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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
Negative Experience
Average Interview

Application

I applied online. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX (Redmond, WA) in November 2015.

Interview

I interview for a software engineer position. I past the interview and was then asked to prepare and present a set of slides for a predefined project. I presented the project and was invited to the Redmond, WA office to present to the SW team. The presentation was well received with the exception of one strangely hostile former Microsoft employee who apparently had a chip on his shoulder. The presentation was followed with one-on-one software coding interviews (which I admit I hadn't prepared properly for due to preparing presentation, time-consuming application, etc) with the typical software questions such as link lists. Again encountered the irrational hostile former Microsoft employee way past the point of rude. It was an awful experience. I don't think I would have taken the job if offered knowing I would have to see that guy everyday.

Interview Questions

Other Interview Reviews for SpaceX

  1. Helpful (3)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 6+ weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX in February 2016.

    Interview

    I heard back from them a month after applying.

    The first step is an online C/C++ quiz where you look at snippets of code and try to determine if there is a problem (off by one, infinite loops, etc) or if the code is good.

    After that you get a phone interview from someone who is likely not a programmer. They have a list of questions and want to hear maybe a 2 sentence answer to write down. This person is not interested in hearing examples or thinking process. It's essentially a pop quiz that gets passed to an engineer afterwards for grading. Unfortunately this method provides little to no feedback. During other interviews with companies, I'd be talking to an engineer and so if I struggled a bit we would work through it together. Here you'll just get stuck and likely fail.

    If you pass that, which I didn't, the next step is a 1 hour phone interview with an engineer.

    After that, a 6 hour coding challenge in a screensharing environment so that an engineer can watch you code. This is presumably so that you can't blatantly copy and paste stuff from github or stack overflow.

    Then there's the onsite interview.

    Interview Questions


  2. Helpful (6)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Hawthorne, CA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX (Hawthorne, CA) in November 2015.

    Interview

    First was online screen with some basic multiple choice test on C questions. Then phone screen with recruiter, recruiter copies down some answers to basic C++ questions. I actually almost flopped here due to how surprised I was at this process. The idea is the recruiter takes these answers and shoots them to an engineer for pass/fail evaluation. Give detailed answers and persistently ensure the recruiter writes down exactly what you want, don't worry about anything else like I did. The idea is to communicate with an engineer over and opaque recruiter, and as awkward as this might be, just do it well.

    Got to the 6 hour online test. I'm pretty new to interviews (recently from university) and my expectations didn't really match reality. To anyone else that's on the socially unaware side like I am, this test can be pretty difficult in terms of communication. In my case I needed to implement data structures, and multiple different sorting algorithms (for different types of data), along with code to use these to solve a particular problem. The problem itself isn't too hard if communication is clear. The idea is that a test proctor is available over email. It's assumed that as an interviewee you take full advantage of the proctor and ask a lot of questions, and ask for meaningful advice. This is a no brainer to most, but some of us learn "the ropes" of interviews through experience.

    As a specific example you're able to ask the proctor if you're headed in a good direction, or if he has a valuable suggestion or hint. It seems to be designed like a cheap business alternative to flying people over for in-person interviews. So treat the 6 hour test like an in-person interview and communicate a lot with the proctor.

    Also be sure to be able to comfortably implement a range of data structures at-will. Trees, lists, vector, hash table, etc. Make sure to try to simplify the problem fully with the help of the proctor. In retrospect the test is pretty cool, and could have been a lot of fun. Just be sure not to be naive like me and assume these are like strict university "test proctors".

    Interview Questions

  3. Helpful (11)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. I interviewed at SpaceX (Los Angeles, CA) in August 2017.

    Interview

    A recruiter contacted me. From there, a long interview process began, involving

    * A timed take-home test. 3-4 hours to answer a few interview questions, a code review, and a coding questions
    * Two phone screens, both involving a shared code pad
    * An on-site interview, involving a few 2-on-1 interviews with developers, project-managers, and managers. Also included a tour of the site.

    On-site was in Los Angeles, even though the position is for Bellevue, WA

    Interview Questions

    • Given a definition for a rocket part, figure out the total cost for the part. The part has a list of sub-parts, as well as cost of production/assembly from sub parts.   Answer Question

  4. Helpful (2)  

    Software Engineer Interview

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

    Application

    I applied through other source. I interviewed at SpaceX (Los Angeles, CA) in January 2017.

    Interview

    Absolutely terrible and unprofessional. I was frog marched out of the door because my salary request was too high. I had to lose a day of work for no reason.

    Interview Questions


  5. 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

  6. Helpful (5)  

    Software Engineer Interview

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

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at SpaceX (Los Angeles, CA) in January 2017.

    Interview

    Got a referral from a friend, applied online, and got set up for a phone screen. The HR lady was really misleading; she didn't forward all my materials to the interviewer and clearly said there WON'T be data structure/algorithm questions though the interviewer did ask technical questions. The overall interview lasted about 20 minutes.

    Interview Questions

    • - Describe in detail your most involved and difficult project you've done in the past.
      - Difference between objects and classes in C++.
      - You're given two arrays of strings. Determine if all the strings in the first array are present in the second array, and return a boolean. Now assume both arrays have a million elements each. How would your answer change to improve efficiency?   2 Answers

  7. 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
  8. 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

  9. 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

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