Technical Program Manager Interview Questions and Answers You Should Prepare
Technical Program Managers (TPM) at top FAANG companies manage and coordinate all aspects of a project, from defining its requirements to assessing the final product. A hiring manager looks for engineering managers with excellent team management and communication skills, technical knowledge, and much more.
Answers to technical program manager interview questions must demonstrate your ability to understand any program's technical and project management aspects. Go through this article to examine the most important technical program manager interview questions and answers. It’ll help you outperform the competition with thorough preparation and professional guidance.
Having trained over 9,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have landed lucrative offers from FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies, with an average salary hike of 49%. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $933,000!
At IK, you get the unique opportunity to learn from expert instructors who are hiring managers and tech leads at Google, Facebook, Apple, and other top Silicon Valley tech companies.
Here's what we'll cover in this article:
- Top Technical Program Manager Interview Questions and Answers
- Amazon Interview Questions for Technical Program Manager
- Facebook Technical Program Manager Interview Questions
- Google Technical Program Manager Interview Questions
- Sample Technical Program Manager Interview Questions for Practice
- FAQs on Technical Program Manager Interviews
Top Technical Program Manager Interview Questions and Answers
Technical program manager interview questions fall into three categories - behavioral, technical, and program management. These can include hypothetical/situational, leadership, system design, technical, and coding questions.
Let’s look at the top questions asked in TPM interviews. These questions will assist you in anticipating what to expect during these interviews and developing a solid strategy for navigating difficult technical rounds.
Q1. Why did you opt for the technical wing of program management?
When preparing for technical program manager interview questions, quickly go over your previous jobs and projects. Create a compelling story that showcases your experience and skills to their fullest.
Begin with your program management experience and how you have gained experience in all aspects of project management, team members, budgets, time constraints, and clientele over time. Share your most recent technical interests and skills gained while working for a software development firm.
Q2. How would you handle a team member who works less than their full potential?
It is one of the most crucial technical program manager interview questions. The interviewer looks for your response structure, flow, and clarity of thought. Ensure that you describe how you drive projects and teams to meet company objectives.
These strategies help bring the best out of your team members:
- Help your team members in developing strong decision-making abilities
- Clearly understand what motivates your team member
- Develop their performance tolerance threshold
- Strengthen the potential of weak team members by surrounding them with stronger ones
- Create a proper follow-up process
- Encourage them by rewarding and appreciating their improvement
Q3. How do you prioritize tasks in a program?
Prioritizing tasks in a program helps ensure successful and timely completion. To prioritize the tasks, you should:
- Create a list of duties and responsibilities
- Split urgent and important tasks
- Assess the criterion value of each task
- Consider and order the tasks by estimated efforts
- Stay flexible and ready to adapt
Q4. How can a technical program manager earn trust with a team?
Leadership quality assessment is an integral part of technical program manager interview questions. To earn trust within a team, a TPM must:
- Create proper networking opportunities for team members to share their capabilities
- Speak and rely on the truth
- Highlight successes
- Role-model transparency
- Admit mistakes or when you don't know something
Q5. How do you handle dependencies in cross-functional teams?
Dependency management is one of the most crucial and complicated topics for technical program manager interview questions. To handle dependencies in cross-functional teams:
- Understanding and balancing differing perspectives and goals
- Use communication, empathy, and negotiation to get stakeholders to unite and finish tasks on time
Also, check out some Technical Interview Tips to get hired at FAANG companies.
Amazon Interview Questions for Technical Program Manager
The most challenging aspect of Amazon Interview Questions for Technical Program Managers is that they cover a mixture of behavioral and technical questions. Let’s look at how to answer some of the top Amazon TPM interview questions.
Q1. What are Amazon's leadership principles?
Amazon interview questions for technical program managers are primarily concerned with Amazon's leadership principles. Prepare an answer for each principle that includes specifics and numbers from your work experience. Amazon recruiters can drill down into the specifics of Amazon interview questions for the technical program manager. Here are Amazon’s leadership principles:
- Customer obsession
- Invent and simplify
- Learn and be curious
- Hire and develop the best
- Insist on the highest standards
- Think big
- Bias for action
- Earn trust
- Dive deep
- Have backbone: disagree and commit
- Deliver results
- Strive to be Earth's best employer
- Success and scale bring broad responsibility
Q2. What is RAID in Project Management?
It is important to understand the concept of RAID to answer technical program manager interview questions. You can use this to answer any tricky question. RAID in project management stands for:
- Risks are the potential problems that can impact a program either positively or negatively.
- Actions are the tasks you perform throughout the project.
- Issues are the problems that arise in the course of the project.
- Decisions are your choice of actions in the project.
Q3. What are threads? What is multithreading?
Amazon interview questions for senior technical program managers often cover threading and multithreading concepts. A thread is an independent unit of execution. It is created within a process or an application being executed. Multithreading is when multiple threads are executed in a process simultaneously.
Q4. Distinguish heap and stack memory structure in an operating system?
The memory structure of an operating system, including stack and heap, is often a part of technical program manager interview questions.
Q5. What is the difference between a router and a switch?
Facebook Technical Program Manager Interview Questions
Q1. Why should you use HTTPS over HTTP?
HTTPS is an advanced version of HTTP which implements an SSL/TLS to encrypt the information transmitted between a server and a client. The added layer of security makes HTTPS the better alternative for websites handling sensitive data, such as e-commerce websites or those requiring users to log in using their credentials.
Q2. What happens when you type a URL in the browser?
This is a common technical program interview question asked at Facebook, Google, and Amazon. The steps are:
- You type a URL in the browser and press Enter.
- The browser looks up the IP address for the domain.
- The browser initiates a TCP connection with the server.
- Next, it sends the HTTP request to the server.
- The server processes requests and sends back a response.
- Lastly, the browser renders the content.
Q3. What are load balancer and API gateway?
A load balancer is a device that acts as a reverse proxy and balances network or application traffic across several servers. Load balancers redirect multiple instances of the same microservice components as they scale out, while an API gateway connects microservices. An API gateway is an API management tool between a client and a collection of backend services. It acts as a reverse proxy to accept all application programming interface (API) calls, aggregates the various services required to fulfill them, and returns the appropriate result.
Q4. What is database sharding?
Sharding is a method for distributing a single dataset across multiple databases. It is a form of scaling known as horizontal scaling or scale-out. This enables larger datasets to be split into smaller sets and stored in various data nodes on multiple machines. It increases the total storage capacity of the system.
Get some Facebook Technical Program Manager Interview Prep Tips here.
Google Technical Program Manager Interview Questions
Google technical program manager interview questions cover a variety of topics, including the cloud network, Google strategies, products, and more.
Q1. How does the cloud work?
A clear understanding of the cloud is critical for answering technical program manager interview questions. Cloud computing is an application-based software infrastructure. It stores data on a remote server by using at least one data server connected to the Internet. When a user sends files over the Internet to the data server, the cloud storage saves a copy. The user can retrieve this information copy whenever he wants from the data server through a web-based interface.
Q2. What are the tools mostly used for improving the process activities?
Technical program manager interview questions can be about specialized tools and features used to improve a process. The most valuable tools for improving process activity are:
- Value-Stream Mapping
- Cause and Effect Analysis
- Comparing and Baselining a Process
- Hypothesis Testing
Q3. When would you choose TCP over UDP and vice versa?
TCP is used in applications that prioritize reliability, such as file transfer, emails, and web browsing. Unlike UDP, TCP is reliable because it guarantees data delivery to the destination router. It provides extensive error-checking mechanisms. At the same time, UDP is suitable for applications where speed is more important such as video conferencing, online gaming, and live streaming.
Take a look at some more Google Technical Program Manager Interview Questions here.
Sample Technical Program Manager Interview Questions for Practice
Practice these technical program manager interview questions to ace your next interview.
- How would you resolve a conflict between team members?
- Share a most significant accomplishment.
- Share a situation where you were dissatisfied with your status quo?
- What has been your biggest career failure, and what have you learned from it?
- How would you tell projects that fail to reach their potential?
- If your team members were to describe you in a word, what would that be?
- Share a situation when you had a conflict with your team but decided to go ahead with their proposal.
- Design a server infrastructure for Gmail.
- State qualities of an ideal program.
- How would you design the Facebook Newsfeed?
- How would you create a typeahead box for a search engine?
- Why Amazon? Why are you applying for this position of Technical Manager?
- Write a program to find if an integer is a palindrome
- Implement a queue in an array
- Write a program to reverse a string.
FAQs on Technical Program Manager Interview Questions
Q.1 How do I prepare for technical program manager interview questions?
The best way to prepare for the technical program manager interview questions is to read the company's leadership principles and prepare for architectural design questions.
Q.2 What skills does a technical program manager require?
Leadership, management, communication, technical expertise, and strategy are the core skills. As a TPM, you must exhibit soft and hard skills while answering technical program manager interview questions.
Q.3 What does a technical program manager do?
A technical program manager is in charge of one or more company projects. They collaborate with cross-functional teams in hardware and software to take a product or feature from concept to launch.
Q4. How can you negotiate the salary while answering technical program manager interview questions?
In a technical interview, wait for your turn to put up questions. You can politely bring up the salary negotiation. Be firm and do not use a range. You must do prior research on market value and prioritize your requests accordingly. However, never mention personal needs. Your final offer will depend on how well you negotiate.
Q5. How much does a TPM make?
The average annual salary for a Technical Program Manager in the US is $142,873 (Glassdoor).
Get Ready to Crack Your Next Technical Program Manager Interview
If you need help with your prep, join Interview Kickstart’s Technical Program Manager Interview Course — the first-of-its-kind, domain-specific tech interview prep program designed specifically for Data Engineers. Click here to learn more about the program.
IK is the gold standard in tech interview prep. Our programs include a comprehensive curriculum, unmatched teaching methods, FAANG+ instructors, and career coaching to help you nail your next tech interview.