Getting into FAANG is the dream of most software engineers in the world. However, it's much easier said than done, and there's a lot of misinformation about what Big Tech companies look for in interview candidates.
Here are the main points from the video:
- It's near impossible to break in as a junior dev - The demand (i.e. the number of junior engineers looking to break into FAANG) far outstrips the supply (the number of L3 and SDE 1 level FAANG openings). If you don't have a warm lead like a strong referral, a DEI program you qualified for, a Big Tech internship to covert, or a career fair at your prestigious university, you can easily spend hours applying into a black hole. If you've already tried many times and you can't get in, just stop.
- You don't need to get into FAANG right now - Your career is a marathon, not a sprint. You can get into FAANG later in your career; don't compare yourself to others who made it in early and become obsessed with Big Tech. Focus on growing yourself as a software engineer, and you will eventually make it in.
- Get past 2 YOE - If you live in a relevant geography (e.g. SF Bay Area, London) and have more than 2 years of experience, Big Tech companies will generally start reaching out to you. This is because hiring junior engineers is very risky, and Big Tech generally likes to rely on converting interns to fill out that pool. Once you cross 2 YOE, you are considered mid-level and a more worthwhile hire.
- Build massive side projects - There is one "nuclear" level you can pull if you really want to get into FAANG ASAP, and that's making a side project with 10k+ users. Alex was able to do this, and he knew a few college dropouts who got into FAANG early doing the same. Here's our masterclass on how Alex built side projects with 500k+ users.
- Make major open-source contributions - Big Tech has very strong open-source culture, so they have a lot of public libraries you can contribute to on GitHub. They monitor the pull requests into these libraries for potential talent, and many engineers get in that way. However, this is much easier said than done, and side projects are generally more approachable for junior software engineers.