SpaceX Software Engineer Interview Questions | Glassdoor

SpaceX Software Engineer Interview Questions

Interviews at SpaceX

29 Interview Reviews

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Helpful (7)  

Software Engineer Interview

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

Application

I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX (Redmond, WA) in December 2016.

Interview

The process has 5 phases. First there is a short debugging quiz. This test asks you to look for simple bugs in relatively short functions. Next is a technical phone screen with a recruiter. It seems like the recruiter has a list of questions with expected answers and grades you based on that. The third phase is a phone interview with an engineer who asks you standard questions about your background and experience as well as more in-depth technical questions related to the job.

The fourth phase is a 6-hour programming challenge. I can't go into the details of it, but I can say that it seemed like an appropriate level of difficulty considering the role I was applying for and my experience level. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to finish the project to their standards (mostly due to poor time management; I was close) and I did not advance to the final phase, which is an on-site interview.

Interview Questions

  • What is the difference between a reference and a pointer?   1 Answer

Other Interview Reviews for SpaceX

  1. Helpful (1)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX (Seattle, WA) in May 2016.

    Interview

    The full interview process has four stages: first a debugging quiz, then a phone screen, then a programming project, then an on-site interview.

    The debugging quiz is looking for simple off by one errors, memory leaks, etc. They don't give you anything insanely complicated, just some 10-15 line functions. The phone screen is pretty typical, based on my experience they don't ask you for anything beyond what someone qualified for the job should know.

    I got to the programming project which I can't say too much about because they make you sign an NDA. It was a 6 hour project which didn't involve any specialized knowledge, anyone with a programming degree or equivalent experience should be able to implement it. Whether or not you can implement in time however is another question, and unfortunately due to poor time management on my part I was not able to complete it.

    Interview Questions

    • What is the difference between a reference and a pointer?   1 Answer

  2. Helpful (8)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Redmond, WA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at SpaceX (Redmond, WA) in December 2016.

    Interview

    1. 30 minutes bug finding test.
    2. phone screen with a manager.
    3. 6 hour coding challenge in C++

    This was the worst experience I've had in a long time. I'm a very seasoned C++ developer with many years of industrial-strength C++ coding under my belt. Up to the 6 hours challenge everything was smooth. The 6 hours challenge was a nightmare. The question they give is very easy. But they impose many restrictions that are absurd such as not being able to use C++ standard library at all. This restriction is what makes the challenge take so much time, and it doesn't make the question any more interesting (just long and tiring). The idea is that you write the code and send it to the tester who runs it for you and tells you if you passed the tests or not. I was able to get my code to pass the all the test, and I wrote it very cleanly. Despite all these, They rejected me for a bogus reason that was related to a human mistake I made towards the end of the challenge when I accidently sent the wrong file to the tester (after time) which caused the tests to fail. I immediately sent him the correct file but apparently, that wasn't OK with him so he failed me. Not because I didn't succeed in getting correct code, not because I failed the test cases. But because I accidently sent the wrong file (a rogue copy that I had). Yes, over 6 hours of useless work, on an idiotic exercise with ridiculous constraints that are irrelevant to anything, just to be disqualified for a stupid mistake. Yup, that SpaceX for you guys. You decide if you want to engage with these people. I have made up my mind never ever to apply there again.

    Interview Questions

    • The coding challenge requires you to solve a not very complicated problem with many restrictions including not being able to use C++ standard library. I can't say more than that.   2 Answers
  3. Helpful (5)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at SpaceX.

    Interview

    I was initially contacted by a recruiter, who was very responsive to my questions, and instructed to take an initial debugging test. The test was a multiple choice quiz debugging C code. The code itself wasn't hard to debug, but for multiple questions I didn't know if I could assume things such as if the arguments given were always accurate or if memory allocation always succeeded. I tried to use context clues to determine what I should assume but whether the code checked it's inputs or checked for a successful memory allocation varied from question to question and therefore there were multiple questions where I could have justifiably argued that there were multiple answers for the same question. After I took the quiz I very politely emailed the recruiter to tell her I felt good about the test, but that the quiz was ambiguous because it didn't clarify what we were allowed to assume. A few days later all I received was a boiler plate email telling me that I would not be moving forward.

    Interview Questions

    • Shown a piece of C code determine what the bug is, if any   2 Answers

  4. Helpful (7)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Colorado Springs, CO
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at SpaceX (Colorado Springs, CO) in April 2012.

    Interview

    Applied on line for a software engineer position in their simulation group. Since I work on spacecraft simulation software for a living, I thought I'd be a good match. I received a quick response after applying and was asked to complete an online C/C++ programming quiz.

    Quiz consisted of low level programming questions (pointers, memory management, etc.), and was fairly easy. After completing the quiz, I received another email from a SpaceX recruiter telling me that I did well and he'd like to set up a phone interview with me. We agreed on a date and time, and when the appointed time came... no phone call. I attempted to call the recruiter and got sent to voicemail. I also sent an email. No response. I made a few more attempts over the next several days to communicate with this person (and another recruiter at SpaceX) to no avail.

    Fortunately I'm employed and have no shortage of prospects with the more established companies in the aerospace industry, so this is more annoying than anything else.

    What a bunch of disorganized clowns this company is. Don't waste your time with SpaceX.

    Interview Questions

    • Would you like to set up a phone interview?   3 Answers

  5. Helpful (14)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX.

    Interview

    I went through multiple phone interviews, multiple choice coding quiz, plus a 6 hour coding project test. Passed them all very well. Was ready for on-site interview and they bailed because they couldn't pay my market value. This was a sad waste of time.

    Interview Questions

    • Multiple choice 'what's wrong with this code' sort of test had multiple defects in the code and the choices didn't always match the situation well. Pick the one you think they want to hear and you'll do fine.   1 Answer

  6. Helpful (13)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 days. I interviewed at SpaceX in April 2014.

    Interview

    I applied online on the company website. I received an email almost the next day with an invite to take 45-minute multiple choice C/C++ quiz. All questions were about finding the potential error in a short snippet of code. I finished the quiz quickly and got a reply 2 days later asking me to setup a time for a phone screen....

    Then, poof ! Nothing !! No reply from HR! Silence! I checked back twice, asking what happened. And nothing!! As if I applied to a fake company! Very unprofessional and rude! Well, thankfully I am employed so I don't need to work for these clowns. My advice is not to take employment at this company too seriously.

    Interview Questions

    • When is the best time to contact you. That was difficult to answer because there was nobody from HR to arrange a phone interview with. They just ignore candidates.   3 Answers

    SpaceX Response

    Apr 15, 2014 – Lead Recruiter

    Thanks for your message. We are very sorry to hear you had a negative experience. I believe this may have been caused by some email issues we experienced over the last couple weeks. Sporadic email... More


  7. Helpful (8)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Los Angeles, CA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX (Los Angeles, CA) in August 2013.

    Interview

    I submitted my resume and some work examples through their website. The position I applied to was focused on Python software development in support of the Avionics hardware team. A few days later I was contacted by a recruiter saying there was interest. The first step was take an online C/C++ programming test. Initially I was worried because my background is much more Python-oriented. I should not have worried. The test was stuff that any serious programmer should know.

    The second step in the process was a technical interview with the software engineer who headed up this particular software team. It's been quite a while since I've done an interview (10+ years), and the "technical" part of this interview caught me a little by surprise. I have done more homework on this topic since then and I think the questions I was asked are probably typical. I fumbled around on a few, the rest I think I gave good answers. When I was uncertain, I made sure to talk through my thought process as I tried to find a solution.

    Towards the end I got somewhat negative feedback that my work experience might be too "researchy" for the position in question.

    The third step was a week-long programming challenge assignment. The topic was not at all technical or work related. I basically had to create a simple text console application in Python given a handful of requirements. I spent sooooo much time on this task! It was frankly a lot of fun. On the last day I misjudged my time and I was not able to meet all the requirements. I feel quite strongly that the work I put into that task very clearly shows my Python programming strengths. Given the earlier doubts I think they had about, I think this (small?) error on my part gave them an easy way to tell me "thanks, but no thanks."

    The recruiter told me that the only feedback he received from the engineer about my programming test was that it was incomplete, with no further details. My application was closed.

    The entire process took about a month. Many days would go by when I thought I was waiting for them to make the next step happen. When I would get in touch with the recruiter, it would turn he was waiting for info from the engineer, who in turn thought her part was done.

    Interview Questions

    • I basically had to create a simple text console application in Python given a handful of requirements.   1 Answer
  8. Helpful (11)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Hawthorne, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2+ weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX (Hawthorne, CA) in August 2013.

    Interview

    Tech screen by HR, 2 technical phone interviews, 6-hour on-site interview with 5 one-on-one sessions (2 tech, 3 not) and provided lunch.

    Phone interviews are to establish proficiency and basic coding approach.
    In-person technical sessions were split: one more daily-problem oriented, the other about known algorithmic solutions.
    Non-technical interviews were personality / philosophy / social.

    Feedback time between each step was 1-2 days.

    Interview Questions

    • Some questions about framework internals, not generally relevant to day-to-day.   2 Answers

  9. Helpful (2)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Hawthorne, CA
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX (Hawthorne, CA) in June 2013.

    Interview

    I applied via their website. One of their recruiters responded within a couple of days. Next was a 60-minute online multiple-choice quiz covering the basics of C++, C#, and SQL. It had 14 questions, and these could easily be answered in a small fraction of the total time given. I had plenty of time to double- and triple-check my work. Then was a phone interview with their recruiter, in which he asked about some things on my resume and asked me some more technical questions centering on data structures and algorithms. He wasn't a developer himself, but it seemed like their developers had provided these questions. Then were two more phone interviews, each with a different developer on their staff. These were done with a live collabedit.com session where they asked me to develop various algorithms live while on the phone with them.

    Interview Questions

    • "Write a function implementing the _________ data structure" (various kinds including Stack and Binary Tree). Followed by, "Now rewrite your work without using loops", e.g. recursively.   2 Answers

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