The developer job market is constantly witnessing an increase in opportunities. Many new companies and startups are getting established and need talented developers in their workforce. While many developers like the thrill of working in an intensive all-hands role, a vast majority wish to work for the biggest names in the global tech industry.
FAANG companies are famous worldwide for their products and how universal they have become. These five companies reign over billion-dollar industries like social media, web services, consumer technology, content and media, and many more. With such awe-inspiring aspects, it is hardly surprising why developers globally want to work for FAANG.
In this article, I'll take us through what FAANG is, how it differs from other companies, their approach to hiring talent, and how we can ace the FAANG interview process.
Is a FAANG company right for you?
The acronym FAANG comprises the first letters of the world's five most successful tech companies: Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. The acronym arose as a shorter way of referring to the stocks of these companies since they are the most high-priced on the whole market. FAANG companies have a significantly powerful presence in the American tech market and globally as well.
Developers worldwide wish to join the workforce at FAANG companies because of several factors like their immense reputation, market competitive salaries, and growth opportunities. FAANG companies also represent the most cutting-edge tech, and many developers wish to work on such technology. Additionally, a professional association with a FAANG company positively impacts the developer's profile.
However, roles at FAANG companies can have downsides to them too. For example, many developers who have worked at one or more of them assert that individuals can end up feeling limited in their roles. In addition, career progression at FAANG companies can be formulaic, and developers may end up just ticking boxes to move further rather than focusing on gaining more experience and skills.
Why are FAANG tech interviews so difficult?
Since they are highly sought-after, job opportunities at FAANG companies aren't easy to achieve. After all, the roles are highly competitive, and the hiring process has to select from hundreds of candidates at a time.
Moreover, most of these applicants are organic, i.e., have applied by themselves, and recruiters have to use different ways to filter out unfit applicants. For example, one of the earliest stages in a FAANG interview can be a quiz that tests the theoretical foundations of applicants.
Since FAANG recruiters have to assess and shortlist multiple candidates simultaneously, their processes are standardized. For example, the FAANG interview process involves coding challenges and whiteboarding to assess applicants' technical skills. This contrasts with non-FAANG interview processes, where stages and assessments are personalized according to an applicant's experience and skills.
The FAANG Interview process
The FAANG interview process involves multiple steps. Each assesses the applicant's skills and abilities through different mediums and approaches. As mentioned before, the interview approach has become standardized since several applicants compete for a role and recruiters have to filter out the unfit ones early in the process.
Here are the main steps of a FAANG interview process:
- 1Phone screening: Recruiters first hold a call with applicants to know about their technical background and experience. If the recruiters need a better idea, it can also include a technical part where applicants have to solve algorithmic problems while on call.
- 2Technical Interviews: These are the most important stages since recruiters have to assess the applicant's technical abilities. There can be multiple technical interviews of applicants where they solve problems from platforms like HackerRank and Leetcode.
Applicants also pass through a stage called whiteboarding, where they have to solve a given problem and explain their approach to the interviewers. Then, the interviewers may ask applicants to analyze the solution or visualize certain edge cases. There can be multiple whiteboarding rounds.
- 4System design: For more senior roles, FAANG interviews can also include an interview focused on assessing the applicant's system design knowledge. There can be extensive questions on handling system requirements and designing for failure cases
Behavioral or Leadership Interviews: These interviews mostly come towards the end of the FAANG interview process. Recruiters try to assess the communication and collaborative skills of applicants. For senior roles, they evaluate the leadership experiences and what they can bring to the table.
How to prepare for a FAANG interview?
If we land the opportunity for a FAANG interview, we must prepare to our fullest. After all, it is pretty competitive, and we cannot waste such an opportunity. Therefore, preparing for a FAANG interview requires serious strategy and ensuring we practice very particular things.
Here is how we should prepare for the FAANG interview process:
Prepare a study plan
We must plan ahead and create a study plan to help streamline our preparation efforts. The study plan will look different depending on our skill and experience level. For example, junior developers need to:
focus on the fundamentals
actively practice coding challenges
practice with mock interviews.
While this also applies to senior developers, they must also practice and extensively study system design concepts.
Work on your resume
We must strategize our resume and modify it so that it is appealing and concise. However, we must ensure we don't miss important information and that all the relevant experiences and skills are highlighted.
Understand computer science fundamentals
FAANG recruiters tend to focus on evaluating developers' fundamental knowledge, which means that coding challenges and quizzes in the interview process often cover basic theoretical concepts:
Use the right resources to prepare
We must select the right resources to prepare for the FAANG interview process effectively. We can use HackerRank and Leetcode for practicing coding challenges, interviewing.io for mock interviews, and w3schools to help refresh theory.
Tips to crack interviews at FAANG companies
With so much competition at every stage, FAANG interviews can get notoriously stressful. After all, we want to ensure we have a chance of moving ahead and receiving an offer. So, just strategizing our interview preparation isn't enough, and we should be mindful of some other key aspects.
Here are some tips that can help us crack FAANG interviews:
Let's face it, landing a job at a FAANG company is tough - you're competing against thousands of other applicants. But don't let that discourage you!
One effective way to increase your chances is to network with current and former employees. Attend industry events, connect on LinkedIn, and reach out to people you know who work there.
Building relationships with insiders can give you a foot in the door and help you score an interview. And don't forget to keep your portfolio up-to-date and showcase your unique skills and accomplishments.
Frequently asked coding questions and topics at FAANG companies
Thousands of developers globally aspire to join the workforce at FAANG companies. Since so many prepare for the interview process, the global developer community maintains a collection of frequently asked questions and topics from the interviews. Such a collection helps share their experiences and enables others to prepare better.
Here are some commonly asked questions and topics to help you prepare for the FAANG interview process:
Strings: Determine if a string can be segmented into words of a given dictionary // Find all palindrome substrings
Data structures: find the Kth largest element in a number stream
Math and Statistics: Find the kth permutation. Find subsets of a given set of integers
Arrays: Find the missing numbers in an array. Determine if any two numbers in the array have a certain sum.
Arrays: Set the whole column and row of a two-dimensional array to zero if even a single element is zero. // Rotate a given array one position in the clockwise direction.
Backtracking: Perform regular expression matching to see if an input matches a pattern or not.
Trees: Convert in a binary tree to a linked list. // Find the level order reversal of a binary tree. // Deserialize a binary tree.
Searching and sorting: Find the high and low index in an array with million potential duplicates. // Search a rotated by some arbitrary number.
Linked list: Merge two sorted linked lists. // Perform insertion sort on a singly linked list.
Trees: Determine if two binary trees are the same. // Mirror a binary tree's nodes.
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The competitive hiring process of FAANG companies can seem daunting, but we can still land a role if we set our sights on it. Achieving this goal will require consistency, a positive mindset, and a well-planned strategy to prepare for the FAANG interview process. We must be honest with ourselves about our capabilities and expectations to increase our chances of success.