Coursera Software Engineer Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Coursera Software Engineer Interview Questions

Interviews at Coursera

54 Interview Reviews

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Helpful (21)  

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
Declined Offer
Negative Experience
Difficult Interview

Application

I applied in-person. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Coursera (Mountain View, CA) in July 2014.

Interview

The interview process was pretty intense. 5 people interviewed me and I got to talk to the director of engineer. Most of the questions were related to data structures and algorithms. I don't think there was anything that wasn't covered in the undergraduate curriculum, but two of the interviewers started nit picking little details unrelated to the algorithm which I thought was pretty annoying. At the end of the interview I had a chance to talk with a lot of people and hang out with them at night, which was totally cool. Lunch and dinner were all served, and the kitchen area was stocked with a lot of free snacks. I loved all the free shwags and they ended up giving me two different Coursera shirts by the end of the day. I interviewed with a bunch of companies and Coursera was the most fun of all. Fun folks, lots of games to play, and some of the girls were actually pretty hot!!! A huge plus. I really liked how people feel psyched about working at an amazing mission and that they do stuff together at night and on weekends. One of the guys there was so nice that he showed off a bunch of Coursera's hackathon projects and an internal metrics site. Sadly I was quite disappointed at how few people actually used Coursera regularly and how horrible the revenue model was, if you could even call it that. But he assured me that they're working on new product and partnership stuff that would reverse the trend.

A few things annoyed me but the biggest was that they totally lowballed my offer. I interviewed with a buncha companies and Coursera was the lowest of all. In fact, almost 40% lower than my highest offer, and that's not even including bonus and stocks. It was so disappointing I didn't even bother calling back. Dude seriously, if you're going to run as a for profit corporation, you should at least pay something that is somewhat respectful, and tell me exactly how many shares in the company I would own instead of dicking around and wasting my time. I suppose Stanford grads are so rich that they're happy to get paid like a non-profit, but I have a student loan to pay.

I guess there were other things that bothered me as well. For example some people I talked to actually disparaged the new executives because they're just overhead who haven't worked very hard and things haven't changed a bit since they were hired. There were other things too, like people complaining how it no longer felt like a startup anymore.

I would have loved to join but at the end of the day, passion for the mission is not a substitute for real currency.

Interview Questions

  • They had me do a programming assignment which was very interesting, and my only complaint is that I didn't have enough time to finish it all.   1 Answer

Reasons for Declining

Their offer was 40% lower than my highest offer, and that's not even including the other company's stocks and bonus. Look, if you're going to run as a for profit corporation, you should at least pay employees competitive rates instead of playing games.

Other Interview Reviews for Coursera

  1. Helpful (14)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Coursera (Mountain View, CA) in August 2014.

    Interview

    I applied for the software engineer position online. The recruiter contacted me after several days and had a phone interview with one of the dev manager. The interviewer is very nice and sharp minded. He asked me a graph algorithm, and invited me to onsite after the phone interview.
    I had the on-site interview two weeks later, and had 5 rounds of interviews. The first interview was a 2 hours coding interview. I talked with the director of engineering and the CPO in the second and third interviews. The 4th interview was a design question. Talked with the recruiter in the 5th interview.


  2. Helpful (8)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 5 weeks. I interviewed at Coursera (Mountain View, CA) in August 2014.

    Interview

    I have initially connected with a person at Coursera through a friend. I had a quick fit phone interview with a recruiter followed by a 1 hour phone interview with a team lead for the available position. This interview was more about my skills, interests and previous experiences rather than solving coding, design or math challenges. After that I had a full day of onsite interviews. I was flying into SF to interview with several other companies so Coursera covered only a part of my expenses for the trip. Onsite interviews included a typical whiteboard coding interview, a 1.5 hour coding exercise on my laptop followed by code review, a lunch, an interview with a data scientist with questions about collecting and using Coursera data to make product decisions, and two interviews with more senior directors of product and engineering. In couple days I came back to talk to the CBO. I received an offer a week after the first onsite interview.

    Interview Questions

    • The most difficult part for me was working on a real coding exercise hoping to get good working results in 1.5 hours. The exercise involved writing an AI for a game. I also got tired by the last interviews as the whole interviewing process took over 6 hours.   Answer Question

    Negotiation

    I was able to raise my base salary (I had a similar offer from another company).

  3. Helpful (4)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Coursera (Mountain View, CA) in July 2014.

    Interview

    I was contacted by an ex-colleague to come by for an happy hour. I was impressed by the quality of the people there, and the leadership. The onsite involved a solid coding question involving filling out the client side business logic. The finished code was to be demoed (they had a server side running already), and the code reviewed with a team member. There were also a couple of algorithm questions.

    Much of the interview also explored cultural fit, especially my interest in and thoughts on education in general. I am guessing this was because I was interviewing for a lead (but not business development/executive) position.

    Interview Questions

    • I would not characterize the questions as difficult, so much as interesting and open ended.   Answer Question

    Negotiation

    I did not negotiate much, because I was excited by the mission/business.


  4. Helpful (7)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Irvine, CA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took a week. I interviewed at Coursera (Irvine, CA) in July 2013.

    Interview

    Submitted resume online and get contact for phone interview in couple days. The phone first phone interview goes pretty well (except the rescheduling issue). Questions are quite easy, self-intro, past projects and one freshman level programming question. Another phone interview is scheduled one day after. The second interview is with a developer. We dive into two programming questions directly and I solved them without any problem. However, I received a reject email couple days later without any reason. Since I solved all programming questions very well, I guess there can only be two reasons. Either I haven't taken any course on courera -or- I'm not from awesome private universities. (Since almost everyone in coursera is from Stanford, you can actually feel scornful). One that really makes me uncomfortable is that the reject email is send from "nonreply@jobvite.com". Seriously? Their recruiter is hesitate to send an email from his own email account. I don't think is a proper thing to do unless you reject me at very first without giving me the interviews.

    Interview Questions

    • Nothing difficult at all. A freshman can crash the problems.   Answer Question

  5. Helpful (3)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Coursera in July 2013.

    Interview

    Applied through their website. Got a message from a recruiter to schedule a phone interview with an engineer. The phone interview was scheduled for the next day. There were several questions about my resume and a simple programming problem. The interviewer gave a very good overview of the company and what is it like to work there at the end of the interview.

    Interview Questions

    • There was only one technical question about printing numbers in some specific order. No complex algorithms or design questions, which is normal for first phone interview.   Answer Question

  6. Helpful (5)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Coursera.

    Interview

    Firstly, the interviewer gave some introduction about the company and himself. And he asked me to introduce myself and my interests. The main part is a coding/algorithm problem with some optimization about the complexity and conciseness of the code. At last, I asked some questions about the team and the role. Overall, the process is smooth and not hard.

    Interview Questions

    • Given a M*N board with characters and a dictionary with words. From any position of the board, you can go for 8 directions. Find all the word which can be formed by starting at one position on the board and going in stating way.   Answer Question

  7.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took a week. I interviewed at Coursera (Mountain View, CA) in June 2015.

    Interview

    The process is superb good. I interviewed for a Sr. mobile engineer position. I got the chance to talked to their mobile lead, product manager, engineers from both iOS and android and their engineer lead. They are all very nice. The interview process including coding excise, system design and basic data structure and algorithm. They also give me a tour of their campus, it is great! With onsite gym, bingbang table, and other cool stuffs.

    Interview Questions

  8.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Coursera (Mountain View, CA) in May 2016.

    Interview

    Contacted by the recruiter on a third party site. Did an onsite shortly after. The onsite is par for the course for technical onsites. Questions included CS fundamentals (write an algorithm to...), coding question on whiteboard (how would you implement X of this library), an architecture design question (how would you build an API for...), as well as a behavioral/team-fit interview.

    Engineers were cordial and enthusiastic about their product and impact. Questions were balanced and interviewers were fair.

    Interview Questions

    • Given a library function X, please implement it. What advantages does this library function provide versus this other method? What are some runtime concerns of your implementation?   Answer Question

  9.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2+ weeks. I interviewed at Coursera (Mountain View, CA) in February 2016.

    Interview

    My interview experience with Coursera was outstanding! First, I had a phone interview with a recruiter, then a phone screen with the team manager. After that, I was invited to come to an onsite interview. The onsite interview consists of 2-hour onsite coding exercise where you bring your own laptop with dev environment, single "algorithms" round, "architecture" round and 2 "behavioral" rounds with managers/exec team. You might have to lead the conversation during behavioral rounds, which can be good, just prepare your questions. My recruiter was very helpful and responsive during all stages of the interview process.
    Everyone was super friendly, personal, positive and excited about the company. I felt very welcomed. Great engineers and very smart people!

    Interview Questions

    • What is your favorite course on Coursera? Why?   1 Answer

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