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How can I identify the gap between where I am now and the level I need to be at to pass interviews at FAANG companies?

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Senior Engineer at Series B Startup2 years ago

Since I’ve only worked in smaller companies, I sometimes feel uncertain about my abilities as an engineer compared to FAANG engineers. How can I identify the gaps between my current skill set and those of FAANG companies?

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    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 years ago

    There are 2 very different answers to this: first is how you compare to FAANG interview bar, and the other is how you compare to an actual engineer at FAANG.

    For passing the interview, the best way to tell is literally just to interview. Start with companies you don’t care about enough, and put the ones you do care about near the end.

    What I’d recommend is just to take any FAANG offer, and usually it’s possible to switch locations or teams after a while. So if you have the ability to be patient, just getting into the tier 1 companies will open up lots of opportunities.

    If you want to compare yourself right now to a FAANG engineer, that is actually a lot harder.

    • A lot of the value of a big tech company engineer is about their contextual knowledge and the relationships they have.
    • Since you’re a senior engineer, it’s hard to predict this unless you’re actually at the company. A way to proxy for it, though, is how much does your team trust you to handle issues that come up?
    • I think non-FAANG engineers are surprised with how little of the time of senior/staff engineers is to debug issues. You should have the capability to debug technical issues, but usually the junior and mid-level engineers are able to find a solution on their own. The impact of senior FAANG engineers is mostly in setting direction and anticipating blockers.
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