After applying to 10 odd major tech companies over winter break; Google and Amazon reached out to me and asked me to complete some "homework"1. Google was first to show interest, having me complete two problems, which I completed to their satisfaction, and a short while later I received a request for availability in regard to scheduling a phone interview time. Since this was over the holidays, things were a little dragged out, but I completed my two ~1-hour phone interviews in early January. At around the same time, Amazon reached out and asked me to complete some of their problems as well.
Interestingly, after completing the first set, which I found to be very easy, they sent a second, more complex, set of questions. These too I completed well, passing all of the unit tests the exam tool ran2. Much to my surprise, I received an offer to join the Amazon team a few days after completing my homework. I was astounded that one of the big four3 was interested in having someone like me, someone from a large state university with little glamor – like Hackathon prizes, publications, major projects and such, at their organization. Especially without a phone interview!
Amazon gave me till February 1st to make up my mind, the clock was ticking. I connected my Google Recruiter and informed her of the news, and a few days later I heard back that I had made it into the pool. Short aside on how Google hires interns...
- Candidates are interviewed by two Google Engineers
- An independent committee of Googlers reviews the Interview feedback.
- If the committee feels that you would be a good fit, you are added to the pool.
- Departments looking for interns pull from the pool based off the project survey interns filled out during the application process.
- You potentially have a 1:1 phone interview with your prospective manager, to see if you would be a good fit for their team
- If all goes well, you get an offer!
As you can see, this is quite a lengthy and intensive process, something that I did not have time for with Amazon's offer expiring VERY soon. Along with the offer email, Amazon included the schedule for several informational sessions for new interns, one of which I attended. On the call was one of the recruiters, as well as Project Manager for one of the teams at Amazon. The presentation lasted about an hour, and afterward, I had a much better grasp on what role interns play at Amazon.
It should not be a big surprise based on the title of this post, I ended up accepting the Amazon offer. Not only is Seattle4 a city that I have never been to before, I am excited by opportunities this position will afford me. More posts and photos are definitely to come once I start in Mid-May.
This summer is definitely going to be one to remember!
Homework refers to a series of coding/programming questions that vary in scope, depth, and duration based on the assignment and organization. The goal of these is typical to identify one's skill level with a given programming language; and the general concepts, like list storing, tree traversal, etc. ↩
Both for the Google and Amazon assignments, the questions are confidential and under NDA, so cannot go into greater detail in regard to their content. I can, however, say that they were focused on general programming concepts, like data structures, etc. ↩
While Seattle is not the only city where Amazon places Interns, most of their interns are placed in Seattle, as that is where most of their offices and teams are based. ↩