Jim Cramer, who coined the term FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) in 2013, unveiled a new acronym recently since Facebook changed its name to Meta. Guess what it is? MAMAA. 

This change represents Microsoft, which has surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable company (while dropping Netflix and changing Google back to Alphabet, the company’s original name). Microsoft online assessments are available, and online guides to the assessments can help you practice before working as a software engineer. 

However, for this article, we’re going to dive into a few examples of the different approaches taken by companies within the original FAANG.

Keep in mind some of these key points when you’re taking a coding assessment:

  • Ask when you need clarification to understand the assignment completely.
  • Submit your solutions within the designated time frame.
  • Describe the approach you took and why.
  • Communicate and communicate some more.
  • Sound confident, calm, and collected.
  • Be enthusiastic about your learning abilities.
  • Be honest.
  • Give examples.
  • Do not cheat or get help from others.
  • Avoid showing up without being prepared.

That said, let’s start with the first letter and acronym for Facebook.

Facebook

The process at Facebook begins with an initial technical screen to determine whether or not you’re eligible to continue with a full interview with a Facebook engineer. The interview focuses on coding, which is conducted over video chat or in person and is broken into three main sections.

Firstly, they would want to get to know you and how well you align with the company’s mission. This includes your past experiences and relevant interests. Keep your response concise. Describe your areas of expertise and where you trained and worked. After that, you’ll need to solve two coding problems focused on computer science fundamentals, such as algorithms, data structure, binary trees, etc. This will be done either online or in person on a whiteboard. 

Once you complete that section, the interviewer will answer any of your questions and teach you  about working at Facebook as an engineer. You’ll have the opportunity to describe what interesting or challenging problems you’re looking forward to solving.

Tips And Tricks To Help You Prepare

Facebook interviewers will try to understand your approach to problem-solving and won’t give you any trick questions. Solve these problems in the way you see fit, and the interviewer might add restraints or requirements when necessary. Brush up on your interviewing and coding skills and become familiar with algorithms. 

Some other helpful advice includes writing codes in a simple text editor or by hand. Practice under time constraints and review data structures, lists, arrays, hash tables, graphs, searches, etc. This entire process will take about 45 minutes to complete, with difficult questions and an exacting evaluation. It’s best to be prepared.

Think out loud and use the programming language you’re good at, share your reasoning, and fix any bugs you might come across. You’ll be sure to nail it!  

Amazon

Amazon is known for having one of the toughest online assessments. Don’t worry! They organize their online coding tests in initial rounds to select from an array of talented candidates. Being the largest tech giant in the world, they recruit multiple types of engineering roles at once. Since some of the leading companies use Amazon’s services daily, they require smart people to design their quality systems. 

There are always vacancies at Amazon’s various locations. You need to make sure you have relevant skills in coding, but it depends on what role you’re applying for. The majority of candidates have a background in computer science/information technology or any other related branch. 

Amazon follows a similar pattern for testing, and the questions may change according to what position you’re interested in. For a software engineer, you’ll have a coding round of three to four questions, varying from easy to medium difficulty. Then you’ll undergo an aptitude and psychometric round.

Amazon’s online coding assessment includes these topics:

  • Number theory
  • Greedy algorithm
  • Binary search
  • Dynamic programming
  • Divide and conquer
  • Hash tables, maps, trees
  • Graph algorithm

Tips And Tricks To Help You Prepare

It helps candidates to have a strong skill set in data structure and algorithms. Although not required, Amazon offers support in multiple languages, so being bilingual might make you stand out from the crowd.

There are many ways to apply to Amazon, whether on campus, via referral, or through a coding contest. Practice all the important topics previously listed in LeetCode (more about LeetCode is explained below). Try to complete 30 to 40 questions from each topic to make sure you have a broad range of knowledge and are prepared for anything. 

The questions for this assessment can be difficult. But if you dedicate three to four months in advance, you’ll optimize your coding skills. With the right preparation, the test will be easier. Be familiar with coding platforms, practice on popular sites, and also check questions from previous interviews.

Apple

If you’re interested in Apple, be prepared to have nine to 12 interviews. Their entire process can take anywhere from one to two months. However, Apple starts hiring at an ICT2 level, meaning they will look at candidates starting with only zero to two years of experience.

Your prescreen interview will be with a recruiter on the phone, and they will ask questions like, ‘Why do you want to work for Apple?’ Afterward, you’ll move on to a technical phone interview with a hiring manager. They will provide you with a coding question centered around data structure and algorithms. This coding question will be administered through a shared editor and will take about 30 minutes to complete. One example question might be, ‘Collapse a binary search tree into a sorted list.’

You’ll then be offered an on-site interview, which will test your patience, skills, and domain knowledge. This will take approximately six hours, and you will meet up to 12 employees. 

Tips And Tricks To Help You Prepare

When writing codes, read the questions carefully and don’t rush. This interview will include a behavioral aspect, so be sure to show enthusiasm for Apple. They will want to know how you work in teams and how well you know Apple services. The best advice is to answer honestly, giving them examples of what you like and don’t like about their products.

The questions the interviewers ask will be regarding the work their current team is doing and the problems they’re trying to solve. Discuss your thought process and how you approach problems. Some of the data structures to know include arrays, linked lists, stacks, and queues. Also, be sure to review algorithms (such as depth-first search, binary search, quicksort, etc.).  

Google

Google has the ultimate test when it comes to software engineers. To pass, you’ll need to put in hard work and preparation before tackling their assessment. Nonetheless, Google is clear when it comes to its expectations. You’ll have five to seven interviews in total, and it will take two to two-and-a-half months to complete the process entirely. The coding challenges will be done in person or online. Ask beforehand because coding on Google Docs may require some practice.

There are three types of coding systems you should be familiar with when considering working for Google. These include the following:

  • System design questions (high-level system design, scalability)
  • Coding interview challenges (knowledge of data structure/algorithms, solutions)
  • General analysis (thought process through mathematical/opinion-based questions)

You’ll be graded on a scale of 1-4, with 3 being the determining factor for hiring.

Tips And Tricks To Help You Prepare

Google will assess your coding skills on the following topics:

  • Algorithms
  • Sorting
  • Data structures
  • Graphs
  • Recursion
  • Object-oriented programming
  • Big-O notation
  • Application programming interface 
  • Mathematics programs

You should take three months to prepare and use a language that Google prefers before interviewing. Their phone screening could take up to an hour, and the recruiter will test you with coding questions that you’ll solve on the Doc using 20 to 30 lines of coding.

Communicate your process as you work and don’t be afraid to ask further questions to optimize your data. Ask your interviewer if you’ll be typing or writing the codes online or in person to better prepare for the format. They will want to analyze your cognitive ability and see if you’ll mesh well with their values. You don’t want to be thrown off by the format and not be able to show off your full abilities.

Take each week before your exam to prepare. First, choose a programming language that aligns with Google’s expectations and your preference.

Review the basics of programming and familiarize yourself with data structures and algorithms. Practice related challenges via the sources below. Move from simple to complex problems while timing yourself. Study the top system design interview questions, concurrency concepts, multithreading fundamentals, and object-oriented programming.

Other Resources

Let’s look at some other resources to help you prepare for interview challenges.

AlgoExpert

AlgoExpert is one of the top choices to prepare you for your FAANG interview and is designed to help software engineers ace their technical reviews. AlgoExpert covers algorithms and data structure in video-based modules with consistently updated content. 

You’ll be able to read the testing prompt, watch the corresponding video, and input your test solutions all in one place. AlgoExpert supports 150+ coding problems and provides a certificate of completion after you complete the hours of available educational advice.

LeetCode

LeetCode has multiple collections of coding problems, ranging from easy to hard. Even though there are no courses, LeetCode has a thriving online community that provides over a thousand coding questions. 

It’s recommended that you use LeetCode in conjunction with your other studying platforms. This platform supports 16 coding languages, and all the problems and solutions are user submitted. LeetCode is free to use, but there’s a premium subscription option. 

HackerRank

HackerRank has plenty of FAANG-level coding problems and instructions. You’ll be able to execute a challenge in an embedded coding environment with this company. 

HackerRank supports 45 different programming languages and has approximately 100 questions for testing. You can receive a certificate of completion once you finish. Best of all, it’s free to use.

Final Thoughts

Competition is fierce for software engineers, no matter how good you are at your job. You may fail these online assessments without proper preparation. Take Google for instance. This company has continuous applications, and yet its acceptance rate is 1%. So remember, no matter what resource you choose (and there are plenty of resources out there), practice is the most important thing to do before jumping into one of FAANG’s tests as a prospective software engineer.

Also Read: Top Software Development Tools! Which One Is Your Favorite?