About System Design Interviews

If you’re a mid-level or senior-level software engineer, regardless of where you interview, you will get asked at least a few system design questions. Most companies will ask system design questions during the onsite, but some may include a system design component in their technical phone screen (more likely if they’re a startup rather than a FAANG).

System design interview questions fall, by and large, into the following 12 categories:

  1. APIs
  2. Databases (SQL vs NoSQL)
  3. Scaling
  4. CAP theorem
  5. Web authentication and basic security
  6. Load balancers
  7. Caching
  8. Message queues
  9. Indexing
  10. Failovers
  11. Replication
  12. Consistent hashing

That’s a long list, and system design is a really broad topic. Rather than trying to summarize everything you need to know about these types of interviews in a few paragraphs (an impossible task), we’ve written the best guide to system design interviews out there.

By the way, many people believe that in order to pass a FAANG system design interview, you have to have professional experience with distributed systems. We’ll show you that that’s categorically false, and that with the right preparation, you don’t need to fall into the catch-22 of having to have worked at a FAANG in order to get a job at a FAANG.

Check out our in-depth guide to system design, developed by the best interviewers in the industry, directly from their experience in thousands of technical interviews:

System Design Interview Replays

System Design Interview Questions and Solutions

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