Zynga Principal Software Engineer Interview Questions

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Principal Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
Application Details

I applied through an employee referral. The process took 1+ weekinterviewed at Zynga in April 2012.

Interview Details

Zynga has a great interview culture - one of the best I've ever been exposed to. Things started with a call from an internal recruiter, who had been poked by a friend of mine. He arranged a phone screen, which served as a poseur filter ("Reverse a linked list!", "DFS a tree!"), and was efficiently conducted. I was brought in just a few days later for in-person interviews, which worked through issues at the operational ("How would you handle proactive hardware provisioning for a giant web application?"), strategic ("Sketch a million-user presence system!"), and tactical ("Implement a distributed hash table!") levels. Every interviewer was on-time and showed evidence of having read my resume and thought it through. That level of preparation warmed my heart, since I had been the "tech interview guy" for years at a previous employer, and finally got a little karmic reward.

Interview Questions
  • How would you proactively provision hardware for a large LAMP application? Discuss monitoring, cost planning, and how you'd estimate the marginal value.   Answer Question
  • Suppose you need a chat system with 10M concurrent users, with a dense adjacency matrix. How would you implement a presence and chat system that scales to that kind of user base? Discuss tradeoffs among reliability, complexity, latency, and cost.   Answer Question
  • Implement a distributed hash table. Discuss how it will scale horizontally, how it might implement redundancy, and what kind of reliability guarantees it can make.   Answer Question
Reasons for Declining

It wasn't my best offer, in money terms, and I wound up with a more technically challenging position elsewhere, with the only company that did a better interview process.

Declined Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview

Other Interview Reviews for Zynga

  1.  

    Principal Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    The process took a dayinterviewed at Zynga in March 2011.

    Interview Details

    Standard stuff. prelim screening, then on-site - 4-5 1hr interviews.

    You gotta be good at interviews. Wrote a hashtable implementation on the board (can you code).

    Solved a few distributed systems problems - bank of webservers, tiers of caching, dealing with connection fan-in, etc (do you understand systems and networks, not just FOR loops).

    Few other questions - interviewers were pretty good at it. I learned a few things to use in my own interviews.

    Interview Questions
    • Huge bank of servers is pounding data layer with connections. What do we do?   View Answer
    • Implement a Hashtable. Chaining / Linear-probing, hash stuff. etc   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    I didn't need to negotiate. They hooked me up - serious efforts were taken to double my stock grant when I didn't even know what was on the line. Negotiate with what? No one else would pay me that much.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

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