Amazon.com Data Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews
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Data Engineer III Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in June 2014.
Interview Details – Suggested by a friend I applied for a Data Engineer position at Amazon, to my surprise I did receive a call from HR within a week. This was my first interview after 4 years. My work experience included Oracle Pl/SQL and Hyperion Essbase, and Amazon was looking for a Data Architect or someone who could do data modeling.
HR had briefed me before about the first interview. This interview was for 45 mins (Started and Ended as scheduled). First 10 Mins were used to introduce Interviewer and Amazon. This was followed with a clear technical interview. I liked the way this person interviewed, it was all technical and he was expecting me to explain how things would work inside a Database. Some Questions on Index, Partitions and tables. This was followed by asking me to design a data mart (May be Hotel booking, Restaurant or something similar). This interview went really good for me and I was expecting a call back from Amazon. As expected I got a call in 3 days and they scheduled one more technical interview based on my free-time which happened 3 days later.
Second technical interview was no different from the first one. Technical Questions were little difficult compared to first and followed by asking for a designing sample data model.
This interview went good too and got a call back from HR in 3 days. This time they asked for a non technical interview with Recruitment team. This was again scheduled for next day based on my availability. Also they asked for details about my availability in travelling to Seattle for a day’s interview.
Explaining the discussion with Recruitment team, it was all about knowing my interests, knowledge about Amazon, explaining Amazon Salary structure, my Salary expectations and explained about how things would look during onsite interview.
I did my research about Onsite interview and tried to collect most details. This information is really hard to get, and the reason behind I writing this document is same.
As everyone would expect I thought It would be behavioral round and just a formality. Its not the case and every minute during this interview is very important.
I spent 18 hrs in travel before landing at Amazon @ 10:20 AM (Late by 20 mins to interview). I was really tired with lot of flight cancellations and couldn’t find time to fresh up. The Recruitment team greeted and did a nice welcome. She spent some 10 mins walking through the building and explaining the work culture there.
This was followed by 30 mins of explaining next 7 hrs schedule and some Questions to understand my knowledge about Amazon. I really don’t remember questions but I guess little bit of search on Google about Amazon would help us there.
Right at 11:00 AM we had a person knocking at the door. HR left wishing me good luck. I didn’t expect that this would be followed by 7 Hours of non-stop questions. I was really not prepared for this 7 hours of talking and white boarding.
I guess I met 8 people in this 7 hours, last hour interview was conducted by 2 people – One asking Questions and other just monitoring.
All the first 6 Interviews were similar and below are some of questions you may expect. End of the hour I always had next person knocking the door. I felt I did pretty good on technical rounds and not so good on behavioral rounds. There is no lunch-break, you will be interviewed even while having food. It’s a real test of your mental strength.
After meeting these 6 ppl, I felt I had hit 5 of the interviews on bulls eye. I was comparing the knowledge level of the interviewer with mine and felt it was going good.
Again on the repetitive Questions of database design and challenges I was getting little annoyed. I was tired after 6:30 Hrs of talking.
Along with technical Questions, I was also asked to answer for reason on job change, Why Amazon, Whats good about Amazon, and lot of them. Questions on my prev roles and myself were minimal and they clearly said ITS WASTE OF TIME. Everyone made it clear they didn’t want to hear storied and expected crisp and simple answers.
All the ppl I meet had atleast 10 years of Database experience, and were heading a team. These were ppl who would be talking to me on daily basis had I been selected.
No mercy, two ppl walked-in for the last round. As I understood they were seniors of the account and lead this whole division. The question here was simple and single. Asked me to design a Database for one of Amazon division which we use everyday on amazon. For 1 Hour I was trying to run away from this Question(I expected there would be one more Question, if I didn’t like it) and they were persistent and trying to dig thought the same concept.
After the interview I expected a negative feedback, and did hear the same. As I understand all 8 ppl did a 60 Mins brainstorming before making this valid decision.
Good luck for all you guys.
Interview Question – Technical round Questions:
Live examples ppl have faced at amazon – Writing SQLs and more Complex SQLs, Designing Data Marts.
Loads of DW and SQL Questions, with work experience anyone would be able to crack them. Atleast 5 each round.
Questions to understand your exposure to DW designs. You can expect 5 Questions each round.
Challenges faced (Would be asked by everyone). This is tricky one and I explaining only one scenario to all 7 ppl (was a negative point against me). I felt 1 Scenario in 10 years of work experience would raise doubts about my experience.
Design a database for specific scenario (would be asked by everyone). We need to white board the example and use all your knowledge. This one is really really important. Answer Question
Data Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Amazon.com in March 2014.
Interview Details – Well planned and executed. Candidates are well informed.
Interview Question – None. However I have most of my work ex in teradata and they were looking for Oracle experts. e.g. Indexes in Oracle View Answer
Data Engineer II Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 1+ week - interviewed at Amazon.com.
Interview Details – I applied online through amazon website. Recruiter contacted me through email and scheduled the first phone interview. The interviewer asked me about my experience. Then he started asking questions on dimensional modeling and data warehousing concepts
a) why do we use a dimensional model?
b) What are the advantages of surrogate keys? Why can't we use natural keys?
c) Smart key
d) Data vault
e) Mini dimension
f) Kimbal vs Inmon concept? What will you use for a project?
Then he started with SQL qns. Had to tell him sql queries for a few scenarios. Most of the using window/analytical functions..
Asked me whether I have any experience in BI tools
A second phone interview was scheduled after 2 to 3 days. The interviewer started asking me about performance tuning in Oracle.. He asked me in detail about. Btree indexes - how do they work? Bit map indexes- What are the disadvantages ? how do we tune a query? partitioning... different types of join -- merge, hash , nested loop? When will index be not useful?The more I answered, he started asking in detail.
Then he started with SQL -- ROLLUP and CUBE functions... Analytical functions.. Connect by etc,,,
Then some basic questions.. Normalization, Data warehousing definition., Asked me how do you start designing a dimensional model.. etc
Interview Question – SQL Performance tuning questions Answer Question
Very Difficult Interview
Data Engineer Interview (Negative Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 1+ week - interviewed at Amazon.com.
Interview Details – The interviews are generally long and go on for a day and if you think you did really well, dont expect the outcome to be positive. I had a total of 2 interviews over the phone which was completely technical with a bunch of SQL questions and scenarios. Then I was called for an In-Person interview with overall 8 people. About 4 interviews including the lunch interview was full of SQL questions with a lot of white-boarding. I was about to end the day on a high note but surprisingly it ended up with C# and Algorithm questions, which really baffled me (especially for a data engineer position). I was sure of getting the offer but I did not!!
Interview Question – A puzzle which had to be solved using an algorithm and also write code for the same Answer Question
Data Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Amazon.com.
Interview Details – After a technical phone screen, there was a 45-minute call with the recruiter. Mostly the purpose was to prepare me for what to expect. He gave me 17 leadership principles and did some practice rounds with how to answer questions about those. The in-person interview consisted of five 45-minute interviews.
Interview Question – Tell me about a time you were in a meeting and had an opinion different from everyone else in the room. What did you do and what were the outcomes? Answer Question
Software Engineer Development Engineer - Machine Learning On Terabytes of Data Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in November 2012.
Interview Details – After the applying for the job, a person from Amazon called for a technical appointment. The first interviewer introduced what he does and what the position is about. Then, he talked about my resume. We spent the rest of time (45 minutes) for programming. Lastly, he asked the complexities (time, space) of the answer.
The second person asked various topics. He asked me to do an object oriented design. Then, he asked a short programming question. Most of time he was typing and was not focused on the interview.
Interview Question – Object Oriented Design Answer Question
Data Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Amazon.com in August 2011.
Interview Details – Applied online and the recruiter set up a phone interview with the manager.
The phone call went very smooth. The manager asked me general questions about my background and my work experience.He aked some technical questions and also gave few scenarios and asked for my opinion and approach to solve the problems. Over all the round went well .
The recruiter got back to me with a request for one more phone interview with some software developer.This second round did not go well. The interviewer was very disrespectful and kept interrupting me while I was talking. I was surprised to receive such treatment from someone who works for such a great company.
Interview Question – He asked questions on what is OLAP , OLTP , questions on data warehousing , SQL queries Answer Question
Data Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took a day - interviewed at Amazon.com in December 2011.
Interview Details – I was contacted by the Recruiter for setting up the initial phone interview for Data Engineer position. It went for one hour and I did my level best in the interview. I was not notified about neither the Interview result nor the next steps but later I came to know that the position was closed through one of the other Recruiters when she contacted me for another Data Engineer position.
Data Engineer Interview (Negative Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Amazon.com in May 2010.
Interview Details – Very long turnaround, one and a half months between first interview and applying. The interviews are tough as I had to write SQL over the phone. First phone interview was with the hiring manager, second was with someone not even associated with the team. This second interview didnt go well as the person was just not that into it, was unclear in his questions and a little argumentative.
Interview Question – I want to design a database similar to imdb, design it, and tell me the structure/fields so that 1. given a specific year, you can find top 5 grossing films 2. given an actor, return all his costars 3. all movies with more than 3 cast members. View Answer
Data Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter - interviewed at Amazon.com in August 2011.
Interview Details – Reciter contacted me then process started. i was 7 round of technical and inter-personal skills
Interview Question – Problem solving questions Answer Question
Interviews for Top Jobs at Amazon.com