Getting a software engineering job at FAANG.

Sep 11, 2022 |
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Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google – the five tech giants of modern day comprise the acronym FAANG. Although the term originated in stock market folklore, today it has become a symbol of aspiration for developers all around the world. Many students and young software engineers feel motivated to learn and grow on a daily basis to fulfill their dream of working at one of the FAANG companies.

But as we all probably realize, these are the five most prestigious companies in America to work for. Amazon gets nearly 18-20 job applications per minute, Apple has only a 2-3% acceptance rate and Google receives almost three million job applications per year. Obviously, it is not an easy task to get a job in any of them. It requires a lot of preparation and understanding – understanding of the interview process, the culture, the requirements while preparing your technical and soft skills accordingly.

As we understand how competitive and challenging of a pursuit it is, we have created this plan to guide you through the journey as well as we can. But before we start with the guiding, a gentle reminder of what we are working towards is never a bad thing!

Why pursue a job in a FAANG company

The term FAANG was coined by Jim Cramer in 2013. He was a host of the television show Mad Money by CNBC. Cramer complimented the FAANG companies as being “totally dominant in their markets”. He was obviously correct in this remark, but the FAANG have more significance than just in industry shares.

Companies like Facebook and Netflix are much younger than tech giants like General Electric and many others. Yet, FAANG companies are the most sought-after ones by employees all around, thanks to their culture. They have set the example of a work and development culture that is ideal for any tech company to follow on.

Working at a FAANG company, you will get

  • Global recognition
  • Extremely high packages
  • An atmosphere for learning
  • Comfortable work hours and environment

Some of these things you can not find at any other company in this industry. So if you are motivated by an optimized learning-focused culture with high salary and employee benefits along with a chance to work on some of the most impactful tech products in the world, this guide may exactly be the one for you!

How to get a job in a FAANG company

Step one: do your research

We assume that you are already on this step, as you are here reading this article! Here’s what you can do next.

Wherever you intend to apply for a job, it is always important to research the company before applying to it. This reflects your enthusiasm for working at a certain company. Employers value candidates who are interested in the company and their mission more than someone who is just there for the benefits.

Secondly, it will help you better understand the company’s culture. Just because a company is globally recognized and many people want to work there does not automatically make it a right fit for you. Software engineers who have left Google to pursue other opportunities exist too. So it’s better to do a thorough research and understand if a job is right for you than just taking the world’s word for it.

To do the research, thoroughly study their job circular. Mark up the keywords, analyze the responsibilities and find out what they are looking for. Then you should go through their website to find their mission, accomplishments, goals and services. Lastly, stalk their social media profiles to understand their communication style, brand and vision. All of these together will give you a good idea of what type of person the company is looking for.

Step two: sharpen your technical skills

To work for a FAANG company, there is no alternative to being one of the sharpest tech professionals in the world. You will be going through rigorous interviews and tests that examine every aspect of your technical capabilities before getting to the final phases of hiring.

First of all, you will need to be proficient in an object oriented programming language of your choice such as C++, Java or Python. And then you will need to focus on data structures and algorithms. You should also learn Standard Template Library (STL) and in depth knowledge of concepts like linked list, queue, stack or analysis of algorithms is absolutely essential along with the ability to explain core CS subjects like operating systems, DBMS and computer networks.

If you are interviewing for a senior software engineer position, a system design interview may also take place where you will be asked to demonstrate your ability to design distributed scalable systems. So concepts like caching, proxy, load balancing, CAP theorem and databases will need to be strongly grasped.

Lastly, you will need to learn how to write clean code. We definitely recommend reading the book by Robert Cecil Martin. In case you can not, there are plenty of resources out there ranging from blogs to online courses that will help you understand the concepts of clean code with proper variable naming and making your code modular.

Step 3: curate your resume

A resume is the employer’s window into your skills, experiences and talents. It should not be generic for any job application – especially not when you are applying to a FAANG company. It should be customized and specific to the company and the position you are applying for.

Here are a few tips to efficiently curate your resume for a FAANG job application. First of all, read the job description carefully and find out what type of person the employer is looking for, what are the key skills required, which of your experiences are the most relevant and what transferable skills would apply to the work in this position. Then organize your resume so that it prioritizes showing off those particular skills and experiences.

While designing your resume, try to create a separate section for technical skills, use appropriate keywords throughout the document that make yours the most relevant to the employer and try making it as visually appealing as you can. Using too many colors or informal fonts is not the way to go here.

Step 4: prepare for the interview

Every company has their specific interview process. You may want to do a little digging and find out the interview process of your desired company. Google is generally quite transparent about this and many resources can be found on the internet detailing their procedures. Some companies may even have interview guidelines on their job circular or website. To know more details about other companies and how they approach hiring, you can get connected with their HR or one of the employees and ask them about their interview experience. Connections can be found in online forums and social networking sites, especially LinkedIn. Don’t be hesitant and send people connection requests. You will be surprised how many people are willing to provide advice and suggestions when asked.

Some general tips for interview preparation include practicing programming questions. You should be able to solve challenging problems with ease. FAANG companies often ask interviewees to solve problems similar to the ones on Leetcode and Hackerrank. Leetcode medium level problems can give you a competitive advantage in algorithms and data structures. In beginner stages though, practicing problem solving from this and this sheet can be incredibly helpful. To prepare for the interview even harder, you can use a resource like Pramp to practice coding interviews for free.

Besides practicing technical skills, it is important to focus on soft skills as well. Common interview questions ranging from what your hobbies are to why you want to work for this company – anything can be asked during the interview stages. Research what those common questions are and prepare your individualized answers to them. While preparing, do not think about what the ‘ideal’ answer would be. Instead, think about how you can reflect the most of your personality in a short and concise reply.

Working for a FAANG company can be a dream come true for many. It takes talent and enthusiasm. But it takes hard work and determination more. Keep pursuing your dreams and soon you may reach the apex as well!

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