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Amazon | Placement Interview

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DTU Times interviewed Srivats Poddar, Software Engineering, Class of 2020 who secured a placement at Amazon.

Did you continuously prepare during your first 2 years of college, prepared for the interviews exclusively before they happened?

Having sat down for companies in the internship season without much preparation, I concretely began my preparation in October 2018 (5th Semester), with an online competitive coding course. However, this was merely an initial step. I got more focused during the summer of 2019, i.e., just before the placement season.

What did you give more priority to - the Profile Offered or the Company Reputation?

Given the vast variety of job openings, I preferred to first choose a job profile of my liking and then try to aim for highly reputed companies. But given the fact that a majority of the companies that visited our campus offered the Software Development Profile, my choices ultimately boiled down to the companies’ reputation. However, in the future, if possible, even if it is of no benefit to me, I would like to see a wider variety of tech job profiles being offered by the companies visiting the campus.

How important are referrals in getting placed at big companies?

If Sundar Pichai or Bill Gates were to recommend me for a tech job opening at your firm, wouldn’t you hire me?

Don’t take my word for it, but I think referrals do aid in getting a job. Think of it this way, if Sundar Pichai or Bill Gates were to recommend me for a tech job opening at your firm, wouldn’t you hire me? Referrals are definitely not the only way to get a job, but they just happen to be one of the many ways. I had no referrals while applying for placements, and I still managed to get a placement at Amazon. 

Which is given more emphasis: competitive programming skills or projects?

In my opinion, competitive programming skills are given more emphasis. It is because the aim of competitive programming is very much in hand with what any company wants from a software developer, i.e. the ability to write a bug-free code, which can solve a given problem efficiently, both in terms of time and computing resources. This doesn’t mean projects are of no value. For companies like Google, that shortlist candidates for personal interviews based on their CVs, having good projects is a big plus. 

What prerequisites, besides the basic course knowledge, are beneficial for applying to Amazon?

The ability to solve difficult problems in an environment with limited resources is one prerequisite that is hugely beneficial for applying to Amazon. This is one skill which isn’t exactly taught in the college curriculum, and it can only be acquired by having solved many problems, be it on coding platforms, or in various competitions.

What are the specific skills that Amazon looks for, which are often neglected by other companies?

I don’t think Amazon looks for any specific skills that may get neglected by other companies. I think it is just the selection procedure that is very rigorous, so one must have their basics very clear. Considering my interview experience, I had 4 rounds of interviews, wherein I was asked around 4-5 questions in each round, all based on Data Structures and Algorithms, that makes roughly 16-20 questions of writing algorithms.

Posted by Anoushka Raj

I write here someTimes.