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SpaceX Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions

Interviews at SpaceX

5 Interview Reviews

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Helpful (3)  

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate in Redmond, WA
No Offer
Neutral Experience
Difficult Interview

Application

I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX (Redmond, WA).

Interview

Applied online, and received an email inviting me to take an online c/c++ quiz. Quiz was fine although some of the question were a bit nebulous as to what the answer could have been. Set up a call with a recruiter for the next week. The first time she forgot about the call and the second time...she forgot about the call again. Nonetheless we eventually connected. This call was an hour where she asked some general questions and a few technical questions related to multighreaded programming.

After this interview, another interview was set up with a Sr Software Engineer. This call was a little over an hour - we chatted about previous work experience and then he asked me a series of technical questions which were apparently 'blanket' for all candidates. Being a C guy (and not a c++ guy) I struggled with some of the questions pretaining to c++. Unfortunately I goofed on some pretty simple questions because I felt a bit "on the spot".

Had I made it past this part of the interview the next step would have been a 6-hour coding problem in C, followed by an onsite visit and presentation that I would have to give to the team. That would be followed by 1:1's with the team.

Overall a challenging interview but good experience for someone who's interested in getting into a company like google.

Interview Questions

  • Why use reference over pointer   1 Answer

Other Interview Reviews for SpaceX

  1. Helpful (8)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Hawthorne, CA
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through other source. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at SpaceX (Hawthorne, CA) in March 2014.

    Interview

    SpaceX was the only job I was applying to as my current position is pretty awesome. They were accommodating to my work schedule and when I had to reschedule a phone screen they were understanding.

    I got the sense that SpaceX is much more like a silicon valley company than an aerospace company. This was particularly attractive to me as I've been working for big tech companies.

    There are some really sharp people working at SpaceX and they all seem enthusiastic about what they're doing. They made it clear that long hours are expected, but that they're also working to reduce the overall load on the engineers.

    Interview Questions

    • All the questions were standard software engineer interview questions. SpaceX doesn't assume any domain knowledge, so I didn't have to explain how orbital mechanics work or anything like that.   Answer Question

    Reasons for Declining

    I have a phenomenally good comp package at my current employer. SpaceX's offer had higher potential upside but there was also more risk associated with their package.


  2. Helpful (3)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Hawthorne, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 5+ months. I interviewed at SpaceX (Hawthorne, CA).

    Interview

    Very long and drawn out process, involving a quick software test (30 minutes or so) and a much longer programming challenge (6 hour deadline). If those go well, it's followed a group presentation on your solution to the programming challenge and several individual interviews. I got lost several times, i.e. after days, I called to see what was going on and received an apologetic reply suggesting I had fallen between the cracks, even though they were apparently very enthusiastic about me as a candidate.

    Interview Questions

    • What I found surprising was that there were no particularly hard questions, but bear in mind I am a very experienced engineer.   3 Answers

    Negotiation

    Negotiate for what you want. You may really want to work at SpaceX but don't let that blind you to your needs.

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  4. Helpful (11)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at SpaceX (Redmond, WA) in August 2015.

    Interview

    Knew that there was a SpaceX branch in Redmond, WA but initially decided to pass on it since software positions listed were related to "inventory management app" rather than things that fly high. As I was interviewing with another company I accidentally learned that they are actually doing the Internet satellite constellation project over here. After that I tracked down the recruiter via LinkedIn and applied directly. SpaceX recruiters are really overwhelmed by work so it required numerous reminder emails on my part to get the process moving.

    Based on the other reviews here a few less persistent candidates gave up on the process rather than kept pushing. If you really want this job, I recommend to keep pushing and sending reminder emails until you either get a firm "NO" or the process moves ahead.

    For me the process was in 4 stages:

    1) Phone screen with the recruiter: basic C++ and data structures knowledge.

    2) Technical screen with one of the developers: C++ and data structures, some threading and OS internals

    3) 6 hour technical test: C++, data structures and algorithms. Although the test is pure C++ and not specific to Linux, the code will be tested on Linux box. I would recommend setting up a Linux box with GCC and practicing beforehand if you are a Windows guy like me. Use valgrind

    4) On-site interview: this one is not standardized and structured like Google/Facebook interviews. Started with a technical test post-mortem presentation to the whole team. Then there were 4 interviews with several questions from different fields. The pattern there is that interviewers pick apart your resume and burrow into your skills and experience as deep as possible. There are a lot of smart experienced people here so they can go quite deep.

    You no longer need to write an essay about why you would like to work at SpaceX, but you do need to prepare an "executive summary" of your greatest achievements to be presented to Elon and Gwynne Shotwell for final approval.

    Bottom line: know your C++, data-structures and algorithms. Space domain knowledge is not required. Be persistent (you'll need to be once you start working anyway). Do your research on Glassdoor.com and internet - there is a lot of useful information there.

    I also recommend reading the recent book by Ashley Vance about Elon and his companies, so that you will have a better understanding of the culture and environment.

    Interview Questions

    • C++, data structures, algorithms   1 Answer

  5. Helpful (7)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 6+ weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX in June 2015.

    Interview

    Pretty standard phone screens, followed by an on-site at the headquarters. Super cool to see the factory and all the rockets. There's some seriously cutting edge science going on here - if you can only keep up with the pace. Everyone seemed laser focused on their work, and it's clear that pretty much everyone loves what they do.

    Interview Questions


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