is indexing relevant to Snowflake?
  • Compare time travel and failsafe in Snowflake
  • State the benefits of Snowflake compression
  • Explain the types of warehouses in Snowflake

Expert-Level Questions

  • Can you store encrypted data in Snowflake?
  • Explain Snowflake JavaScript
  • How can you create stored procedures in Snowflake?
  • Is Snowflake OLTP or OLAP?
  • What makes Snowflake so fast?
  • What do you know about format data storage in Snowflake?
  • How to execute Snowflake stored procedure?

Cloud Questions

  • Explain cloud services layer in Snowflake architecture
  • How many nodes does a large Snowflake warehouse have?
  • Can Snowflake be called a data lake?
  • State Snowflake’s unique attribute
  • Explain a Snowflake cluster
  • Can Snowflake support unstructured data?

How to Prepare for the Snowflake Interview Questions? 

Before you jump into the syntax and technicalities of the technical interview, make sure you have a clear overview of the database schematics and architecture in your head. You should be able to visualize the database key relations across all the tables.

When the recruiter asks you a question, your solution is not the only thing noted here. How you approach the situation and analyze the problem is what they try to ascertain.

In short, brushing up your technical and conceptual skills and keeping these commonly asked interview questions for Snowflake in mind will remarkably strengthen your tech interview prep.

Interview Kickstart offers a comprehensive technical interview preparation course to software engineers with a success rate of over 95%. With over 70 instructors, coaches, and interviewers from top tech companies, we’ve helped thousands of software engineers and developers land their dream jobs. 

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