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How to get better at system design interviews?

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Senior Software Engineer at Taro Communitya month ago

Recently had an interview with big tech where I proposed a solution that was pretty much textbook From the Alex xu books. I have had similar experiences with educative. They are all undeniably detailed and great but I feel there are some edge cases that are hard to figure out unless you have worked in those systems.

Educative and Alex Xu books are not perfect representations of system design either. There are some small gotchas that a big tech experienced interviewer would catch. This also happened with cochroach db interview where this very senior engineer figured out the material I was using and asked a targeted question that he knew was a flaw in design but not discussed in educative course

So I guess the question is how do I do better ?

I have studied DDIA, alex xu books, Educative.

This is question for staff interviews for senior engineers

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(3 comments)
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a month ago

    We have a course on Taro coming about this soon!

    I agree with you about the issue with resources that just give you the answer since a real system design interview is as much about the discussion with the interviewer as it is about the answer. That can't be captured in something like a book or guide.

    Alex Chiou and Steve (A Life Engineered) have some great comments here: What are the best resources to learn system design in a structured way? **

    and here are some thoughts about using ChatGPT to practice solo: How to improve at system design interviews while practicing solo?

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      Senior Software Engineer [OP]
      Taro Community
      a month ago

      Yes, you phrased it much better than I did. A discussion could take many different forms, and there are so many tangents to the same question. And thanks for everything you all do.

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    Eng @ Taro
    a month ago

    This also happened with cochroach db interview where this very senior engineer figured out the material I was using and asked a targeted question that he knew was a flaw in design but not discussed in educative course

    This can be tricky because they need to test the depth of your system knowledge so they can evaluate you accurately.. They need to figure out where book smarts ends and experience starts.

    Another resource you can use is https://www.quastor.org/. They send a newsletter out that summarizes technical blog posts that companies publish. These technical blog posts are usually more in-depth, and they go over challenges that companies face while implementing their systems.