Amazon Software Engineer Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Amazon Software Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Mar 22, 2017
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  1. Helpful (2)  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Amazon (Seattle, WA) in February 2017.

    Interview

    The interview process for Interns seems to be the same all around (based on other reviews on Glassdoor, and from friends). The initial interview is online, technical, and mainly focuses on debugging and logic questions. The second interview is also online and technical, but focuses more on being able to show that you have good database, algorithm, and OOP background. The final interview is over the phone with (for me atleast) a Software Manager at Amazon. I won't specify the question he asked me, but it required knowledge of OOP, database, algorithms, and general problem solving.

    Here's a tip: I got nervous during my phone interview and failed to use the proper data structure needed, but because I asked alot of good questions and communicated with my interviewer throughout, I managed to get an offer from Amazon regardless. Communications matters.

    Amazon was very quick with the entire process. I got an email for my first online interview, scheduled a time, took the exam, and got a response within 2 days. This was the case with all 3 of my interviews.

    Interview Questions

  2. Helpful (2)  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Amazon (Seattle, WA) in February 2017.

    Interview

    Turned down multiple recruiters wanting me to do an online test first in order to be invited to one of their massive hiring events. I'm a specialist with years experience, so I knew that would not be a good situation for me, as they are aimed at new grads with general full stack knowledge.

    A month later, I got a recruiter that wanted me to do a phone screen technical interview with a senior engineer on the team. Said ok. Week later had an hour (actually 1.5 hour) phone call with a sr. engineer there. We talked about the group, my experience, my goals, the usual - seemed very friendly, but I did note that he tried to reframe my coding experience in such a way that it seemed it wasn't as much as it was (i.e. when he brought up a newer version of the language, I said I had gone back and relearned the language to get the changes straight in my head - all the changes in a better, rounded way, but his response was 'so you don't really have a lot of experience with X' when in fact, I did have - 20 years worth in that language (so admitting you don't know everything was actually made to seem like a huge problem. Odd).) That was a red flag, I feel now.

    Then we moved to their online whiteboard for the infamous coding test part. We went long and talked during the test, he would ask questions (and essentially throw in dead ends or twists as hints), making it much more stressful. Didn't finish and he prompted me too often - sometimes helpful, sometimes not. So I think he was trying to get me to finish so he could say we were done and that he 'had to help me too much'. That's what I think now, thinking back on it. I even said I wasn't done yet...and needed time to run through it before I worked out exactly how I was going to do the recursive returns (since you can NOT 'run the code' on their whiteboard), so I wasn't able to work the way I usually did.

    Additional thoughts:
    My red flags may not be, don't get me wrong. Interviewer bias exists but also, when you are an experienced professional and not full stack (a specialist) you always run the risk of someone deciding you aren't general enough - and it's easy to use that excuse if for some reason the interviewer or his bosses are looking for reasons to say 'no'. So don't get discouraged, and don't obsess over the interview, focus on your strengths.

    I did prep for these Amazon coding tests, and that helped. But even so, they threw in more twists and blind alley hints than I was prepared for. Be prepared for the problem to seem simple, and then for them to change or hint about things along the way, essentially changing the problem space. And don't feel so bad if you don't finish or get confused. I think it was designed to make you feel confused and perhaps a little humbled.

    Overall, my advise is...Don't give up. If you got the interview, it means you're good, and likely, it wasn't the whiteboard that did you in. More than likely it was something else, perhaps even whether or not you 'fit' what their stereotype of the perfect candidate is. I say these things, not because I feel bitter...I don't, these things happen, and tests like these are not blind, nor does one coding question say anything about your work style or skill level...

    I say it because I know I have really good skills in my field, as do most people that get interviews at these companies, and I've been on both sides of these kinds of coding interviews. I've seen a lot of great programmers and scientists get turned down because of failing to click with the interviewer - and it had nothing really to do with their skills or their ability to whiteboard. (In fact, some of the best are lousy at whiteboard stuff...and often the interviewer would be just as bad if he didn't already know the answer.) :)

    So don't get down on yourself if you find yourself in the same position. And don't necessarily assume the coding test was the reason either (see my summary earlier).

    So just chalk it up to good practice and the next time, you'll do even better.

    Interview Questions

    • Shown a binary tree of operators and numbers (where the root is an operator, numbers can be either nodes or leaves..operators are never leaves, only the root or nodes) add code to show the Node structure and how to parse it for a simple postfix calculator. (see my response and about the twists in the answer)   1 Answer
  3. Helpful (1)  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. I interviewed at Amazon.

    Interview

    Was referred by a friend to Amazon. Received link to its online assessment after about two weeks. There are two rounds of online assessment, the 1st one consists of debugging and reasoning, the second one is about work simulation, and coding.

    Interview Questions

    • 7 debugging problems, and some logical problems   2 Answers
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  5. Helpful (1)  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 6 weeks. I interviewed at Amazon (New York, NY) in February 2017.

    Interview

    There are two online assessments you have to go through before going to the next step. You have to be well prepared for the coding interview because you need to pass all the test cases in order to go through the next step. For the working simulation questions, be sure to follow the amazon behavior rules when answering the questions.

    Interview Questions

    • Behavior questions, debugging questions, three coding challenges and working simulation questions   Answer Question
  6. Helpful (1)  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Amazon in February 2017.

    Interview

    Was a truly embarrassing ordeal from such a well-respected company. First, they send a "bug-fixing" test, and a logic test, which were both very easy. After a few days, they sent another set of tests, one which is a "work simulation", which was just bizarre, and another that had three coding problems. Unfortunately, two of the three problems had significant problems in the way they were written–something I haven't seen in my entire job search. One problem misdefined a class in the problem description–it listed fields that didn't exist, so when I tried to access them in my implementations the program kept crashing. In the second problem, the sample problems had an incorrect expected output, which took me forever to realize that it was the test-writer's fault. Hard to believe a company like Amazon would write such terrible tests.

    Interview Questions

    • Given a list of weighted edges between nodes, find the minimum cost spanning tree   Answer Question
    • Given the upper left and lower right coordinates of two rectangles, determine if they overlap   4 Answers
  7. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 1+ week. I interviewed at Amazon (Seattle, WA) in February 2017.

    Interview

    This was a technical screen over the phone with use of Amazon's whiteboard web app.
    Started out asking me for a brief history of my career in the software industry. Then he asked me to describe a goal I've had and how I achieved it. We talked about that for a few minutes and then moved on to a theoretical technical question (no code, just verbal discussion). The final ~20 minutes were spent on the coding exercise.

    Interview Questions

    • You have a huge data file (gigabytes in size) full of URLs, one per line. There are many duplicates throughout the file. How would you process this data to produce an output file with one unique URL per line, followed by the number of occurrences?   1 Answer
    • Write a function/method with this signature:
      bool MyFunc(string term, string input) {}

      The method should return true if the search term is found in the input string, even when there are other characters in between.
      Examples:
      "aba", "bbbbabbxxxxxxbb" returns false
      "aba", "bbbbabbxxxxxxab" returns true
      Basically, do I see an 'a', then 'b', then another 'a' before I run off the end of the input string?  
      2 Answers
  8. Helpful (1)  

    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Amazon in February 2017.

    Interview

    There were three rounds in the process. First round was a debugging + logical reasoning round (online). Second round was a coding round (OA) with 2 questions to be completed in 70 minutes. I finally had a telephonic interview where my recruiter (who was very polite and friendly) asked me questions based on my resume and work experience. Then we discussed a system design problem and I was asked to write some code for the same. Overall a very pleasant and satisfactory experience. Got an offer in the same week.

    Interview Questions

  9. Helpful (1)  

    Software Development Engineer I Intern Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Amazon (Cambridge, MA) in February 2017.

    Interview

    They called for an assessment test, saying that the options in programming languages for the coding test are Java, C, C++ and Python. I flew in to Cambridge, all the way from my place to take the test, only to find that Python was not an option. I was OK with this and had continued to code, when the recruiter/host announced that those who prefer Python will have a separate hiring process later on, and had to leave.

    Quite obviously, there were some who preferred Python for coding tests including me and we left, wasting about half a day, a certain amount unreimbursed cost of travel, as well as having missed classes and/or other important engagements for that day.

    We never received any intimation later on.

    I hope the recruiters learn to value the time and money of candidates and improve upon managing the process properly. Its a shame that such a big company has such a shoddy hiring process.

    Interview Questions

  10. Helpful (1)  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Sunnyvale, CA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Amazon (Sunnyvale, CA) in February 2017.

    Interview

    I got interview by my friend's referral .After chatting with the recruiter about background . We moved to Online Assessment.After OA,I received onsite invitation to Seattle. Now I'm preparing for this .

    Interview Questions

    • Algorithm .construct a BST   1 Answer
  11. Helpful (1)  

    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. The process took 6 weeks. I interviewed at Amazon in February 2017.

    Interview

    Two online assessments (first was debugging/reasoning, second was coding) followed by a 45 minute phone interview. There was about a week of time between each setp of the process. Phone interview was your standard technical interview with a little bit of time for talking about your resume, and questions at the end.

    Interview Questions

See What Amazon Employees Are Saying

Star Star Star Star Star   Current Editor in Seattle, WA

Pros: “Every team is different, but mine is very laid-back. No one is monitoring your hours or work location--just get your work done. I work from home because it's distraction-free, but I go...”“Every team is different, but mine is very laid-back. No one is monitoring your hours or work location--just get your work done. I work from home because it's distraction-free, but I go to the office to touch base with my team.” – Full Review

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